Hosting a long day of basketball scrimmage games on Saturday, the Cougars showed this season will be one of fast-paced, end-to-end action under new head coach Caleb Smith as they faced off against first, the Greenwood Gators, then the McLean County Cougars.
The two games were played with two different formats. In the opener against the Gators, the teams played four, eight-minute quarters, like a regular game. Against McLean County, the game was played in two, 20-minute halves, with a continuously-running clock until under a minute to play.
In the first game, Grayson County got a huge, double-double effort from senior post-man Ethan Saltsman, who finished with 25 points and 15 rebounds. The score was erased after each quarter, but the Cougars won three of the four periods and overall outpointed the Gators 57-48.
In the second game, the Cougars trailed by as many as eight points in the first half before coming back to take the first half by a point, 25-24. They then whipped McLean 19-10 in the second half to finish with an overall 10-point advantage, 44-34.
The Cougars never trailed in the first period as they rode the hot shooting of senior Rance Whobrey to a 17-13 advantage. Whobrey hit three three-pointers in the first quarter to lead the charge. Sophomore Talon Gary also hit a three in the period.
In the second quarter, Saltsman took control of the game. He scored 11 of the last 13 Cougar points of the period and scored 14 overall.
Five straight Gator points gave them a three-point lead, 8-5 with 4:29 left in the period. That’s when Saltsman took off, outscoring the Gators 11-4 himself to give the Cougars a four-point advantage, 16-12 with 2:14 left to play.
Sophomore Wyatt Skaggs hit a pair of free throws with 1:48 remaining and the Cougars took the second quarter 18-12.
A 9-0 Gator run in the third quarter catapulted Greenwood to a seven-point advantage, 13-6 with 3:07 left in the period, but the Cougars were able to close back to within three points, 15-12 at the end of the period, and still led overall, 47-40.
In the final period, the Cougars raced out to a 10-2 lead with 3:42 left, then had to hold off the Gators as they scored the final six points of the period to make it close at 10-8.
Dylan Dewitt led the Gators with 13 points.
Whobrey finished the game with nine points and added four rebounds and two assists. Sophomore Logan Ramsey hit a pair of threes and finished with eight points. Ramsey also added three boards.
Senior Braxton Williams, one of several Cougars just recently out off of the football team, scored seven points and led the team with four steals. Gary finished with three points, and three players, Skaggs, freshman Tanner Tyra, and junior Bret Johnston all had two points. Johnston led the Cougars with five assists.
Grayson County missed its first three shots of the game and quickly fell behind 5-0 with 16:09 left in the first half. The Cougars then closed out the half by hitting their last 10 of-14 shots to overtake McLean.
McLean County led by eight points four times in the first half, the last time coming at 19-11 with 5:33 left to play. The Cougars then outscored the visitors 14-5 to take the first half 25-24.
Ramsey hit a pair of threes in the final five minutes and finished the half with eight points. Sophomore Lane Rackley had a good half also, scoring six points off the bench.
McLean County took an early 4-1 lead in the second half, but seven straight Cougar points saw them take an 8-4 lead at the 13:00 mark.
A 15-footer from McLean’s Jon Igleheart at the 7:14 mark brought his team to within three points, 12-9, but the Cougars closed out the game with a 7-1 run to win going away.
Junior guard Jacob Revlett led McLean County with 14 points.
Gary led the Cougars in scoring and rebounding, finishing with 11 points and six boards. Ramsey joined him in double figures with 10 points. Rackley finished his tour of duty with eight points and added three rebounds.
Williams had five points and Saltsman had four. Whobrey scored three points, Johnston had two and Tyra closed out the scoring with one point. Johnston also led the team with four assists.