Playing in the second-round loser’s bracket of the Farmer’s Bank Christmas Tournament at Breckinridge County High School, the Cougars put on a furious, fourth-quarter rally against Campbellsville, but came up a point short, 63-62.
The Eagles (1-5) came into the game with the Cougars (1-6) without a win in the early season, but for three quarters the Cougars made them look like world-beaters. The Eagles led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter, and led by 18 points with under four minutes to play in the fourth quarter before the Cougars began their comeback.
Junior Talon Gary hit four three-pointers in the game, all in the fourth quarter, and finished with a game-high 27 points in a losing effort.
Grayson County got off to a quick start, scoring the first six points of the game. But the Eagles closed out the first quarter with 13 unanswered points and led 13-6 heading into the second period.
The Cougars opened the second period by scoring the first four points to close to within three of the lead, 13-10, but the Eagles responded with an 11-0 run to go up by 14 points, 24-10 at the 4:51 mark. The Eagles led by 15 points, 33-19 at the half.
Grayson County opened the third quarter with six straight points to cut their deficit to nine points, 33-24 with 5:01 left, but an 11-1 Eagle run saw them take a 19-point lead, 44-25 with 3:21 left. Grayson County scored the final four points of the period and trailed by 15 points, 47-32 as the fourth quarter began.
When Austin Hash scored on a lay-up with 3:57 left to play in the game, the Eagles had increased their lead back up to 18 points, 57-39 and it looked to be a foregone conclusion that they would be celebrating a win, but the Cougars had other ideas.
Logan Ramsey’s three-pointer at the 3:28 mark ignited a 14-2 Cougar run that closed the gap to six points, 59-53 with 50.2 seconds left in the game.
Damontez Smith went to the line four times in the next 11 seconds, hitting two to push the lead to eight points, 61-53 with 29.3 second remaining. Gary hit a three with 22 second left to cut it to five, 61-56, but Smith hit two free throws with 20 seconds left to make it seven, 63-56.
Gary hit another three with 12.8 second remaining making it 63-59, before the Eagles called a timeout with 6.6 seconds showing on the clock. That was enough time for the Eagles to miss a shot and allow Gary to drop in one more three at the buzzer to make it a one-point loss.
The Cougars were terrible from the foul line in the game, hitting just 48 percent on 11-of-23 shooting. That included missing the front ends of three bonus situations. When they were trailing by 19 points, that didn’t matter much, but as things turned out, it was crucial in the loss.
The Eagles had two players in double figures, led by Smith, with 18 points, and Tyrion Taylor, who had 11.
In addition to his 27 points, Gary added four rebounds and led the team with four steals. Alex Shellhart scored nine points and added four rebounds. Gage Akridge finished with seven points and led the team on the boards with five rebounds.
Bret Johnston scored six points and led the Cougars with five assists. Cole Akridge scored four points, Ramsey and Tristan Willis both scored three, and Colton Williams added two to complete the scoring.