February 26, 2009

Region V upset: Comets fall in final minutes

By Brenda L. Shelkey

The last two minutes of the Region V opener in Mandan was an eye-opener and a season-ending flash of time for the Comet girls. The Comets grabbed the lead from the Grant County Coyotes from the beginning and held it until the middle of the fourth quarter, when the score began to see-saw back and forth. As the last 30 seconds ticked away, the Coyotes were determined to hold the small lead and the win 49-47. The Comets maintained their calm determination from the jump ball at the start of the game until the buzzer blew at the end. Only then did the tough exterior melt once the girls realized that their season was at an end. Head coach Toni Cottingham had nothing but eloquent words to explain the unbelievable loss that her team felt. She said, "This was a hard fought game. I thought we came out and executed our game plan pretty well the first half. We had a lot of energy and were able to use that to build an 11-point lead at the end of the first quarter." The Comets racked up 15 points in the first quarter, and defensively kept the Coyotes at four points for the last six minutes of the first quarter, ending it 15-4. Going into the second quarter, Grant County tried to rally, but the Comets kept about an eight-point lead. Despite missing a few free throws, the Comets maintained their lead, 23-18 at the end of the half. "I thought we continued to play and execute fairly well throughout the game," said Cottingham, "but the Coyotes had one last big push in them."

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