County Cougars struggle during busy week

By ROBBIE ROBERTSON,

Don’t blame Newton County boys coach Steve Harber and his Cougars if they are a little tired this week.

The Cougars played four games last week, including a Friday night game at Mendenhall and a Saturday morning game in New Albany.

The Cougars went just 1-3 on the week, going 1-2 in 5-4A play. The Cougars lost 49-40 to Northeast Lauderdale and beat Northeast Jones 64-47 on Tuesday. Then on Friday night, the Cougars ran into a buzz saw at Mendenhall, dropping a 53-36 decision. The Cougar turned around and went to New Albany on Saturday and lost to Ingomar 67-56 at the Hotbed Classic.

“We played some good teams this week,” County coach Steve Harber said. “The Northeast Lauderdale game was tied going into the fourth and we let that one slip away from us. I thought we played pretty well against Northeast Jones and got after them from the get go. I knew we were going to be in for a dogfight against Mendenhall. They haven’t lost since we beat them, and I knew they would be ready for us. They jumped on us early, and we were never able to recover.”

Then after making the trek to Mendenhall, the Cougars were up at 6 a.m. on the road to New Albany for the Hotbed Classic.

“The Hotbed Classic is a prestigious thing to do,” Harber said. “It was a great experience. It’s a big basketball place, and the gym was full all day long. We got ahead of them early and then got in foul trouble. It was a tough turnaround for us. We played two games in less than 24 hours and drove 500 something miles. I was glad we went but disappointed that the officials took away what we wanted to do.”

Newton County, now 14-7 and 3-3 in 5-4A play, will host West Lauderdale on Tuesday and travel to Northeast Lauderdale on Friday.

“I think we are still OK in our district,” Harber said. “The top two teams have two losses and the next three have three losses. We are all right in there and have two weeks left to go. Anything can happen at this point.”

NE Lauderdale 49, County 40

Yunish Billy and Jalin Nicholson each had 11 points apiece while Chris Mulford had eight points.

Ingomar 67, County 56

Jarius Huddleston led County with 14 points while Peyton Reeves had 13 points and nine rebounds. Chris Mulford had 11 points and eight rebounds while Jalin Nicholson had 11 points. Yunish Billy also had seven assists.

Nicholson was named the Hotbed  Classic Player of the Game while Reeves was named the magnoliahoops.com Player of the game.

County 64, NE Jones 47

Peyton Reeves had a big night with 23 points and 12 rebounds while Chris Mulford had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Yunish Billy added 11 points.

Mendenhall 53, County 36

Peyton Reeves had another big night with 20 points and nine rebounds.