After trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half, the Cougar varsity pulled to within a point of the lead in the fourth quarter, but could never get a shot to fall to catch up as they lost to Hancock County 42-34 in the final game of the regular season last Friday at Cougar Gym.
The Cougars (10-15) were cold as ice in the first half, hitting just 4-of-19 from the field, just 21 percent. Despite that, they trailed by just eight points, 18-10 at the half. They shot marginally better in the second half and finished the night 12-of-26, 26 percent.
The cold shooting haunted the Cougars all night, but was especially hurtful after the Cougars pulled to within a point of the lead on Cole Akridge’s three-point play with 7:09 left in the fourth quarter. The Cougars had 10 straight empty possessions after that and allowed the Hornets (15-11) to score seven unanswered points to ice the game with a little over two minutes left to play.
The Hornets opened the game by scoring the first six points before Gage Akridge put the Cougars on the board with a short jumper with 2:09 left in the first period. Hancock led 8-2 heading into the second quarter.
Hancock’s Garrett Pate opened the second-period scoring with a three-pointer at the 6:13 mark to put his team up by nine, 11-2, before Jacob White scored on a put-back basket at 5:21 to make it 13-2. White was fouled on the play and his made free throw gave the Hornets a 12-point lead, 14-2.
The Cougars still trailed by 12, 18-6, when Bailey Logsdon scored on a lay-in with 1:18 left in the first half to make it 18-8. Logsdon was also fouled on the play, and when he hit the free throw, the Cougars trailed by nine, 18-9.
Logsdon was later fouled on a shot with 1:01 remaining and went to the line for two more free-throw opportunities. He missed the first, but made the second to cut the Hancock lead to eight points, 18-10. Logsdon had a chance to cut the lead even further just before the end of the period, but his lay-up attempt at the buzzer rolled off the front of the rim.
Trey Goff opened the third quarter with a three-pointer to cut the Hancock lead to five points, 18-13, but Hancock scored the next three to take it back to eight points, 21-13 at the 6:34 mark. Goff responded with another three to make it a five-point game again, 21-16.
After White scored for the Hornets, the Cougars got a pair of free throws from Conner Schultz and a Logsdon lay-up with 4:43 left to cut the lead to just three points, 23-20, and the Hornets quickly called a timeout.
Grayson County missed an opportunity to cut into the deficit following a Tanner Tyra steal, but the Cougars missed a shot at their end. Pate scored at the 4:03 mark, and following another Cougar miss, Kane Logsdon hit 1-of-2 at the line and the Hornets’ lead was back up to six points, 26-20 with 3:27 left in the period.
Gage Akridge hit a short left-handed hook at the 2:06 mark before Schultz went to the line with 1:34 left with the chance to cut the Hornet lead to two points. Schultz hit the first to cut it to three, but missed the second shot.
However, Gage Akridge grabbed the rebound and Schultz scored with 1:23 left to cut the lead to just a single point, 26-25 with 1:23 remaining.
White scored and was fouled at the 1:01 mark and he hit the free throw to make it 29-25. Tyra followed with a six-footer to cut it back to two, 29-27, but Hancock’s Pate closed out the third-quarter scoring with a lay-in with three seconds left, and the Hornets took a four-point lead, 31-27 into the final period of play.
Ty Ogle missed a pair of free throws opening the fourth quarter, and when Cole Akridge scored and was fouled with 7:09 left, his made free throw brought the Cougars to within a point once more, 31-30.
Both teams had empty trips before Akridge went up for a shot near the six-minute mark. Akridge’s shot was off the mark when he was mauled under the basket and knocked to the floor. When no foul was called, his frustrations from a year in which he had been called for every little touch seemed to boil over and he was whistled for a technical foul after saying something to the official.
Brendan Lewis hit one of the two free throws to make it 32-30 with 5:54 left, and following another Cougar miss, Lewis scored on a lay-up to give the Hornets a four-point advantage, 34-30, and the Cougars called a timeout with 4:53 left to play.
The Cougars followed with three more missed shots before Pate went to the line in the bonus with 3:46 left. He hit both shots and the Hornets were back up by six.
Grayson County missed two more shots before Ogle was fouled and hit two more bonus free throws with 2:50 left to play, pretty much deciding the game as his team led by eight points, 38-30
Goff hit a pair of free throws with 1:29 remaining to cut the lead to five points, 39-34, but those would be Grayson County’s last points of the night.
Pate led the Hornets with 15 points. Schultz led the Cougars with 11 points and also led the team on the glass with six rebounds.
Goff hit a pair of three-pointers and finished with eight points. Logsdon scored six points, while Tyra added four. Cole Akridge finished with three points, while Gage Akridge had two points and five rebounds.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.