Full court defense proves too much for Cowgirls in final play against Berkner

Kathryn Rudd, Entertainment Editor

Kelly Monaghan
Coppell High School senior small forward Paige Haas attempts a shot while surrounded by Berkner players during Saturday afternoon’s game, originally scheduled for Friday evening but moved due to snow, at the CHS arena. The Rams defeated the Cowgirls with a last minute to end the game 48-47.

As the clock came closer and closer to buzzing for the last time, each player did not hesitate to dive for any loose ball, shove for any rebound or run until they were forced out due to exhaustion.


Yet the Cowgirls (13-6) basketball team hosted the Richardson Berkner Lady Rams  (6-9) In the Coppell High School arena on Saturday and faced a tough loss after a last second layup by Berkner won the game by one point 48-47.


With the ball in their possession, the Cowgirls attempted to run the clock out and win the game by one point. Despite their best efforts, the double team defense performed by Berkner worked, and Berkner junior guard Trinity Sitherman stole a pass and ran it down the court for the winning basket.


Working through a tough defense by Berkner into the fourth quarter, the Cowgirls succeeded in finding breakaway opportunities and scoring back to back 3-pointers by senior shooting guards Emma and Abby Johnson when pressure on the inside became too much. In the last five minutes, each team brought the score up to a tie three times, and each team adjusted until Berkner managed a breakaway in the last eight seconds, sealing its win with a final shot.


“I thought our girls played really well,” CHS assistant coach Kenneth Ybarra said. “Especially after being behind in the first half, came down and put the pressure back on them. Berkner is a tough competitor but we attacked the basket and responded well against some adversity.”


Although prepared for a solid performance by Berkner, Coppell struggled to work against its full court press and double team defense in the paint. Committing six team fouls in the first quarter, it was vital that the Cowgirls maintained their slight at the end of the quarter.


“Our team defense is our strongest part of our team so were were all confident that we could get  a defensive stop in the last play, especially how our defense was in the second half,” Coppell junior forward Rachel Okereke said. “Although we can’t only blame the last few seconds, we should’ve connected more on our free throws to secure the game, but we did not and it required us to play with a perfect defensive set that didn’t play out how we wanted.”


After the first half, Coppell was able to compose its offensive attack, moving past rushed overhead passes and finding opportunities for senior forwards Abby Meyer and Chidera Nwaiwu and Okereke to rebound and sink shots off the block.


However, the Lady Rams were able to make definitive plays in the last 30 seconds which gave them the ability to work around Coppell’s defense and make a breakaway to win.


“Being able to stay calm really helped us to make the smart passes and put points on the board against a tough defense,” Okereke said. “We just have to learn from it and prepare for possibly our hardest opponent.”


The Cowgirls play the Skyline Raiders on Tuesday at 7:30 in the CHS arena.