Playing on the second-to-last day of the summer basketball season, the Cougars split two games at Muhlenberg County on Thursday.
In the opener, the Cougars gave up a 13-2 run to the host Muhlenberg County Mustangs on their way to a 44-35 loss. In the second game, the Cougars got 18 points from Nolan Shartzer in a 36-33 defeat of Daviess County.
After the Mustangs raced out to an 11-5 lead at the 11:48 mark of the first half, the Cougars came back to tie the score at 14-14 with 6:57 left. That’s when the Mustangs put together their 13-2 run to take a 27-16 halftime lead.
A three-pointer by Keegan Sharp at the 10:19 mark of the second half cut the lead to nine points, 36-27, but the Mustangs responded with an 8-0 run to take their largest lead of the game, 17 points at 44-27 with 5:56 left to play.
Grayson County then closed out the game on an 8-0 run to close the gap back to a final nine points.
Shartzer led the Cougars with 12 points and added eight rebounds and three assists. Sharp hit three three-pointers to finish with nine points.
Hunter Tomes scored six points and added eight rebounds. River Blanton scored four points and pulled down six rebounds. Evan Clark and Jaxon Higdon both scored two points to complete the Cougar scoring.
This was a close game from start to finish. There was one tie and six lead changes in the first half before the Cougars took a one-point lead, 17-16 at the half.
The Panthers scored the first four points of the second half to take their largest lead of the game, three points at 20-17.
The Cougars came back to tie the game at 22-22 at the 10:11 mark, then went back on top 24-22 when Higdon scored on a 10-foot runner with 8:55 left.
The two teams then tied four times, the last time coming at 30-30 with 1:12 left to play on a pair of Daviess County free throws.
Following a timeout, Sharp went to the foul line in a one-and-one situation with 38.7 seconds left and hit both free throws. Shartzer came up with a steal at the other end and was fouled with 18.2 seconds left. In the one-and-one, Shartzer hit both shots to put the Cougars up by four, 34-30.
The Panthers hit a three-pointer to pull to within a point, 34-33 with 9.5 seconds left. They then fouled Shartzer with 2.3 seconds left, sending him to the line for another one-and-one. Shartzer buried both shots, and when the Panthers turned the ball over with .08 seconds left, the game was in the hands of the Cougars.
In addition to his 18 points, Shartzer led the Cougars on the glass with six rebounds. Higdon finished with seven points, while Blanton had five. Sharp finished with four points and Clark added two to round out the scoring.
By Don Brown, Local Sports
Reach Don at firstname.lastname@example.org