After trailing by 10 points at the half, the eighth-grade Cougars held visiting Owensboro scoreless in the third quarter to get back into the game, then sent it into overtime, where they finally won by a score of 47-42.
In the opening game, the Cougar seventh-graders could not cope with the Owensboro pressure and fell 48-11 in a game that ended with the clock running continuously by the mercy rule.
The Cougars (4-0) trailed the whole game and did not hold a lead until there was less than a minute to play in the overtime when Spencer Cannon buried a three-pointer to break a 42-42 tie and put the Cougars up by three with 54 seconds left to play.
The Red Devils grabbed the early lead when guard Reis Dickenson hit back-to-back three pointers to give them a 6-2 lead. Owensboro led by two, 8-6 heading into the second period.
The Red Devils then opened the second period with a 6-2 run to go up by six points, 14-8 at the 3:37 mark. Cameron Wells buried a three-pointer with 3:28 left to make it a three-point game, 14-11.
Still leading by three, 16-13, the Red Devils sco0red six straight, including a three-pointer by Tucker Hogan, to take a nine-point lead, 22-13.
Logan Kopp hit 1-of-2 at the line with 54 second left to cut it to eight, 22-14, but Owensboro’s Michael Roberts scored with 14 seconds left to give the Red Devils a 10-point advantage, 24-14, which they took into the half-time intermission.
With several of his players in foul trouble at the start of the third quarter, coach Shawn Majors went to a 2-3 zone, and it had an immediate impact on the game. The Red Devils seemed to have no answer for it and they went scoreless in the third quarter.
The Cougars scored seven unanswered points to pull to within three of the lead, 24-21 at the start of the fourth quarter. The Cougars probably should have been well ahead at that point, but they missed seven lay-ups in that third quarter
Owensboro’s Imante Owsley opened the scoring the the fourth quarter to put the Red Devils ahead by five, 26-21, but the Cougars answered with four straight on a Tyler Williams 10-footer and a Cannon rebound basket to pull to within one, 26-25.
The lead see-sawed between one and three points until a lay-in by Owensboro’s Issac Humphrey with 1:55 left put his team in front by four points, 34-30.
Wyatt Schultz scored with 1:28 remaining to make it a two-point game, but Owsley was sent to the line on three consecutive possessions and hit 3-of-6 to put the Red Devils up by five points, 37-32 with 38.4 seconds left in regulation.
Williams was fouled with 32 seconds left and hit both free throws to make it 37-34. Owsley was sent to the line again with 25 seconds left, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
The Cougars missed at their end and Owsley was fouled again with 15 seconds left. This time, in the double bonus, he hit both shots to seemingly seal the win with with a five-point, 39-34 lead.
But Nolan Shartzer scored on a driving lay-up with 10 seconds left and was fouled on the shot. His made free throw brought the Cougars to within two points, 39-37.
Grayson County quickly fouled Owsley again, sending him to the line in the double bonus with 8.6 seconds left. Owsley missed both shots and Shartzer grabbed the rebound. The fleet Shartzer traveled the length of the floor and hit a driving lay-in with one-tenth of a second left to tie the game at 39-39 and send it into overtime.
Dickenson opened the scoring in the extra period by hitting his third three-pointer of the night to put the Red Devils back on top, 42-39. Those would be the last points the visitors would score.
Shartzer scored on a put-back basket with 2:09 left before Williams went to the line at 1:39 with the chance to give the Cougars their first lead of the night. But Williams could hit just 1-of=-2 at the line and the game was tied once more at 42-42.
Humphrey had the chance to put the Red Devils back up with double-bonus free throws with 1:23 left, but missed both shots.. The Red Devils grabbed the rebound and were looking to retake the lead, but Williams stole the ball and drove up the court, looking to put his team in front.
Williams missed his shot, but Shartzer outmuscled an Owensboro rebounder of the ball, turned and found Cannon all alone on the left wing in front of the Cougar bench. Cannon never hesitated, unleashing a three-point shot that found nothing but net with about 54 seconds left. That gave Grayson County its first lead of the night, 45-42.
At the other end, the Red Devils missed a shot and fouled Cannon on the rebound with 23.8 seconds to play. Cannon buried buth free throws to make it a five-point game, 47-42.
The Red Devils missed a pair of shots in the closing seconds before there was a tie-up under the basket with 1.6 seconds left. With the arrow in the Cougars’ favor, they began celebrating their hard-fought, improbable win.
Owsley and Humphrey scored 12 points each to lead the Red Devils.
Shartzer recorded a double-double on the night, leading all scorers in the game with 13 points and leading the Cougars on the glass with 11 rebounds. Williams scored 12 points for the Cougars, while Cannon and Wells had nine apiece. Cannon added six rebounds, while Wells had five.
Schultz had three points and Kopp had one to complete the Cougar scoring.
The young Cougars (2-2) were never in this game after the visitors scored seven straight to begin the first period. Owensboro led by 15 points, 18-3 heading into the second quarter.
The Red Devils applied end-to-end pressure and Grayson County was unable to handle it. They had 13 turn-overs in the first quarter alone and finished the night with 36 total.
The Red Devils led 32-5 at the half, then expanded the lead to 30 points, 41-11 at the start of the final period. A lay-in by Owensboro’s Trey Hinton with 3:09 left to play saw the lead balloon to 35 points, 46-11 and the clock began to run continuously by the mercy rule.
The Red Devils’ Ethan Avery led all scorers in the game with 20 points.
Gavin Childress and Keegan Sharp led the Cougars with three points each. Brett Payton and Caden Woodcock had two each and Miles Hornbeck added one to round out the Cougar scoring.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.