Friday night in the Cougar Den Jaxon Higdon hit a three-point shot to beat the final buzzer that gave the Cougars a 33-30 win over the visiting Edmonson County Wildcats.
On Saturday the Cougars put three players into double figures as they defeated Louisville’s Holy Cross 54-41 in the Sportscenter Shootout, held at the Sportscenter in Owensboro.
This was a low-scoring affair from the start. The Wildcats led by two points, 8-6 at the end of the first quarter. They led by six points, 17-11 with 1:42 left in the first half before Higdon hit two three-pointers in the last 1:07 to tie the score at 17-17 at the half.
Higdon’s third three-pointer of the night gave the Cougars a four-point lead, 24-20 with 1:52 left in the third quarter, but Chaz Wilson closed out the scoring with an old-fashioned three-point play to make it a one-point game, 24-23 at the start of the fourth period.
Two Nolan Shartzer free throws at the 3:11 mark gave the Cougars a four-point lead, 30-26, but Dalton Decker scored on a lay-in at the 2:57 mark and Wilson scored with a minute left to tie the score 30-30.
The Cougars then moved the ball around, playing keep-away until they called a timeout with 17.8 seconds left.
Back on the floor, the Cougars worked the clock under five seconds. Q’Daryius McHenry dribbled toward the lane, drawing defenders, until he passed to Higdon stationed on the right wing. The lefty put up a shot that found nothing but net as the horn sounded, setting off a jubilant scrum at the middle of the court that included the entire student section.
Decker led the Wildcats with 11 points.
Shartzer led the Cougars with 13 points, while Higdon finished with 12. Four players, McHenry, Spencer Sharp, Josh Embry and Hunter Tomes all scored two points to round out the scoring. McHenry also led the team on the glass with six rebounds.
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The Cougars started slowly in this one as the Holy Cross Cougars scored the game’s first six points, prompting coach Travis Johnston to call a timeout to get his players to “Wake Up!”
The Cougars responded with seven unanswered points to take their first lead of the game, 7-6 at the 4:27 mark. They later scored eight straight to lead by seven, 16-9 with 24 seconds left in the first quarter, but Cade Crawley hit two free throws with 3.4 seconds left to make it a five-point game, 16-11 heading into the second period. Grayson County led by two at the half, 22-20.
Grayson County opened the third period on a 7-2 run to build a seven-point advantage, 29-22 at the 3:48 mark, but Holy Cross responded with four straight to cut the lead to three points, 29-26 with 3:05 remaining. They would not get closer to the lead.
Grayson County closed out the period with a 6-2 run to lead by seven points, 35-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
A lay-in by Holy Cross’ Josh Minor cut the lead to five points, 39-34. The Cougars then scored seven straight to up their lead to 12 points, 46-34 with 2:19 left in the game.
Three of those points came on free throws by Josh Embry, who was fouled and went to the line in the one-and-one with 2:19 left. After Embry made the first shot, the Holy Cross coach was hit with his second technical foul and was tossed from the game. Embry missed the second shot, but made both technicals. Holy Cross was never closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Sam Bearden and Chaz Geraghty led Holy Cross with 14 points apiece.
Shartzer led the Cougars with 21 points and he added six rebounds. McHenry recorded a double-double performance with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Embry was the third player in double figures as he finished with 11 points. Keegan Sharp had two to complete the scoring.
By Don Brown, Local Sports
Reach Don at firstname.lastname@example.org