Before the start of the annual Cougar Jamboree, the all-day scrimmage-fest of high school teams at GCHS Saturday morning, the Grayson County Middle School boys teams took to the floor for a pair of games against the West Hardin Lakers.
In the first game, the seventh-graders got scoring from 10 different players, including double-figure efforts from Jack Davis and Josh Embry, to defeat the visiting Lakers by a 42-33 score. Davis made it a double-double game by pulling down 13 rebounds.
In the second game, the eighth-graders also got double-figures from two different players to down West Hardin 37-23.
Then Cougars put their stamp on the game right from the outset as they held the visitors scoreless in the first quarter and took an 8-0 lead into the second.
Conner Schultz then opened the scoring in the second period by hitting a three-pointer to give the Cougars an 11-0 lead at the 4:43 mark.
The Lakers finally got on the board when Reece Iler scored on a lay-up with 3:51 remaining to make it 11-2.
A three-pointer by Trey Goff at the 2:42 mark, and a 10-footer by Gerritt Dennison with 2:06 left pushed the Cougar lead back to 11 points, 16-5, but the Lakers scored the final six points of the half to pull to within five of the lead, 16-11 at the break.
The Lakers drew to within three points twice in the third quarter, the last time coming at 20-17 with 3:43 left in the period, but the Cougars answered with six straight points to push the lead back to nine points, 26-17 with 2:58 left.
Iler halted the Cougar run with a pair of free throws with 48 second left, but Goff buried another three with 42 seconds remaining, and the Cougars led by 10 points, 29-19 headed into the fourth quarter.
Grayson County then outscored the Lakers 8-4 in the final period to win going away.
Iler led the Lakers with 14 points. Schultz led all scorers with 15 points, including a pair of threes, and added three rebounds and a steal. Goff joined Schultz in double figures with 10 points, also including two from behind the arc. Goff also led the team with four steals.
Beau Dennis scored six points, and Dennison had four, while Dustin Woosley and Zac Haycraft closed out the scoring with two apiece. Woosley and Hunter Shiarella both pulled down five rebounds to lead the Cougars, and Austin Basham added four.
Davis scored eight of his game-high 13 points in the first quarter to help the Cougars take a nine-point lead, 15-6 heading into the second period.
With the Cougars leading by just a point, 7-6 with 2:28 left, Davis tallied six straight points to put the Cougars up 13-6 with 31 seconds left. Spencer Sharp then hit a pair of free throws with 1.6 seconds left to make it a nine-point advantage.
But the Cougars found it tough sledding in the second period as they missed their first 11 shots and turned the ball over four times, allowing the Lakers to score nine unanswered points to tie the game 15-15 with 1:46 left in the first half.
Ethan Carter scored on a lay-up with 1:00 left to stop the Laker run. Trenton Godby’s three-pointer with 19 seconds left capped a 7-2 run by the Cougars that gave them a five-point lead, 22-17 at the half.
Grayson County maintained that five point advantage until the Lakers’ Isaac Peters scored on a lay-in to make it 26-23 with 2:01 left in the third quarter.
Caleb Ray then pushed the lead back to six by hitting a three-pointer with 1:21 left. Embry then hit 1-of-2 at the line with 29 seconds left for a seven-point lead, but West Hardin’s Ryan Gooden closed ot the period by scoring on a lay-in to make it five points again, 30-25 heading into the final period of play.
Cameron Driggers opened the scoring in the fourth quarter with a three-pointer that brought the Lakers to within two points of the lead, but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the way.
The Lakers got to within three points twice in the closing minutes, the last time at 34-31 with 3:28 left, but the Cougars closed out the game on an 8-2 run to make the final margin nine points.
Driggers finished with 11 points to lead the Lakers, and Peters added 10.
Embry joined Davis in double figures with 10 points. Jackson Parker had four points, while Ray and Godby had three each. Four players, Sharp, Carter, Rylee Shoemaker and Ethan Hayse all had two points, and Bryson Lowe closed out the scoring with one point. Ray and Sharp both had four steals to share the team lead.