Cougars hold off Wolfpack Friday night

VERDIGRE — The Cougars withstood a furious fourth quarter rally to defeat Elgin Public-Pope John 66 to 59 in NVC basketball action Friday night.
Down 47 to 33, the Wolfpack put together a 26-point fourth quarter which had fans believing a miracle comeback was in the making.
After a back-and-forth first half which saw the Wolfpack trailing by just one point, 24 to 23, the Cougars built a 14-point lead behind the play of seniors Ricky Bickerstaff and Christian Swalley.
But, in the game’s final eight minutes, the Wolfpack dominated play. The fourth quarter opened with a three-point play by senior Ashton Evans.
That was followed up with a trey from junior Hunter Reestman and a basket by Liam Heithoff which cut the deficit to 12 points midway through the fourth quarter.
Following a two-point basket by the Cougars, Wolfpack sophomore Conor Ramold drained a trey. The Cougars answered right back, but the Wolfpack kept cutting into the lead as Reestman dropped in another trey to cut the lead to 10 points with 3:10 left in the contest.
Another Cougars basket bumped the lead back to 12, then the Wolfpack answered back with three points from Evans and two from Kyle Schumacher to cut the lead to 61 to 54 with under a minute left to play.
The Wolfpack cut the lead to five points, 64 to 59, before the Cougars added a final basket for the seven-point margin of victory.
For much of the first half the Wolfpack kept pace with the Cougars. Three free throws by Schumacher gave EPPJ a seven-point lead in the latter stages of the first quarter. Schumacher’s trey at the end of the quarter gave EPPJ a 17 to 14 lead.
The lead switched teams multiple times in the second quarter before the Cougars scraped out a one-point lead at halftime.
EPPJ was led in scoring by Evans. The senior made six of 14 field goal attempts to finish with 16 points. Reestman had 14 points and Schumacher added 13.
Sophomore Adam Dreger came off the bench to score seven points.
Wolfpack 59, Cougars 66
Wolfpack……17    6  10  26 — 59
Cougars……14  10  23  19 — 66
Wolfpack — Cole Preister 0-1 0-0 0, Kyle Schumacher 4-14 3-3 13, Hunter Reestman 4-9 2-2 14, Liam Heithoff 2-4 0-0 4, Conor Ramold 1-5 2-4 5, Adam Dreger 3-8 0-2 7, Ashton Evans 6-14 2-4 16. Team totals: 20-55 9-15 59. Three-point shots — Wolfpack 10-24 (Hunter Reestman 4, Kyle Schumacher 2, Conor Ramold 1, Adam Dreger 1, Ashton Evans 2).
Team statistics: Rebounds — Wolfpack 28 (Ashton Evans 8, Liam Heithoff 5). Assists — Wolfpack 17 (Liam Heithoff 5, Ashton Evans 5). Steals — Wolfpack 8 (Ashton Evans 2, Conor Ramold 2, Hunter Reestman 2). Turnovers — Wolfpack 17