Saturday, June 23, 2018
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Girls finish 7-15 after C1-11 loss

Stall tactic works for Cozad

LEXINGTON—It looked silly, it felt like a waste of time and it didn’t make sense to most of the people in the crowd.

Still, a long stall by the Cozad girls through the second half of the second period ended up working to the Haymakers’ advantage as Cozad defeated Gothenburg 48-31 in the semi-finals of the C1-11 sub-district at Lexington on Feb. 14.

“Neither team was riding any momentum in the first half,” Gothenburg coach Tim Peterson explained. “We were basically at a stalemate.”

The Swedes led much of the first quarter until Cozad’s Stephanie Finnegan hit a field goal with 1:44 to go in the period and Kaylea Reyes followed with a pair of free throws to put the ’Makers up 10-7.

Cozad remained on top in the second quarter but Gothenburg kept fighting until a field goal by senior Payton Prall with 4:25 until halftime gave the Swedes a 15-14 edge.

A few seconds later, Cozad stood well outside the three-point line simply standing and holding the ball.

“Cozad had a couple of their big girls in foul trouble,” Peterson said. “Their coach probably didn’t feel like he could compete with us with the team he had on the floor.”

Nearly the entire four minutes went by without any action.

“We had a choice,” Peterson explained. “We could let them hold the ball and keep the lead or we could force them to play and go into a man-to-man.”

Peterson chose to let Cozad stand with the ball.

“In my opinion, they still had their best players, their shooters, on the floor,” he said. “I felt like it was in our best interest to sit back and wait.”

The Swedes did finally force Cozad into making a move with about 30 seconds on the clock and it resulted in a steal and later a Haymaker foul.

“We had a chance to extend the lead in the last few seconds before halftime and we didn’t take advantage of the opportunity,” the coach said.

Then Cozad opened the third quarter on an 11-0 run, holding Gothenburg to only three points in the period.

Peterson said he didn’t think the stall tactic before halftime worked as a momentum buster because he didn’t think either team had gained any momentum in the first half.

It was more of an attitude change by Cozad, he said.

“They came out with the idea that they were going to play more physical,” Peterson said. “The calls fell a little differently in the second half and they made baskets when they needed to. At the same time, we never got into any consistent offense.”

Cozad finished the third quarter up 30-18 and never looked back.

“Of course after beating them twice before we went into the game thinking we could beat them again,” Peterson said. “Things just didn’t happen for us.”

Jacey Wiggins and Regan Geiken were the Swedes’ high scorers with 10 points each.