The Class A No. 10 Trinity Lutheran girls basketball team couldn’t come up with enough points in the closing minutes against Austin on Tuesday.
After three tightly contested quarters, the Eagles secured a victory at the free throw line by sinking six shots in the final 1:45 while holding Trinity to four points for a 59-54 road win.
In the first quarter, it was a shootout between the Cougars’ Maddie Roark and Austin’s Kami Owens.
Roark tallied six and Owens recorded nine, with one 3-pointer, to give the Eagles a 13-12 lead after eight minutes of play.
A 3-pointer by Roark gave the Cougars their first lead of the night with 6:47 left in the half, but Austin went on a 5-0 run to go back up at 24-19 with 3:02 on the clock.
Back-to-back baskets by Abby Hackman and Roark cut the Cougars’ deficit to 30-24 heading into intermission.
Austin changed their defenses between a press and zone throughout the night to try and throw the Cougars’ fast-paced offense off.
“We knew going into it we would see all types of different presses and zones,” Cougars coach Mike Lang said. “The thing we have to remember is that we can’t be a passive offense — we’re not designed that way. We need to continue to attack. There were a couple possessions where I felt like we let their defense dictate and we retreated a little on offense. I think we adjusted well.”
Following halftime, Trinity got hot from the floor as they went on a 9-0 run and go up 35-30 at the 5:47-mark.
A 3-pointer by the Eagles’ Liz Lee and a basket by Addison Brasher tied the score back up at 35-35.
Austin went on a 7-2 run to end the third and go up 41-39 heading into the fourth quarter.
“I thought we stacked up great, we never backed down,” Lang said. “I think that it was toe-to-toe for 30 minutes tonight. At the end of the third quarter, we had a 1:15 let down and I think that was crucial.
On the first possession of the fourth, Piper Acton buried a trey to briefly put the Cougars back on top.
However, the Eagles swung four-points off scores by Owens, one off a steal, to retake the lead with 7:15 in the game.
The Cougars had a handful of empty possessions in the final two minutes, and Austin capitalized from the free throw line.
“We told our kids at the end of the third quarter that it was going to be a hard-fought eight minutes,” Lang said. “I don’t think they wanted it more than we did, they just capitalized on two or three possessions than us.
“Our kids played hard tonight. This may have been the game that they played their hardest all season long. We didn’t go into the locker room and make corrections, we told them how proud we were and that if we continue to play this hard we will have a pretty successful season.”
Roark led Trinity with 28 points and Hackman chipped-in 11 with a team-high eight rebounds.
Brasher topped the Eagles with 22 and Owens tallied 20 points.