Cougars Drop Game in NEA
Going into the annual Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament at the Arkansas State Convocation Center on Dec. 23, the Cougars knew they had a tough draw in the Augusta Red Devils. By most considerations, the experienced, athletic Red Devils were a surprising choice as the eighth seed to Rector's ninth, having earned some impressive wins early in the year. Augusta did not send a representative to the seeding meeting for the tournament, and was left without a voice when the matchups were made. Regardless, the Cougars fell to Augusta 66-34 in the opening contest of the annual tournament.
"That was probably our worst game all year," RHS coach Matt Mills said. "We didn't look like we came ready to play, and it showed on the court. We have to play hard every moment to have a chance to win, and I didn't see that when I saw us out there today."
The Cougars were hindered by a stiff Red Devil press which saw Rector turn the ball over on many of its possessions. Augusta controlled the paint as well, hindering Rector's attempts to drive and limiting second chance opportunities.
Augusta led throughout: 18-8; 47-13 and 66-21.
Mason McCluskey led the Cougars with eight points on the day. Also scoring for Rector were Nick Hardin 7, Landen Crancer 6, Chito Martinez 3, Lawson Ford 3, Danny Hager 3, Garrett Buck 2 and Skyler Shockley 2.
Jalin Brown led Augusta with 22 points in the win.
The Cougars are set to return to action on Jan. 6 when they visit BIC for a 2A-3 conference meeting. The boys are slated to visit Walnut Ridge on Friday, Jan. 9.