Putting four players into double figure scoring, the eighth-grade Lady Cougars put a whipping on Breckinridge County 57-42 to win the championship of the Green River Valley Conference Tournament Thursday night at Hancock County.
Grace White, Allie Horton, Shelbi Pendergest and Shannon Smith all scored in double figures for the Lady Cougars to help offset a wonderful, 24-point performance by Lady Tiger point guard, Lily Grimes. In the three previous games between these two, Grimes did not play after breaking a bone in her right foot early in the season.
Grayson County used a 19-0 run from near the end of the first period until just over a minute left in the second quarter to take command of the game.
The Lady Cougars got to the conference final by coming back and downing a game McLean County team 36-25 on Tuesday night
BRECKINRIDGE COUNTY GAME
After Smith opened the scoring for the Lady Cougars with the first of her three three-pointers on the night, Breck scored the next six points and held the lead until the end of the first period.
Smith scored again on a lay-up at 2:59 to make it a one-point game, 6-5, but the Lady Tigers went on a 7-2 run to take a four-point advantage, 13-9 with 1:17. Those would turn out to be the last points the Lady Tigers would score for awhile.
Grayson County closed out the period with a three-pointer from Pendergest with 46 seconds left, then a Horton lay-in with seven seconds left to take a lead they would never give back. The Lady Cougars led by a point 14-13 as the second period got under way.
The Lady Cougars then scored 14 straight to open the second quarter, including threes from Pendergest and Smith, and with just 1:14 left in the half, they led by 15 points, 28-13.
Grimes broke the Grayson County run with six-foot runner with 1:07 left, then followed that up with a lay-in with 39 seconds left to cut the lead back to 11 points, 28-17 at the half.
When Grimes opened the third quarter with back-to-back lay-ins, the Lady Tigers had cut the deficit to just seven points, 28-21.
Pendergest hit her third three-pointer of the night to stop Grimes’ personal 8-0 run and push the Lady Cougar lead back to 10 points, 31-21.
Smith hit her third three of the night with 1:42 left to give the Lady Cougars an eight-point lead, 36-28, but Grimes scored the last four points of the period to make it a four-point game, 36-32 at the end of the period.
Horton opened the scoring in the final period with a lay-up at the 5:41 mark, and Pendergest followed that up with her fourth three-pointer of the night, and the Grayson County lead bulged to nine points, 41-32 with 5:12 left to play.
After Jennay Jeffries scored to make it 41-34, the Lady Cougars got back-to-back baskets from Hannah Salsman and Horton and the Lady Cougar pushed the lead to double figures, 11 points at 45-34.
The two teams then traded baskets until the 2:29 mark, when Grimes hit a pair of free throws to make it a nine-point game, 49-40. Grayson County then hit 4-of-6 at the foul line to increase their lead to 13 points, 53-40 with 1:35 left in the game.
Jeffries scored on a put-back basket with 1:03 left, but those would be the final points of the night for the Lady Tigers. The Lady Cougars got two more free throws and a Horton lay-in with 21 seconds remaining to make the final margin of victory 15 points, 57-42.
White led the Lady Cougars in scoring with 16 points and made it a double-double night once again by adding 11 rebounds. She also had three assists and four steals.
Horton and Pendergest both finished with 12 points, with all of Pendergest’s point coming from behind the arc. Horton finished the night with four rebounds, three assists and four steals, while Pendergest added four assists.
Smith was the final Lady Cougar in double figures with 11 points. She also pulled down seven rebounds. Salsman closed out the scoring with six points off the bench, and made it a fine all-around night with six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
McLEAN COUNTY GAME
For awhile, at least through the first period of play, it appeared the eighth-grade girls would suffer the same fate that befell the seventh-grade girls the night before… frigid shooting.
The Lady Cougars put up 11 shots in the first period and hit just one. McLean County did not do a lot better, but Emily Burroughs’ three-pointer with 23 seconds left gave McLean an 11-3 lead heading into the second quarter.
The game then began to turn around, heading in the Lady Cougars’ direction. The defense held McLean County scoreless in the second quarter as Grayson County climbed back into the game. Hannah Salsman’s short jumper pulled them to within a point of the lead, 11-10 with 1:48 left to play.
Grayson County had four opportunities in the closing moments to take the lead, but could get nothing to fall and went into the half trailing by one.
Both teams had two empty trips opening the second half before White hit two free throws at the 5:04 mark to give the Lady Cougars their first lead of the night, 12-11.
McLean County responded with six straight points to take a 17-12 lead with 3:10 left in the third quarter.
White stopped the run with two more free throws at the 2:44 mark, but McLean’s Cori Floyd scored with 1:08 left to push the deficit back to five points, 19-14.
Pendergest then hit a three-pointer with 42 seconds left to make it a two-point game, 19-17. White went back to the line with 30 seconds remaining and hit 1-of 2 to make it a one-point game, then White scored with 20 seconds left to give the Lady Cougars a 20-19 lead. They held that lead as the fourth quarter began.
When Salsman hit a 15-footer at the 4:39 mark of the final period, the Lady Cougars had reeled off nine unanswered points to lead by three points, 22-19.
Keile Jackson broke the Cougar run with a basket at the 4:25 mark to make it a one-point game again, but Horton hit a three-pointer at the 3:15 mark, then scored on a breakaway basket following a Salsman steal, and suddenly the Lady Cougars were on top by six points, 29-23 with just 2:16 left to play.
Savannah DeYoung scored for McLean with 1:58 left, but White hit a lay-up with 1:48 left, and Grace Gorby buried a three with 1:02 remaining, and the Lady Cougars assumed command, leading by nine points, 34-25.
McLean had five straight empty trips to close out the game, while White scored one last bucket with 32 seconds left to make it an 11-point margin at the end.
White had a double-double night for Grayson County, scoring 12 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. She also had two steals and two assists on the night. Pendergest had one of her best games of the year, finishing with eight points, two rebounds and two steals.
Horton had seven points and nine rebounds, and led the team in assists, with three, and steals, with four. Salsman had six points, and three rebounds, while Gorby closed out the scoring with three points. Shannon Smith did not score in the game, but pulled down five rebounds, all of them coming in the second quarter as the Lady Cougars battled back from their early deficit.