The middle school boys basketball teams took their act on the road Thursday night at Hancock County and returned home with rave reviews after taking both games in Hawesville.
In the opener, the seventh-grade Cougars got 13-point performances from Josh Embry and Caleb Ray as they overcame a 10-point, second period deficit to win going away, 40-32, and move to 7-2 for the season.
Trey Goff scored 19 points and the eighth-grade Cougars led from start to finish as they improved to 6-4 for the year following their 51-30 win.
Goff opened the scoring with a lay-in at the 5:32 mark, and Beau Dennis followed with a three at 5:15 to give the Cougars a 5-0 lead, and they would never trail afterward. Grayson County led by seven points, 13-6 heading into the second period. Goff had 10 of his 19 points in the first period.
Hancock County opened the second quarter on an 8-2 run to pull to within a point of the lead, 15-14 with 1:52 left in the first half.
Dustin Woosley broke the Cougar scoring drought with a lay-in with 1:40 left, and following a Hancock free throw, Goff closed out the scoring with another lay-in with 1:20 remaining and the Cougars led by four, 19-15 at the half.
Hancock’s J. T. Bell opened the third quarter scoring at the 5:14 mark to make it a two-point game, 19-17. Grayson County then blitzed Hancock 15-3 the rest of the period to expand their lead to 14 points, 34-20 heading into the final period of play.
The Cougars scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to open up a 21-point lead, 41-20 with 4:42 left to play and they cruised the rest of the way for the win.
Bell led Hancock County with 11 points. In addition to his 19 points, Goff added five rebounds and four steals.
Conner Schultz scored eight points for the Cougars and led the team with four assists and five steals. Hunter Shiarella had seven points, three rebounds, and three assists, while Dennis had five points, four rebounds, and three steals.
Gerritt Dennison had four points and four players, Woosley, Hunter Young, Cole Smith and Austin Basham, had two points each to complete the scoring. In addition, Woosley shared the team lead in rebounds with five.
The Cougars scored the first four points of the game, only to see Hancock score six straight to lead 6-4 with 35 seconds left in the first period. Spencer Sharp hit 1-of-2 at the line to make it 6-5 heading into the second quarter.
Hancock’s Logan Boling opened the second-quarter scoring with a three-pointer and Jacob White followed with a lay-in at 5:25 and Hancock led by six points, 11-5.
Ray buried his first three at the 4:44 mark to make it 11-8, but Hancock scored seven unanswered points to lead by 10 points, 18-8 with 2:38 left in the first half.
Rylee Shoemaker ended the Hancock run with a basket at the 2:24 mark to cut the lead back to eight points, but White scored again with 2:12 left to push it back to 10 points, 20-10.
Bryson Lowe then closed out the first-half scoring by hitting 1-of-2 at the line, and the Cougars trailed by nine points, 20-11 at the half.
Embry and Ray then took over for the Cougars in the second half. Embry had nine of his 13 points in the third quarter as the Cougars pulled back to within three points of the lead, 27-24 as the fourth quarter started. A 10-footer from Ethan Hayse with 30 seconds left in the period made it a one-point game, 25-24, but White scored on a lay-up with 19 second left to push it back to three as the period ended.
Eight unanswered Cougar points, an Embry lay-in and back-to-back threes from Ray, put the Cougars in front 32-27 and they would never trail again.
Jaxson Gray hit a three with 4:09 left to end the Grayson County run to make it a two-point game, 32-30, but they would never be closer. The Cougars closed out the game on an 8-2 run to win going away.
White led all scorers in the game with 19 points for Hancock. Embry had all of his 13 points in the second half, while Ray scored 10 of his in the second half to spearhead the Cougar comeback.
Hayse finished the night with eight points, while Shoemaker and Jackson Parker had two apiece. Shoemaker also led the team on the boards with five rebounds. Lowe and Sharp had a point apiece to complete the Cougar scoring.