After leading by 21 points at halftime, the Lady Cougar basketball team had to hold off a big rally from the Edmonson County LadyCats before picking up a 52-34 win in the first game of a boy-girl doubleheader last Friday evening in Cougar Gym.
In the second game, the Wildcats were the ones who raced out to a big lead and had to hold off a Cougar charge at the end as Edmonson County won 58-55.
Grayson County junior Grace White began the game like a woman possessed, scoring the first seven points of the contest to give her team a leg up. She finished the first quarter with 10 points, then added nine more in the second period. She finished the night with 30 points to lead all scorers and added five rebounds as well.
After White made it 7-0 at the 4:51 mark of the first period, the LadyCats called a timeout at 4:27. Back on the floor, Caitlin Simon hit a lay-in to put the LadyCats on the board.
Hannah Saltsman scored for Grayson County to make it 9-2, before Peyton Martin scored at 2:59 to make it 9-4.
Those would be the last Edmonson County points of the first quarter as Grayson County ended the period on a 12-0 run. Junior Shannon Smith had five points on a three-pointer and a 15-footer, and White completed the run with five seconds left by burying a three off a Smith pass to put the Lady Cougars up by 17 points, 21-4 as the second quarter got started.
A short jumper by Madelyne Taylor at the 3:08 mark trimmed the Grayson County lead to 14 points, 26-12, but White hit a three at the 2:02 mark and followed that up with a put-back basket at 1:26 to make it 31-12. Both teams had empty trips before White closed out the half with a lay-in with three seconds left and the Lady Cougars led 33-12 at the break.
The Lady Cougars increased their lead to 24 points, 39-15 on a White 15-footer at the 5:35 mark of the third quarter, but the LadyCats began a slow climb to get back in the fight.
Eight unanswered points closed the gap to 16 points, 39-23 with 4:31 left in the period. White stopped the run with 1-of-2 at the line with 2:56 left, but the Lady Tigers closed out the period with six straight to make it 40-29 at the start of the fourth quarter. White picked up two quick fouls, her third and fourth, and had to take a seat on the bench with 1:42 left.
When the LadyCats started the final period with a Taylor lay-in and a Simon three-pointer, the lead was down to just six and Grayson County was looking vulnerable.
Head coach Daniel Pharris sent White back into the game and she was fouled at the 5:57 mark and hit a pair of free throws to stop the bleeding. Those free throws were the start of a 12-0 Lady Cougar run that put the game on ice.
Only three LadyCats scored in the game, led by Simon and Martin with 13 each.
Smith had one of her better nights, finishing with nine points. Saltsman had seven points and led the team on the boards with eight rebounds. Allie Horton scored four points and Sarah Pierce had two.
The Wildcats started the game on fire, hitting their shots and grabbing nearly every rebound. The Cats had four rebound basket in the first period.
Edmonson opened the game on a 10-0 run, but Bailey Logsdon hit back-to-back threes to cut the lead to four points, 10-6 with 3:36 left in the opening period.
The Wildcats then closed out the period with 10 unanswered points, then scored the first three of the second period to increase their lead to 17 points, 23-6 at the 7:12 mark.
A three-pointer by Edmonson’s Hunter Buttram at the 6:17 mark gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the night, 18 points at 26-8.
Things started to turn around a bit at that point. The Cougars began to slowly cut into the lead A 9-0 Cougar run near the end of the period saw the lead cut to eight points, 32-24 with 1:09 left, but the Wildcats closed out the half with a pair of Bailey Board free throws to make it a 10-point game, 34-24 at the half.
Grayson County opened the third quarter with six straight points to cut their deficit to four points, 34-30. The Wildcats later increased their lead to seven points, 42-35, when the game, already a physical battle, began to get out of hand.
Both teams missed shots and the battle for rebounds began to turn in favor of the Cougars. On a missed shot under the Cougar basket, Logsdon and Edmonson’s Iszic Blankenship got tangled up and Blankenship bodily threw Logsdon to the floor.
As the two teams squared off, the coaches and the officials scrambled to restore order. A technical foul was called on Blankenship and Logsdon went to the line with the chance to cut into the lead. But he missed both free throws and when the Cougars turned the ball over, Tucker Cole scored on a breakaway to make it 44-35 with 1:07 left.
Grayson County then missed a shot and Blankenship scored with 12 seconds left and the Wildcats suddenly had another double-digit lead, 46-35 at the start of the fourth quarter.
But the Cougars weren’t done yet. Six straight opening the final period cut the margin to five points again, 46-41 at the 7:09 mark. The lead see-sawed between five and seven points until back-to-back Cougar baskets by Conner Schultz and Logsdon cut it to just three points, 50-47 with 4:55 left.
Tanner Tyra’s three-pointer with 3:17 left to play cut the lead even further, two points at 54-52. After Buttram hit two free throws to make it 56-52 with 3:03 left, Tyra had the chance to cut it back to two, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity.
Buttram then hit 1-of-2 at the line at 2:38 to make it 57-52 The Cougars followed with four empty trips before Tyra finally hit a three with 38 seconds left to make it a two-point game again, 57-55.
The Cougars later had the chance to tie or win the game following a Trey Goff steal. Grayson County called a timeout with 13.2 seconds left to set up a play, but Cole Akridge missed a two-point attempt and Schultz was called for a foul on the rebound, sending Austin Sowders to the line with eight seconds left. Sowders missed the first, but made the second to make it 58-55.
Grayson County still had the chance to tie, but Akridge came up short on a three-point attempt and the game was over.
Sowders led the Wildcats with 19 points and Buttram added 14.
Logsdon and Schultz both finished with 15 points and Schultz just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Goff also reached double figures with 11 points.
Tyra finished with eight points, Akridge had four and Jack Davis completed the scoring with two points.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.