Clark's dagger bursts Logan's bubble
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

Seven years of futility almost came to an end Monday. The Logan County Cougars were within an eyelash of fulfilling their dream of beating crosstown rival Russellville. They had led at the end of each of the first three quarters, and they were ahead by two points with 16 seconds remaining in this season's first Clash of the Cats.
Then a dagger from the cool hands of senior Trevor Clark pierced their bubble, giving the Panthers a 65-64 district win.
Logan rushed downcourt in an attempt to retake the lead but fumbled the ball away, turning the dream into reality one more time.

Both teams were in action the following night with the roles reversed. See details at the end of this story.

Davonta Bryant of Russellville had tied the score at 60-60, but Brett Sowell gave the Cougars the lead on an assist from Derrod Blakey with 1:15. Troy Graham and Blakey each hit a free throw to make the lead four, but it was obvious the Cougars were missing too many points at the foul line. They didn't shoot a single free throw in the third quarter while the Panthers were going 8 for 11 during that eight minutes. Then in the final stanza, Logan was just 9 of 14 in foul shot opportunities, going a disastrous 12 of 21 for the game.
Fouls were a factor early, too, when two of the players Logan desperately needs on the floor were assessed their second fouls in the first quarter. Leading scorer Troy Graham didn't make it three minutes before he had to take a seat on the bench. Senior guard Brett Sowell, a three-year starter, picked up his second personal with 40.6 seconds remaining in the stanza.
Logan led 14-13 at the first stop, but the Panthers' quickness and relentless press started taking its toll. Damien Elam scored and then D.J. Quarles put together a 3-point play after a steal to make it 18-14 just 40 seconds into the second quarter. Russellville scored six of the first eight points of the second quarter, and Coach Harold Tackett had to put Sowell and Graham back in quickly.

The Cougars tied it on a length-of-the-court drive by Graham, and then went ahead on Graham's rebound goal. Sowell's pair of free throws made it 24-20 with four minutes left in the half.
The lead went back and forth until Logan's Reuben Rawlings-Watson scored on a drive. Reserve Tyler Davenport drew a charge from Panther Kevin Temple, and then Danveport hit a 3-pointer as the half ended to make the Cougars' lead 32-28 at the intermission.

Graham was called for a charge that wiped out a bucket to start the third quarter, and Russellville's Justin Bollenbecker hit a 3-pointer. The Cougars' lead alternated between one and three points until a series of fouls kept the ball on the Panthers' end of the floor for a while. Rawlings-Watson was called for an intentional foul when Quarles hit the floor hard. Quarles, who was in pain the rest of the game, hit one free throw. On the rebound of the missed free throw, Rawlings-Watson was called for a technical foul. Davis Pardue hit the resulting two foul shots, tying the score at 40-40. Rawlings-Watson drew his fourth foul in the third quarter, and Sowell picked up his third.
But Blakey, who put together the best game of his career, hit a pair of shots, and Sowell went the length-of-the-court for a goal with 10 seconds, and Logan led for the third straight stop at 46-43.

The Cougars added to the lead to start the final period. Blakey hit a free throw and then Graham rebounded his second miss, put the ball back in, drew a foul, and sank the free throw to make Logan's lead 50-43.
Russellville came roaring back. Bollenbecker drove the lane for a 3-point play, Quarles hit two free throws, and Bryant put together a 3-point play after a steal and Blakey's third foul. Bryant scored again for a 10-0 run that put the visitors up 53-50. Sowell scored four straight points to give Logan a 60-58 lead with 1:50 left in the game. Bryant tied it, and then Sowell scored on an assist from Blakey. The Cougars had a setback when leading rebounder Twin Lancaster fouled out with 1:08.

Graham and Blakey each hit one of two free throws to make the Logan lead 64-60 with 54 seconds.
Elam scored on a rebound 11 seconds later to cut the lead to two. With 16.2 seconds there was a held ball on a rebound, and the possession arrow went to Russellville. The Panthers penetrated, kicked the ball out to Clark, and he unleased his 3-point dagger. See Ashley Bland's picture of the winning shot, above.

"He never hesitated. He had the courage to shoot it, and his shot was fluid," said RHS coach Dennis Pardue about Clark's heroics. "We didn't have anyone who played well, but Trevor came through for us. Logan gave a great effort."
Even though he was disappointed with the loss, Coach Tackett said, "We made them work and we put ourselves in a position to win. We battled to win and came up just short. People need to understand this is not the Logan County of old."

