The McLean County High School boys’ basketball team continues to lead the State in defense and leads the Region in wins with a record of 13-6. The Cougars won 65-62 in overtime against Ohio County at home on Feb. 23 and had a solid 74-59 victory over Trinity in Whitesville on Feb. 25. McLean County fell 60-55 to Allen County-Scottsville in the Hebrews 12 Coffee Christmas Classic at Butler County last Saturday.
The Cougars struggled out of the gate and most of the night against Grayson County last Tuesday evening. Grayson County scored the first five point of the game, but Tyler Larkin scrambled to gain control of a loose ball under the basket and immediately shot it out to Cruz Lee at the top of the key for a three-pointer that narrowed the gap. However, the visiting Cougars still had an 18-13 lead at the first quarter break. A back and forth second quarter saw Grayson take a 29-24 lead into halftime.
The hometown Cougars played well in the third quarter as they caught the Cougars from Grayson and took a 43-36 lead into the final quarter. But Grayson County scored the first 13 points of the quarter and eventually built a six-point lead with 2:00 to go. Three-pointers from Jaxson Floyd and Brady Dame cut the deficit to 51-49 with only 0:40 left to play. McLean then forced a jump ball, claimed possession and saw Travis Phillips hit Andrew Brackett inside for a layup to tie it up at 51. Grayson County missed a three at the buzzer and the teams went to overtime.
Phillips took over in the extra minutes. His free throw gave McLean a 52-51 lead before feeding Dame inside for an assist and a three-point advantage. The lead was extended from the free throw line to 59-53 before Keagan Sharp from Grayson buried triple threes in the last minute of the game to keep it close. Each time Phillips calmly sank two free throws on the other end. With the score 65-62 in favor of McLean, Sharp had one last chance to tie it again with another triple-pointer with 0:04 to play, but Floyd poked the ball away and into Larkin’s hands with under a second left to seal the game for the Cougars.
Brady Dame had triple threes and led McLean County with 24 points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal. Travis Phillips hit 14 of 17 from the line and had 16 points, three boards, six assists and a steal. Andrew Brackett had nine points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal.
The Cougars traveled to Whitesville last Thursday and back-to-back baskets by Andrew Brackett to begin the game helped bolt McLean County out to a 13-2 lead before Trinity came storming back and cut the deficit to 16-14 by the end of the first quarter. Brackett continued to work the Raiders’ defense over in the second quarter with 10 points as the Cougars pushed their advantage back to seven before settling for a 39-35 halftime lead.
The second half saw the Raiders tie it 39-39 before Jaxson Floyd scored the next five points on a three-pointer and two foul shots as the Cougars took the lead for good. Whitesville never got any closer than nine points the rest of the way and the game ended 74-59 as McLean came away with their fourth win in a row.
Travis Phillips had quadruple threes and led the Cougars with 19 points, a rebound, three assists and a steal. Brackett had 18 points, six boards, four blocks and two steals.
McLean County ended their week on the road to Butler County to face 4th Region stalwart Allen County-Scottsville. The Cougars started out hot and kept AC-S in check as they built a 19-13 first quarter lead. The Patriots chipped away and cut their deficit to 32-28 at the half.
The third quarter was a seesaw battle that ended with the Cougars still leading by a single point. But an AC-S basket and an ensuing Brady Dame free throw knotted the game up at 44 with 6:00 left before the Patriots scored the next eight points. McLean hung tough down the stretch behind two Jaxson Floyd threes and another one from Brady Dame, but they could never get any closer than five and ultimately fell 60-55.
Dame and Floyd both led the Cougars with 18 points. Dame had a double-double with 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals. Floyd had quadruple threes along with a board, three assists and a steal.
“We are getting better and staying in the games longer against these top Region-type teams,” said Head Coach Darren Lynam. “We just need to put together a complete 32 minutes.”
McLean County will be at Cloverport tonight, March 4 with a 7 p.m. start time. The next two games are at home against Pleasant View Christian on Friday at 7 p.m. and Dawson Springs on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.