There was no playoff spot on the line on Tuesday, yet the Lady Cougars left everything on the court with a spirited comeback that fell short while also offering a look into a brighter future for the girls basketball team.
Down by 18, La Marque worked its way back against Altair Rice Consolidated before the young squad finally ran out of gas in a 68-63 loss that closed their 2017-18 campaign with a 3-21 record.
Despite the rough season, Lady Cougars coach Wayne Green had reason to feel good about how his team refused to collapse in what was a meaningless contest.
“They stepped up in a big way,” said Green. “I told them to play to the buzzer and that’s what they did. It felt good to see them fight back and nearly knock off a playoff team.”
The Cougars were down 50-32 with 2:41 left in the third quarter, but the play of senior Janae Horn provided the inspiration for the comeback. Playing her final game in a La Marque uniform, the Cougars whittled down the deficit as Horn scored 10 of her 19 points during a 30-11 run that saw the Coogs tie the score at 62-62 when Krishanna Crookshank hit the second of two free throws with 2:31 remaining.
Jenessa Richardson’s basket with 2:04 left gave the Raiders the lead for good, but the Cougars had chances to either tie or take the lead, yet were unable to find the basket down the stretch.
“This is a young team and it showed down the stretch,” said Green. “They didn’t know how to settle down and take their time, but I think this is a game that will carry over into next season. I think this gave them a lot of confidence heading into the offseason.”
Crookshank and Raven Huff each scored 14 for La Marque, while Keri Turner added six, Katriel Ivy had four, Jermomonica Morris scored three and Crystal Curry added two points for the Cougars.
Richardson and Alexus Grounds each scored 17 points to lead Rice Consolidated, while Jada Johnson added 10 for the Lady Raiders.