Playing their first two games of the summer season at Collins High School, in Shelbyville, it was a case of good news and bad news. The bad news was they lost both of the games they played; the good news was they looked great doing it.
“We’re going to battle this year,” said head coach Kelly Carwile after the conclusion of the two games.
In the opener, the Cougars faced the home team, the Collins Titans, coached by former Cougar great, Chris Gaither. After leading by as many as five points in the second half, the Cougars eventually fell 53-46.
In the second game, the Cougars faced the Owen County Rebels, a team that had won five straight 31st District titles. Grayson County stayed close throughout the game, but eventually could not overcome the hot shooting of the Rebels’ Walker McDonald and fell 52-40.
The format for the summer games was two 20-minute halves with the clock running continuously, stopping for dead balls only in the final minute. All fouls in the final minute would be shooting fouls.
Gaither’s team this year is not especially big or athletic, but it is very disciplined and pass and shoot the ball well.
Junior point guard Bailey Logsdon hit a 10-footer at the 13.44 mark that brought the Cougars to within 8-7, but the Titans answered with a 7-0 run that included a Kyle Perdue three to take their largest lead of the first half, eight points at 15-7 with 10:55 left to play.
The Cougars later put together a 9-4 run that brought them to within two points, 21-19 with 2:09 left. Sophomore D. J. Turner came off the bench to score four points and pull down two rebounds during the run. The Titans scored the last three points of the period and led by five, 24-19 at the half.
The Cougars came out at the start of the second half firing on all cylinders, scoring the first six points to go in front 25-24, their first lead since it was 5-4 in the first half.
Mickey Eades scored for the Titans at the 17:15 mark to give his team a one-point lead, 26-25, but the Cougars responded with a 6-0 run to take their largest lead of the game, five points at 31-26 with 15:22 remaining to be played.
That lead was short-lived, though, as the Titans came back with eight unanswered points, including a three-pointer from Sam Kiser, to take a 34-31 lead with 11:45 left. The Titans would not trail again.
Grayson County pulled back to within a point of the lead twice in the closing minutes, the last time coming a 36-35 with 7:41 remaining. The Titans then went on an 8-2 run, capped off by a Dom Turner three, and led by seven points, 44-37 with 5:34 left to play.
The Cougars closed to within three points, 44-41 with 4:21 left, but six straight Titan points pushed the lead to nine points, 50-41 with 1:43 left and the Cougars were never closer than four points afterward.
Turner led the Titans with 13 points.
Trey Goff led the Cougars with 14 points, including a pair of threes, and added five rebounds. Logsdon finished with eight points and three rebounds.
Turner finished with six points and four rebounds. Jack Davis also scored six and he led the team on the glass with nine rebounds. Sophomores Caleb Ray and Josh Embry both scored five points, while Conner Schultz had two points and six boards.
Back-to-back threes from Josh Spalding and Austin Fitzgerald gave the Rebels a six-point lead, 10-4 at the 16:30 mark, but the Cougars responded with an 8-2 run to tie things 12-12 at the 11:28 mark.
The Rebels went back in front by as many as four points until a Goff three with 4:34 left in the half brought them to within a point of the lead, 20-19. McDonald answered with back-to-back three pointers to give the Rebels a 26-19 lead with 3:38 left. Owen County led by five, 28-23 at the half.
Another Goff three at the 15:30 mark saw the Cougars trailing by just two points, 30-28, but five straight Rebel points made it 35-28. Goff buried another three with 12:13 left to make it a four-point game, 35-31, but that would be as close as the Cougars would be the rest of the way.
McDonald again hit back-to-back threes to push the Rebel lead to 10 points, 41-31 at the 8:37 mark, and the Cougars were never closer than seven points the rest of the way.
McDonald led all scorers in the game with 18 points, including four three-pointers.
Goff led the way for the Cougars, hitting three threes and finishing with 16 points and six rebounds. Schultz joined Goff in double figures with 10 points. Schultz also grabbed six rebounds and led the team with three steals.
Davis scored four points and added four rebounds. Sophomore Spencer Sharp scored three points, as did Embry. Logsdon and sophomore Logan Majors had two points each to complete the Cougar scoring.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.