Cougars Basketball Teams in Action
Rector's senior high school girls basketball team improved to 2-1 on the season with a 41-35 win against Hillcrest at home on Friday.
The Lady Cougars opened the game with a 20-5 scoring run and then held on over the final three quarters while the Lady Screaming Eagles closed-in on the lead.
Matison Dean scored 12 of her game-high 21 points in the first quarter, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers to help the Lady Cougars gain a commanding 15-point lead after the first eight minutes.
The Lady Cougars' scoring pace then slowed as Hillcrest outscored them in each of the next three quarters., The Screaming Eagles outpaced Rector 8-7 in the second quarter as the Lady Cougars carried a 27-18 lead into halftime. After the break, Hillcrest had a 10-8 scoring edge in the third quarter.
But the Lady Screaming Eagles couldn't get over the hump. Dean drained another 3-pointer as part of her five points in the third quarter as Rector held a comfortable 35-23 lead heading into the final period, and the senior made four of six free throws down the stretch to help the Lady Cougars withstand a 12-6 game-closing run by Hillcrest.
Dean is averaging 18.3 points per game thus far for the Lady Cougars and scored more than 20 points for the second time this season. Mylesa Gant added 11 points for Rector, which picked up its first win of the season in a 37-36 win against Armorel last Monday.
Dominique Coln finished with five points against Hillcrest while teammate Gabby Clark added four points in the win.
Rector's junior high girls team fell to 1-3 on the season with a 29-22 loss at home against Hillcrest.
Michaela Rients led the Junior Lady Cougars with 13 points, scoring eight in the first quarter and five in the fourth.
Up next, the senior and junior girls teams were scheduled to play host Sloan-Hendrix on Tuesday and are slated to host the Senath Lady Lions on Monday at RHS.
A furious late rally came-up just shy of the lead Friday as Rector fell 68-65 at home against Hillcrest in high school boys basketball action.
The Cougars trailed 46-33 six seconds into the final period and 56-46 with three minutes left to play before mounting an unlikely comeback against a team attempting to run out the clock. The Screaming Eagles gripped a 64-55 lead with 54.9 seconds remaining before Hunter McNeely knocked down 3-pointer to trim Rector's deficit to 64-58 with 52 seconds left.
On Hillcrest's next possession, Sam Simmons stole the ball near midcourt, raced to the Cougars basket and laid it in, drawing a foul on the play. Simmons made the free throw to whittle the Hillcrest lead to 64-61 with 39.6 seconds remaining in the game.
Nick Allen found an open path to the basket at the other end as the Screaming Eagles moved ahead 66-61 with 30 seconds remaining, but Max Ford scored on a driving layup at the other end to keep the Cougars within reach at 66-63 with 20 seconds left on the clock.
The Screaming Eagles drew a foul, and Tyson Durham made both resulting free throws as Hillcrest stretched the lead to 68-63 with 10 seconds left to play. A long jumper by Rector just before the buzzer pulled the Cougars to within three points as the game ended.
"We just needed one more turnover at the end and didn't get it," said Rector coach Matt Mills, whose team fell to 1-4 on the season three days after picking up its first win against Maynard.
The Cougars outscored Hillcrest 32-24 in the fourth quarter after Hillcrest seemed to pull away in the third period. The Screaming Eagles led 26-21 at halftime but outpaced Rector 10-3 the final two minutes of the third to carry the eight-point lead into the final frame.
The Cougars needed to rally after a dismal first quarter that saw Rector make just one of 15 shot attempts in the first eight minutes while Hillcrest flew ahead 11-2. The Cougars then made four of their first six shots from the field the first two minutes of the second quarter to claw back to within 15-12. Kirk Beshears scored seven straight points for Rector to help knot the score at 19-apiece with 2:05 left before halftime.
Beshears scored the Cougars' first eight points of the third quarter, and gave Rector its only lead of the game, 29-28, on a move inside to the basket with 4:50 remaining in the period. But he fouled out of the game midway through the fourth quarter as Hillcrest again pulled ahead by double digits.
"He gave us consistent scoring," Mills said of Beshears. "And he's a guy that does things at the defensive end."
Beshears finished with a team-high 17 points and six rebounds. All of his scoring came in the second (9 points) and third (8 points) quarters. McNeely added 13 points - making three of five shots from beyond the 3-point line - while Sam Simmons chipped in with 10 points.
After being outrebounded 11-3 in the first quarter, the Cougars outrebounded Hillcrest 18-17 the rest of the way. The Screaming Eagles left the door open for Rector's comeback by finishing with 15 turnovers. However, Hillcrest found enough open shots down the stretch to hold on for the win, making eight of nine field goal attempts in the final eight minutes.
After the slow start, the Cougars managed to shoot a more pedestrian 22 of 42 from the floor after the first quarter. Rector made 57.7 percent (15 of 26) of its shot attempts in the second half, including three of six 3-pointer attempts.
Durham nearly finished with a double-double, tallying 19 points and nine rebounds for the Screaming Eagles. He made half of his 10 shot attempts from beyond the 3-point line. Teammate Dyllan Nunnelly led all scorers in the game with 22 points.
Rector made 13 of 19 free throw attempts in the game, with Beshears draining six of his seven attempts.
While disappointed with his team's start Friday, Mills said he continues to see things he likes from his squad.
"We're definitely making strides," he said. "Not as fast as we'd like, but there is improvement. We're a work in progress."
Friday's loss came after the Cougars picked up their first win of the season Tuesday, 53-41, against Maynard. As on Friday, Rector exploded in the fourth quarter Tuesday as well, outscoring Maynard 25-12 in the final period to rally for the win.
Maynard held leads of 18-14 at halftime and 29-28 at the end of the third quarter before Rector fought back. Unlike against Hillcrest three nights later, the Cougars got over the hump against Maynard.
Beshears recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds against Maynard, while Cody Ails added 11 points and freshman Max Ford chipped in with 10 points.
Maynard won the junior game 44-42 in double overtime.
Rector was to host Sloan-Hendrix on Tuesday, prior to the holiday break from school, before competing in the Williams Baptist College Tournament over the weekend.