Campbell County got two wins last week with senior guard Chris Poteet sitting on the bench.
However, against a talented Oak Ridge High basketball team, the Cougars failed to survive without their best outside shooter in the lineup.
Taking advantage of Poteet’s sprained ankle, the Wildcats employed a zone defense Saturday night that smothered the Cougars’ inside game and held Campbell County 27 points below its season average.
Oak Ridge escaped the Cougar Den with a 48-39 victory and took the district lead by half a game.
The Cougars, who saw their four-game winning streak come to an end, were also plagued with foul trouble when Justin Young picked up his fourth personal early in the second half.
“We had no offensive presence from the perimeter,” said Campbell County coach Barry Jones.
“Chris is one of those guys you depend on at the end of the game. The ball would’ve been in his hands.
“Oak Ridge sat back in that little zone because they were never worried about us hitting from outside. Troy (Arnold, senior point guard) did his best, but those other kids (sophomore Lucas Nelson and freshman Chad Wagers) are young.
“You hate to lose a district game, but we’ll get another chance at them (Jan. 30 at Oak Ridge).”
The Wildcats took the lead at 4-2 in the opening minutes of the game and held it until Nelson spotted up from the right wing and stroked a three-pointer to put the Cougars in front, 32-29, going to the fourth quarter.
Arnold made a couple of free throws to make it 34-29.
That’s when Raphael Coffey took over the game for Oak Ridge. The 6-foot-3 senior scored 12 of the Wildcats’ 19 fourth quarter points, including a three-pointer. He was also 3 of 4 from the free-throw line.
It was tied at 37-37, but Coffey kept the heat on. His dunk off a turnover with 1:07 left sealed Campbell County’s fate.
Jakari McClanahan led all scorers with 14 points for Oak Ridge.
“Coffey was the difference in the game,” said Jones.
“He can shoot it a little bit, but he can also put it on the floor and take it to the rim. We made some silly mistakes and turned the ball over.”
Arnold paced the Cougars with 10 points, followed by Cody Suttles with eight, Sean Ward seven, Zach Norman six, Young five and Nelson three.
Neither team shot well at the charity stripe. Campbell County made 6 of 11 free throws as opposed to Oak Ridge’s 5 of 12 effort.
Having dispatched Powell and Hardin Valley earlier during the week, the Cougars came into Saturday night’s game a 3-0 district record and 5-1 overall work sheet.
Suttles scored all of his team-high 15 points in the second half to lead Campbell County to a 75-53 win Thursday night over visiting Hardin Valley, a newcomer to District 3-AAA.
Nelson chipped in 14, including a pair of three-pointers, while Ward had 11 points, Cody Malicoat nine, Norman seven, Young and Wagers six each, Garrett Reese five and Arnold two.
Nathan Garner led all scorers with 17 points and a trio of treys for the Hawks.
Hardin Valley opened the game with a 7-0 run, but Wagers and Reese hit three-point bombs in the second quarter to put the Cougars in front. By halftime, Campbell County was up 36-21.
The Cougars led by as many as 25 points late in the second half.
Two nights earlier, Campbell County picked up a huge road victory, 57-49 in overtime, at Powell. The game was tied 47-47 at the end of regulation play.
Ward led all scorers with 17 points and scored eight of the Cougars’ 10 points in OT, including four free throws.
Norman got 16 points, followed by Nelson with 10, Arnold eight, Young three, Wagers two and Malicoat one.
Free throw shooting was a major factor in the outcome. Campbell County made 22 of 30 charity tosses.
Taes Palmer scored 13 of his 15 points after halftime to lead Powell.
“We played three district games last week,” said Jones.
“Fortunately, we won two of them, but that Powell game could’ve gone either way.”