CHESTERTOWN - When the Cougar girls basketball team reached a milestone this week, they accomplished it in a manner that will not soon be forgotten.
The girls thrilled their fans and disappointed the Fort Ann hometown crowd with their climactic offensive spurt that gave them a 32-31 victory.
With a deadline drive and a last-second shot, North Warren Central won their first matchup since last January.
The suspenseful shot, made at the buzzer by Katherine Andonucci, gave the Cougars their only lead of the game.
Trailing the entire game, the Cougars made the most of their last several seconds remaining on the clock, to overtake the Fort Ann Cardinals.
The Cougars inbounded the ball and athletic standout Ashley Schloss dribbled the length of the floor. Double-teamed by the Cardinals, Schloss threw a bounce pass to Andonucci who had read the defense and positioned herself near the basket. Under pressure, Andonucci tossed a successful layup at the buzzer.
Cougar coach P.J. Hogan said he was happy with the team's substantial milestone, which more accurately reflects their determination and ability than their string of losses.
"The girls put forth a solid defensive effort in the second half," he said, noting they'd contained the Cardinals to only nine points in the stanza, and outscored them 16-6 in the fourth quarter alone.
The effort was quite a turnaround, considering that the Cougars were trailing 22-8 at halftime.
Andonucci scored eight of her game-high 14 points in the last quarter.
In the contest, Ashley Schloss scored 10 points, Kelsey Hamblin hit four, and Morgan Tennyson and Sarah Erickson hit two apiece.
Monday, the Cougars again showed their defensive abilities - at least for the first quarter - in a 36-28 loss to Bolton.
Initially, North Warren looked hot, with good outside shots and success at keeping the Eagles away from the basket. But the Eagles switched to a full-court press, interrupting the Cougars' game rhythm, forcing off-target passes and poor shots. North Warren held onto a 15-11 lead at halftime, but collapsed in the third quarter, as Bolton outscored them 18-3. In this non-league matchup, Bolton's Danielle St. Amour scored a game-high 10 points, followed by Amanda Moffit with 8 points, Katie Bliley with 7, Alana Peterson with 6. and Grace Cady with 3.
For the Cougars, Andonucci scored 12 points, followed by Ashley Schloss at 7, Laura Fahey with 4, Kelsey Hamblin with 3 and Sara Erickson with 2.
As of Tuesday, the 1-4 Cougars were ready to take on Schroon Lake on Wednesday, followed by Fort Edward on the Cougar home court Friday night.
Next up for the Bolton Girls, with a 2-1 record as of Monday, are matchups against several teams at the Hadley-Luzerne Tournament Dec. 22 and 23.