By Mike Cuthbert and Teddy Meyers
Snow put the Cougars on ice for most of the last two weeks. Games with Poolesville and Clarksburg had to be rescheduled with the team starting to hit on all cylinders.
The first game after exams was against Einstein and, once again, defense was the key. A hot Ben Kelly turned the game around in the second half, and the Cougars won, 57-38. After going scoreless in the first half, Kelly hit three of his four 3s to open the third quarter, then added a two-pointer and a couple of free throws to tie Andre Gaines for game honors with 13.
“I came out before the second half and hit some 3s, and that got me going for the second half,” said Kelly. He also found his niche in the left corner where three of the four 3s originated.
Kennie Mennie set the pattern by opening the quarter with a 3 of his own. Joey and Billy Fierstein started the game, an unusual move made necessary by the absence of Alex Twine for a couple of games. Both contributed timely rebounds and six points between them. The defense held the Titans to nine field goals and a .317 shooting percentage while firing at a .452 clip themselves.
Balanced scoring and taut defense sealed the deal in a record-breaking win at Einstein. The final score, 80-33, was the highest winning total the Lady Cougars have ever had, breaking the old record of 75.
Scoring was well-balanced with Morgan Turner leading the way with 15 and Danielle Witherspoon with 13.
Coach Colleen Kelly said, “We just worked on doing what we should be doing all the time and it worked out well.”
The team was without Leah Dagen, one of their top scorers, and Ally Shapiro. Shapiro has left the team for four months of study in Israel while Dagen was on a college visit in Florida.
Mimi Niktash’s knee was tender once again, so the Cougars won with only nine players.
A Saturday afternoon match with the Cavaliers of Kennedy turned out to be an enjoyable and brutal matinee for the Cougars, who swept every match and won, 71-0. Pins were recorded by Eli Bienstock, Gage Neubaum, Spencer Wyatt, Jake Kowalski and Austin Williams.
Bienstock and Williams employed the same effectively spectacular method of winning their matches: They both came out, quickly took down their opponents, then released them, only to do it again and again before pinning them, Williams in 1:11, Bienstock in 1:36.
In a match that was half the length of normal match, Quince Orchard’s Cougars beat the Einstein Titans 75 to 6. Seven out of the 14 matches were decided by forfeit. Out of the seven matches wrestled, six ended early by a pin. The one match that went to points ended up 5 to 2.
In the first contested match, junior Neubaum only had to take down his opponent twice before he was able to win with a pin. Neubaum won in the first period with eight seconds to spare.
Senior Kowalski won the 160-pound match 5 to 2. He faced a tough Titan and had to fight to win in final 15 seconds of the third period. The Titan took down Kowalski with 25 seconds left, giving him a one-point lead, but Kowalski was able to pull off a reversal and get a one-point edge. He secured his win by taking down his opponent once more.
The fastest to pin his opponent was junior Steven Roomberg, who pinned his opponent in only 23 seconds.
The Titans were only able to steal one match from the Cougars in the 140-pound weight class. Unfortunately, Cougar sophomore Bryce Geiling succumbed to a pin.
In one of the few contests not affected by weather, the Cougars wished it had snowed heavily. They lost to both Springbrook and Magruder in a triangular at Magruder.
In the first match, the Cougars took on the Springbrook Blue Devils and lost by a final score of 57 to 21. However, Junior Bienstock showed why he is one of the top wrestlers in the state once again. Bienstock pinned his opponent with seven seconds to spare in the first period using the same takedown and release strategy he used against Einstein, feeling out his opponent before pinning him.
Going into the final period, Neubaum was tied with his opponent. He chose to start under his opponent so he had the chance to escape and secure the one point he needed to win the match. Not only did Neubaum escape, but he got the reversal, adding some insurance points. The match ended with Neubaum winning by a score of 7 to 4.
In the second match, the Cougars faced the Magruder Colonels and lost, this time by a score of 54 to 27. Both Bienstock and Neubaum won their second matches of the day along with Kowalski, junior Nelson Reyes and freshmen Connor Tilton.
Reyes ended his match in unusual style with an accidental dislocation of his opponent’s shoulder. The dislocation put the Colonel in too much pain to continue, and he was forced to concede the match to Reyes. This was Reyes’ first varsity win.
“I didn’t mean to dislocate his shoulder,” he said. “It just happened, but I will be happy to take the win.”