Cougars lose to Hawks in AAC final 60-51
The Cottage School Cougars (5-3) lost their chance at a sixth school title losing to the heavily favored Howard School Hawks (8-0) on Wednesday night in Atlanta at the Howard School. #15 Nicholas Kirk for Howard was named MVP of the tournament with 15 points as the Hawks outshot the Cougars in a 60-51 victory. It was Howard’s second championship in the past three years.
Howard shot over 50% from the field for the game and outscored Cottage 38-28 in the second half to regain their right as champion. TCS only shot at a 30% clip from the field, but despite that had their chances in the final frame. Down as much as 14 points, they came back with great ball movement and defense to cut it to seven points in the final minute. Unfortunately for them, the poor shooting continued as they finished 2-19 from the field in the fourth quarter. Howard identified early that the Cougars were off from outside and just sat five guys in the paint, daring them to make one from outside fifteen feet. Coach Briggs spoke after the contest; “We knew how talented the Howard team is, but we had a great game plan. We held them to just 22 point in the first half and had a one point lead. We are proud of our team because they stayed patient and never panicked. We executed, took high quality shots, and forced turnovers to gain more possessions. We just could not shoot tonight. Sometimes in this great game, you can do everything right and still lose. We have been here before. Matter of fact, are only two championship losses were against the favored undefeated team (Brandon Hall-2014 & Howard tonight). We are proud to say and feel that we outplayed both of them and if we just shoot 35% in either contest we would have seven rings; instead the iron was unkind.”
Cottage and Howard played even in the first half with a slim 23-22 first half edge. Both teams had over 30 free throw attempts and shot just over 50% each. Howard finishes the season 14-3 and 8-0 in the AAC, while TCS finishes 11-13 and 5-3 in the AAC. The AAC All Star game will take place at the Cougar Center on 2/25/17. Game times are noon for the girls and 2:00PM for the boys. There will be fun skills competitions before the games so arrive as early as 10:30AM. Congrats to Kia Smith, Harris Menetre, Harrison Rowell, and John Brown from TCS as they were selected and will play one final game this season. Howard’s entire starting five were also selected.
Kia Smith was the best player on the floor, despite not winning the MVP. It is typical that the winning team earns the award, but those who watched saw how valuable Kia was to his team. If not for his 33 points and 14 rebounds the Cougars would have been blown out. He his shots from all over the court, including one from mid-court and was fouled!
Harris Menetre scored 10 points (all in the second half) and had 5 steals.
Harrison Rowell was slightly hobbled by a rolled ankle the day before the game in practice, but did his best. He finished with 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.
DJ Watts added a point on the line and 3 boards.
John Brown had the duties of guarding Howard’s best player (#20-Charlie Lo) and did a fine job. Lo did have 18 points but only half were on Mr. Brown. John added 3 assists and 3 steals.
Murphy Husnik also did well defensively.
Very Proud Cougar Coaches,
Suroy, Richie, and Jim