The varsity girls basketball team returned to Trent Arena in Kettering on Saturday to try to make history as the first basketball team ever at CHS to punch their ticket to the state Final Four. Standing in their way was state power Mount Notre Dame from Cincinnati, who the Elks had beaten, 70-56, earlier in the season. They knew that memory would fuel the Cougars fire on Saturday and they would be looking for revenge.
In the first quarter, the girls got some good looks, but could not get shots to fall and fell behind early. They got it going late in the quarter and a Sam Chable three at the buzzer cut the Cougars lead to just three points, 15-12, at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter was the defining moment of the game as the Cougars took advantage of their size and the Elks’ continued cold shooting to build a double digit lead. They took an 11-point lead, 35-24, into the locker room at halftime and the Elks knew they had to play better in the second half or their season would come to an end. The Elks scored first in the second half and closed the gap to eight only to see the Cougars go back up by 12. The girls responded and closed the quarter with a 17-13 scoring edge to trail by just seven points, 48-41, heading into the fourth quarter. The Elks got the first basket of the quarter to pull within five, but the Cougars answered and stretched the lead back to 11. at 54-43. The Elks responded with another scoring run which was capped by junior Emma Stanley’s three pointer to pull the Elks within four at 54-50 with 4:12 left. Two Cougar free throws pushed the lead back to six and then the Elks missed from point blank range and the Cougars scored again to stretch the lead to eight. The girls would not get any closer than five the rest of the way as the Cougars hit their free throws and got a couple of layups by breaking the press en route to a 70-63 win, sending the Cougars to the State Final Four and ending the Elks’ magical season.
Leading the way for the girls was freshman Cotie McMahon with 20, sophomore Amy Velasco with 16 and senior Alexis Hutchison with 12.
The girls wrapped up a fantastic season with a 25-3 record, a GWOC East and District Championship and an appearance in the Elite Eight of the State Tournament.
A special thank you to seniors Sam Chable (Ashland), Kelsey George (Baldwin Wallace) and Alexis Hutchison (undecided) for their leadership and dedication these past four years. You will be greatly missed and we wish you nothing but the best as you start the next chapter of your lives.