Summer basketball is always a time of honing skills and getting familiar with the offenses and defenses. Winning and losing is not the primary focus.
Which is undoubtedly a good thing for the Cougars as they have been playing some really tough competition through the first two weeks of the summer schedule.
On Tuesday, at Apollo, in Owensboro, the Cougars faced the host Eagles, then went up against Daviess County for the second time in a week. After staying with the much bigger Eagles in the first half, the Cougars faded in the second half and dropped a 67-49 decision.
The Cougars lost by a point to the Panthers the previous week at Muhlenberg County, and this time they fell by two points, 54-52.
On Thursday, at Bowling Green, the host Purples slammed and jammed their way past the much smaller Cougars 59-28.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair with nine ties and five lead changes before ending in a 31-31 tie at the break. The second half was all Apollo, with head coach Kelly Carwile objecting so strenuously to the one-sided officiating that he garnered two quick technicals and was tossed from the game.
With the Eagles leading 10-8, Conner Schultz’s three-point play at the 13:04 mark put the Cougars up 11-10. Following an Apollo three, a two from Dustin Woosley and a three from Trey Goff put the Cougars up 16-13 with 10:58 left in the half.
A three-point play from Tanner Tyra with 7:25 remaining gave the Cougars their largest lead of the half, four points at 23-19. The Eagles went on top 31-29 with a basket with 45 seconds left, but Schultz beat the buzzer with a lay-up to knot the score again 31-31 at the half.
Grayson County trailed by a single point, 38-37 at the 16:08 mark of the second half when things began to get out of hand. With play underneath the Cougar basket getting nearly violent with no calls being made, the Eagles reeled off eight straight baskets, including a couple of missed traveling calls.
At that point, Carwile had had enough and lit into one of the officials, who T’d him up twice and sent him off. Two Eagle free throws and another basket completed a 12-0 Apollo run and the game was never close again.
Grayson County put two players into double figures, led Tyra’s 14 points. Cole Akridge scored 13 points and both players added four rebounds. Schultz finished with seven points and led the Cougars on the glass with five rebounds.
Bailey Logsdon scored six points, Goff had five, and Woosley and Colton Williams had two apiece.
The Cougars led by four points three times in the first half, the last time coming with 2:30 remaining when a short jumper by Logsdon made it 21-17. The Cougars would not score again as the Panthers closed out the half on a 6-0 run to lead 23-21 at the break.
Grayson County scored the first five points of the second half to regain the lead, 26-23 at the 18:19 mark. Daviess answered with four straight to go back in front. The teams then traded the lead on four straight possessions.
A Goff three with 10:55 left tied the score one last time at 37-37. The Panthers followed with six unanswered points to lead 43-37 at the 6:12 mark and they never trailed again.
Schultz hit a lay-in with 56 second left to pull to within a point of the lead, 53.52. He was fouled on the play and had a chance to tie the score again, but missed the free throw.
After a Panther free throw with 38 seconds left made it 54-52, the Cougars had two more chances to score, but could not get it done.
Akridge led the Cougars with 16 points, with Goff scoring 15. Schultz finished with eight points, while Logsdon had seven. Tyra scored four points and led the Cougars with seven rebounds. Woosley had two points to complete the scoring.
In warmups before the game, no less than five of the Purples’ players were slamming and dunking the ball. They had a decisive size advantage over the Cougars and they exploited it the whole game.
A lay-up by Akridge at the 15:44 mark brought the Cougars to within four points, 9-5, when the Purples took off. A 17-3 run gave them an 18-point lead, 26-8 with 5:26 left in the half. They led by 21 points, 31-10 at the half.
Grayson County played better in the second half, but could not put any significant dent in the Purples’ lead.
Goff had the best day for the Cougars, leading the team with 16 points, including four three-pointers. Akridge finished with four points, Logsdon and Rylee Shoemaker had three each, and Williams had two to close out the scoring.