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Titans fall to Cooper in state quarterfinals

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Jaguars hold Titans to just 22 percent shooting from field

By Brian Stone

Sometimes, it just isn’t your night.

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The Collins boys’ basketball team experienced that firsthand on Friday evening, falling in the KHSAA Sweet 16 quarterfinals to Cooper, 58-33.

The Jaguars dominated the game thoroughly from the opening tip to the final buzzer. Cooper jumped out to a 17-4 lead after one quarter of play, holding Collins to just 1-8 shooting as a team in the opening frame.

From there, Cooper never looked back, holding the Titans to just 23 percent shooting for the entire game and 17 percent from behind three-point range.

“Offensively, they are really, really hard to guard,” Titans coach Chris Gaither said. “[Cooper] has developed a dominating on defense mentality over the past couple years, and they guard you really well.”

One of the Jaguars’ keys to victory was cleaning the glass at every turn and preventing senior forwards Charlie Cochran and Dominique Turner from second-chance opportunities.

As a team, Collins pulled down just nine offensive rebounds. Coupled with a cold shooting night thanks to stellar defense by the Jaguars, and the Titans never seemed to get its footing on either end of the floor.

Cooper finished with two players, Sean McNeil and Adam Kunkel, combining to score 35 of the team’s 58 points on the night.

The Titans had just one player, Turner, finish the game in double-digit scoring figures. The senior scored 10 points and pulled down four rebounds.

Collins’ other senior forward, Cochran, ended his night second in rebounding with seven, but scored just one point in 16 minutes of action.

“I’m proud of our guys, we fought through tremendous adversity this year, we’ve battled through injuries,” Gaither said. “We got here when not a lot of people would think we would get here.”

Freshman point guard Dayvion McKnight scored six points and grabbed three boards before exiting in the third quarter due to a facial injury.

With the loss, Collins’ season ends at a mark of 24-13.