The Cougar varsity continued its fine, late-season play in Saturday’s Autism Awareness Classic, held at Owensboro’s Sportscenter, but as has too often been the case, they came out on the shot end of another close game as the Evansville North Huskies beat them 49-47.
The Cougars fell to 10-14 on the season, but only three of those losses were by more than 10 points. In the other 11 losses, the average deficit was just a hair over four points. The Cougars have stayed in games, but have just not found a way to pull out close games.
And this was a close game from the start. The Cougars led by as many as seven points and the Huskies took a 10-point lead in the third quarter. The Cougars later came back to grab a lead late in the fourth period, but could not hold it.
The score was tied three times in the early going of the first period before the Cougars took control at the end. Leading by a single point, 11-10, the Cougars went on a 9-3 run, including three-pointers by Cole Akridge and Trey Goff, and led by seven points, 20-13 with 1:37 left in the period.
North’s Justin Dixon closed out the scoring in the first period with a lay-up to make it 20-15 at the start of the second quarter. Dixon’s basket was the start of a 13-0 Huskie run that saw then take a six-point lead, 26-20 with 3:59 left in the first half.
A lay-in by Gage Akridge with 2:43 left cut the deficit to four points, 28-24. Neither team would score the rest of the period and at the half, it was still 28-24.
When the Huskies scored the first six points of the third quarter, they held their largest lead of the game, 10 points at 34-24 at the 5:25 mark.
Grayson County responded with an 11-2 run, capped off by another Goff three, to pull to within a point of the lead, 36-35 with 1:59 left in the period. They still trailed by one, 38-37 at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Huskies opened the fourth period with two straight baskets to increase the lead to five points, 42-37 at the 6:52 mark, but Goff hit his fourth three with 6:25 left to cut it back to two points, 42-40.
Bailey Logsdon was fouled on a shot and went to the line at the 5:41 mark with the chance to tie the score. He hit the first shot, but missed the second, leaving the Cougars trailing by a point.
The Huskies then got back-to-back baskets from Dixon and Jayden Manion to go back in front by five, 46-41 with 4:52 remaining to be played.
Logsdon went back to the line at the 4:32 mark and again hit 1-of-2 to cut it to 46-42. Goff hit a 10-footer with 3:31 left to make it a two-point game, 46-44, then buried his fifth three of the afternoon with 2:42 left to put the Cougars back on top, 47-46.
A jump-ball call gave the ball to Grayson County at the 2:15 mark, but they gave it right back with a turnover. The Huskies took advantage to score again, with Dixon hitting a lay-in with 1:56 left to go back up by one, 48-47.
When the Cougars missed a shot on their next possession, the Huskies called a timeout with 1:13 left on the clock, then began holding the ball. The Cougars had committed only three team fouls at that point, and had to keep fouling to try to get the Huskies to the line.
They finally committed their seventh foul with 34.6 seconds left to play and sent the Huskies’ Tanner Turpin to the line for a 1-and-1 bonus opportunity. Fortune fell the Cougars’ way as Turpin missed his first shot and Tanner Tyra rebounded the miss.
Grayson County called timeout with 27.3 seconds left to try to set up the winning basket. But back on the floor, Logsdon had a pass go out of bounds along the sideline and the turnover gave the Huskies the ball again with 17 seconds remaining to be played.
The Cougars fouled again, sending Dixon to the line in the bonus with 10.8 seconds left. He hit the first shot, but missed the second, meaning the Cougars needing two to tie and three to win.
They brought the ball quickly up the court and got it to Cole Akridge near the foul line. His shot at the buzzer would have tied the game, but it was off the mark and the Huskies celebrated their win.
Dixon and Manion led the Huskies with 13 points each.
Goff led all scorers with 17 points. Cole Akridge was the only other Cougar in double figures, finishing with 12 points, all of which came in the first period.
Logsdon finished with eight points, while Gage Akridge had six. Conner Schultz completed the scoring with four points and he added four rebounds and a team-high eight assists. Tyra did not score in the game, but he led the team on the glass with seven rebounds.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.