Cougars stop Skyhawks; nearly upset No. 1 Beatrice
by Eric Taylor
In the Game Sports Editor
The steady improvement for the Gross basektball team continues.
Thursday's 52-44 win at Skutt gave the Cougars their 13th win of the season, the most wins the Cougars have enjoyed since Fr. Steve Emanuel took over five seasons ago.
"It's been a long process, but we've gotten consistently better," Emanuel said. "You get a neat vibe being around these girls because they really like each other.
"We have kids that are successful in other sports and I think that carries over to the basketball court."
It was Gross' second win over the SkyHawks (11-8) this season after defeating them in the third place game of the River Cities Conference Tournament Jan. 21.
"Because of the rivalry, it's always a big win, especially to win out here," Emanuel said.
A 15-2 run over the third and fourth quarters helped the Cougars (13-6) reclaim the lead for good after letting a five-point halftime edge slip away.
Skutt scored the first six points of the second half and still led 26-25 before the Cougar burst. Alex Opperman's bucket put the Cougars ahead for good midway through the third and when Renee Lohaus hit a bucket to open the fourth quarter, the Cougar lead had expanded to 40-28.
"We did a nice job righting the ship after we fell behind," Emanuel said. "We were able to get in transition and get in a rhythm. If we can get up and down the floor, we're usually successful."
Skutt briefly trimmed the lead to six on two occasions but the Cougars did just enough from the foul line to not allow them any closer.
Joelle Overkamp narrowly missed another double-double as she had 15 points and nine rebounds to lead the Cougars. Kayla Johnk had 11 points while Opperman finished with eight points and 12 boards.
Gross nearly pulled of the season's biggest upset Saturday night at No. 1 Beatrice, falling to the Lady Orange 47-45 in double overtime.
The Cougars dug themselves an early hole by falling behind 13-6 after the first quarter, but chipped away and eventually tied the game at 41-all at the end of regulation.
Each team scored just two points in the first overtime and Beatrice hit four free throws in the second overtime which proved to be just enough.
Overkamp had 16 points to lead a trio of Cougars in double figures. Opperman and Julie Olechoski added 11 apiece while Overkamp had seven rebounds.
Published in In The Game in the February 6, 2013 issue of the Bellevue Leader.