Injuries hurt Lady Cougars in first loss of season
The Lady Cougars ability to deal with adversity continued this week with the temporary loss of another leader due to injury.
After losing leading scorer and rebounder Samm Chandler for a couple of games with an injury just a week before, the Lady Cougars suffered another blow when senior captain Brianna Woody went down with an ankle injury late in the contest with Avery County on Tuesday night in Burnsville.
With Chandler on the bench, the Lady Cougars struggled to deliver in a close game against a talented Lady Viking squad.
Avery (7-5, 2-1) constructed a slim lead on Heritage (15-1, 4-1) into the 4th quarter and just as it looked like the Lady Cougars were making one of their patented runs, Woody came down on an Avery player while attempting to grab a rebound. She left the game and did not return as the Lady Vikings held on for a 54-50 win.
Woody finished with 15 points and in spite of double figure scoring from Nyssa Freeman (16) and Lacey Elkins (12) the Heritage comeback came up just short.
Chandler was back in the lineup for Friday nights battle with Madison (12-4,4-1) and in spite of a noticeable limp the senior leader contributed 15 points in a 64-52 Lady Cougar victory.
Heritage was able to build a 5 point lead at the half behind the three point shooting of Nyssa Freeman, who led the team with 22 points, and Kaylon Johnson who finished with 10.
The Lady Cougars did not score in the first three minutes of the third quarter allowing Madison to creep back into the contest.
Two free throws by Chandler to end the third quarter drew the Lady Cougars close, trailing 41-39 going into the 4th quarter.
Heritage continued to play hard and the Lady Cougars began to slowly pull away with around four minutes remaining with a strong performance at the free throw line. Nyssa Freeman, Samm Chandler and Kaylon Johnson all nailed important free throws down the stretch to allow Heritage to escape with a 64-52 victory and maintain their lead atop the WHC standings with 7 games left.
Heritage hoop teams will travel to Hendersonville on Tuesday while the Cougars will make the trip to Polk County on Friday. Come out and show your support for MHHS basketball teams as the season winds down.
By David Grindstaff