December 3rd, 2011

CAL's Half Court Buzzer Beater Sinks Cougars

Brad Knoop

Staff Writer

CAL's Half Court Buzzer Beater Sinks Cougars
photo by Brad Knoop

Holy Cross drops second straight in tough fashion

The clock indicated :01.5, but it felt like an eternity. The Holy Cross girls’ basketball team held a one-point lead on the road at Christian Academy of Louisville.

The Cougars took that lead, their first lead since 5-4, with 4.2 seconds remaining in the game. Junior Jordan Wimberg passed upcourt to senior Kim Mingus. Mingus hit Skaggs in the lane for the basket and a 46-45 Cougar advantage.

But 1.5 seconds is a long time. It is apparently enough time for three dribbles and a toss at the basket from just inside half court. CAL’s China Dow took that shot. She was defended well as the Cougars stayed in front of her and did not foul. She released the ball with perfect form, and it swished through the hoop. The Cougars lost on a buzzer beater, 48-46.

That was the final basket for Dow, but she made 11 other shots en route to a 35 point night.

If you are old enough to remember David Robinson play basketball for Navy in the mid-1980s, that’s how good Dow was for CAL. In terms of dominating a game offensively, she did. She scored 24 of the Centurions 25 first half points.

Despite her sizzling performance, the Cougars trailed by only seven at the half.

Dow hit two straight 3-pointers to put CAL ahead. Holy Cross struggled but didn’t let the Centurions run away.

CAL’s advantage grew to 11, when junior Sydney Morabito pulled the Cougars closer, scoring five straight points. She led Holy Cross with 14.

Holy Cross head coach Fred Copass felt the Cougars were slightly stunned at Dow’s performance and played on their heels in the first half. That changed in the second half. There was more intensity and a quicker pace.

Skaggs opened the half inside with a three-point play. She scored ten points. Senior Maya Hardin hit some tough shots. She used a nice pump fake inside and later scored on a sweet spin move. Sophomore Josie Hockman hit a three pointer which was followed by a Morabito jumper in the lane. The Cougars trailed by three after the third quarter, 39-36.

Dow scored a couple of quick buckets to start the fourth quarter. The ball was certainly rolling her way. She hit a leaning jump shot that was way off to the left side of the rim, but it somehow bounced to the right, rolled around and fell through the basket.

In the last minute, the Cougars made another run at the Centurions. Mingus scored on a breakaway lay-up, making the score 45-41 in favor of CAL. After the Centurions missed the front end of a one-plus-one free throw, Morabito scored and was fouled. The Cougars were down only one point, 45-44.

The Centurions left the door open again with 15-seconds to go. CAL missed another front end of a one-plus-one and the Cougars raced down court. That’s when Skaggs scored and a furious Cougar rally looked like it had victory written all over it.

That’s when reality set in. It was Dow’s night. She hit a big shot. And the Cougars fell a bit short in a thrilling early season game.

But the Holy Cross coach was proud of the way his team was able to grind through the game.

“In the first half, Dow was making everything and doing whatever she wanted. Our kids looked just didn’t want to respond,” Copass said. “At halftime, we said we’re not going to do that. I was proud of them the way they battled and responded. These games will only make us better.”

The Cougars (0-2), who lost a tough game at Assumption on Tuesday, will hit the road again to face Bullitt Central on Dec. 6.


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