In 64 minutes of up-and-down action that was as hot as the overheated gym in Brownsville, the Cougars and Lady Cougars both returned home with wins in the boy/girl doubleheader played last Friday at Edmonson County.
Sophomore Maddie Stewart scored 30 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, and junior Kaylan Shull had 15 points and nine rebounds as the Lady Cougars won the opener 71-62.
After sitting out nearly the entire first half with foul trouble, senior Ethan Saltsman came back in the second half to score 16 of his 18 points and the Cougars took home a 78-71 win.
When the Lady Cats opened the game by scoring seven straight points, five of them by senior Hannah Ruth Clemmons, the Edmonson County crown was going wild.
Stewart stopped the run with a six-foot jumper at the 5:08 mark, then added a pair of free throws with 4:19 left in the period. Shull then hit a three-pointer at the 4:12 mark and suddenly it was a tie game and the Grayson County fans were going mad.
Ariel Hodge scored for the LadyCats to stop the run at the 3:16 mark, but the Lady Cougars scored the next eight straight to complete a 15-2 run that saw them take a 15-9 lead with 1:19 left to play. Stewart scored 10 and Shull had the other five in the run.
But the Lady Cats went on a run of their own, scoring the last six points of the period to tie the game 15-15 at the start of the second period.
A Hodge lay-up at the 6:09 mark gave the LadyCats a brief lead, 21-20. The score was tied twice over the next minute of play, the final time coming at 25-25 with 4:51 left in the first half.
Stewart then hit a pair of free throws before back-to-back 10-footers by Shull and Stewart put the Lady Cougars up 31-25 with 3:13 left.
Ceirra Whitman scored for Edmonson to break the Lady Cougar run, but a three-pointer by senior Cassidy Swift and a six-footer by Stewart gave the Lady Cougars their largest lead of the first half, 36-29 with 32 seconds left. Madison Rich then closed out the first half scoring with two free throws with 3.7 seconds left to make it a five-point margin, 36-31 at the half.
Edmonson’s Hollie Glenn hit back-to-back baskets, the first one a three-pointer, to tie the game once more, 40-40 with 5:16 left in the third quarter. Freshman Jodi Decker answered with a lay-up at the 5:03 mark, then f4reshnman Sarah Pierce buried a three with 4:00 left, and followed that up with a 15-footer to put the Lady Cougar back up by seven again, 47-40.
Back-to-back baskets by Stewart and Swift gave the Lady Cougars their largest lead to that point, eight points at 51-43 with 1:12 left, but at the end of the period, the Lady Cats had cut it in half and trailed by just four, 51-47.
Junior Katie Hayes opened the fourth quarter with a pair of free throws at the 7:22 mark, then hit a three-pointer at 7:01 to give the Lady Cougars a nine-point advantage, 56-47.
Paige Carnes scored on a rebound basket at the 5:54 mark to make it a seven-point game, but Stewart and Hayes scored back-to-back to give the Lady Cougars their largest lead of the night, 11 points at 60-49 with 5:23 left to play.
Edmonson County pulled to within five of the lead twice in the closing minutes, the last time coming at 62-57 with 3:02 remaining, but they would get no closer. Six straight Grayson County points pushed the lead back up to 11 points and the Lady Cats were never closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Rich led the Lady Cats with 20 points and Glenn added 10.
In addition to their points and rebounds, Stewart added three assists and five steals, while Shull led the team with six assists and added four steals.
Pierce finished the night with nine points and added three assists and five steals. Hayes closed out the night with eight points, and Grace White had four. White also pulled down five rebounds. Swift finished with three points, and Jodi Decker had two to complete the scoring.
The Cougars put 11 different players into the scoring column, three of those reaching double figures, as the Cougars fought off an early deficit, then took command in the third quarter.
Saltsman hit the first basket for the Cougars, but was on the floor for less than two minutes when he was whistled for his second foul. He went out at the 6:06 mark and did not return until the start of the third quarter.
Senior Braxton Williams was tagged with his second personal at the 4:16 mark and he too went to the bench.
That allowed the Wildcats to take an early lead. Chase Blanton’s three-pointer with 2:47 left in the first period saw the Wildcats go up by six, 14-8, but the Cougars were able to pull to within a point of the lead, 18-17 at the start of the second quarter.
Another Blanton three at the 6:17 mark gave Edmonson another six-point lead, 25-19, but the Cougars responded with six straight to tie the score 25-25 with 4:29 left in the half.
The Wildcats led by two, 30-28 at the 2:26 mark, when the Cougars made a move to grab the lead. Rance Whobrey tied it with a lay-up at the 2:07 mark, then Dustin Crain put them ahead with 1-of-2 at the line with 1:40 left. Crain then scored with 25 seconds left to make it a three-point advantage, 33-30.
Edmonson’s Cole Bedwell closed out the first-half scoring with two free throws with 11 seconds remaining to make it a one-point game, 33-32 at the half.
There were four lead changes at the start of the second half, and two ties as well, when the Cougars made a move and took the lead for good. Tied at 46-46, Whobrey ignited a 7-0 Cougar run with a three-pointer with 2:42 left.
The Wildcats pulled back to within three points, 53-50 with 54 seconds left, but Whobrey and Talon Gary hit back-to-back threes closing out the period and suddenly the Cougars were up by nine, 59-50 heading into the fourth quarter.
Another Gary three with 7:02 left saw the Cougars take their largest lead of the night, 11 points at 64-53, but the Wildcats would not go away. They closed the gap to seven points three times in the closing moments, the last time coming at 76-69 with 39 seconds remaining, but they would get no closer.
The Wildcats put four players into double figures, led by Blanton and Bedwell with 12 each. Jacob Thien and Michael Poteet had 11 apiece.
Whobrey hit four three-pointers on the night and tied with Saltsman for high-point honors with 18 points. He also led the Cougars on the boards with five rebounds. Gary also hit four threes and finished with 17 points.
Crain had his best game of the season with five points, while Williams and Lane Decker had four each. Three players, Wyatt Skaggs, Bret Johnston and Lane Rackley had three points apiece, while Tanner Tyra had two. Logan Ramsey closed out the Cougar scoring with one point.