HARNED - After playing right with the high-powered Breckinridge County Tigers in the first half, the Cougar varsity gave up a 16-0 third quarter run that took them completely out of the game and sent them to a 56-38 defeat.
The Cougars (13-8) came into the game off a tough, one-point, overtime loss to Muhlenberg North in which they played extremely well. Grayson County hoping to avenge an earlier 73-59 loss on their home floor back in December, and for the first two quarters they kept that goal alive.
After falling behind 4-0 in the first minute and a half of play, the Cougars came back to pull to within 9-7 with 2:19 left in the first quarter. Neither team could find the basket the rest of the period, with the Tigers missing a flurry of shots before the buzzer.
A Jared Clemons jumper at the start of the second period tied things at 9-9, then a Travis Johnston runner at the 6:11 mark gave the Cougars their first and only lead of the game, 13-12. The Tigers' Jon Michael Fletcher scored on a put-back basket at 5:46 to put Breck back in front and they never trailed again.
Fletcher scored again with 1:09 to give his team a seven point lead, 24-17, but the Cougars scored the last three points of the half to make it a four-point game. Sean Embry hit the first of two free throws with 40 seconds left, but missed the second. Grayson County grabbed the rebound and Lance Boone scored off a Johnston pass to make it 24-20 heading into the intermission.
The Cougars came up empty on their first three possessions of the second half and the Tigers scored four baskets to go up by 12, forcing Head Coach Todd Johnston to call a timeout to try to restore order to his team.
The Cougars then turned the ball over three straight times leading to three more layup baskets to make it 38-20 with 4:15 left in the period, and Johnston called another timeout. It didn't change things much, as the Cougars missed their next shot and Fletcher hit a 15-footer at the other end to give the Tigers 16 straight points and a 20-point lead, 40-20 with 3:32 left in the period.
Boone hit a 15-footer to end the Tiger run, but the damage had already been done. Grayson County outscored the Tigers 10-4 over the last 3:13 of the period, but they still trailed by 14 points, 44-30 heading into the fourth quarter.
Twice in the fourth period the Cougars closed to within 10 points of the lead, the last time coming with 4:26 left to play when a Clemons layup made it 48-38. Those would be the last points the Cougars would score, though, as the Tigers held them off the rest of the way.
The Cougars hopes for the rest of the season received a blow when Travis Johnston had to leave the game with 4:37 left to play after reinjuring an achilles tendon. His status is questionable for at least the next few weeks.
The Tigers placed four players in double figures, led by Fletcher's 18. James Young added 14, while Adam Board had 11 and John Kennedy had 10.
Johnston led the Cougars in scoring with 12 points. Josh Smith finished with seven, while Clemons and Boone had four apiece. Embry, Jon Meredith and Kyle Skaggs, all had three points, and Jordan Drake added two to complete the Cougar scoring.
Grayson County will be on the road this coming Tuesday, February 7, traveling to Hodgenville to take on the Larue County Hawks. The JV contest is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., with the varsity game to follow.