Rayno and Epley lead Cougars to impressive win over Lakers
By Jim Turner

Posted on December 2, 2017 5:35 PM

Kelby Epley burned the nets early, and Austin Rayno dominated the game in the fourth quarter, leading the Logan County Cougars to an impressive 86-73 win over visiting Russell County Friday in their home opener.

Epley, a junior guard, had hit five 3-pointers early in the third quarter, helping the Cougars build a 49-36 lead. After that, though, Epley virtually quit shooting and seemed to be looking more toward preserving the lead instead of adding to it. He turned into a passer of the last dozen minutes and finished with 18 points.

Rayno, a senior guard who has been starting since late in his freshmen year, took up the slack. Nine straight of Logan’s points early in the fourth quarter came on 3-pointers coming off Rayno’s smooth stroke from long range. He finished with 27 points, 16 of them coming in the fourth quarter.

Three-pointers were the norm for Coach Lonnie Mason’s team. They took a 9-0 lead on bombs by Tommy Krohn, Epley and Rayno. Ethan Smock connected from long range later.

Unfortunately for Krohn, who had led the Cougars in scoring in their overtime win at Warren East three days earlier, his opening trifecta would be his only points of the game. He picked up his second foul earl, as did Rayno and Smock. Almost as soon as Krohn would reenter the game, he would have to sit back down with another foul. He played less than three minutes in the second half before fouling out.

Other Cougars came to the rescuie. Sophomore Nathaniel Vick hit a shot and two free throws a few seconds later to make Logan’s lead 35-23 in the second quarter. After the Lakers cut the lead to single figures, seniors Jonathan Furlow hit a 3-pointer.  Third Bell hit some key free throws, and Mykal Hampton got the ball to Rayno for some of his baskets.

Russell County usually comes to the regional tournament with one of the best records in the field. A loss like this is rare for the 16th District power.

“A year ago, we might not have won this game,” Coach Mason said. “I like the way we’ve been hanging in tough this week.”

The Cougars ran their record to 2-0, following an overtime win at Warren East on Tuesday.

Smock finished in double figures with 10 points while Hampton added seven and Bell six. Caden McKinnis played a strong game in the middle.

Tate Richardson scored 22 points for the Laker while Brayton Scales added 15 and Mason Miller 13.


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