MORTON'S GAP - The summer basketball road took the Cougars to Hopkins County Central High School on Thursday, where the varsity took two games and the JV followed suit.
The Cougar varsity beat Carlisle County 32-28 despite shooting just 22 percent for the game. They then trounced Livingston Central 60-41 while using mainly JV players in the second half.
The JV squad beat the host Hopkins Central team 46-40 in the first game of the day, then beat Carlisle County 23-12.
VARSITY VS CARLISLE COUNTY
The basket seemed to have a lid on it for the Cougars who finished the game 10-of-46 for 22 percent.
Sean Embry started the game by hitting a three-pointer and he scored seven of his game-high 15 points in the first quarter as the Cougars took a 10-8 lead.
Grayson County was just 1-of-11 in the second quarter and scored just three points to trail 16-13 at the half.
An Embry free throw at the 3:25 mark put Grayson County in front 18-17, but the Comets scored the last four points to lead 21-18 heading into the fourth quarter.
Grayson County opened the final period with a 9-3 run that gave them a 27-24 lead at the 5:00 mark, but Carlisle scored four straight to go up by one, 28-27 with 4:01 left to play.
Those would be the last points they got the rest of the way, though. Embry scored on a layup with 1:00 left, then, following a Carlisle turnover, he hit two free throws to give the Cougars a three-point lead. He closed out the scoring with 13 seconds left by hitting one of two at the line.
Embry added five rebounds and two steals to his fine night's work. Johnston finished with nine points and had four boards and an assist.
Josh Smith scored four points and led the team in rebounding with seven, while Tim Yochim scored three points and added four boards. Kyle Skaggs had one point to round out the scoring, and added four rebounds, two assists and three steals.
This was never a contest as the Cougars scored the first 14 points of the game then put it in cruise control, bringing in the JV players to get some valuable varsity experience.
The Cougars led 16-3 at the end of the first period and 36-16 at the half. The Cardinals outscored the Cougars 25-24 in the second half, but it was too little to late by that time.
Ten players made it into the scoring column for Grayson County, led by incoming freshman Tyler Saltsman who was the only player in double figures with 11 points. Embry finished with nine points, while Drew McMonigal had eight points and three rebounds.
Skaggs, Jordan Mudd and Cody Mattingly all finished with seven points, with Mudd having four rebounds and Mattingly pulling down three boards and recording two assists. Skaggs finished with three boards, a steal and an assist.
Bryant Clemons had five points, while Smith had three points and five rebounds. Johnston finished with just two points, but added six boards and two assists. Yochim scored one point to complete the scoring.
JV VS HOPKINS COUNTY CENTRAL
This game was played in halves, with the first half having 12 minutes with a continuous clock and the second half being a continuous clock of 20 minutes.
The game was closely contested from the beginning. The Cougars grabbed an early lead and held it to the end of the half. Leading 12-10 with 1:08 left in the half, the Cougars got a three pointer from eighth-grader Hunter Gary with 41.8 seconds left, then got another from McMonigal at the buzzer to take an eight-point, 18-10 lead into the halftime intermission.
The Storm came out hot at the start of the half, scoring eight straight to tie the game at the 17:00 mark. They held five-point leads twice, and expanded it to six, 34-28 with 5:45 left to play before the Cougars began making a comeback.
Mattingly hit a rebound jumper at the 5:20 mark, then fed Clemons for a layup at 3:49 to cut the lead to two. Saltsman then buried a three at the 2:59 mark and the Cougars went back on top. Central scored a bucket, but Mattingly scored back-to-back baskets and Wes Smith hit a layup to complete a 13-2 run that put the Cougars in charge 41-36 with just under two minutes left in the game. Grayson County then hit five of eight free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.
Bennett Skaggs led the Cougar scoring attack with nine points, while Saltsman had eight and a team-high nine rebounds. Mattingly also had eight points and added four rebounds and two assists.
Smith and Gary both finished with six points, while Mudd had four. McMonigal had three points and Clemons had two to complete the scoring.
JV VS CARLISLE COUNTY
The time-keepers got their act together in this game, giving the team two 12-minute halves. Grayson County scored the first seven points of the game and never trailed against the Comets in a low scoring affair. They led 9-4 at the half.
Saltsman scored seven of his game-high 11 points in the second half. He also led the Cougars in rebounding, pulling down five boards. Mattingly had five points, Wes Smith had three, and Yochim and Bennett Skaggs had two each to round out the Cougar scoring.