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Basketball: Cowherd's 23 points lift Denmark past Blessed Trinity
Robert Cowherd
Denmark sophomore Robert Cowherd puts up a shot Thursday during the Danes' 64-49 win against Blessed Trinity. - photo by David Roberts

The second half belonged to Denmark. Robert Cowherd made sure of it. 

His slam in the opening seconds of the third quarter set the tone for the second half, and his 3-pointer at the end of the period gave the Danes a 44-31 lead, signaling to Blessed Trinity that there would be no comeback. 

Denmark (7-1, 2-0 Region 7-4A) topped the Titans 64-49 Thursday night behind Cowherd's 23 points, 16 of which came after halftime.

"He's got a natural ability to score the basketball. He can score with the best of them," Denmark basketball coach Tyler Whitlock said. "You saw he can hit really tough shots that you don't really allow most players to take, and we trust him and have confidence in him to be able to hit those shots."

Denmark struggled to find continuity in the first half against Blessed Trinity, shooting just 26 percent from the field. 

Ze'Vian Capers
Denmark senior Ze/Vian Capers, right, dribbles around a Blessed Trinity defender Thursday during the Danes' 64-49 win. - photo by David Roberts
Still, the Danes carried a 25-19 lead into the break, thanks in part to an 11-0 run near the end of the first quarter, which was capped by a Ze'Vian Capers bucket. 

Denmark's defense forced Blessed Trinity to the perimeter, where the Titans remarkably hit 10 3-pointers.

Overall, Blessed Trinity hit just four shots from the field inside of the arc. The Titans scored 30 points off of 3-pointers and the rest came from the free-throw line. 

"Defensively, we were locked in. I was very proud of how we played defensively," Whitlock said. "There's a few possessions where we just kind of lost focus and gave up a few easy shots, but I think for the most part we were very sound, especially in the first half with how hard we were crashing the boards. I was very proud of that"

Sutton Smith
Denmark junior Sutton Smith dishes a pass Thursday during the Danes' 64-49 win against Blessed Trinity. - photo by David Roberts
Junior Sutton Smith scored 15 points for the Danes, including a timely 3-pointer and a smooth reverse layup in the second half. 

Senior Adonnis Tolbert added nine points and three boards, plus an emphatic block in front of Denmark's raucous student section.

Cowherd helped on the glass, too, chipping in seven rebounds.

"I think what he's starting to realize is that when he gets after it on the other end of the floor, he really gets his motor going on the offensive end, which he's just able to compete," Whitlock said. "The thing I was happiest about with him was how hard he was crashing the boards tonight." 

Cowherd generated three points all on his own in the fourth quarter when he stole the ball, traveled the length of the court and was fouled as his layup dropped through the net. Cowherd hit the free throw to complete the three-point play.

Denmark's offense was at its best Thursday when the Danes were in transition, pushing the ball up the court. That's by design, Whitlock said, and maintaining that rhythm will be paramount this season.

"Our offense has got to come without us thinking," Whitlock said. "Sometimes we start walking the ball up and we get stagnant. When we start thinking, shots stop falling, you stop playing as hard and there's just no rhythm to it. So, in the second half we really talked about pushing out in transition and getting easy opportunities, which we did. I think that gave us a little more confidence to hit some of those tougher shots."

Denmark will host Cherokee at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the Cherokee Forsyth Classic.