December 7th, 2010

Holy Cross Holds On Late For 49-47 Win

Chris Jung

Senior Writer

Holy Cross Holds On Late For 49-47 Win
photo by Chris Jung

Skaggs' double-double sends Cougars to victory

Going into Tuesday night's "Battle of the Cougars" against Bullitt Central, Holy Cross junior center Julie Skaggs was averaging 11 rebounds a game.

By halftime, Skaggs had already racked up ten rebounds to go with ten points and a first-half double-double. She eventually finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds despite picking up her fourth personal foul with 4:25 to go in the third quarter.

And behind her big night, some key baskets by junior Maya Hardin down the stretch, and a couple of failed shot attempts by Bullitt Central at the buzzer, the HC Cougars held on and defeated the BC Cougars 49-47.

Both teams started the game rather sloppily, as full-court pressure on both ends led to a slew of turnovers. Combined with Skaggs' six, first-quarter boards, freshman Josie Hockman's jumper with 15.5 seconds to go in the first quarter did give Holy Cross (2-1) a 9-7 advantage after one period of play.

Hockman kept things going in the next frame and scored to open the second quarter, and again off a rebound and sharp outlet pass up the floor from sophomore Sydney Morabito. That basket gave the Dixie Highway Cougars a 15-7 lead. Five straight points from Skaggs, including back-to-back baskets in the lane, kept the deficit at eight points (20-12) midway through the second - a lead that was pushed to its largest of the night for Holy Cross, 28-16, after a 3-pointer from Morabito just before halftime. Holy Cross eventually took a 28-18 lead into the break.

Out of the locker room, however, Bullitt Central (2-1) played with a different kind of intensity and got lightning fast, back-to-back layups from Seaera Minyard to quickly cut the HC lead to 28-22. The Cougars' Kim Mingus got a basket of her own to halt the Bullitt Central momentum, and helped push her team's lead back to nine points at 34-25.

But two straight 3-pointers by BC's Ashleigh Pollard made the score 34-31 with 4:30 to go in the third quarter, which was the closest the score had been since the end of the first period. Skaggs, who picked up her fourth foul in the third quarter, did manage to squeeze in two more points before her premature exit, making the score 36-31. Again, however, Bullitt Central did not back down a jumper by Keoka Hilliard and two free throws by Pollard cut the Holy Cross lead to 36-35.

Heading into the fourth and final period, Holy Cross held on for dear life, as its one-point lead was threatened at every turn. And finally, with 7:09 to go in the game, Bullitt Central completed its comeback and tied the score at 40-40 on a pair of free throws from Kaitlyn McKnight. Holy Cross didn't panic and proceeded to extend its lead back to 44-40 on back-to-back baskets by Mingus and Hardin.

This seesaw game saw another dramatic turn moments later though, as a Hilliard bucket and wide-open 3-pointer by Kristen Collins at the 4:10 mark gave Bullitt Central its first lead of the game since a 4-3 advantage early in the game. After a difficult night shooting from the field, a reenergized Hardin put her performance behind her and made big plays for the youthful Holy Cross team.

Following a bounce pass to a streaking Mingus for a layup and the reclaiming of the Cougars' lead, Hardin rattled in a three-foot jumper of her own that gave Holy Cross a 48-45 lead. Hardin, who finished with eight points and ten rebounds, also made one of two bonus free throws with 16.1 seconds to go, which ended up sealing the game after Bullitt Central failed on two late, game-winning and tying attempts - a 3-point shot by Collins and a wide open layup attempt that bounced by Minyard that bounced off the back of the rim as the buzzer sounded, giving Holy Cross its second win of the young season.

"I told them at halftime, 'these girls aren't going to quit and they can shoot the ball well,' and they came out and shot the ball like I told them," said Holy Cross Head Coach Fred Copass. "But that's a good team and that's a quality win for us."

Struggling late in the game with breaking the press and moving the ball against a resurgent Bullitt Central defense, Copass' team seemed rattled at times, but got the victory regardless. He says that his team is still learning and will only get better with time.

"We don't have any seniors and we're a young basketball team," said Copass. ""This bunch is only going to get better because of their age. They need to get a little confidence....but this is a nice, little confidence-builder right here. We hope by January we'll be a pretty good basketball team and be able to finish those little things we didn't do tonight."

Holy Cross is off until Saturday when the Cougars will play Atherton, which will be the team's last game at home until Jan. 14.


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