The Cougars dominated the boards. The Logan stat sheet showed the home team with a 42-25 rebound margin while the Panther stat sheet had it at 40-28. Lancaster and Blakey each had 11 boards. As usual, Quarles led Russellville with six rebounds from his guard position in limitd playing time.
On the other hand, the Panthers hit 22 of 29 free throws and the Cougars that dismal 12 of 21; that-- and Clark's game winner-- decided the game's outcome. Quarles was 9 of 11 at the line and Elam 5 of 6. Sowell was tops for Logan at 5 of 6. Russellville tried 15 three-pointers, hitting only 3. For the game, Logan hit 48.1 percent from the field and Russellville 38.5 percent. There were 54 turnovers in the game, 29 of them by the Cougars.
Logan point guard Seth McReynolds was the only player on either team to play the entire 32 minutes. Blakey only sat out just 1:15 and Sowell 2:19. Elam played the most minutes for RHS with 28:48 and Victor Hampton played 26:31. Quarles, who was not ever quite the same after his explosive fall, missed 12 minutes.

Quarles had 14 points for the Panthers with Bryant getting 13 and Elam 11. Sowell finished with 16 points, Lancaster 15, Graham 13 and Blakey 12 for Logan.
Russellville's record improved to 10-3 while the Cougars slid to 7-9.

Score by Quarters: 1) LCHS 14-13, 2) LCHS 32-28, 3) LCHS 46-43, Final) Russellville 65, Logan County 64
RHS (65)
D.J. Quarles 14, Davonta Bryant 13, Damien Elam 11, Trevor Clark 9, Kevin Temple 6, Justin Bollenbecker 6, Victor Hampton 4, Davis Pardue 2
LCHS (64) Brett Sowell 16, Twin Lancaster 15, Troy Grahma 13, Dorrod Blakey 12, Tyler Davenport 3, Drake Downey 2, Reuben Rawlings-Watson 2, Seth McReynolds 1, Barbee

Cougars 69, Butler County 49
Despite being worn out from their emotional battle the night before, the Cougars picked up their eighth win the following night at Butler County by a 69-49 count. Logan led by small margins most of the way, but outscored the Bears by 12 points in the fourth quarter to get the 20-point victory.
The Bears led 12-10 in the first quarter with Clay Embry getting 10 of those points as the result of offensive rebounds. Senior Phillip Stratton came in for the Cougars and shut him down while making plays himself. Stratton gave the Cougars the lead for good at 18 -15. Then freshman Torin Graham, who was playing because senior point guard Seth McReynolds picked up three fouls in the first quarter, hit a 3-pointer. Graham's older brother Troy put together a basket and free throw to make it 27-22. The Cougars led 32-26 at the half with Twin Lancaster already having 11 points.
McReynolds' fourth foul came at the start of the the third quarter, but the Cougars led by eight going into the final period and then won going away.
Logan's teams go to Todd Central for a district game Friday.
Greenwood 68, Panthers 63
Greenwood shot 53.2 percent from the field fot the game, including 7 of 17 from 3-point range to get a win at Jim Young Gymnasium Tuesday night. It was the third close game against good regional teams in eight days for the Panthers, who entertain another one in Franklin-Simpson Friday for homecoming and Hall of Fame night.
Every time the Panthers seemed to be gaining an advantage, the Gators responded with consecutive 3-pointers. Lane Embry hit three of them early and center Cody Stumbo hit another three late in the game.
Still Russellville had a good chance of winning. The home team's last lead came late in the third quarter when Davonta Bryant converted a steal into a 49-46 margin. The Gators led 51-49 on Dee Anderson's drive, but Bryant tied it on an assist fron Darrin Murphy, who gave his team a big lift off the bench, including grabbing six rebounds.
When Trevor Clark hit a shot with 5:25 remaining, the score was tied at 55-55, but Greenwood scored the next nine points. Russellville made some runs, but the Gators hit free throws down the stretch.
Anderson, one of the region's top players, finished with 22 points and 8 rebounds. Stumbo had 19 points and 13 boards for the winners. Bryant led the Panthers with 16 points while Victor Hampton chipped in 14, Kevin Temple 13 and Damien Elam 11. Clark joined Murphy with 6 rebounds each.
Greenwood improved its record to 14-4 while Russellville fell to 10-4.

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