Straughn ends season with regional runner-up finish to Cottage Hill

Published 11:00 am Friday, February 23, 2024

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Straughn could not overcome a tough day of shooting and fell 47-37 to Cottage Hill in the 3A South Regional girls’ championship game at Garrett Coliseum on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

Straughn’s Allyx Williamson makes a move to the basket as Cottage Hill’s Sydney Roossinck pursues on defense. Williamson led the Lady Tigers with 16 points.

The Lady Tigers finished the season with a 21-8 record. The Lady Warriors improved to 15-13.

“No one likes to see the season come to an end, but I am beyond proud of this team and how hard they have worked this year. Today was just one of those days where no matter how hard you tried, it just didn’t go our way. Instead of dwelling over how it ended, I hope this team remembers the excitement of making it this far. Being one of the eight teams left in the state in 3A is something to be proud of. Not everyone gets the opportunity to play in a big game like today, but we did and for that we are grateful. This group is special, and I am blessed to have the privilege of being their coach. All the glory goes to the Man upstairs,” SHS Head Coach Calen Lowery said.

Both teams struggled from the floor as the game was scoreless for the initial three minutes. Cottage Hill struck first with a jumper by Jessie Gibbs at the 4:41 mark and extended the lead to 4-0 on a bucket from Ashlyn Newton. Allyx Williamson put Straughn on the board with a layup with 3:02 remaining in the first and left the score 4-2 after one.

Straughn’s Aubrey Pittman prepares to pass the ball to an open teammate as Jessie Gibbs defends for Cottage Hill.

Williamson tied the score early in the second period before Dakota Freeman went one-for-two at the line. Sydney Roossinck hit a three with 5:57 left in the first half for an 8-4 lead. Ora Hall then knocked down a jumper, and Blakeley Smith made a free throw. Williamson made a layup and gave the Lady Tigers a 9-8 lead with 3:52 to go. Taylor Davidson answered with a three, and Freeman added a basket for a 13-9 margin. Annlee Wise went off the glass for two until a pair of free throws by Davidson and a layup from Freeman opened up a 17-11 lead. Newton gave the Lady Warriors a seven-point advantage off a three. Wise closed the first half with a jumper and made the score 20-15 at halftime.

Hall opened the second half with a deep three and a free throw. Davidson made a jumper, and Newton buried another three for a 25-19 lead with 5:07 to go in the third. Williamson and Hall had back-to-back layups and brought Straughn within two. Freeman had two baskets and helped Cottage Hill to a 29-25 cushion after three.

Freeman started the final period with a bucket and two-for-two showing at the line. Hall banked a three, while Williamson trimmed the gap to 33-30 with a layup at the 6:45 mark. Newton followed with a basket as Freeman scored the next four. Williamson brought the Lady Tigers within 39-34 on consecutive layups, and Smith launched a three that made the score 43-37 with 40 seconds to go. Freeman had the last four points for the Lady Warriors.

Tori Canant brings the ball down the court for the Lady Tigers as Ashlyn Newton keeps up on defense for the Lady Warriors.

Williamson was the top scorer for Straughn with 16 points. Hall also posted double figures with 13. Smith and Wise rounded out the scoring with four apiece. Freeman led Cottage Hill with 21 points as Newton added 12. Davidson earned seven followed by Roossinck at five and Gibbs at two.

“I am upset to see this season come to a close, but I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of this team. I feel like we have grown throughout the season both as a team and as individuals. I am especially thankful for our seniors because of their leadership on and off the court. I am thankful for the friendships that I have built with my teammates and coaches. Words cannot express how much I love this team,” Williamson said.

The All-Tournament Team is as follows:

  • Ora Hall – Straughn
  • Allyx Williamson – Straughn
  • Taylor Davidson – Cottage Hill
  • Ashlyn Newton – Cottage Hill
  • Dakota Freeman – Cottage Hill (Tournament MVP)