Trap game: Cougars tamed in Federation ‘A’ semis

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A PSAL title is the ultimate goal for team that plays in the league. But Medgar Evers got one of those last week. The Cougars were looking for a little something more, though coach Barney Davis didn’t feel he should push them.

“I wasn’t that intense about winning, but they were,” Davis said.

Medgar Evers kept its curfew last night and came in rested Friday, March 26. The Cougars were very much in the game, down by four at halftime. But Averill Park went to a 1-2-2, trapping halfcourt zone in the third quarter and Medgar Evers just couldn’t handle it in a 58-34 loss in the New York State Federation Class A girls basketball semifinals at Glens Falls Civic Center.

Medgar Evers (23-3) had lost just twice in the regular season, including one to St. Anthony’s, which beat the Cougars in January using the same technique.

“That’s our Achilles heel,” Davis said. “That’s the same defense St. Anthony’s played against us. We score fast and that definitely slowed us down.”

Averill Park (25-1) outscored Medgar Evers, 34-14, in the second half, generated turnover after turnover and drained 3-pointers seemingly at will. The first two that started the third by Katie Duma particularly shattered the Cougars’ confidence.

“Once they hit the two 3-pointers, everything was over,” Medgar Evers senior guard Jasmin Robinson said.

In the first half, it seemed like the speed and athleticism of girls like Robinson and Ashley Castle would give the Warriors, who had a huge fan section on hand, a hard time. But it didn’t turn out that way. Castle had 12 and Robinson added 11 points.

“We were able to slow them down and make them think a little more,” Averill Park coach Sean Organ said. “We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to deal with their athleticism.”

Duma had 21 points and four 3-pointers and Michela Ottati added 16 points for Averill Park.

Despite the loss, Medgar Evers had a fine season. The Cougars were the favorites to win the PSAL Class A title last season, but didn’t come through. They did this time and Davis said he was very satisfied with how everything went down.

“We’re not as bad as we looked,” Davis said. … “It would have been a lot worse if [6-foot-5 center] Verdine [Warner] didn’t block about 10 shots.”

That’s not to say they weren’t hoping for a little something more though.

“The city championship is an accomplishment, but we wanted to come up and win a state title, see how that feels,” Robinson said.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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