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Cougars senior girls basketball beat Lightning in final seconds

Ella Black hits a three with 20 seconds left
The senior girls Hunting Hills Lightning and Notre Dame Cougars faced off in 4A Central Zone action Tuesday night. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Notre Dame 72 Hunting Hills 70

Hitting the game-winning shot in a tight game is an experience most basketball players strive to achieve.

Whether it’s in the backyard playing with friends, or in a high school basketball game, hitting the big shot is a feeling like no other.

And for Notre Dame Cougars guard Ella Black with the game in her hands down 70-69 to the Hunting Hills Lightning in 4A central zone senior girls competition with 20 seconds left, she hit a three-pointer to put the Cougars up by two.

With just seconds left the Cougars held on for the 72-70 win at Hunting Hills High School Tuesday night.

Cougars head coach Ed Major was ecstatic for Black, who has been their go-to shooter for much of the season so far.

“It wasn’t exactly how I drew it up but we got the result we wanted out of that shot. We got the ball in the hands of the girl that can shoot that ball and that’s all we’re looking for is trying to get her the ball and see what happens,” Major said.

“She’s been playing basketball since she was in Grade 6, I coached her way back then and she’s just developed into a really good player.”

Despite the exciting finish, the result nearly could have been disastrous for Notre Dame, who let the Lightning overcome a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Major explained they didn’t play their best but got the result they wanted. Physically, he thought his team played well but the mental side of the game he explained is sometimes tough on them.

“It’s a grind in February… It’s tough to try and make it through to the end of the month because this is our fifth game in a week,” he added.

“We’re really trending up right now… We’re definitely doing good things and the girls are working hard. I can never fault their work ethic and we’ve just got to start playing smarter, not harder.”

Head coach of the senior girl’s Lightning Jill de Jonge said the loss could potentially come back to bite them in playoff seeding.

However, overcoming a 10-point deficit in the final frame is something to build off of for the rest of the season. The Lightning were even down by 17 points at one point.

“Changing defences seemed to really pick up our game in terms of switching from a man to a zone defence,” she said.

”It just opened up some opportunities and we got more touches out of that zone. [The Cougars] didn’t respond well to it so that’s where the comeback started.”

de Jonge said this season they’ve had some ups and downs but even though they lost such a tight matchup, the Lightning certainly aren’t hanging their heads.

“There’s two ways of looking at it. There was the comeback so the fact they have the ability to bring it back like that is great. The loss is disappointing but the effort was there… Ultimately the girls have nothing to be ashamed of,” she said.

The Cougars are now 4-2 in league play meanwhile the Lightning are 3-4 with less than a month left in the regular season.

The senior girls Notre Dame Cougars basketball team took on the Notre Dame Cougars Tuesday night at home. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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