It was not the prettiest of games, but the Gross Cougars dug deep and found a way to pull out a hard fought victory over Blair Thursday night to open up the Cougar Classic.
Gross defeated Blair 48-40 after the score was just 9-9 heading into the second quarter.
Gross held the Bears to just 15 points in the first half total.
"It's all about effort," Gross head coach Marty Gilson said about the Gross defense. "Just trying to get the girls to play hard and it was a really sloppy game but I thought both teams were playing hard.
"Neither team handled the ball really well and there were a lot of turnovers but it really does just come down to effort for both teams."
After the opening quarter, it was evident that coach Gilson wanted his team to push the pace and play a more up tempo offense.
"We want to be in transition," coach Gilson said. "We want to go out and gain an advantage in time and numbers and we were able to do it sometimes but again it was really a half court type of game. Again, I thought both teams played hard."
Gross led 20-15 at the half and the momentum swings came in the third quarter. Gross went up 28-19, then Blair went on a 7-0 run to make it 28-26. Gross answered this by going on their own 15-6 run to pretty much put the game away.
"I've been in this business 40 years," coach Gilson said. "One of the things I have learned through the years is that first three minutes of the second half dictates not who wins or loses the game, but how the rest of the game will go.
"We were able to build that lead from halftime and we pushed it to 11 and they came back with a run. You have to win certain points in the game and we made free throws at the end which always helps."
Gross was able to hang on for a 48-40 win. The Cougars upped their point total every quarter in this one.
The Cougars also had four girls with over nine points, showing the balance and depth of this team.
"Yeah Julia Miller can come off the bench and hit shots, Mackenna and Rachel can score and Jenna Skradski and Theo inside," coach Gilson said about their depth. "It is not a one man show by any means."
This win moved Gross to 4-1 on the season thus far.