Playing in the opening round of the Rafferty’s Caveland Classic, in Brownsville on Thursday, the Cougars lost to the Greenwood Gators 67-57 to fall to 1-8 on the season.
The Cougars started out well in this one, leading after one period, then expanding their lead to as many as 12 points in the second quarter before a big Gator run closing out the first half put them behind.
The Cougars later trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half before coming back to take a one-point lead with a little over two minutes left in the game. But the Gators closed out the game by scoring the last 11 points to win going away.
The lead changed hands twice in the opening period before a Colton Williams lay-up with seven seconds left gave the Cougars a 13-11 lead heading into the second quarter.
When Cole Akridge buried a three-pointer at the 4:47 mark of the second, it capped a 14-4 Cougars run and gave them a 12-point advantage, 27-15. That’s when the wheels got wobbly for the Cougars.
Over the remaining time, the Cougars had 11 empty trips, including five turnovers, and the Gators closed out the half on a 17-1 run to take a four-point lead, 32-28 into halftime.
The Gators led by 10 points twice in the third quarter, but the Cougars scored the last five points of the period, including a three by Talon Gary with 1:21 left, to cut their deficit to five points, 46-41 heading into the fourth quarter.
Grayson County stayed close in the opening minutes of the final period and when Williams scored again on a put-back basket with 2:19 left in the game, the Cougars held a 57-56 lead and were poised to battle down to the final buzzer.
But they would not score again. The Gators reeled off 11 unanswered closing out the game to win by 10. They put two players into double figures, Dylan DeWitt scored 20 and Jonathan Lewis had 14.
Gary led all scorers with 28 points, including four three-pointers, and added six rebounds and four steals. Cole Akridge scored 10 points and added three steals.
Williams finished with seven points and added four rebounds and two assists. Tanner Tyra scored six points and had three assists and two steals. Three players, Gage Akridge, Bret Johnston and Alex Shellhart, each had two points to complete the scoring. Shellhart added five rebounds, while Johnston had three assists.