The middle school boys traveled to Owensboro over the weekend for a pair of games at Heritage Christian Middle School.
Head Coach Shawn Majors explained his teams had been in a summer tournament that featured the Heritage Jaguars, and he made it a point to get them on the Cougar schedule.
The Jaguars are a relatively new program and had no eighth-grade players, playing the second game with a group of sixth and seventh graders.
Still, the Jaguars gave the seventh-grade Cougars all they could handle before Grayson County closed out the game with a 9-3 run that gave them a four-point win, 38-34.
In the second game, the eighth-grade starters scored the first 16 points, then handed the game over to bench players and a bunch of seventh-graders as they took a one-sided, 39-14 win.
The Jaguars scored the first four points of the opening period, and twice led by three points, before the Cougars closed out the period with three straight to tie things at 10-10 at the start of the second quarter.
The Cougars opened a three-point lead of their own, 15-12 on Josh Embry’s lay-up at the 5:00 mark. The Jaguars then scored four straight to lead by one, 16-15 with 3:14 left in the half.
Ryan Johnson hit a three-pointer with 2:50 left to put the Cougars up by two, 18-16, but Jackson Burke tied it at 18-18 with a 10-footer at the 2:40 mark. Grayson County outscored the Jaguars 5-1 after that and led by four, 23-19 at the half.
Carter scored to open the third period to put the Cougars up by six, 25-19, but the Jaguars answered with seven straight, capped by Will Whitaker’s three-point play with 47 seconds left, and led by one, 26-25 as the fourth quarter began.
With the Cougars leading by two points, 29-27 at the 4:36 mark, Burke went on a personal 5-0 run, including a pair of put-back baskets to open up a three-point lead, 32-29 with 3:06 left to play.
Four Cougar free throws, two by Jack Davis and two from Spencer Sharp put the Cougars back on top, 33-32 with 1:18 left, but Whitaker scored with 1:10 remaining to give the Jaguars a one-point edge, 34-33.
But that would be Heritage’s last lead of the game. Grayson County closed out the period with five unanswered points to take the four-point win.
Whitaker led all scorers in the game with 13 points. Davis led Grayson County with 10 points and added five rebounds.
Carter was a force for the Cougars all day, grabbing rebounds and starting fast breaks. He finished with seven points and led the team on the boards with 12 rebounds.
Embry and Johnson both had six points for the Cougars, while Bryson Lowe had five. Sharp and Jackson Parker both had two points to complete the scoring.
8TH GRADE GAME
This was no contest from the start. Grayson County scored the first nine points, causing the Jaguars to call a timeout at the 3:31 mark. At that point, the Jaguar coaches asked that the clock run continuously.
Hunter Shiarella’s three-pointer with 10 seconds left in the period gave the Cougars a 16-0 lead before Whitaker beat the buzzer with a 10-footer to make it 16-2 at the end of the period.
Majors then took out his starters and played bench players the rest of the way. When the Cougars took a 27-6 lead into the half-time intermission, Majors brought out his seventh-graders to finish most of the rest of the game.
Twelve Cougars made it into the scoring column, with Shiarella leading the way with seven points. Dayton Blair had six, Beau Dennis had five, while Conner Schultz and Josh Embry had four each. Austin Basham added three points, while four players, Cole Smith, Bryce Horn, Ethan Hayse and Trenton Godby all had two.
Sharp and Zac Haycraft both scored one point to close out the scoring.