The Trinity Lutheran girls basketball team put up its worst first-half scoring total of the season, tallying six points in 16 minutes, against Orleans on Tuesday.
Despite a late rally, the hole proved too deep for the Cougars, as they fell to the Bulldogs 36-32 in the Class A Sectional 61 quarterfinals in Borden.
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In the first quarter, the Cougars took a 4-2 advantage with 1:48 on the clock behind baskets by sophomores Maddie Roark and Piper Acton.
However, the Bulldogs closed the opening eight minutes on a 5-0 run to lead 7-4.
Orleans senior Addie Ramsey stayed hot in the second quarter, scoring back-to-back baskets, and junior Caitlin Rutherford added a 3-pointer as the Bulldogs led 14-4 with 5:30 left in the half.
The Cougars would only score two points in the second quarter and trailed 26-6 at intermission.
Trinity had 26 possessions in the first half offensively.
“We couldn’t function or really see anything,” Cougars coach Mike Lang said. “They were putting a chaser on Maddie, which cleared the post. We didn’t hit the post until the second or third look. We have a saying that you can’t be an ostrich and bury the head in the sand. I think that we did that and felt sorry for ourselves in the first half.
“I give credit to (Orleans) coach (Jimmy) Ellis’ defense. He is one of the best coaches around that makes you play ugly, and he accomplished that tonight. It was just a straight box-and-one. We had our advantages down low. They knew Maddie would drive almost every time. Everyone needs to have confidence in what they’re doing. We’re too talented of a team to lose in the first round two years straight. We need to be mentally tough, with both the players and coaches being more focused.”
A 3-pointer by Acton and an and-one from Roark closed the Cougars’ deficit to 23-14 at the 1:55 mark of the third quarter.
Acton hit another trey, and Abby Hackman added a basket, but Trinity trailed 25-19 heading into the final quarter of play.
Roark hit 3-pointers with 17 and five ticks on the clock, but the Bulldogs hit their free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
Roark topped the Cougars with 14 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, and Ramsey tallied the same total for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs outrebounded the Cougars 32-21 on the evening.
Anne Franke, Miranda Murphy and Taylor Reynolds will all graduate from the Cougars’ program.
The Cougars finish their 2015-16 campaign with a 15-9 record.
“It’s always a tough talk in the locker room,” Lang said. “We were privileged to have Taylor (Reynolds) for one year. Anne and Miranda, I love those two kids. They’ve been around me since they were in eighth grade. I’ve gotten to watch them grow up. They’re the definition of perseverance. They’ve been through a lot these past four years. They will go on and be successful at whatever they do in life.”