Lions rally late, fall in overtime to Eagles

Cottage Grove can't finish after a frantic last-minute comeback

Continuing what has been a season-long trend, Cottage Grove lost to another top team Friday night in overtime as they fell to Stayton at home. The Lions (4-6) have now lost to five teams that are currently ranked in the top-10 at the 4A level and to an undefeated team from Washington.

“We’re just so close, we just got to get over the hump. We’re so close,” said Cottage Grove head coach Kevin Yoss.

Having led by as many as 11 points in the first half, the Lions found themselves down six with 1:03 left in regulation; it was the perfect time for a five-point possession.

Lions post Reilly Kelty was fouled as she made a lay-up. After missing the free throw, it was teammate Ema Gardner recovering the rebound and putting up a lay-up and getting fouled in the process. After a made free throw, the Lions were down one with just under a minute to play.

Kelty finished the game with a team-high 14 and Gardner added 10.

“I was just happy that we weren’t just going to lay down and give them the game. We just kept fighting and I think that showed the whole time,” said Yoss.

As Stayton worked the ball down court, Cottage Grove’s Tara Child looked to be attempting to foul but in the process cleanly poked the ball away to start a Lions fast break. Child found teammate Keara Murphy sprinting down the court and Murphy wildly threw up a shot from five feet out that dropped in to put the Lions up one. After a Stayton turnover, Kelty was back at the free throw line where she made one of two. Out of a timeout with 10 seconds on the clock, the Eagles were able to get a wide-open lay-up off of a backdoor cut to send the game to overtime.

In the extra period, an Eagles’ reverse lay-up, a pair of missed free throws by Kelty and a pair of made Stayton free throws put the Lions down four in the early goings.

With two minutes to play, Kelty battled down low and to get Cottage Grove’s first bucket of the extra session. The Lions defensive pressure then created a 10-second call to give them the ball back. But on offense Kelty was called for a foul, her fifth of the game, and a pair of Stayton free throws put the Eagles back up four. Child then cut the lane for a lay-up to get back to a one-possession game.

“We have, I think, a lot of different options besides our posts. I mean, we do have some quick guards to go with that so we can do a few different things and I just, I’m pleased the way we fought back but disappointed that we couldn’t finish the deal,” said Yoss.

Child finished the game with 10 points for the Lions.

On the ensuing inbound, Stayton went deep and looked to have an open lane for a lay-up but it was Child again coming up with a steal. The Lions couldn’t get a shot off and a kicked ball call gave the ball back to Stayton with 6.4 left on the clock.

The Lions then fouled Genevieve Frith who went to the line to shoot two. Stayton put no one on the block to rebound the free throw so that they could set up their defense. Cottage Grove had two girls ready to get a rebound but after Frith missed a pair, she came up with her own rebound and was able to dribble out the clock and seal the win.

“We just didn’t execute. I don’t know what else to say other than that. We just didn’t execute,” said Yoss on his team’s inability to get the last rebound.

The  Lions will now begin league play on Friday at home against Sisters (3-9).

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