All Saints Narrowly Defeated in the 'Game of the Season'
Cougars Lose In Overtime 69-66 to Lakers
January 19, 2008
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Cougar Varsity preps for the Lakers. MyBayCity Photo by Kevin Kula
By: Kevin Kula
The All Saints Cougars were redefined as a team during Friday night's intense contest. Without Ollie Hull - who was out of state, due to a death in the family, the Cougars would really have to step their game up to take on their larger adversary - the Lakers. After the Cougar JV team came away with a one point victory in over time, the Cougar Varsity team was ready to hit the court with all the intensity they could muster with an undermanned team.
Lakers Coach Bill McLellan and ASC Coach Mike Showalter are all smiles before the contest. MyBayCity Photo by Kevin Kula
Driven with a intense desire to win, the Cougars quickly proved they weren't going down without a fight. Down by 11 points near the end of the first period, the Cougars came back with a power they've been searching for all this season. They have learned their lessons from their past mistakes. The Cougar offense slammed in one shot after another. The score at the half showed the Cougars holding the lead by one scant point.
Junior Mario Walker (Left) blocks a Lakers shot. ASC's Aaron Janer (Right) gets off a quick pass to Walker. (MyBayCity Photos by Kevin Kula)
ASC Cougar PomPon Squad entertains at half-time. MyBayCity Photo by Kevin Kula
After the intermission, the Cougars returned to duke out the third period. Unfortunately for the Cougars the third period started out shaky. Numerous turnovers in the beginning hurt the Cougars; but lucky for them the Lakers encountered similar difficulties on their side of the court.
Turnovers were costly for Cougars and Lakers alike. (MyBayCity Photos by Kevin Kula)
The third period was action packed but only hinted at what the fourth period held in store for the sell-out crowd. In this game every point would be significant. For one person in particular this nights game was a score fest. To the All Saints spectators shouts of "he's a sophomore!" Adam Pijaszek sunk three - 3 pointers in a row. Pijaszek, and the Cougars had finally managed to get their fans standing up and cheering. Up till that point, the Lakers cheering section had dominated the gym with their cheers. But after Pijaszek's triple 3's helped bring the Cougars score up to 46-40, the Cougar fans were on their feet cheering their team toward a sweet victory.
The Lakers fans filled a section of the Cougar Gym. MyBayCity Photo by Kevin Kula
Loud and Proud the Cougar Fans rock the house. MyBayCity Photo by Kevin Kula
The fourth period can only be described as "out of this world." While the Cougars battled to keep their lead, another fight was taking place. The smaller Cougar cheering section was competing with the Laker fans in a cheering contest. When the Laker fans chanted "you can't do that" to a Cougar foul, the Cougar fan section countered with "Check the scoreboard!".
However the Lakers weren't about to give the Cougars an easy win. The Lakers came back with a strong defense that tired out the Cougars. After several unsuccessful attempts to stop the Lakers new blitz on the court the Cougars were losing their grip on their lead. An unbelievable play by the Lakers put them up by one with the score hanging at 57-56 with little under ten seconds to go.
After a Cougar timeout, the Cougars exploded out on the court to yells of support from their still hopeful fans. The Cougars desperate attempt to score failed unfortunately; however with only 5.2 seconds left Cougar Preston Oaks (#1) was fouled. The fate of the game hung on the free throw line......and with Preston.
ASC's Preston Oakes readies himself at the line. MyBayCity Photo by Kevin Kula
While the Cougar fans watched, and prayed, Preston prepared to face the pressure of two critical free throws. Make two, and the Cougars win, make one and the two teams tie and continue to fight in overtime.
To a unbelieving crowd one of the Cougars best free throw shooters missed his first shot. Unwilling to lose hope the Cougars continued to shout their support over the jeers of the Laker fans. Preston miraculously made his second shot.
To describe the Cougar fans as hopeful, would be an amazing understatement. The Cougars would never forget this night if they had won. And they still held a belief that their team wouldn't let them down.
ASC's Kevin Klapish (Left) gets a shot in front of Lakers Eric Turner. Lakers #5 Grant Gagney (Right) blocks the shot of Cougar, Ricky Phillips. (MyBayCity Photos by Kevin Kula)
But as Coach Mike Showalter said "We just didn't make our critical free throws,"
, and for the two teams, free throws would play a big role in the nights game. Sinking their shots the Lakers gained the upper hand, and a three pointer drove the nail in the coffin for the Cougars. As the last second ticked away, the Laker fans surged out unto the court to celebrate with their victorious team.
The Cougars sat in their seats unwilling to believe that they had lost the most action packed and hotly-contested game yet of the season. But despite the loss, the night can be viewed as the Cougars most successful game of the year. Even one man short due to Hull's absence, the Cougars "fought hard"
as Adam Pijaszek (19 total for the night) said after the game.
Top scorers for ASC included Pijaszek, Oakes with 15, and B.J. Weaver with 10.
The All Saints team will hit the road for an away game verses U.S.A next week and on February 15th the Cougars will get another shot at the Lakers, this time on Lakers' home court.
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