In a pair of close ball games last Tuesday at Cougar Gym, the Apollo Eagles took the measure of both the JV and varsity Cougars.
In the opener, after leading at the half the JV Cougars fell behind in the fourth quarter when a comeback fell just short in a 36-34 loss.
In the varsity game, the Cougars trailed by as many as 15 points in the third quarter but pulled to within three late in the fourth quarter before eventually falling 59-54.
Apollo’s long-range shooting was the biggest difference in this game. The Eagles hit 9-of-13 from behind the arc for a sizzling 69 percent. The Cougars hit six threes in the game, but were just 6-of-15. Junior Trey Goff, Grayson County best option for shooting the three, hit just 3-of-11 on the night.
After a pair of ties and two lead changes, the Eagles used an 8-0 run to take a five-point lead, 14-9 with 2:10 left in the first period and head coach Kelly Carwile called a timeout to get his team straightened out. The Cougars trailed by four points, 16-12 heading into the second period.
After hitting four threes in that first period, the Eagles hit three more in a 16-8 opening run in the second period to open a 12-point lead, 32-20 at the 2:48 mark. Grayson County scored the final three points of the period and trailed by nine, 32-23 at the half.
Cole Akridge opened the scoring in the third quarter with a lay-in at the 7:49 mark to cut the Cougars’ deficit to seven points, 32-25, but the Eagles responded with eight straight, including two more threes by Zach Hopewell and Hayden Shelton, to take their largest lead of the night, 15 points at 40-25. Hopewell hit four three-pointers and led all scorers in the game with 28 points.
The Cougars began a slow comeback at that point, outscoring the Eagles 8-2 the rest of the period to trail by nine, 42-33 at the start of the fourth quarter.
A Goff three at the 4:24 mark of the fourth quarter saw the lead cut to six, 46-40. Bailey Logsdon hit a three with 48 seconds left to play that saw the lead cut to just four points, 53-49. Conner Schultz buried a three with 10.3 seconds left that cut the lead even further, three points at 57-54, but that would be as close as the Cougars would get.
Coming down the stretch, the Cougars fouled to put the Eagles at the line in an attempt to get back in the game, but the Eagles were strong at the line. In the final 2:09 of play, Apollo went to the stripe 12 times and hit 11. For the game, the Eagles were 16-of-17 at the line, an incredible 94 percent
Logsdon had another fine night for the Cougars, leading them with 20 points and adding three rebounds, and Goff finished with 17 points. Cole Akridge scored nine points and led the team with five rebounds. Schultz completed the Cougar scoring with eight points and he led the team with four assists and five steals.
After the first period of play, the two teams were tied 6-6. They then traded the lead four straight possessions, with the Cougars grabbing a one-point lead, 15-14 on a three-point play by Jack Davis with 2:31 left in the first half.
Apollo tied the score 15-15 with 1:45 left, but Logan Majors scored the final four points of the period, including a buzzer-beating reverse lay-up, to give the Cougars a 19-15 advantage at the half.
A three-pointer by Apollo’s Alex Gray with 1:16 left in the third quarter put the Eagles up by two, 22-20, but Majors answered with a 10-foot runner with 38 seconds left to tie it again 22-22. Gray later hit two free throws with four seconds left to put the Eagles back up by two, 24-22 at the start of the fourth quarter, and they would never trail again.
A three-pointer from Matt Bell and a lay-in by Kobe Hamilton saw the Eagles take their largest lead of the game with 2:37 left, eight points at 34-26.
Majors hit a three with 15 seconds left that cut the lead to four points, 36-32. Hamilton went to the line in the bonus for the Eagles with 11 seconds left, but missed the front end. Grayson County, though, failed to get the rebound and they fouled Nick Brooks, sending him to the line with eight seconds left.
Brooks also missed the front end of the bonus and the Cougars were able to get a Majors lay-up with one second left that left them just two points short, 36-34.
Gray had 12 points to lead the Eagles, while Shelton added 10.
Majors led all scorers in the game with 15 points. Davis finished with seven points and led the Cougars on the glass with seven rebounds. Spencer Sharp scored six points, Josh Embry had four and Rylee Shoemaker had two to complete the scoring.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.