The Lady Cougar varsity completed their long climb back above the .500 mark Thursday night at Cougar Gym with a 56-41 victory over the visiting South Warren Spartans.
In JV action, the Lady Cougars improved to 5-1 on the season with an impressive 41-36 victory over the previously undefeated Spartans.
This was a see-saw game from the start and was really much closer than the final score might indicate.
Grayson County(10-9) led by as many as seven points in the first quarter, only to see the Spartans (5-11) rally back to within a point at the end of the period. The Lady Cougars then grabbed a 10 point lead in the second quarter, but they wound up giving up that lead and found themselves trailing at the half.
The Lady Cougars again hurt themselves with turnovers. They had 17 turnovers in the first half, which the Spartans converted into 14 points. They did a little better in the second half, turning it over 11 times, but the Spartans could only turn those into two points.
But this time, the poor ball-handling wasn’t just one-sided. The Spartans turned the ball over themselves 25 times in the game and the Lady Cougars were able to turn them into 22 points. The Lady Cougars had eight steals on the night.
South Warren hurt themselves at the free-throw line, hitting just 11-of-20, for 55 percent. The Lady Cougars shot an excellent 83 percent on 10-of-12 at the line.
Grayson County took an early 8-2 lead, and led by seven points, 12-5 following a Maddie Stewart lay-in at the 3:27 mark of the first period. But the Spartans closed out the opening period with an 8-2 run to close to within a point of the lead, 14-13 at the end of the period.
Rachel Garden scored for the Spartans opening the second period to give her team its first lead of the night, 15-14 at the 7:25 mark. The Lady Cougars then went on a 11-0 run to go up by 10 points, 25-15 with 4:15 left in the first half. The Lady Cougars got three-pointers from Sloane Embry, Grace White and Kaylan Shull during the run.
Grayson County then went through a bad stretch as they turned the ball over six times in the last four minutes, allowing South Warren to go on a 15-2 run to take a three-point lead, 30-27 at the half.
An 11-0 Lady Cougar run at the start of the third quarter saw them take an eight-point lead, 38-30 at the 4:31 mark. Shull had a three pointer during the run, and also had two free throws as a result of a technical foul on the South Warren bench. The Lady Cougars led by six points, 42-36 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Cougars were able to hold onto their lead and began to expand it in the last three minutes. After the Spartans had pulled to within seven points, 46-39 with 2:48 remaining, the Lady Cougars outscored the visitors 10-2 the rest of the way. They were a perfect 6-for-6 at the free-throw line in the last 1:41.
The Lady Cougars put three players into double figures, led by Shull’s 16 points. White finished with 13 points and Stewart had 10. Stewart led the team on the boards with nine rebounds, while Shull had six.
Senior Breanna Fulkerson scored eight points and added three rebounds. Sophomore Sloane Embry got a rare varsity start and did herself proud, scoring seven points and adding three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Jodi Decker closed out the scoring with two points. Senior Cassidy Swift did not score, but she pulled down five rebounds.
The JV Spartans came into this game with an unblemished 8-0 record, but never led in this game. The Lady Cougars scored the first four points and held the lead the rest of the way. Grayson County led by as many as 11 points, but South Warren closed to within four points in the closing moments, but could get no closer.
South Warren got to within a point of the lead three times in the first period and trailed by one, 11-10 at the end of the first period. A 7-2 run at the start of the second quarter, including an Embry three-pointer, increased the Lady Cougar lead to six points, 18-12 at the 3:13 mark.
The Spartans pulled back to within two points, 18-16 with 2:51 left, but the Lady Cougars closed out the half by scoring five unanswered points to lead by seven, 23-16 at the half.
A Katie Hayes 15-footer and two White free throws opening the third quarter gave the Lady Cougars their largest lead of the night, 11 points at 27-16. They led by seven, 31-24 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Abby Cassady’s lay-in with 35 seconds left brought the Spartans to within four points, 40-36, but they would not score again.
Cassady led her team with 10 points. No one for the Lady Cougars reached double figures, but 10 Lady Cougars cracked the scoring column.
Hayes led the way with nine points and she added seven rebounds. Embry scored eight points and led the team with three assists. White had seven points and seven rebounds. Decker and Cortney Tomes both scored four points.
Four players, Jessica Johnson, Kiara Brooks, Allie Horton and Hannah Salsman scored two points each, and Johnson led the team on the boards with nine rebounds. Raven Shelton completed the Lady Cougar scoring with one point.