By Don Brown
The Cougar basketball team continued its summer schedule with games on Saturday at Barren County High School.
In the opener, the varsity squad defeated Todd County Central 48-37, but lost to Hart County 47-41 in their final game. The JV squad picked up a lopsided win as they defeated the Franklin-Simpson Wildcats 44-22.
VARSITY vs TODD COUNTY CENTRAL
The Cougars led 10-1 before the Rebels scored their first field goal, but the Rebels fought hard to get back into the game. A lay-up with 5:40 left in the first half cut their deficit to five points, 18-13, then a free throw at the 4:30 mark cut it to four.
The margin was still four points, 21-17 when Bret Johnston buried a three-pointer with 1:13 left to push the lead to seven points, 24-17.
Todd County responded with a three of their own with 32 seconds left to cut it to four once more, but Brett Majors closed out the first-half scoring with another three to make the margin seven points at the break.
The Rebels scored the first four points of the second half to close to within three points, 27-24, but the Cougars responded with a 9-1 run that increased their lead to 11 points, 36-25 at the 16:41 mark.
Todd County got as close as nine points on two occasions , the last time coming at 39-30 with 9:31 left, but they would get no closer.
Grayson County went up by 14 points, 44-30 with 6:35 left on a lay-up by Majors, but the Rebels were able to close to within 11 at the final buzzer.
VARSITY vs HART COUNTY
These were two evenly-matched teams and they played that way throughout most of the game before the Raiders were able to pull away at the end. The lead changed hands eight times in the first half, and there were two ties.
Trailing by one, 11-10 at the 12:56 mark, the Cougars put together a 10-1 run, capped off by a Rance Whobrey three-pointer, to lead by eight points, 20-12. Whobrey, returning to basketball after a two-year absence, hit four three-pointers and had 12 points.
The Raiders responded with a 9-0 run to regain the lead, 21-20 with 3:35 left in the first half. An Ethan Saltsman lay-in with 2:18 left put the Cougars back up by one, but the Raiders hit one-of-two free throws to tie the game 22-22 and that’s the way the half ended.
A three-pointer by Braxton Williams at the 16:21 mark gave the Cougars a four-point lead, 26-22, but The Raiders responded with a 10-1 run to put them up by five points, 32-27 with 12:00 left to play.
The Cougars managed to stay close the rest of the way, but they never caught up completely. Majors hit a running jumper at the 8:04 mark to pull the Cougars to within three points, 35-32, but a Raider three-pointer and an old-fashioned three-point play pushed the lead to nine points, 41-32 with 7:10 left.
The Cougars cut the lead back to four points twice in the last two minutes of the game, but could get no closer.
Saltsman led the Cougars with 16 points and added five rebounds. Whobrey finished with 12 points and also had three boards. Lane Rackley had five points and Williams finished with three. Johnston and Majors both had two points, while Dustin Crain had one to complete the Cougar scoring.
JV vs FRANKLIN-SIMPSON
After opening the game on a 14-2 run, the JV Cougars never trailed. Grayson County still led by 10 points, 18-8, when the Wildcats hit a three-pointer to close out the half and cut their deficit to seven points, 18-11.
A Wildcat jumper with 16:02 left to play cut the lead to four points, 21-17, but the Cougars responded with eight unanswered points. Cole Akridge ended the run with a three-pointer with 10:20 remaining to give the Cougars a 12-point advantage, 29-17.
The Wildcats ended the Cougar run with a basket at the 7:28 mark to make it 29-19, but the Cougars then scored the next nine points, capped off by a Zach Williams three, and Grayson County was cruising with a 19-point lead, 38-19 with 3:19 left in the game.
The Cougars had two players in double figures. Akridge and Alex Shellhart both finished with 10 points to lead the Cougars. Williams had five points, while Gage Akridge, Colton Williams and Josh Willis had three apiece.
Tanner Tyra, Chase Day and Pete Decker all scored two points, and Gage Akridge had one to complete the scoring.