BROOKSVILLE - Wednesday's loss may have stung more than the previous nine this season for the Bracken County basketball team.
The Polar Bears held a 12-point lead with a little over six minutes to play against Calvary Christian only to see it wither away in a 67-62 loss to the Cougars at the JBR/Straight Edge Construction Holiday Tournament at Bracken County.
"We just didn't keep it together. I don't know if it was a combination of the lineup we had out there or what...we just turned the ball over too much and they executed off of it," Polar Bears coach Jason Hinson said. "We missed layups when we broke their press, had bad decision making and just don't have a point guard out on the court."
It was a 55-43 edge the Polar Bears had in the fourth after playing one of their better quarters of the season in the third, turning a 32-29 deficit into the 12-point lead.
But then the turnovers started to rack up, layups started to miss and the lead evaporated...quickly. From the 6:14 mark in the fourth to the 3:48 mark, a 55-43 advantage turned into a 57-56 deficit after Calvary's Cross Dugan knocked down two free throws.
The Polar Bears wouldn't see the lead again the rest of the way as the Cougars hit 10 of their final 14 free throw attempts to improve to 7-3.
"We just had to go all out, pick up full court, pressure them and hopefully turn them over. Got a couple easy turnovers and were able to get back in the game," Cougars coach Dale Brown said.
High-scoring Mason Rausch led the way with 25 points and five 3-pointers.The Cougars were also led by Josh Moran with 21 points.
"Mason is a sophomore who plays like a senior. He's fun to coach. Moran was really great for us and really stepped up tonight," Brown said.
The loss was the Polar Bears eighth straight as they dropped to 1-10 on the year.
"Very disappointing. That's probably the first game this year I went in and felt disappointed. I felt like we were better and we just crumbled down the stretch. With the schedule we've played and the team's we've played, that's got to be a W," Hinson said. "Great thing about tournaments like this is we get to play again tomorrow. One win here or there could turn everything around."
The Polar Bears and Cougars played a tight one throughout the first half, as Calvary held a 14-11 lead after one and a 32-29 lead at the break, thanks to all 18 of their second quarter points coming from behind the 3-point line.
Bishop was a force for the Polar Bears in the paint early with eight second quarter points and added six more in the third in which Bracken outscored the Cougars 21-11, taking a 50-43 to the fourth.
"I thought we executed our offense, got stops, rebounded and played very well in that third quarter. Third quarter was the best quarter we probably played all year but we need to find a way to put it together for four quarters," Hinson said.
Tad Fisher started off the final frame with a 3-point play followed by a Trey Deaton layup, but the demise would come from there.
Pacing the Polar Bears was Cole Bishop down low with 15 points while Tad Fisher had 14 points and Logan Teegarden 13.
They'll play in the losers bracket Thursday, facing Bellevue at 3:45 p.m.
The Cougars will face Nicholas County, who knocked off Bellevue 68-32 on Wednesday. Thursday's tip between the two is at 7:45 p.m.