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Lady Eagles rally falls short: Cosby fights back down 11, but falls on McNeese game-winner in overtime

Cosby point guard Dessie Shaffer finished her Lady Eagles career with a 21-point night in Monday’s Region 1-A semifinal loss to North Greene. Shaffer’s offensive success enabled the Lady Eagles climb from an 11-point third period deficit.
Published: 1:24 PM, 02/25/2014 Last updated: 1:24 PM, 02/25/2014

Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

AFTONWith a season on the line, North Greenes all-everything senior Mendy McNeese did what a Miss Basketball Finalist does.

In a tie game and time running out in overtime, the Lady Huskies guard made the play to win the game. McNeese, whose team led by 11 points late in the third quarter, came off a screen and found nothing but an open baseline in front of her, clearing the path to drop in the game winner with 7.2 seconds remaining.

We wanted a clear-out play and I figured theyd double team me, McNeese said. Coach told me to make the right read and they left me for a second wide open and I just shot it and the Lord let it go in.

McNeeses basket, which was two of her 18 points, gave her team a 39-37 overtime win, but not before they had to fend off one last chance shot by Cosby.

Junior Bethanie Williams drove the length of the court after a timeout, and got off a shot just outside the paint and drew contact in the final seconds, but received no call, as their season came to an end.
North Greene advances to play Cloudland, a 48-41 winner over South Greene, in Wednesdays Region 1-A championship. Both teams receive a TSSAA Class A Sectional berth on Saturday.

Cosby rallied from an 11-point deficit with 11 minutes to play in the game and held a late lead, but was unable to put away the Lady Huskies (24-10).

Falling behind early, the product of a putrid start on offense, was the Lady Eagles downfall in Mondays semifinal contest.

The first half killed us, Cosby coach Richard Coggins said. You have to play two halves this time of year. We just didnt play the first half.

Cosby (20-10) found themselves trailing 23-14 at halftime, after struggling to produce on the offensive end in the opening 16 minutes. The Lady Eagles shot just 22.7 percent and made five field goals.

Point guard Dessie Shaffer kept Cosby in the game with her eight first half points and continued her hot play into the second half. Shaffer finished the night with a game-high 21 points, and scored eight of her teams 14 field goals. She was Cosbys lone player in double figures, as Sarah Conard was the next highest scorer with six points.

She came out tonight and played her guts out for us, said Coggins of Shaffers play. She just all night long hit shots, ran the offense and handled the ball well. She came to play.

It was Shaffers shot making ability that brought the Lady Eagles back into the game. She scored six straight points in a 1:57 span late in the third period that cut the North Greene lead from 29-18 to 29-25.

After Brooke Schreder drained a bucket at the end of the third quarter, the lead was 29-27, and Cosby was quickly back in the drivers seat.

I jumped all over them for not wanting to play, said Coggins of his halftime message to his team. We outplayed them in the second half, we just couldnt finish them.

This team has had a real bad problem of five people not showing up at the same time and tonight was the same thing, Coggins said. Everybody has to show up - but they didnt quit tonight and thats the best thing.

Cosby switched their defense to a 1-2-2 press, which gave North Greene issues and opened the door for the Lady Eagles 15-2 run to take the lead.

It shook (North Greene) up and got us back in it, Coggins said. We mixed it up and sped them up and did some things.

Consecutive buckets by Sarah Conard helped the Lady Eagles tie the game at 31 with 5:19 to play. Another bucket by Shaffer put Cosby in front 33-31 with 3:26 remaining.

McNeese answered however with a long-range 3-pointer with 3:03 to play in regulation, yet Shaffer came back with another big time shot with 2:42 to play to give Cosby a 35-34 lead.

The Lady Eagles held on defense, but turned the ball over on their next possession, setting up McNeese to get to the line to tie the game at 35 with 1:14 to play.

Cosby held the ball for the remainder of the period, and got off two shots - one a Shaffer field goal with 51 seconds to go and a desperation heave by Williams as time expired after North Greenes defense thwarted any opportunity of a good look for the Lady Eagles in the final 11 seconds of regulation.

The two teams fought through a tight offensive overtime period, as McNeeses game-winner was the lone field goal of the extra frame. North Greene went up 37-35 just 50 seconds into overtime after Katelyn Weems and McNeese split a pair of free-throws.

Williams however answered back as she drew a foul and drained a pair of free-throws to tie the game at 37 with 2:56 to play.

North Greenes next possession took 1:25 off the clock and came up empty. Williams missed a shot on the Lady Eagles next possession at the 1:09 mark and the Lady Huskies held for over a minute to set up McNeeses game-winning layup.

I thought we played with good composure and hung in there and we took a lot of time off the clock to go for the last shot, because I got tired of watching them shoot it, North Greene coach James Buchanan said. We wanted (McNeese) to make a play and read the defense.

I never dreamed shed come off (that screen) and be that open, Buchanan said. She turned the corner and they didnt help, I guess they were afraid we might knock one down from deep - (McNeese) made the right play.

Cosby called timeout to set up Williams drive down the floor. Her shot, which drew three North Greene defenders to the play, was off before the buzzer just off the block and she went crashing into McNeese as the horn sounded.

Coggins thought the play should have drawn a whistle.

We wanted to send her (to the basket), Coggins said. I thought she got fouled, but he wouldnt call it.

A lot of referees at the end will swallow their whistle, but I think you have to call that, Coggins said. She took both hands and hammered her across the arm as she went up, trying to strip the ball.

The loss ends Cosbys season for the second consecutive year in the Region 1-A semifinals, as they were aiming for their third Class A sectional game in the past four campaigns.

They did a lot of positive things, Coggins said. Won 20 games, made it to the second round of the region, Im proud of them for what theyve done.

NORTH GREENE (39): Mendy McNeese 7-13 2-4 18; Lauren Baxter 4-10 1-2 10; Katelyn Weems 0-4 5-8 5; Kaylin Bowser 1-1 0-0 3; Taylor Payne 1-2 0-0 2; Macy McNeese 0-1 1-3 1; McKenzie Reynolds 0-1 0-0 0; Kristen Payne 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-33 9-17 39.

COSBY (37): Dessie Shaffer 8-12 3-3 21; Sarah Conard 3-11 0-0 6; Lexiey Williams 2-7 1-1 5; Bethanie Williams 0-7 3-4 3; Brooke Schreder 1-2 0-0 2; Kristan Coggins 0-0 0-0 0; Destianee Hall 0-0 0-0 0; Sydni Johnson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 14-41 7-8 37.

3-point goals--North Greene 4-16 (Mendy McNeese 2-5; Lauren Baxter 1-6; Kaylin Bowser 1-1; Macy McNeese 0-1; McKenzie Reynolds 0-1; Kristen Payne 0-1; Katelyn Weems 0-1), Cosby 2-13 (Dessie Shaffer 2-4; Sarah Conard 0-2; Lexiey Williams 0-2; Bethanie Williams 0-3; Brooke Schreder 0-1; Sydni Johnson 0-1). Fouled out--North Greene-None, Cosby-None. Rebounds--North Greene 21 (Mendy McNeese 6; Lauren Baxter 6), Cosby 29 (Lexiey Williams 16). Assists--North Greene 6 (Mendy McNeese 3), Cosby 5 (Sydni Johnson 1; Brooke Schreder 1; Bethanie Williams 1; Destianee Hall 1; Lexiey Williams 1). Total fouls--North Greene 11, Cosby 17. Technical fouls--North Greene-None, Cosby-None.

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