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Cougars, missing two players, show rust, youth in top five battle Monday night at home

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Country Christian sophomore Lilly Begley scored nine points Monday against Perrydale.

Country Christian had 10 days off before its showdown with No. 3 Perrydale.

The rust was evident as the Cougars lost 50-30 Monday night at home.

Country Christian was never really in the game.

The Cougars did not make their first field goal until 2:40 remaining in the first quarter on an Annie Bafford 3-pointer, and trailed 12-4 at the end of the period.

"I thought we had way too long a break without games," Country Christian coach Russ Halverson said. "With the sick bug coming through and taking days off for the holidays, we just looked out of sorts. A lot of it to me looked like just kind of getting our feet out of the mud from too long of a break. We practiced, but you can't mimic that."

Perrydale extended its lead to 26-6 midway through the second quarter and 32-11 at halftime.

"There was a period of time there in the second where we ran out of gas, and when you make mistakes on a press they come in flurries," Halverson said. "It was like a lay-in drill for a period of time there. Fundamentally, we look like we had a lot of rotational issues on defense, execution in the offense, but all stuff where we're not that far away. In a game like this, it just magnifies everything."

The Pirates entered the game 7-2 after placing fifth in the Class 1A state tournament last season.

Perrydale was led by sisters Cody (13 points), Sydney (12) and Kenzi Lawrence (11).

"I thought there were two legit (state title) contenders (St. Paul and Crane) and that team is the closest thing to them," Halverson said of the Pirates. "They're a good team. They're really aggressive. They're really athletic."

Country Christian was also missing two of its top players — junior Allison Burruel (sick) and sophomore Lanie Barden (knee).

"It's hard because usually when you lose by 20 points, you feel like you got your butt kicked and you know you got your butt kicked," Halverson said. "When we have all of our bodies and we're not coming off of long break like that, I just feel like that's a team we can play with."

The Cougars started a junior, three sophomores and a freshman. Bafford, the freshman, finished with 12 points. Sophomore Lilly Begley added nine points.

"This is a young team and there's a lot of growing opportunities, and I think sometimes when they get tired and their backs are against the wall, they haven't learned how to push through that fatigue quite yet," Halverson said. "I don't like to lose. I'm a competitive guy, but this game gave us a lot of little things to take away from, and we're a young team that is going to grow, and I think we'll be better for it the next time around."

Derek Wiley
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