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Lady Eagles cruise to another championship

©2014 NPT PHOTO BY CHRIS TAYLOR
Cosby High junior Bethanie Williams (No. 13) is surrounded by Washburn defenders in Wednesday night’s District 2-A title game. Williams scored 14 points and was named the tournament MVP for her efforts.
Published: 1:45 PM, 02/20/2014 Last updated: 1:46 PM, 02/20/2014
 

Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

RUTLEDGE—Earning another District 2-A tournament championship was no question for the Cosby High School Lady Eagles.

Cosby scored the first 18 points of the game and forced Washburn into 24 turnovers as they cruised to a 66-19 victory over the No. 3 Lady Pirates in Wednesday night’s championship game at Grainger High School.

The Lady Eagles (21-9) powered their way to the win with their early assault on the Lady Pirates (10-16), which included eight baskets off of turnovers in the first seven minutes of the game.

“They couldn’t handle our pressure at all,” Cosby coach Richard Coggins said. “We wanted to come in and get it over early and get my starters out.”

With the pressure of a tough Region 1-A quarterfinal against Hampton looming just 48 hours away, the Lady Eagles wanted to get in and out of Wednesday night’s contest with the question of victory answered as soon as possible.

That pressure may have caused the Lady Eagles to play too hard in the game’s opening minutes.

“We were playing as hard as we could go, trying to get this thing over,” Coggins said. “We played so hard in the first half, we played a little too hard and missed some easy shots.”

While Cosby, which was 28-of-62 from the field in the championship win, struggled somewhat early from close range, the Lady Eagles made up with it on the defensive end. The tenacious defense allowed Cosby to score easy buckets in transition to jump out with the 18-0 run to start the game.

“We just wanted to put pressure on them with our press and get after them,” Cosby junior Bethanie Williams said. “We wanted to get rested for Friday and to get focused for Friday night.”

Williams was the main catalyst of the start for Cosby. The tournament MVP led all scorers with 14 points and she recorded seven of her team’s 18 steals in the win.

With the question of victory answered early, Coggins spread playing time throughout his squad for most of the night. In the second quarter he used a mix of starters and reserves. The third quarter saw the Lady Eagles starters play for most of the first seven minutes of the half, as they opened up a 50-16 lead headed into the fourth period.

Cosby led the game by 35-14 score at halftime

“I wanted to play (the starters) a little less,” Coggins said. “I played them a little more than I wanted to, but I wasn’t comfortable with just a 20-point lead.”

The fourth quarter saw every Cosby player in uniform on Wednesday night log points, as they cruised to the win and turned their attention to Friday night’s showdown with Hampton.

The Lady Bulldogs, a state finalist last year, comes into the game with an 18-13 record. Hampton lost its last four District 1-A games by an average of 7.5 points, in arguably one of the toughest girls’ leagues in Class A.

“I couldn’t decide which of the four (District 1-A teams) I wanted to play,” Coggins said. “They’re all pretty even and all pretty good.

“I think we match up better with Hampton than anyone (in District 1-A), but they are a little deeper,” Coggins said.

Cosby knows the Region 1-A tournament will be a challenge for his squad, with three teams that have spent time in the Associated Press Prep Top-10 poll this year prevalent in the field. Cloudland and North Greene are the top two seeds from District 1-A, while South Greene claimed the third seed.

“We’re good enough to win the whole thing, or we can go home the first night - it’s up to these girls,” Coggins said. “I think, talent wise, we’re as good as anyone up there, maybe better, but we’ve got to play.”

Tipoff of Friday’s Region 1-A quarterfinal is set for 7 p.m. at Cosby High School.

COSBY (66): Bethanie Williams 14, Dessie Shaffer 9, Sarah Conard 9, Lexiey Williams 8, Brooke Schreder 4, Kaitlyn Weeks 4, Sydni Johnson 4, Jada Baxter 4, Kristan Coggins 4, Cheyenne Kelley 2, Charley Barger 2, Wendy McGaha 2.

WASHBURN (19): Brandy Beeler 7, Connor Bowlin 4, Abby Hyle 3, Haley Nicely 3, Sara Parker 2.

3-PT FG: Cosby (4): B. Williams 2, Johnson, Shaffer. Washburn (2): Beeler, Bowlin.

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