A big third quarter by the homestanding Muhlenberg County Mustangs led to a 66-61 Lady Cougar loss Thursday night in Greenville.
This game had been scheduled to be played on Monday evening as a JV/varsity tilt, but snow forced the change to Thursday as a varsity-only affair.
The Mustangs put four players into double figures, led by their outstanding sophomore guard, Bailee Harney, who finished with 19 points.
The Lady Cougars put three players into double figures, but it was not enough to offset the effort put forth by the Mustangs. Junior Grace White, the Lady Cougars’ top scorer and rebounder, was saddled with foul trouble in the second half and finished with just nine points and four rebounds.
The Mustangs took an early 5-2 lead, only to see the Lady Cougars come back to take the lead at 6-5 following a short jumper by Sarah Pierce at the 3:39 mark.
Harney answered with a jumper just inside the arc to put her team in front 7-6 before Hannah Saltsman hit 1-of-2 free throws to tie it 7-7 with 2:38 left in the period.
Muhlenberg then scored five straight to take a 12-7 lead with 1:22 remaining. Pierce closed out the scoring with a three-pointer with 42 seconds left and the Lady Cougars trailed by two, 12-10 heading into the second quarter.
With the score tied at 13-13 at the 6:12 mark of the second period, the Lady Cougars scored six unanswered points to take a 19-13 lead with 4:29 left in the first half.
Allie Horton scored on a driving lay-up with 1:07 left to gave Grayson County its largest lead of the night, eight points at 29-21, but Muhlenberg closed out the period with an Erica Cary three-pointer and a buzzer-beating 15-footer from Raegan Blackburn to trim the lead to just three points, 29-26 at the break.
When the Mustangs opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run, they took a 34-31 lead at the 5:43 mark. Muhlenberg County would not trail the rest of the way.
Two Saltsman free throws at the 4:33 mark pulled Grayson County to within a point of the lead, 36-35, but they would never be closer. Grayson County trailed by seven points, 49-42 heading into the fourth quarter.
A 15-footer by Blackburn at the 1:18 mark of the fourth period gave the Mustangs their largest lead of the night, eight points at 61-53, but the Lady Cougars were not quite done. A Saltsman lay-in with 57 seconds left and a Pierce three, her fourth of the night, cut the deficit to just three points, 61-58 with 28 seconds remaining.
Grayson County then put Ava Weikel at the line in the bonus with 26 seconds left, hoping for a miss that would allow the Lady Cougars some hope, but the junior guard hit both shots to make it a five-point game, 63-58,
Horton followed by hitting a three with 16 seconds left to make it a two-point game, 63-61, but those would be Grayson County’s last points. The Mustangs hit 3-of-4 at the line in the closing seconds for their five-point victory.
Blackburn also scored 19 points for Muhlenberg, while Weikel finished with 12 and Sheridan Piper added 10.
Saltsman and Pierce both finished with 16 points for the Lady Cougars, and Saltsman led the team on the glass with eight rebounds. Horton was the third Lady Cougar in double figures with 15 points, and she also added six rebounds.
In addition to her nine points and four boards, White added three assists and four steals on the night. Brandi Minton finished with three points, while older sister, Breana, closed out the scoring with two.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.