A 13-0 Butler County run, which started at the end of the third quarter and was completed in the fourth, broke open a tight game last Friday and propelled the Bears to a 75-68 win over the visiting Grayson County Cougars.
Through the first three periods of play there were four ties and nine lead changes before the Bears began to pull away late in the game.
Butler County (9-4) raced out to a 9-2 lead in the first period, but the Cougars (3-11) pulled back to within a point of the lead, 12-11, on a lay-in by Cole Akridge at the 1:33 mark. The Bears closed out the period by scoring the last four points to lead 16-11 heading into the second period.
A three-pointer by Talon Gary at the 4:23 mark of the second period tied the score 22-22 before a lay-up by Alex Shellhart with 3:53 left gave the Cougars their first lead, 24-22. A rebound basket by Shellhart at the 2:05 mark gave the Cougars their largest lead of the night, five points at 32-27. Grayson County led by one, 32-31 at the end of the first half.
Seven straight lead changes led off a torrid third quarter. The Bears later took a five-point lead, 45-40 following a Zeke Woodcock three-pointer at the 2:25 mark. The Cougars then scored six straight, capped off by a Gary lay-in, to take a 46-45 lead with 1:25 left in the period. That would be the Cougars last lead of the game.
The Bears closed out the quarter by scoring the last seven points to lead 52-46 at the start of the fourth quarter. They then scored the first six points of the fourth period to take a 12-point lead, 58-46 with 5:28 left in the game.
A three-pointer from Gary and two free throws from Akridge brought the Cougars to within six, 61-55 with 2:49 remaining, then a three from Zac Williams cut it to five, 63-58 with 2:15 remaining.
The Cougars cut the lead to four points twice, the last time coming at 66-62 on a Gary lay-in with 1:32 left to play, but that would be as close as the Cougars would get.
The Bears pushed their lead back up to 10 points, 75-65 with 13 seconds left before a Gary three with six seconds left made the final margin seven points.
The Bears put three players into double figures. Zack Burden led all scorers with 31 points, while Woodcock had 13 and Caleb Deweese had 11.
Gary led the Cougars with 24 points and added six rebounds. Akridge finished with 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds. He also added three assists.
Shellhart and Williams both finished with eight points with Shellhart claiming six rebounds. Colton Williams scored five points, Bret Johnston had four, and Tanner Tyra and Gage Akridge had two apiece to complete the scoring.