The Grayson County basketball teams made Senior Night one to remember last Friday as both the boys’ and girls’ teams scored blowout wins against visiting Hancock County.
In the opening game, the Lady Cougars raced out to a big lead behind Kaylan Shull’s 20-point first half, then cruised home in the second half to a 69-36 victory.
The late game stayed close until the fourth quarter, when the Cougars ran away on a 17-0 blitz to end the game on their way to a 71-46 win to close out the regular season.
The Lady Hornets came into the game with 16 wins on the season but were playing without a couple of starters, Brea and Brenna Basham. Also, last season’s 3rd Region Player of the Year, Beth Rates, did not start because of an illness. Rates did come in later in the game and was Hancock’s leading scorer with 13 points, but the game was no contest from the start.
It being Senior Night, the Lady Cougars started all their seniors and they trailed 2-0 over the first three minutes of actions. Head coach Brad Johnson brought in his regulars starters at that point and the Lady Cougars took off.
Shull hit back-to-back threes to put Grayson County in front 6-2 at the 4:10 mark and the Lady Cougars never trailed again. Shull scored 11 of her 22 points in the first quarter as the Lady Cougars pulled away to a 17-5 lead.
Rates scored for the Lady Hornets at the 6:10 mark of the second quarter to pull her team to within 10 points, 19-9, but the Lady Cougars responded with a 15-2 run that saw them take a 22-point lead, 34-12 with 1:36 left in the first half. Grayson County led by 20 points, 34-14 at the break.
The Lady Hornets scored the final five points of the third quarter to pull to within 18 points of the lead, 47-29, then scored the first two points of the fourth quarter on two Rates free throws to make it 47-31, but Hancock would never be closer.
Grayson County answered with a 9-2 run to increase their lead back up to 23 points, 56-33 with 4:18 left to play. After Ashlee Orr hit 1-of-2 at the line to make it 59-36 at the 3:12 mark, the Lady Cougars closed out the game with 10 unanswered points to win going away.
The Lady Cougars put 13 players into the scoring column. In addition to her 22 points, Shull added four rebounds and two assists. Maddie Stewart was the only other player in double figures, finishing with 10 points. She also added three rebounds and four steals.
Cassidy Swift and Katie Hayes both finished with seven points, with Swift adding four rebounds and Hayes adding two steals. Breanna Fulkerson and Sloane Embry both had four points, with Fulkerson leading the team on the boards with six rebounds.
Senior Taylor Higdon hit one three-pointer for her three points, while six players, Sarah Pierce, Grace White, Jodi Decker, Katie Beeler, Jessica Johnson and Allie Horton, all had two points. White and Johnson both added four rebounds, and White led the team with five assists.
To look at the final score you might think this game was a runaway, but that would not be the case. Grayson County never trailed in the game, but they never really had a comfortable lead until late in the fourth quarter when a 17-0 run closing out the game broke it open.
Rance Whobrey opened the scoring with a three-pointer, one of five on the night for the senior, before Brandon Howton tied it with a three of his own at the 7:05 mark. That would be the only tie of the night. Whobrey answered with his second three at the 6:07 mark to give the Cougars a lead they would not give up the rest of the way.
Hancock’s Jake Ogle scored at the 1:59 mark to pull then Hornets to within a point, 11-10, but the Cougars reeled off seven straight, capped off by Whobrey’s third three of the period, and the Cougars held an eight-point lead, 18-10 with 24 seconds left in the first quarter. Ethan Dewitt closed out the period with a lay-in to make it 18-12 heading into the second period.
Braxton Williams opened the second period with a lay-up to give the Cougars an eight point lead. The two teams then traded baskets until the 3:36 mark, when Ogle hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to five points, 26-21. Grayson County led by eight again, 32-24, at the half.
Whobrey’s fourth three of the night gave the Cougars a nine-point advantage, 39-30 with 3:54 left in the third period, but Ogle matched it a few seconds later to cut it back to six, 39-33. Later, a 6-1 Hornet run brought then to within a point of the lead, 40-39 with 40 seconds left, but Colton Williams scored with five seconds left in the period to put the Cougars up by three at the start of the fourth quarter.
Justin Hamilton hit 2-of-4 free throws at the start of the final period to once again bring the Hornets to within a point, 42-41, but the Cougars would respond with a 12-2 run, capped off by a Talon Gary three to pull away 54-43 with 4:56 left to play.
Ogle converted an old-fashioned three to make it 54-46 at the 4:48 mark, but those would be the last points the visitors would score. Whobrey’s fifth three of the night ignited the 17-0 finishing run by the Cougars. Gary and Wyatt Skaggs both contributed threes in the closing run.
Ogle finished the night with 24 points to lead all scorers. Braxton Williams led the Cougars with 21 points and he added three rebounds and three assists. Whobrey finished with 15 points, all on threes, and he added four rebounds.
Gary was the third Cougar in double figures with 10 points, and he led the Cougars on the boards with eight rebounds, and added five assists as well. Colton Williams finished with six points, while Logan Ramsey had five.
Two players, Bret Johnston and Lane Rackley, both scored four points, but that was not the sum of Johnston’s contributions on the night. The junior point guard added six rebounds, and he led the team with 10 assists.
Skaggs finished his night with three points, while Cole Akridge had two to complete the Cougar scoring.