Much of the work to help turn around a pair of losing seasons for the Grayson County High School basketball teams is well underway.

The Cougars and Lady Cougars are in the midst of playing several games this summer to figure out what each team needs to improve on.

“We have a lot of young guys that are going to have to play big roles for us next season,” said Cougars’ head coach Travis Johnston. “This summer we are just trying to get them used to the speed and physicality at the varsity level, and blend them in with our three senior veterans. We have to get better at our weaknesses, which right now would definitely be rebounding.”

The Cougars went 14-15 last season and won the 12th District Tournament title, but exited the 3rd Region Tournament in the first round with a loss to Hancock County.

Back for the Cougars are seniors River Blanton, Brayden Childress and Nolan Hornbeck. Blanton is the most experienced of the returnees after posting team-highs of 14.9 points and 7.4 rebounds a game. It was the second straight season Blanton averaged in double figures.

Childress averaged 3.3 points a game last year and Hornbeck 0.7.

Johnston said the Cougars will have to find scoring threats other than Blanton.

“Brayden has to pick up the scoring slack that we’ve lost and I think he’s ready to do that. Nolan Hornbeck as well,” Johnston said.

“Brayden is one of the best ball handlers and passers in the district and I feel that River is one of, if not, the best player in the district and a matchup problem,” Johnston added. “Anytime you have that, you will take your chances. Our younger guys can really shoot it so hopefully they’ll be able to provide some outside scoring for us.”

He said sophomores Hayden Robinson, Zak Bratcher, and Landon Haycraft will have roles, as well as freshman Gage Napier and eighth-graders Spencer Langdon and Kadin Hanshaw.

“Even though they are young, they will have big roles for us next year,” Johnston said. “Kadin is a strong, physical guard and Spencer is the best shooter on the team and can really fill it up.”

The Lady Cougars suffered through a difficult 2021-22 season, winning just three of 25 games.

Only one senior was on that team, Raigan Cave, who averaged 4.3 points and a team-high 6.3 boards a game.

The return of several players gives Lady Cougar head coach Todd Johnston hope for a turnaround season.

“All of our players have improved their strength through our spring workouts and individual workouts,” he said.

Junior guard Sydney Perkins, who averaged 13.4 points a game last year, headlines the returnees. She knocked down 63 3-pointers a year ago and shot 35.8% on 3-pointers.

She is joined in the backcourt by senior guard Aryssa Riggs, who added 7.1 points a game.

“Our guards have improved and should be a strength for us this season,” he said.

Junior forward Allie Jennings, who averaged 5.1 rebounds a game last season, also will be counted on heavily.

Johnston said one of the big areas for improvement for the Lady Cougars is to find more scoring options “to get more players involved.”

Last season, the Lady Cougars shot just 29.2% from the field.

The Lady Cougars are scheduled to play 16 summer games, and will host games on June 21. The Cougars are scheduled to play June 21 at Greenwood and June 23 at Ohio County.

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