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March 11, 2014 > Cougars stage sensational comeback

Cougars stage sensational comeback

Submitted By Mike Heightchew

The Newark Memorial Cougars won their third consecutive North Coast Section, Division II title 74-70 in a nail-biting finish to a close and exciting contest. All the fortitude and grit the Cougars could muster was the difference in a battle that featured the comeback of a season and maybe a decade or two.

Just as it looked as if the Cougars were out of rabbits to pull out of their hat, an unbelievable fourth quarter comeback performance catapulted them to victory. The Concord Minutemen were on track to pull off another stunning upset following their semi-final victory over number one seed Montgomery. Instead of dominating with speed and offensive power, the Cougars were on the receiving end of an opponentÕs impressive show of their own. The Minutemen found ways to confound and frustrate including the Siaan Rojas and Spencer Clark duo that were able move into the paint area and score; Rojas had 19 points and Clark had 18 of his own.

This game this was the best NCS basketball has to offer; evenly matched and determined teams fought hard and produced numerous great plays. After a very hard battle under the basket and with great plays from Damien Banford, the Cougars opened up a 31-20 lead in the second quarter but the Minutemen would not go away, storming back on a 8-0 run.

The fourth quarter opened with a 52-46 Minutemen lead but the tide began to turn. With a dramatic comeback, Michael Pickney sank three 3-point shots and set the tone for the heart-stopping finish. NewarkÕs Joey Frenchwood put in two clinching shots, the most important, to break a 69-69 tie with 35 seconds left. Frenchwood wasÊthe CougarÕs leading scorerÊwith 24 points; Damien BanfordÊalso had a great night as well with critical rebounds. Newark Memorial scored seven of the game's final eight points to win the title.

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