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South Salt Lake Journal

Battling Cottonwood girls basketball team struggles through first season under new coach

Feb 05, 2020 01:38PM ● By Brian Shaw

Meghan Nelson puts away a free throw during a closely fought game at Murray. (City Journals)

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

If anyone thought that the Cottonwood girls basketball team would give up when their longtime head coach stepped down after nine seasons at the helm, they would have been dead wrong. 

The natural reaction for any team losing their head coach would be one of regret. But, under new head coach Natalie Wonnacott — who was Janae Hirschi's top assistant for several years at Cottonwood — the Colts aren't laying down for anyone this preseason. 

Cottonwood opened the season at home against Cyprus and wasted no time getting started, roaring out to a 13-5 lead. The visiting Pirates would trim the lead to four at the half — an advantage the home-team Colts would extend to eight after three periods. 

Cyprus would outscore Cottonwood 12-4 in the fourth quarter to send the game into an overtime period — one in which the Colts couldn't score in a heartbreaking 45-43 loss. 

The aftereffects of that devastating loss were felt in Cottonwood's next two games, as it struggled to get above the 30-point barrier or hold Orem or West Jordan under 50 points in consecutive losses. 

Back at home on Dec. 10, Cottonwood hosted Kearns. Despite getting out to another slow start and falling behind 30-12 at halftime, the Colts showed improvement in the third quarter, winning that quarter 15-13 before losing the game, 60-43. 

Another cold-shooting first half hurt Cottonwood on Dec. 12 at Alta, who flew out to a 28-14 first half advantage and held the Colts to under 30 points, giving Cottonwood its fifth loss in five games. 

The Colts would wrap up the preseason just before the holiday break on Dec. 16 at Summit Academy. Cottonwood fought back from a 12-4 first quarter deficit to trail only by 32-28 going into the fourth quarter. 

But, Summit Academy would hit its free throws down the stretch, handing the Colts at 0-6 overall another loss — this one a 44-36 decision.

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