Cloudland drops pair to Cosby

By Wes Holtsclaw

   COSBY--Things simply did not go the way of the Lady 'Landers.
   Poor shooting, bad execution, and biased officiating helped the seventh-ranked Cosby Lady Eagles roll to a 61-50 victory at the Nest on Saturday.
   "We shot really bad," said Cloudland coach Matt Birchfield. "I think the difference was that we didn,t play any defense and got in foul trouble.
   "We had a lot of kids sitting. When you shoot 23 percent and have your starters on the bench, it's hard for things to go your way."
   Cloudland sharpshooter Stachia Johnson went out with an injured ankle in the first minute of the game, while Cloudland had to look to insufficient play from the bench.
   "We weren't ready. Cosby had a good athletic team, their post player (Jules Jenkins) was tough. She was probably the best we've seen this year."
   Cosby opened up with a big 10-2 lead behind Tiffany Self and Shana Banks. Cloudland bounced back with buckets from Amy Storie, Tara Hanson and a big trey from Jessica Lunsford to bounce within one.
   Lunsford followed with a big bucket in the last seconds to take an 11-10 lead.
   Cloudland pushed ahead to 15-10 in the second quarter, but Jules Jenkins hit some big buckets for Cosby and took a lead.
   Sheena Coggins was sent to the line and downed a pair of buckets from the charity stripe to put Cosby up by three.
   Shana Banks hit a big three before Jenkins and Banks broke loose for a 10-point 32-22 lead in favor of the Lady Eagles at the half.
   Cloudland shot 8 of 30 in the first half, while Cosby shot the ball extremely well. Hanson was held to two points, while Cosby sharp-shooter Sheena Coggins only had two.
   Cloudland opened the second half on a mission with buckets from Hanson and Williams to help pull back within three points. Whitney Hannah helped Cosby bounce back out by seven.
   The Lady 'Landers got back within four to open the fourth after buckets from Hanson and Lunsford. Cosby stretched it back to six before a Hanson trey.
   The Lady Eagles kept rolling up by nine with under two minutes to go behind Whitney Hannah and Banks.
   Nicki Webb hit a pair of buckets to cut it at six, but Cosby executed from the foul line to build up their 61-50 victory.
   Cloudland shot 22 of 82 on the night, while Cosby shot 48 percent.
   Cosby 63
   Cloudland 53
   Although the final score gave Cosby the 10-point win, the Cloudland Highlanders played until the last minute in tight contest with Cosby.
   The Highlanders came out and kept with the Cosby Eagles early. Cosby opened up with a quick lead before Cloudland bounced back into the picture.
   Cosby proceeded to go up with a solid boost over the Highlanders behind Kevin Hall and Mark McGaha. Josh Johnson came up big for the 'Landers as they only trailed 16-10 at the end of the first.
   Cloudland had chances to climb back into the picture in the second quarter, but Cosby kept a strong hold. The Highlanders got as close as four because of three Johnson free throws.
   But a Cole Gouge tray and a bucket from Craig Cooke gave Cloudland a 21-20 lead. Mark McGaha rolled on some baskets which bought Cosby back to the lead where they would hang up by eight at the end of the half.
   Cosby took a 10-point lead to open the second half, but Gouge got a four-point play to close it. A Johnson tray closed it to five, but Cosby held onto a seven-point lead going into the fourth.
   Jake Webb and Johnson battled with buckets to open the fourth, but Cosby went up strong by nine points. The Eagles led by as much as 14, but Cloudland never let up with Gouge making some big buckets to chase it down to eight.
   A big steal from Harrold gave Gouge the ball when he hit a bucket closing to six with 42 seconds left. Cloudland eventually pushed that number down to five but Cosby got a lot of help from free throws down the stretch to take the win.
   The Highlanders played the game without Zach Cook and went most of the second half without Tolley. Gouge led all scorers with 22, while McGaha had 19 for the Eagles.
   Kevin Hall had 10 for Cosby, while Josh Johnson tallied 12 to close out the 'Landers.