Lady Eagles roll past Washburn for D2-A crown
The Cosby basketball teams took home the District 2-A tournament championships Wednesday night at Grainger High School in Rutledge. The Lady Eagles defeated Washburn 66-19, while the Eagles topped Hancock County 64-54.
RUTLEDGE — The Cosby Lady Eagles roared through the regular season to take the District 2-A title and wrapped up a sweep of the conference tournament as they defeated Washburn 66-19 Wednesday night in the championship game at Grainger High School.
The Lady Eagles host Hampton in the Region 1-A opener on Friday night. Cosby coach Richard Coggins said he wanted to get a big lead early so he could rest his starters in preparation for the game at the end of the week.
“I wanted to mix and match in the first half,” Coggins said. “We played so hard in the first half. I think we played a little too hard. I told them we were going to run a hundred miles an hour and try to get this thing over with as quickly as we could. I wasn’t comfortable with a 20-point lead. It’s tournament time.”
“I went to Hampton’s tournament and I’m not sure which team I would have rather played,” Coggins said of Friday’s matchup. “All of the teams up there are pretty even and they are all pretty good. We are good enough to win the whole thing or we could go home the first night. Talent wise, we are as good as anyone up there, we just have to play.”
Washburn coach Tyler Harrell said he was proud of his young team, a squad that features no seniors this season.
“Cosby is one of the best teams in Tennessee and we hung with them for a half. My team gave me everything they had, but we just ran out of gas. I told them the sky is still the limit for our young team,” Harrell said.
Bethanie Williams led the Lady Eagles with 14 points, all of which came in the first half. Brandy Beeler paced the Lady Pirates with 9 points.
The Lady Eagles set the tone early as they scored the first 18 points of the contest. Williams scored 8 of those 18 points for Cosby. The first basket for the Lady Pirates came with just over a minute left in the first quarter when Beeler banked in a shot. Cosby led 18-4 at the end of the period.
Beeler banged home another 3-pointer for the Lady Pirates to make it 29-10. Williams answered with a shot from downtown of her own with 13 seconds left in the half to make it 35-14 at the break.
The Cosby defense was stellar in the third period as they held Washburn to only one field goal in eight minutes. The Lady Eagles reeled off 11 straight points to end the period, capped off by Kristan Coggins basket with eight ticks left as Cosby led 50-16 going to the final frame.
Cosby controlled the tempo in the fourth period as both teams inserted some of their reserves into the game. Sydni Johnson started the period with a 3-pointer for the Lady Eagles and Coggins answered a little later with a trey of her own.
Eagles gun down Indians for D2-A championship
RUTLEDGE — The Cosby Eagles drained nine 3-pointers as they claimed the District 2-A tournament title with a 64-54 win over Hancock County Wednesday night.
Despite winning the game, Cosby coach Brad Flatford said he team seemed sluggish, especially in the first half.
“This was not one of our better efforts,” Flatford said. “Hancock County’s 2-3 zone game us fits and we didn’t do a good job guarding in the half court. We didn’t come out with a lot of intensity or shoot it very well. Give Hancock credit as they played hard and I felt they wanted the game more in the first half.”
“We shot the ball a little better than might have been expected, but we still missed a lot of shots,” Hancock County coach Mitch Cantwell said. “We played with good effort and played a good game overall. I was pleased to only be down two points at the half because they were expected to come out and beat us and we showed we were ready to play tonight.”
Jordan Self led the victorious Eagles with 17 points, followed by 16 by Derrick Norris. Keenan Phillips added 11. Hancock County was led by Kwade Adler’s 14 points. Peyton Miller and David Way each had 13 for the Indians and Branson Holt added 12.
The first period was a low scoring affair for both teams. Phillips gave Cosby an early lead with a 3-pointer. Self connected from long range and Bryson Valentine made it 10-5 when he hit a late shot.
Cosby led 12-6 early in the second period when the Indians came back to tie the game at 12 on a hoop by Holt. Valentine responded with a trey for the Eagles. The two teams swapped the lead until Phillips bombed home a shot from deep for Cosby to give the Eagles a 20-18 lead at halftime.
The Indians started the second half on fire as they claimed a 23-20 advantage on a basket by Holt. But that was when Self started draining long range 3-pointers and the Eagles came storming back. Cosby went up by double digits on two free throws by Norris. Miller scored the final basket of the third period for Hancock County to pull to within 10 at 39-29.
The Indians slashed the lead in half on a 3-pointer by Adler. The Indians’ offense went into the deep freeze, however, as they did not score a field goal for the next five minutes. The Eagles took advantage and built their biggest lead of the game when Norris hit a 3-pointer to make it 48-34. Eight points was as close as Hancock County could get as the Eagles claimed the district title.
“I told our guys not to hang their heads because they played a very good game and I hope this gets us ready for Saturday night,” Cantwell said of his team’s matchup with Unaka in Sneedville on Saturday. “Hopefully what we saw tonight was can play with anyone and we played at Unaka and only lost by eight and played well. This is the first time in a long time we have an opportunity to go on to the second round of the region. It will be a hard fought game.”
Cosby will face North Greene Saturday in the first round of the region.
“We have to bring it,” Flatford said. “If we play Saturday night like we did tonight, we will be done about 9 p.m.”
-By Marlin Curnutt, Tribune Correspondent