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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cooper back, Lady Bearkatz win title in OT

Thursday, February 26, 2009

WELCOME RETURN: Maggie Cooper goes in for a layup in the district tournament. After being sidelined with an injury and missing four games, Cooper returned to action in time to help Melbourne win the district tournament title. Photo/Mullins
Do you think the Melbourne Lady Bearkatz missed the services of Maggie Cooper?

After suffering a back injury late in the regular season, Melbourne's dynamic point guard was forced to sit on the sidelines for four games, a stretch which included a pair of losses during the last week of the regular season for the Lady Bearkatz.

But as the post-season rolled around, Cooper, though still not at 100-percent, made her way back into the lineup for the Lady Bearkatz.

And she announced her return in a big way.

Cooper drilled a big 3-ball at the buzzer in the championship game of the 2-2A District Tournament Feb. 21 at Sharum Gymnasium in Walnut Ridge to pull her team even with Cedar Ridge and send the game to overtime.

In the overtime period, Melbourne (29-6) outscored the Lady Timberwolves 14-10 to edge past Cedar Ridge for a title-clinching 65-61 victory.

The win sent the Lady Bearkatz to the regional tournament in Cedar Ridge, where they squared off with the Turrell Lady Rockets.

In the district tournament finals, the top-seeded Lady Katz trailed second-seeded Cedar Ridge 11-7 after the first period.

Melbourne rallied in the second period to pull ahead 20-16 at intermission.

The back-and-fourth battle continued into the third period when the Lady Timberwolves re-grouped to pull in front 33-28 heading into the final stanza.

Then, with her team down by three late in the fourth, Cooper pulled the trigger on the game-tying shot that splashed through, locking things at 51-all.

In the extra period, the Lady Katz overcame a dose of shaky free throw shooting to pull in front of Cedar Ridge.

Amanda Treat sealed the deal with a pair of big charity tosses with six ticks left in OT, giving Melbourne a hard-earned 65-61 win.

In the semi-finals Feb. 19, Melbourne survived a 29-point outburst from Midland's Farrah Turner to knock off the Lady Mustangs 57-49.

Melbourne held a 17-12 lead after one, thanks in part to a couple of 3-pointers from Maggie Caraway (12 points) and Maggie Cooper (14 points, eight rebounds, six assists).

A Caraway 3-ball to open the second pushed the Lady Katz on top 20-12, but Turner responded with two 3-pointers of her own early in the period and by the time the two-minute rolled around, Midland had its first lead of the game, 25-23.

Sara Adams (nine points, 12 boards) hit a free throw and Amanda Treat (13 points) added two more freebies in the last 50 seconds of play, giving Melbourne a 28-27 lead.

But Turner had the last say with a late layup that gave the Lady Mustangs a 29-28 advantage at the break.

The Lady Bearkatz re-gained the margin early in the third on a pair of layups from Treat and Adams.

Midland kept chasing away and Turner racked up eight points in the frame to keep her team close.

Melbourne got late hoops from Cooper and Caraway, plus a pair of free throws from Adams, to take a 45-40 lead into the final frame.

And in the final frame, Kenzi Gillihan nailed a big trey, while Treat posted seven points in the stanza, to help Melbourne to a 57-49 victory over Midland.

Kaylee Ables finished with six points for the Lady Bearkatz.

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