The Cooper Dogettes basketball team fought until the very end on Saturday in their second-round showdown with Tom Bean, but ultimately a cold bout of shooting in the second half doomed the team, ending their season with a 52-38 loss.
The first half was as tightly-contested and physical a game as you’d find. Tom Bean jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead, leading to Cooper coach Samuel Hollenshead calling an early timeout, and it paid off. Within a handful of plays, the score was all tied up and the battle was on.
Good defense was the name of the game for Cooper early, forcing a number of steals and pressuring their opponents into bad shots.
It became quickly apparent that neither team was willing to back down, as the game soon got chippy, with hard fouls coming in all directions, and players hit the deck with increasing frequency.
“We’re not going to back down from anyone,” Hollenshead said. “Our girls can play physical and they wanted to show that they aren’t intimidated.”
On the other end of the court, the offense was led by Presley Limbaugh, who was money time and again with a pull-up jump shot from eight to 10 feet out.
When the first half ended, Cooper found itself up by four points.
Things quickly went south after that, however. Cooper was unable to make a single field goal in the third quarter, with its lone point coming from a free throw by Caitlin Brown. Coupled with some timely shooting by Tom Bean’s wings, Cooper soon found itself trailing.
“It really was a perfect storm,” Hollenshead said. "It's hard to win a game like this when you go a whole quarter and only score one point."
Several players missed shots they'd normally make, and foul trouble for others prevented the Dogettes from spreading the floor like they like, both of which contributed to the disappointing period.
Hollenshead thanked his three seniors — point guard Macy Green, shooting guard Whitney Langley and wing Brown — for the what they contributed to the Dogette program.
"Macy was our general on the floor, anchoring the defense and running the offense. She was a coach on the floor. Whitney could pile in the points, was a great scorer, and often ended up as our leading scorer. And Caitlin was everything you want out of a role player. She might not have played as much as a senior would like, but she did everything asked of her and did it incredibly well.
“They paved the way for the future success of this program,” Hollenshead said. “The three of them were basically four-year varsity players, and they’ll each be missed.”
Despite the departing seniors, Hollenshead said the future is bright for Dogette basketball.