By Arvon Bacon
Much like the football game this year, energy was in the air with the highly anticipated matchup between the two schools, and once again, the home Cougars had the superior record but unfortunately fell short to their cross-town rivals, 61-54.
Senior Jamar Stargell led the charge early as he got the Cougars off on the right track, putting them on the scoreboard first with an acrobatic layup.
Fellow Cougars Eric Smarr and Ja’Terriaz Robinson followed the example of Stargell’s aggressive style, making a couple of trips to the basket, which had them leading the Indians by four at the end of the first quarter, 18-14.
Crossing the threshold into the second quarter, the defense on both sides began to tighten up as neither side was able to score a basket until after three minutes in. Indians guard Gilbert Croley finally broke the stalemate as he made two free throws after being fouled on a layup attempt.
Post free throws, the Cougars defense started to falter as the visiting Indians’ Samuel Moss started to get hot, accounting for eight of the 18 second-quarter points his team scored. Not only did the Cougars’ defense begin to lag but so did their offense, accounting for only seven points in the quarter, which prompted the Indians to an ironic seven-point lead, 32-25.
The third quarter was much like the second. The Cougars again struggled to get the lid of the basket, only mustering up a mere 13 points to the Indians efficient 20.
The third quarter was perceived to be the proverbial dagger as the Cougars were able to hold the Indians’ offense to nine points in the fourth while adding their own 16. Nonetheless, the late Cougars surge was not enough to mount a comeback; therefore, the home Cougars fell to the East Coweta Indians, 61-54.
Juniors Eric Smarr and Zion Brown were the high-point men of the night for the Cougars with 15 and 11 points. 6-foot-4 senior Donte’ Colton led all players with an emphatic seven blocks, adding six points to his stat line as well.
Coach Trent Gatzemeyer had this message for the team going forward after back-to-back home losses: “We’re a team that people have to take seriously, and that’s step one. And we have to push to that next step — is getting past the fatigue of playing two big-time games in a week. So we have to get past that step and do that.”
The Cougars are back in action at home this Saturday at 6 p.m. against the (1-4) Northside Patriots.