By CHRIS CANNON
JACKSBORO—Campbell County’s basketball team is lacking a few crucial members, but fans couldn’t tell it on Tuesday night.
With football season still in post-season session, the Cougars are missing four big-role players from the hard-court roster.
However, the team didn’t seem to notice, as they rolled to a 105-94 thriller over Lenoir City High School.
In the Cougars’ first two games last season, the team only scored 108 total points.
“It was definitely hard to watch Trey [Torres], Nick [Bailey], Corey [Phillips] and Andrew [Evans] over in the student section,” head coach Matt Housley said. “I’d like to have them on the bench. We’re not full strength, but I think we play harder than any team than I’ve ever played for, worked for or coached. That’s kind of the common denominator in all that. They play hard, and they play for each other.”
Roston Letner was the perfect example of unselfish basketball. The junior nearly pulled a triple double, as he managed nine points, nine rebounds and 11 assists.
“Roston Letner, in my opinion, is probably one of the best players in the district, and he sacrificed himself to score seven points, just so we can shoot layups on the other end,” Housley said. “He willingly got the ball, threw it over the trap and let somebody else get all the buckets. That just says a lot about the team.”
His teammates noticed it, too.
“Roston, he’s our one-man press breaker,” junior sharp shooter Darin Gillenwater said. “Nobody can play against him. This is great for our program, and I’m so excited it happened.”
Campbell County had a total of six players score in double figures.
Gillenwater led the way with 26 points, seven steals, seven rebounds and three assists. Tucker Cain added 16 points, Austin North 15, Seth Pebley 13, Dakota Dossett 11 and Shaun Phillips 10. Letner added nine points, while Dylan Clawson chipped in five.
For the Panthers, it was Dylan Brewster who had a game-high 34 points. Josh Pace added 17, while Joe Pace finished with 15.
“With our defensive philosophy, we like to keep them around 55 or 60 points,” Housley said. “It killed me. I was about half-mad all night. This was one of those games where they’ll push you into it, and you can resist and resist and resist and fight it, or you can just be smart, take what they give you and weather the storm…our kids gutted it out. There’s not one kid that played in that game that I looked at and wasn’t beat to death. They played so stinkin’ hard.”
Lady Cougars fall, 45-37
Turnovers proved costly for the Lady Cougars on Tuesday night, as the they fell in a heartbreaker, 45-37, to the hands of the Lenoir City Lady Panthers.
Campbell County had 21 turnovers in the first half, but somehow managed to come out of the half with a 20-all score.
“Playing in a hurry,” head coach Ryan Browning said. “First half, we knew it was coming, and we didn’t react very well. We didn’t move the ball. We were just standing with no reaction to the ball. That caused some turnovers. We’d break it a couple times, and when we did, we’d turn it over three or four straight times. That kind of aggravates you.”
The Lady Cougars were able to take advantage of some broken plays to keep a tied score.
In the second half, the Lady Cougars only allowed 10 turnovers, but Lenoir City found its range.
“With all those turnovers and fouls in the first half, and you’re tied, you feel like you got away with one,” Browning said. “Second half, we broke down a little, gave them some open look and some threes. It was just easy looks. We couldn’t score.”
Browning said his team will have to look to get to the free-throw line more often.
Campbell County shot just 10-of-17 from the charity stripe, as Lenoir City bucketed 18-of-27.
“Sometimes, our guards, they don’t think they can step inside the 3-point line,” Browning said. “We need to attack. The way they talk about more calls on hand checks, attack the goal. Get those. The aggressive team won tonight.”
Jamie Mynatt finished the game with 11 points. Amber Guy added eight, while Olivia Brown (5), Kendra King (4), Michaela Smith (4) and Brooke Bane (2) each got into the scoring column.
For Lenoir City, Amberlee Zellar scored 15 points, 10 of them coming in the first quarter. Lindsey Jones also scored 15 points for the Lady Panthers.