Playing in a rare middle school summer tournament last Saturday at Edmonson County, the Grayson County eighth-grade basketball team picked up three big wins.
“Middle school games in the summer are really hard to find,” said Cougar coach Shawn Majors, but his Cougars made the most of their o0pportunity.
In the opening game against a young Butler County team, the Cougars did something that is just never seen. They pitched a shutout, 38-0 against a Bear team composed mainly of sixth and seventh-graders.
In the second game against the host Edmonson County Wildcats, Nolan Shartzer had a huge day, recording a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds as the Cougars won easily 34-10.
In the final game of the day, the Cougars defeated the Warren East Raiders 40-21.
Over the past few years, the Bears had been noted for holding back players so that their more mature players could dominate other, younger teams.
That doesn’t seem to be the case any more, though, as this year’s eight-grade team is virtually without eighth-graders. The Bears suffered three blowout losses on Saturday, none more one-sided than their game against the Cougars as they failed to score in four quarters of action.
Grayson County dressed 14 players for this tournament and 12 of them cracked the scoring column against the Bears.
With the starters playing the first period, the Cougars pulled away to a 12-0 lead. With bench players in in the second period, the Cougars scored just four points, but still led 16-0 at the half.
After the Cougars scored the first eight points of the third quarter, the clock began to run continuously. Grayson County led 28-0 heading into the final period of play.
Shartzer led the Cougars in scoring with eight points. Four players, Cameron Wells, Hunter Gibson, Dustin Edwards and Miles Hornbeck scored four points each.
Tyler Williams, Spencer Cannon, Wyatt Schultz, Kyler Embry, Logan Kopp, Brady Whobrey, and J. J. Tomes all had two points to round out the scoring.
For awhile, it appeared as though the Cougars were going for another shutout as they held the Wildcats scoreless in the first period and led 11-0 heading into the second period.
Williams scored to open the second period and give the Cougars a 13-0 lead before the Wildcats finally got on the board at the 4:33 mark. Grayson County led 20-6 at the half.
The Cougars then held the Wildcats scoreless once again in the third quarter and led 31-6 as the fourth quarter began. In seven quarters of basketball the Cougars had given up just six points.
Shartzer’s double-double was even more remarkable as he only played in three quarters of the game. Cameron Wells had a fine game as well for the Cougars, scoring eight points and pulling down five rebounds.
Cannon scored six points while Williams scored five and led the team with five steals. Schultz finished with two points, while Kopp and Whobrey had one each to complete the scoring.
East had beaten Edmonson earlier, so this one figured to be a little better game, and it stayed close in the early going. Shartzer had six of his game-high 15 points in the first quarter as the Cougars took a one-point lead, 7-6 heading into the second period.
But the Cougars came out in the second period running and gunning and held the Raiders to just a single point as they ran out to a 24-6 lead at the break.
“For the last few weeks of the school year, and the first couple on vacation, we really worked hard on our defense, and it showed today,”: Majors said.
The third period was close again, with the Cougars adding a single point to their lead, 31-12 heading into the fourth quarter.
With it being the final game of the day for the Cougars, and with the big lead, they lost their defensive focus just a bit in the final period. The Raiders opened the period on a 9-3 run to cut their deficit to just 13 points, 34-21 with 4:12 left to play.
But the Cougars regained their focus and held the Raiders scoreless the rest of the period to win going away.
Shartzer just missed another double-double with 15 points and nine boards. He also led the team with five steals. Williams also scored in double figures, finishing with 13 points.
Wells had eight points while Cannon and Whobrey both scored two, with Cannon adding five rebounds.