The Butler County Bears visited Cougar Gym Monday night and Grayson County was able only to earn a split in the two games.
In the opener, the seventh-grade Cougars took a lead at the end of the first quarter and never gave it back as they battered the Bears 43-20 to improve to 3-1 on the season.
The eighth-grade game was a totally different story as the Bears sprinted by the helpless Cougars on their way to a 47-18 whitewash. The Cougars fell to 1-3 with the loss.
The Cougars started slowly in this one, falling behind 4-0 in the first two minutes of action before Jack Davis got them on the board with a lay-in at the 3:34 mark.
Davis tied the game with a pair of free throws with 1:05 left, then he beat the buzzer with a rebound lay-up to give the Cougars a 6-4 lead as the quarter ended. The Cougars would not trail again.
The Cougars put together a 7-0 run, including a three-pointer and a rebound basket by Bryson Lowe, to build a 10-point lead, 18-8 with 2:07 left in the period.
The Bears then scored four straight to cut the lead to six points with 16 seconds left, but Logan Majors buried a long three-pointer that just beat the halftime buzzer and the Cougars took a nine-point lead, 21-12, into the locker room.
Grayson County opened the third quarter with six straight points, a Davis lay-up, a 15-footer from Rylee Shoemaker and another Davis rebound basket, and the Bears were forced to call a timeout trailing suddenly by 15 points, 27-12.
Grayson County led by 17 points twice in the period, the last time coming at 33-16 at the 1:26 mark. They led by 15 points, 33-18 heading into the final period of play.
In the fourth quarter, the Cougars outscored the Bears 10-2 to win going away.
Davis led all scorers in the game with 19 points, and made it a double-double night by pulling down 10 rebounds to lead the team in that category. Lowe finished with six points and added three rebounds.
Josh Embry had four points and added three rebounds and three steals. Majors and Lincoln Nichols both had three points, while four players, Shoemaker, Caleb Ray, Spencer Sharp, and Jake Oller all had two points to complete the scoring. Sharp added a pair of rebounds and led the team with four steals.
It was a case of men against boys in the eighth-grade contest as for the past few years the Bears have been on a mission to improve their chances of fielding winning teams by holding back some of their players.
And that added advantage of an extra year’s maturity is paying off big time at the middle school level. It has yet to be determined if it will make a difference at the high school level.
The Bears scored the first 10 points before the Cougars could get on the board on a Beau Dennis lay-in with 2:02 left. Butler County led 13-2 at the end of the first period.
Despite their clear superiority, Butler County only managed seven points in the second quarter and led by just 14 points, 20-6 at the half.
But in the second half, the Bears opened up the lead, then ran away at the end. They led by 18 points, 32-14 after three quarters, then blitzed the Cougars 15-4 in the fourth period to win going away.
Only the five starters scored for Butler County. They were led by point guard Blake Graham’s 15 points. Guard Baylee Anderson joined him in double figures with 10 points.
Dustin Woosley was the only Cougar who seemed able to compete with the Bears. He led the team with six points and added 10 rebounds and a steal. Dennis finished with four points. Hunter Shiarella, Zac Haycraft and Austin Basham all scored two points, while Conner Schultz and Bryce Horn had one each to complete the scoring.
Schultz added five rebounds, and Shiarella had four.