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Depth propels Copenhagen to playoff title

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How do you put together a scouting report on the Copenhagen girls basketball team?

Opposing coaches might as well decide who to focus on by playing eeny-meeny-miney-mo, or throwing 10 names in a hat and seeing who comes up.

The top-seeded Golden Knights’ depth and scoring balance were on full display Monday night at Jefferson Community College as they outlasted No. 3 Alexandria for a 48-28 victory in the Frontier League “D” Division championship game.

Copenhagen improved to 14-3 and increased its winning streak to nine games as it prepares to enter the Section 3 playoffs. It hasn’t played in a game decided by single digits in more than a month.

Seniors Cassidy O’Donnell and Logan Wheeler scored nine points apiece to lead Copenhagen, which last won the playoff title in 2011.

Miranda Allen, Erika Eddy and Brianna Muncy added six points apiece.

“I remember some previous years when we’ve had the star, and then the star goes out or gets a box-and-1 (defense) played on them and gets shut down, then the whole team shuts down,” Copenhagen coach Natalie Scott said. “Here, who are you going to play that’s going to stop this team in that fashion? Any of these 10 girls can be the high scorer on any given night.”

Each team played fast and physical in a close first half. The game was tied at 12 after the first quarter and the Golden Knights led by two at halftime.

Then, Copenhagen’s depth started to show as it slowly pulled away, outscoring Alexandria 28-10 in the second half overall and 15-3 in the fourth quarter.

“They’re a good team and they played well.” Alexandria coach Dave Hollis said. “We played with them for the first half, but we just ran out of gas.”

Copenhagen was able to play pressure defense to the final buzzer, playing tight on the ball handler as soon as they crossed half court. They held the Purple Ghosts to just 2 of 17 shooting in the second half.

“We definitely stepped up our defense in the second half, and our offense just came from that,” O’Donnell said.

Overall, Copenhagen received 20 points from its bench while Alexandria’s bench provided a point on a total of five shot attempts.

“I don’t lose a level of intensity or a level of skill interchanging five for five,” Scott said. “On a court like this, when they don’t have the subs, eventually you wear them down a little bit, and I think that was the key.”

Copenhagen has had seven different players lead them in scoring this season, and its top eight scorers average between three and nine points per game.

“If somebody’s not on one night, it’s definitely good to have so many others that can pick up the slack,” Wheeler said.

The Golden Knights were able to avenge their only divisional loss, which came to Alexandria on Dec. 12.

Lorraine Beard and Rachael Calhoun scored 10 and seven points, respectively, to lead Alexandria (9-9).

Sectional pairings will be released on Wednesday. Scott believes her team is likely to receive the third seed in Class D, behind New York Mills (17-0) and Oriskany (15-3).

Alexandria, which has lost five of its last six games, is expected to be seeded somewhere in the middle of the pack.


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