The Cooper Dogette basketball team jumped out to a big early lead Friday against North Hopkins and never looked back, routing the Lady Panthers 80-22 on their home court.
Right from the outset, Cooper utilized stifling defensive pressure to shut North Hopkins down and force turnover after turnover by the Lady Panthers. Roughly three minutes into the game, North Hopkins had barely even maintained possession for more than a few seconds at a time, and Cooper led 7-0 thanks to early baskets from Whitney Langley and Kenzlee Randle.
Langley was sensational all game long, but was especially dominant in the early goings, scoring nine of her team’s first 11 points, and finishing the game with 23.
The lead was first pushed to double digits on a layup by Caitlin Brown that brought Cooper’s lead to 15-5, and nearly immediately afterwards, Brown brought the lead to 17-5 on another layup after teammate Presley Limbaugh intercepted North Hopkins’ inbound pass.
After the game, Langley attributed the defensive intensity to strong communication between teammates.
“I feel like we were gelling well together,” she said.
By the end of the first quarter, Cooper had already established a commanding 20-5 lead, and things only picked up from there in the next quarter.
After an empty first few possessions by both teams to start the second, Limbaugh got things started with a steal under the North Hopkins basket and proceeded to take the ball coast to coast for a layup.
Shortly after, following yet another steal, Madison Murray pushed the lead above the 20-point threshold for the first time when a spot-up 3-pointer gave Cooper a 25-5 advantage.
Strong defense by Limbaugh and the rest of the Dogettes persisted in the second quarter, as back-to-back scores about four minutes into the quarter came from steals by Limbaugh leading to easy baskets for Langley.
The Dogettes were able to keep North Hopkins from scoring even a single field goal in the second period, and all six of the team’s points in the quarter came from free throws.
“Once we get into our press, we can really cause turnovers and force them into making mental mistakes,” Cooper head coach Samuel Hollenshead said. “Then that leads to easy layups for us.”
Though she didn’t do much offensively in the first half, when the second half started, it became the Chesney Kinnamon show for Cooper.
The guard caught fire in the third quarter, scoring an incredible 12 straight points for the Dogettes, and doing so in a variety of ways, from 3-pointers to layups and everything in between.
“Coach Hollenshead told me to start driving it, and I decided I should probably start listening to him,” she said with a laugh. “Once I got those first two points I just picked it up and got a lot of momentum from that.”
During her streak of 12 straight points for her team, Kinnamon took a 3-pointer from the wing that was just a bit off the mark. Had it gone in, though, she would have equalled the Lady Panthers’ point total over the course of the entire game in the span of about two minutes.
“Chesney is a great player who can really light it up offensively when she’s on her game,” Hollenshead added.
Throughout the game, the Dogettes were also the poster child of good ball movement, with each player selflessly making the extra pass to set up teammates for great looks. The fourth quarter was punctuated by one such phenomenal pass, as guard Macy Green connected with a cutting Langley on a tremendous no-look dime leading to an easy two points.
When all was said and done, Cooper walked off the court with another dominant win and improved to 5-1 in district play.
Langley’s 23 led her team, and Randle and Kinnamon joined her in double figures, notching 15 and 14 points, respectively. Limbaugh finished with eight points, Green logged seven and Brown and Murray each had four. Journi Ingram had three and Heidi Wood contributed two.
“We came out and played with a lot of confidence today,” Langley said.