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Cougars eliminated by Hawks

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By Dwane Wilder

 Basketball season is over for Campbell County High School’s boys.

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The No. 6 seed Cougars (11-16 overall) rallied back from a double-digit deficit in the second half Monday night, but couldn’t get past No. 9 seed Hardin Valley Academy in the opening round of the District 3-AAA Tournament at Karns.

Zak Carter made a layup with 4.8 seconds left to lift the Hawks to a 73-72 victory over a team that swept them during the regular season. Carter’s bucket accounted for his only points of the second half. 

Lightning-quick guard Sherrius Smith scored all 20 of his team-high points in the first half for Hardin Valley, which advanced to Thursday’s semifinal round to face No. 3 seed Anderson County.

Campbell County senior Lucas Nelson led all scorers with 21 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Nick Litton chipped in 17 points for the Cougars, followed by Corey Poteet with 12, Gunner St. John 9, Brandon Lee 5, Jordan Kindred and Dylan Stanfield 4 each.

Determined to wear the other down, both teams started out in a frenzied, fast-break mode. The Hawks led 27-21 at the end of a high-scoring first quarter.

The pace slowed somewhat in the second period, with Hardin Valley taking a 10-point advantage, 45-35, at intermission.

Campbell County mounted a comeback in the third quarter, and the lead changed hands several times in the second half.

Hardin Valley guard Jonathan Franklin, who finished the night with 11 points, hit a driving layup at the end of the third quarter to tie the game up, 59-59.

Litton made a close-range shot, as the Cougars pulled ahead by 1 point with half a minute to play in the fourth. Twenty-five seconds later, Carter grabbed the lead back for the Hawks. 

Campbell County inbounded the ball to try for a game-winning basket, but Poteet’s off-balance shot at the final buzzer bounced harmlessly off the front of the rim.

In all, the Hawks had five scorers in double figures. V.J. Brown contributed 12 points, while Zak Carter and Jalen Carter had 10 each.