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EL DORADO HILLS — El Dorado wrapped up its appearance at the Shoot-Out with a strong second-half Saturday morning against Davis in a game the Blue Devils won 57-31.
Snapping out of a first-half slump, the Cougars turned it around in the second and outscored Davis 19-10 in the fourth quarter to follow a weekend pattern of sluggish starts/good finishes.
“We came out really slow … you have to make it tough on teams — we did all three nights — but we have to have a better start,” Cougar coach Pat Winter said. “It takes so much energy to play from behind. But I’m proud of them — they gave me everything they had.”
El Dorado continued its tough preseason schedule against bigger programs. Compounding the problem was the loss of point guard Sabrina Tate and guard Hannah Dixon to injury in Thursday’s opener. Tate, with the most serious injury, was sorely missed against the Blue Devil pressure.
“They’re tall to begin with and their 3-2 trapping zone gave us problems,” Winter said.
Against Davis, the Cougars showed signs of life in the third quarter and took off in the fourth behind energy and aggressive play, forcing a Blue Devil timeout and a revamp of their lineup.
The quarter opened behind back-to-back buckets from Kylie Hammond before Marissa Garcia stuck a wing three-pointer, Rebecca McCaughey scored and Kayla Cotten drained a three from up top. Davis converted several 3-point plays to find traction but Cotten, El Dorado’s All-Tournament selection, struck again from behind the arc, Samantha Klinkenborg hit two free throws and Cotten’s baseline jumper closed the game.
“Hammond really gave us a spark, our defense picked up and we hit some shots,” Winter said. “We know what it takes to be successful and that playing all four quarters … no lapses.”
Cotten led the Cougars with nine points and Hammond had six.
El Dorado faced Nevada Union Thursday, the second time the two have met this season. The Miners, who finished second at the Shoot-Out, prevailed 59-27. Tate led the Cougars with 10 points, Carley Fowler added six and Cotten had five points.
Saturday, El Dorado lost 51-36 to Red Bluff despite closing the gap to eight points in the fourth. Kylie Haverson scored nine points; Faith Wilson had six; Cotten, 5; Jessica Jemmott put in five and Hammond, four.
The Cougars came in sixth place.