Coldwater sinks West Lincoln

Published 9:00 pm Sunday, February 26, 2012

JACKSON – Coldwater’s Cougars roared to an early lead and then held off West Lincoln’s determined, second-half comeback attempt Saturday night, beating the Bears 67-62 in the semifinals of the MHSAA Class 1A State Tournament. Coldwater owned a 36-23 halftime lead.

     The Cougars (28-6) advance to  the state championship game Friday at 2:30 against Biggersville, which eliminated defending state champion Durant 64-44 Saturday. West Lincoln (28-5) was making its first state tournament appearance since 1996.

      “The first quarter was mainly the difference in the game,” said West Lincoln coach Lane Young. “We didn’t play smart and we played poorly on defense.”

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     The Cougars sprinted to a 31-16 lead in the second quarter before the Bears recovered.

     “Coldwater shot the ball really well,” Young added. “We  had a better effort the second half but our energy was spent trying to play catch-up.

     “This was the poorest we’ve shot all year long.”

     Young watched his usually sharp-shooting team make just 9 of 34 field goal attempts from beyond the arc. Overall, the Bears shot a cold 35 percent from the field.

     Junior guard Jared Case led the Bears with 20 points. Duane Marshall scored 13 points and Lucas Burris 12.

     The Bears outrebounded Coldwater 41-31 as Sam Bivens and Burris claimed 9 boards apiece.

     With less than 4 minutes to play, a field goal by Burris reduced Coldwater’s lead to 7 points, 55-48. The Cougars responded and got a 3-point play to make it a 10-point lead.

     Coldwater coach Wert Spiva said, “It was a hard-fought contest between two outstanding teams. I’m proud of our team and the tempo they maintained.

     “West Lincoln has some good shooters.”

     Coldwater led the Bears 36-23 at halftime. The Bears chewed away at the lead but careless turnovers allowed the Cougars to escape with the victory.

     They were paced by 6-2 sophomore Devonta Roberts with 19 points and 5-10 junior guard Marcel Newson with 18.