Cougar 7th-graders whip McLean 47-39.

By Don Brown

January 31, 2014

Trailing by one at the half, the seventh-grade Cougars took charge of the game in the second half on their way to a 47-39 victory over McLean County in the opening round of the Green River Valley Conference Tournament Thursday evening at Breckinridge County Middle School.

The Cougars (17-6) had been scheduled to play this game last Saturday afternoon, but when the weather turned wintry, with a good inch or two of snow in the morning, the tournament was pushed back to this week. It will conclude next week.

Spencer Sharp hit a pair of three-pointers and finished with 14 points, all of them coming in the crucial second half, to lead the way for the Cougars.

The game was tied three times in the opening period, the last time coming at 9-9 on a short runner by McLean’s Colton Johnson with 1:07 left in the period.

Isaac Jarboe hit 1-of-2 at the line to break the tie with 42 seconds left before Johnson hit a 15-footer to put McLean (14-7) back on top 11-10. Logan Majors then closed out the first quarter scoring with a 15-footer to give the Cougars a 12-11 lead heading into the second period.

In a low-scoring second quarter, Tyler Williams’ three-pointer with 35 seconds left put the Cougars in front 16-15, but McLean’s Noah Baldwin hit a short jumper with 16 seconds left to give McLean a one-point edge, 17-16 at the half.

McLean’s JaDon Hampton opened the scoring in the third quarter by hitting 1-of-2 at the line to put his team up by two points, but Sharp answered with his first three of the night at the 5:26 mark to put Grayson County up one, 19-18, and they would never trail again.

McLean tied the game one last time, 22-22 following a rebound basket by A. J. Cline, but the Cougars took the lead for good following a Sharp lay-in at the 2:44 mark. Ryan Johnson closed out the scoring in the third period with two free throws with 2:25 left and Grayson County led by four points, 26-22 at the start of the fourth quarter.

Logan Majors hit a three pointer at the 5:32 mark to put the Cougar up by seven 29-22, then Sharp hit his second three at the 3:31 mark and the Cougars were sitting pretty, ahead by 10 points, 32-22.

The game then became a free-throw shooting contest as McLean kept putting the Cougars at the line, hoping to gain an advantage. But Grayson County responded by closing out the final 2:51 of the game hitting 13-of-19 at the line to hold off McLean at the end.

Johnson led all scorers in the game with 16 points, and Cline added 10.

In addition to his 14 points, Sharp added a pair of rebounds and two steals. Josh Embry scored nine points and led the team on the boards with eight rebounds. He also had two assists and a steal.

Majors finished with eight points and had three rebounds. Jarboe finished with six points and five rebounds, Williams had five points, Caleb Ray had three and Johnson finished with two to complete the Cougar scoring.