Playing on the road in their season-opener, the Lady Cougar varsity gave up a 21-point half-time lead, but managed to hold on to record a 67-60 win over McLean County Monday night in Calhoun.
Sophomore Maddie Stewart led all scorers in the game with 18 points, and senior Cassidy Swift had probably the best game of her career, recording a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Grayson County led by 21 points, 42-21 at the half, but scored just five points in the third quarter as the home team came roaring back. McLean cut the lead to just three points at the end of the third quarter, then took a brief lead in the fourth quarter before the Lady Cougars took back control.
After McLean took the fourth-quarter lead, the Lady Cougars responded with nine unanswered points. They hit 18-of-26 at the free throw line during the game, but hit 12-of-14 in the last 2:23 to ice the game.
McLean County started out hot, scoring the first seven points of the game, but the Lady Cougars responded by scoring 14 straight to lead 14-7 with 1:19 left in the first period.
McLean then outscored the Lady Cougars 7-2 to trail by just two points, 16-14 heading into the second period.
The Lady Cougars began to tear it up in the second period. Swift hit a pair of threes, and Stewart scored eight points in the period as Grayson County built a big lead. After McLean had pulled to within a point of the lead, 19-18 at the 6:02 mark, the Lady Cougars went on an 11-1 run to lead 30-19 with 4:48 left.
Brooke Kassinger scored on a rebound basket to stop the Grayson County run with 4:03 left to play, but the Lady Cougars closed out the half with 12 unanswered points to take the 21-point half-time lead, 42-21.
Back-to-back three pointers by McLean’s Maddie Crumbaker keyed a 10-0 McLean County run at the start of the third quarter to make it 42-31 at the 5:39 mark.
Stewart stopped the run with with a six-footer at the 5:09 mark. She later hit 1-of-2 at the line to make it 47-35 with 2:53 left, but the Lady Cougars would not score again in the period. McLean County scored the last nine points of the period and trailed by just three, 47-41 heading into the final period of play.
McLean opened the fourth quarter on a 5-1 run to take their first lead since the first quarter, 49-48 with 5:58 left to play. The Lady Cougars then scored nine straight to take back control of the game, 57-49 with 2:23 remaining, and hit their free throws down the stretch to win the first game of the season.
Katie Dickerson led McLean County with 15 points. In addition to her 18 points, Stewart added eight rebounds and four steals. Junior Kaylan Shull and freshman Sarah Pierce both scored nine points for the Lady Cougars.
Freshman Jodi Decker scored eight points, while senior Breanna Fulkerson had five, all at the line in the fourth quarter. Eighth-grader Grace White scored four points off the bench, and added five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Katie Beeler closed out the scoring with two points.