Mixed results

Mixed results

Pirate girls go 1-1 at ECA Tournament

 Despite beating Evangelical Christian Academy 41-27 on Friday night at the ECA Tournament, the Cotopaxi girls basketball team wasn’t in a celebratory mood.

 The Pirates struggled with unforced errors and didn’t play well —especially in the first half — inside the host Eagles’ middle school-sized gym.

“We don’t play well here,” Pirates coach Troy Thornton said. “It was the same way when we played here last year. It was sloppy. We did things that we don’t normally do like dribbling up the sideline instead of … It was ugly but we got the win.”

Thornton didn’t have to say much to his team after the game.

“What I like — and it’s always been this way —is the girls know they didn’t play well,” he said. “So even when we win, they are quiet in the locker room. They know we didn’t play like we are capable of and I appreciate that as a coach.”

Junior Koylynn Gulliford led the way for the Pirates with seven of her game-high 16 points in a sluggish first quarter in which they struggled to break full-court pressure. With the game tied at 6, Cotopaxi went on a 7-0 run to lead 13-6 at the end of the first period.

Senior Sage Laymon and sophomore Annalise Walker provided a spark for the Pirates with their aggressive play.

“It seemed like they were what we needed at times,” Thornton said. “They got experience —Annalise  especially.”

ECA kept the game close and cut the deficit to 18-14 with 4:40 left in the second quarter. Cotopaxi went scoreless for more than three minutes before senior Jamie Sanchez scored a layup with 2:30 remaining. Senior Claire Carlson ended the first half by hitting a five-foot floater with 4 seconds left, giving Cotopaxi a 22-14 advantage at intermission.

With the score 30-20 after three quarters, Cotopaxi received a lift when sophomore Roxan Koch blocked a shot and on the ensuing offensive possession hit a medium-range field goal.

ECA’s Amy Antes kept her team within striking distance with her three 3-pointers.

Down the stretch, junior Shealee Coleman, Gulliford and Laymon scored to close out the game.

Carlson and Laymon finished with 6 points each, while Coleman and Sanchez had 4 points each.

“We need games like this, because last weekend we didn’t,” Thornton said. “So we need close games. We need games where we have to battle to get the win. It’s the experience.”

In the championship game against Class 2A Rye on Saturday, the Pirates kept the game close until the middle of the third quarter when the No. 8-ranked Thunderbolts pulled away for a 59-21 win.

“We played with them for two-and-a-half quarters,” Thornton said. “Midway through the third quarter we made mistakes and they made us pay for them. Suddenly being down eight points and being in the game became being down 25.

“They are a good team and good teams capitalize on mistakes. We need to learn from it and use those lessons to get better.”

Cotopaxi committed 27 turnovers.

Gulliford and Laymon led the Pirates with 7 points each. Coleman added 4.

Cotopaxi returns to action on Friday when its hosts Centennial at 3 p.m.