The middle school Cougars picked up two more wins Thursday evening at Breckinridge County.
Josh Embry scored 12 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, and the seventh-grade squad outscored the Tigers 16-3 in the final five minutes of the game to come back from an 11-point deficit and earn a 35-32 win.
In the second game, after a dismal first half, the eighth grade team outscored the Tigers 36 -12 in the second half to cruise to a 50-24 win.
Though the game was tied twice in the first quarter, the Cougars did not hold a lead until less than a minute to go in the game. They trailed by 11 points twice in the fourth quarter, the last time coming at 29-18 with 4:50 left to play. The Cougars then went on a 12-0 run to take that first lead.
Grayson County tied the score the first time, 2-2, on a free throw from Ethan Carter at the 3:38 mark. Jack Davis later tied it at 5-5 on a running jumper with 1:15 left.
Breck’s Kobe Poole, a nifty little point guard, scored with 27 seconds left to give Breck a lead they would not give up until the fourth quarter. They led 7-5 as the second quarter began.
An Embry basket at the 4:33 mark made it a one-point game, 9-8, but Breck scored the final four points of the first half to take a 13-8 lead into the intermission.
Grayson County opened the third quarter on a 6-3 run to cut their deficit to two points, 16-14 with 3:32 left, but Breck answered with six straight to build an eight-point advantage, 22-14 with 49 seconds to play.
Breck had the ball with just six seconds left in the period, when Jackson Parker came up with a steal and got the ball to Rylee Shoemaker about 10-feet out on the wing. Shoemaker put up a shot which seemed well after the buzzer, but when it went through the hoop, the officials counted it and the Cougars trailed by just six, 22-16 heading into the fourth quarter.
A rebound basket by Poole at the 5:26 mark gave the Tigers their largest lead of the game, 11 points at 27-16. Following an Embry basket with 5:06 remaining, Breck’s Mason Chandler hit two free throws to make it 11 points again, 29-18 at the 4:50 mark.
Grayson County then put together the run that gave them the win. Embry scored eight straight points to bring his team to within three points of the lead, 29-26 with 1:34 left to play.
Breck’s Colin Lee went to the line at the 1:21 mark for a double-bonus opportunity, but missed both shots. Down at the Cougar end, Caleb Ray buried a three-pointer from the right corner and suddenly the game was tied, 29-29.
Following a timeout, Parker came up with a steal and was fouled on a shot with 56.9 seconds left. He hit 1-of-2 at the line to put the Cougars in front for the first time, 30-29.
Poole scored with 40 seconds left to put the Tigers back on top 31-30, but Parker nailed another three with 24 seconds left to put the Cougars back in front to stay, 33-31.
Breck’s R. J. Bentley had the chance to knot the score with two free throws with 15.3 seconds left, but could hit just 1-of-2.
The Cougars turned the ball over on their next possession, but as the Tigers were bringing the ball up the court, Embry stole the ball near half-court and drove in for an uncontested lay-in with 5.7 seconds left to make it 35-32.
The Tigers called a timeout, but could not get a shot near the basket as time expired.
Poole led all scorers in the game with 15 points for the Tigers. In addition to his 14 points, Embry added five rebounds and led the team with four steals. Parker finished with five points and added two assists and three steals.
Davis, who injured a foot early in the third quarter and never returned, finished with four points, as did Carter. Davis had five rebounds before he went out of the game, and Carter led the team on the boards with six rebounds.
Shoemaker and Ray both finished with three points, and Ryan Johnson had two to complete the scoring.
With the win, the seventh-grade squad moved to 13-4 for the year.
EIGHTH GRADE GAME
The Tigers came into this match-up with just three wins on the season, while the Cougars were 12-6. But as the first-half unfolded, it looked as though the records were reversed.
The Cougars’ play was lethargic at best as they trailed 5-4 at the end of the first period. It didn’t get much better in the second quarter, though the Cougars did manage to come away with a two-point lead, 14-12 at the half.
Head coach Shawn Majors, who had shown his displeasure during the first half by yanking his starters, must have lit into his team during the break because they came out looking like their old selves in the third quarter.
Grayson County had bounce in their step for the first time all night and turned up the heat defensively. They forced eight turnovers in the first four minutes of the period, including five steals, and scored 13 unanswered points to lead by 15, 27-12 at the 2:31 mark.
Bryce Horn beat the buzzer with a 10-foot runner to give the Cougars a 13-point lead, 30-17 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Cougars kept applying pressure in the fourth quarter and outscored the home team 20-7 to win going away. Conner Schultz, who had been nearly invisible in the first half and spent much of it on the bench, lit up the Tigers with 15 points in the second half, and finished with a game-high 17 points. In addition he had three rebounds, three assists and a team-high five steals.
Dustin Woosley scored eight points and led the team on the boards with six rebounds. Trey Goff and Beau Dennis both scored six points, and Dennis added five boards. Hunter Shiarella scored five points and added five rebounds. Horn and Dayton Blair rounded out the Cougar scoring with four points each.
Grayson County improved to 13-6 with the victory.