The Covington Cougars (8-4, 4-1) saw a big second half lead evaporate as the North Cross Raiders (7-5, 2-2 VISAA Division II) rallied from 11 points down to pull out a 56-48 victory at the Cougar Den Wednesday night.
After the Raiders took a slim lead after the first period, the Cougars began to turn it up in the second quarter.
With just under two minutes left in the first half, J’yon Smith had back to back open layups to put the Cougars up ahead nine points at 31-22.
Not long after that, with under a minute to go the Cougars would take their biggest lead of the game by 12 points, following a three-point play by Sammons who drew the foul while making a tough layup. Sammons would knock down the free throw to give the Cougars a 34-22 lead.
Just as it seemed that’s where it would take us to halftime, ? knocked down a three-pointer for the Raiders just before time expired in the first half.
The Raiders were now only down single digits going into the second half, 34-25.
Early into the third quarter, Ayden Weinger dropped in easy back to back layups that rebuilt the Cougars double digit lead at 38-27 with 5:30 to go in the period.
That though is where the Raiders would turn it up.
Facing their second double digit deficit of the game, the Raiders would use the next 5:30 minutes to shutdown the Cougars the rest of the period, while also scoring the quarters final 13 points to regain their first lead since early in the second quarter.
In large part due to several missed layups and turnovers, the Raiders were able to get back in the game and with under a minute to go int he period, Jesiah Hines would make back to back layups to take a 40-38 heading to the fourth quarter.
What was a loud crowd at the Cougar Den to start the second half had became relatively soundless.
To start the final period, the Raiders would score the quarters first five points, including a three pointer by Nick Owen which gave the Raiders their then largest lead of the contest at 45-38.
The Raiders scoring run was at 18 straight points.
The Cougars would finally end their scoring drought of 6:30, following a layup from Weinger with seven minutes to go in the game.
With the crowd back, the Cougars would drop it two more layups from Sammons and #4 to trim the lead down to just one point at 45-44.
The Cougars were on a 6-0 scoring run.
However, just as momentum was on the Cougars side, the Raiders quickly would shut it down with back to back layups to rebuild the lead up to five points at 49-44.
Trailing 51-46 with minutes remaining, the Cougars needing a basket, would turn the ball over. On the steal, Antonio Mack put in an open layup which gave the Raiders a seven point lead that would seal the victory.
Weinger led the Cougars in scoring with a team-high 12 points, while Smith had 10.
For the Raiders, they were backed by four players reaching double digits. Hines led the way for the team with a game-high 15 points. Meanwhile, Owen had 11, while Mack and Jaziel Hart each had 10.
The loss was the Cougars second in their last three games.
The Cougars played at Craig County on Friday and are at the Boys Home this evening. The Cougars are 2-0 against them this season.
NCHS 15 10 15 16 56
CHS 13 21 4 10 48