Cougars Topped by Indians, Bulldogs

Thursday, January 21, 2016
Lawson Ford looks for a teammate on an in-bounds pass as Easton Tracy (24) looks on from the side in action Friday night at home against Earle.(TD photo/Ron Kemp)

Basketball fans know that District 3 is home to some of the most talented Class 2A teams in the state.

The Rector Cougars ran into a couple of them during the past week, the Marked Tree Indians and the Earle Bulldogs.

The result was a pair of setbacks for the Cougars, 60-47 on Tuesday night at Marked Tree and 63-32 on Friday at home against Earle.

The Cougars hung tough against the Bulldogs for the first two quarters, but the visitors put it together after intermission and won going away.

"They picked up the defensive pressure in the second half and we had a hard time handling it," Rector coach Matt Mills said. "They are a really hard team to defense -- if you try to pack it in some on them, they are capable of hitting the outside jumper."

Earle jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the game, but a basket by Huston Highfill and a three-pointer by Lawson Ford finally got the Cougars on the board -- they trailed 13-5 after one frame.

The Bulldogs rolled to a 28-10 lead midway through the second period, but Rector made a great rally to close it to 28-19 at the break. Three-pointers by Chase Jackson, Ford and Danny Hager helped the Cougar cause.

Rector was still within 10 after two minutes of the third period, but the visitors poured it on from that point, scoring the final 17 points of the frame to make it 49-22 heading into the final eight minutes.

"We battled and did some things really well in the first half," Mills said, "but the athleticism they showed in the second half was just too much."

Earle has lost only one game this season -- to Class 6A El Dorado.

Ford was the only Cougar in double figures with 12. Also scoring were Jackson 6, Hager 5, Highfill 4, Dalton Murray 2, Garrett Buck 1, Kirk Beshears 1 and Sam Simmons 1. Banks had 17 and Murray 13 for Earle.

Rector hit five treys in the game to four for Earle. Both teams shot 16 free throws, with Rector hitting nine and Earle seven.

Marked Tree took command early in the Tuesday night game, pushing to a 16-3 lead after one quarter.

The Indians led 38-21 and 51-33 after the next two frames on the way to the win.

Ford scorched the nets for 21 points for Rector and Jackson joined him in double figures with 12. Also scoring were Buck 8, Hager 4 and Highfill 2. Malone had 15 for Marked Tree, all in the first half.

Rector did not shoot a free throw in the game, while Marked Tree went 8-14. The Cougars had seven treys in the contest.

Junior Action

Rector's junior boys also fell in both games, 46-10 to an undefeated Earle team and 57-40 to Marked Tree.

Quarter leads for Earle were 7-2, 25-5 and 38-9.

Parker Bucy scored nine points and Kale Hardin had one for Rector. Milow netted 18 and Cisero 12 for the Junior Bulldogs.

Rector stayed close for three quarters at Marked Tree, but the Junior Indians pulled away in the final frame.

Quarter leads for the hosts were 11-10, 21-20 and 39-34.

Trey Rodden had 15 and Max Ford 13 for Rector. Also scoring were Evan Dooley 5, Colton Lindsey 3, Hardin 2 and Bucy 2. Jackson led Marked Tree with 18.

Both Cougar teams will be in action Friday night at home against Crowley's Ridge Academy. Homecoming festivities will be held between the junior and senior games. Rector will travel Tuesday of next week to Cross County.

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