FIRTH – The Firth Lady Cougars are off to a great start on the season. They won their opener on a three-point buzzer beater, came right back to down a 3A school in South Fremont and closed out their opening week of play with a solid win over West Side.
Winning brings with it expectations of more wins, even if the team you are playing has some match-up advantages that make the game a little different than you might expect.
The Teton Lady Redskins were able to use a rebounding advantage and some timely three-point shooting to eventually wear down the Lady Cougars on their way to a 49-41 win and send Firth to its first loss of the season.
That is what happened Tuesday night, when Teton came calling. Firth coach Sharla Cook called it right when she said that Teton would be a tough team this year and that they could present some problems for the Lady Cougars.
When the Lady Redskins came out and pressured the Lady Cougars early on, it did create some turnovers and the Redskins did their best to convert on those turnovers.
The best clue to the potential of match-up problems occurred early in the game when Hailey Gee got the ball on the low blocks and what is usually a guaranteed basket. Not so this time as the shot was blocked, went straight to a Teton player and down to the other end for an easy lay-up.
This game was tight throughout the contest and the Lady Cougars definitely had their chances, but the Teton team was long and lean and they had an advantage on the boards, seemingly gathering up every loose ball and nearly every rebound. The biggest advantage seemed to be in the long range shooting of Teton, who showed that they can make those three-pointers with the best teams around.
The Lady Cougars were tough throughout the game and despite seeming to be a bit outmanned at times, did get the Lady Redskings in a bit of foul trouble in the second quarter, when both Waklee Kunz and Cambrie Streit picked up their third fouls of the contest.
With those two out of the game, the Lady Cougars came back and would eventually tie the game up, but two big threes as the second quarter came to an end gave the Redskins a six-point halftime advantage at 24-18.
The two teams went at it toe-to-toe through the third period and when it came to an end, the Lady Redskins still held a six-point advantage at 38-32, with neither team able to gain an advantage during that eight minutes of play. To make things worse for the Lady Cougars, the Lady Redskins were able to continue their aggressive play and didn’t get in any worse foul trouble in the process.
The final stanza saw more of the same as the Lady Cougars continued to spread the ball around, but were unable to get a key rebound when needed and just seemed to lack that inside punch that they had been able to go to in the first three games.
The Lady Redskins did begin to slow things down a bit in the fourth quarter and the two teams basically kept on trading baskets until the final minute, when the Redskins were able to put things away with their free throw shooting.
The final score ended up at 49-41, but the Lady Cougars did learn a few things about themselves. First, they don’t have to rely on the inside for all of their offense. There were five players from Firth that scored between six and nine points, so there is the possibility of more balance in the offense in future games. They still have the big one-two punch inside with Hailey Gee and Kiley Mecham, but they don’t necessarily have to have 15 or 20 points from one of those two in order to be in a game and come away with a win.
“I thought that Teton was very aggressive tonight, especially on the boards,” Cook said. “That was one of the keys to their win tonight and made it tough when they also hit their three points shots. We hung in there and we will be better down the road because of tough games like this one.”
Next up for Firth will be a road game against the top-rated 3A team in the state in Sugar-Salem. It should be a good test for the Lady Cougars and will be a good comparison between Teton and the Diggers for the Mountain Rivers Conference supremacy.
Teton 10 14 14 11 49
Firth 7 11 14 9 41
Teton – Kinley Brown 9; Saraee Olivas 1; Waklee Kunz 11; Tatum Streit 6; Cambrie Streit 13; Abigail Thomas 7; Annalea Brown 2
Firth – Cassi Robbins 7; Broolyn Clayson 4; Hailey Gee 7; Kiley Mecham 9; Megan Jolley 8; Hailey Barker 6