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Lakewood captures season’s first victory
LAKEWOOD — It took a complete team effort and two late three-pointers from senior Caitlyn Darrah for Lakewood to beat Coupeville for their first win of the season.
“It feels so good,” Darrah said. “The atmosphere tonight brought everyone together like we’ve been playing forever. What we were missing from our earlier games was energy. We all had it and our effort was incredible.”
The Cougars broke the Wolves’ full-court press early in the first quarter with senior Ashley Orr’s high-motor scoop-and-score that drew a foul and set the tone for the offense. Orr, who finished with seven points, stole passes and pushed the ball into Coupeville’s end of the floor with regularity and abandon.
Orr’s penetration opened up Lakewood’s passing lanes as she took the ball to the Coupeville basket. Senior Kayley Diggs, who totaled 14 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in the game, found room for a free throw line jumper, and a second-chance put-back minutes later when Coupeville’s defense cheated down to put the brakes on Orr’s drives.
The Wolves came alive, however, when senior Katie Smith started her team-high 15-point night with a three-pointer and turned a fast break steal into a layup to cut the Cougar lead to 14-10.
The game reached an electric pace when both squads opted for quick-hitter jump shots to keep the other team’s defense unbalanced with the element of surprise, but Coupeville caught fire and took an 18-17 lead on a quick layup with 4:30 left in the second quarter.
Lakewood looked to create turnovers and force lazy passes with double-team pressure, but Coupeville managed to break containment and find their way to the Cougar paint.
Smith lit it up to end the second quarter, but Lakewood clung to a 23-20 lead at halftime.
Coupeville senior guard Cassidi Rosenkrance jumped Cougar passes and took them the other way early in the third quarter for the first of her 11 points, but Darrah broke Lakewood’s offensive stagnation with a three-pointer from the right shoulder. The Cougars began to set screens in the high post to create mismatches against the Wolves’ 2-3 zone but the offense continued to stall as Diggs was double-teamed and Smith kept the pressure on with steals for a 33-29 lead after three quarters.
The Wolves toughened up in the rebound battle and controlled the ball, so the Cougars switched to a 1-3-1 zone to stop Coupeville’s perimeter attack. Coupeville called timeout, up 43-37 with 1:36 left in regulation, to come up with a plan for running out the rest of the clock.
Darrah hit a three with 57 seconds left to cut the deficit to 43-40 when Lakewood got the ball back off of a Coupeville miss.
The Wolves turned the ball over on their next possession, but Lakewood’s layup would not fall. Coupeville called another timeout with 34.2 seconds, still leading 43-40, when they recovered the ball.
Lakewood turned on a full-court press but were called for a foul that sent Rosenkrance to the free throw line for a 1-and-1 opportunity.
Rosenkrance missed the first attempt and Darrah nailed a three-pointer from the right with 14.4 seconds to go.
Darrah’s joy turned to anguish as she was called for a foul on Smith with 14.4 seconds left. Smith broke the tie by sinking both free throws for a 45-43 lead.
With time running out, Lakewood’s shooters lined the perimeter to find a shot. The ball swung to Darrah who loaded up against two Coupeville defenders and sank a three off the glass from the right shoulder with 3.4 seconds left to take the lead and bring the Cougar crowd to their feet.
“I didn’t expect the shot to go in,” said Darrah, who finished with 15 points to lead the Cougars. “But it did.”
Coupeville had time for only a desperation shot but Darrah blocked the halfcourt attempt to seal the win.
“We knew we wanted Darrah or Orr to shoot the last shot,” Lakewood head coach Chris Walster said. “If we can make silly mistakes and survive and win, then I guess it works out. We were 13 of 25 on free throws tonight, which is a killer, but Coupeville was 7 for 14.”