Loss to Lady Rebels continues Cowgirls struggle in district
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Spirits were high even before the ball was tipped at Friday night’s basketball game between the Cowgirls and the Richland Lady Rebels. CHS Seniors Chene Noel, Kaeli Stayer, Sydney Gainer, DeJai Bell and Claire Barden stood on the court with their favorite teachers in front of their biggest supporters at senior night, ready to take on the game but fell short 50-43.
The Cowgirls (14-15, 2-8 District 7-6A) fought hard to end their five game losing streak, and almost got there by the fourth quarter. Despite the Lady Rebels (13-11, 3-6) keeping the lead majority of the game, the Cowgirls returned with momentum in the 4th quarter.
Junior center Chidera Nwaiwu was strong under the basket, making four field goals and five free throws. The Cowgirls’ zone defense finally started to pay off, as they held the Lady Rebels to few points in the beginning of the fourth quarter. The growing size of the crowd heightened the intensity as the Cowgirls inched closer to catch up to the Lady Rebels.
“Throughout games no matter the score we support each other and cheer each other on so we know that the more energetic and involved the bench is, the better we play,” Nwaiwu said.
With the score 40-35 Lady Rebels with 20 seconds left in the third, both teams became anxious and scattered in their offense, with calls on traveling and five second violations.
“As a program we are extremely inconsistent,” head coach Kristen Davis said. “We are working hard to change the culture of the program, and with that new mentality and work ethic comes the expectation to win, the confidence to win. We just aren’t there yet.”
The last three minutes of the quarter seemed to last even longer as one-in-one came into effect. Both teams acted strategically aggressive to get some shots up to keep the lead or pull ahead in the last few minutes. A three-pointer from Stayer put even more drive into the Cowgirls and they fought to the last minute.
Despite multiple shots off the backboard and another three pointer from junior guard Paige Haas, several fouls from Coppell sent the Lady Rebels to the free throw line. With 14 seconds left, another foul was committed by Coppell, sending Richland senior center Porscha Misele-Huff to the free throw line. She knocked down both, setting the Cowgirls behind by eight points.
Although the spark really came out in the last quarter, the girls fought hard through the entire game. Both teams using a zone defense worked in Coppell’s favor, with breakaways from junior point guard Rachel Crutchfield scoring multiple layups and defensively being able to block Richland’s shooting guards.
All eyes were on the seniors from the beginning, Stayer and Noel had stand out plays, proving their passion for the game and what they can do on the court.
“We know how hard that they have worked the past four years and it wasn’t until this year where we even had a chance to even be good so we as a team wanted them to have this win,” Nwaiwu said. “[At] the end of the day I wouldn’t trade the relationships I’ve made with the seniors for anything else.”