Comets drop heartbreaker to Hesston, 72-71

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Cottey Comets basketball team fell in heartbreaking fashion, 72-71, to the Hesston (Kan.) Lady Larks on Friday at Hinkhouse Center.

Coming out of a timeout with less than a minute remaining in regulation, and trailing 67-65, Cottey freshman point guard Katrina Cantu found an open Alex Alvarez, who proceed to drill a corner 3-pointer, handing the Comets a 68-67 advantage.

On the ensuing possession, Essence Tolson scored on an offensive rebound and put-back lay-in, putting the Lady Larks back in front, 69-68 with 20 seconds showing on the clock. Just as it was previously drawn up by Comets head coach Stephanie Beason, Cantu again found Alvarez for the go-ahead corner 3-ball, as the Comets led 71-69 with 11 seconds left in regulation.

“Alex was clutch for us late in the game, with the back-to-back 3's,” said Beason. “She was a stat-filler the entire night.”

The see-saw final minute of regulation continued, as Carrisa Slabach buried a 3-pointer, putting the Lady Larks up 72-71. Needing to go the length of the court with just 7.7 seconds showing on the clock, the Comets had trouble advancing the ball, with Hesston deflecting it out of bounds with just two seconds remaining. Cantu then received the inbound pass from half-court, took two dribble and released a 3-pointer that hit off the backboard and front of the rim as time expired.

The loss moves Cottey to 2-5 overall.

“Heartbreaking game, but a vast improvement from the first time we played them a month ago,” said Beason, referring to the season-opening 82-49 loss at Hesston.

Added Beason: “This is the second game in the last week and a half where we have lost on a 3-point shot with less than 10 seconds remaining in the game. We’ll go back to the drawing board with some defensive drills to help with this scenario in the future. The scores from our second time playing opponents this season definitely show we are making progress, which is a huge positive. There’s a lot of season left to play, and I have no doubt that we’ll be able to dial in on those little mistakes and make the corrections.”

For Cottey, Cantu concluded with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting from the field, while knocking down three 3-pointers. Alvarez added 16, while connecting on 4-of-9 from long-range. Meanwhile, Malory Moles finished with 15, on 6-of-11 shooting from the field. In addition, the Comets out-rebounded Hesston 34-28, had 18 assists to Hesston’s 10; and held a 14-7 steal advantage over the Lady Larks.

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