The Cougars began play at the River City Classic by going 1-1 in a pair of games against San Antonio Sam Houston and Laredo Alexander Thursday at Canyon High School.

Head coach Paul Buntyn’s team was able to grind out a 56-54 victory over the Hurricanes in the opener, but a bad first quarter cost them a shot to complete a 2-0 day in Pool D. Canyon (2-7 overall) fell 65-43 to Alexander in the second game of the doubleheader.

The contest against Sam Houston was a seesaw affair, as the Cougars overcame a slim first-quarter deficit to take a 30-27 halftime edge. The Hurricanes grabbed the lead back prior to the final stanza, but Canyon finished strong to prevail by a single basket.

Zay McHenry led his team with 19 points in the contest, while Josh Malone added 13 points. Paul Wood recorded five assists to keep the offense in rhythm.

In the loss to Alexander, the Cougars were undone by a 33-point opening period from the visiting Bulldogs. Canyon won two of the next three quarters, but it wasn’t enough to dig out of a 26-point deficit.

Alexander shot a blistering 54% from the field in the game.

Sal Shepherd led the way with 11 points for the Cougars during the setback, while Wood, Malone, McHenry and Tavian Facundo each chipped in seven points. McHenry also ripped down seven boards to lead his team in that category as well.

Canyon will host two more games today as the River City Classic continues. The Cougars are set to face Medina Valley at noon and then take on Pflugerville Weiss at 4:30 p.m.

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