By DOUG EADS
After Tuesday night’s impressive 83-79 win at 12th Regional favorite Wayne County, John Fraley and the Pulaski County Maroons went from the proverbial frying pan into the fire on Friday night.
The Maroons welcomed in the Madison Central Indians, led by Western Kentucky University commit Isaiah Cozart, who earlier this season had already broken the all-time shot blocking record in Kentucky high school basketball history.
And on Friday night at The PC Gym, Cozart displayed his skills to everyone in attendance.
The Indians 6-foot-eight center recorded a triple-double, scoring 20 points, while ripping down 12 rebounds and notching 10 blocked shots, leading Madison Central to an impressive, 78-57 victory over the Maroons.
“We just played from behind all night,” lamented coach Fraley after his club’s second loss of the season.
“We were a step behind tonight it seemed, and we came out and were a little shell-shocked, and maybe we still had a little hangover from Tuesday,” continued the Pulaski County head coach. “When you do that, and you dig yourself a hole, and then you’re trying to drive to the basket, and the big kid (Isaiah Cozart) is back there, it just makes it tough. He’s long and athletic, and has great timing, and it just makes it even that much harder to try to come back when they’ve got a guy like that back there defending the basket.”
A come back is exactly what Pulaski County was able to do late in the first half, as Fraley and crew trailed in this affair almost from the beginning.
Colton Fraley scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half, and thanks to a mini-spurt, PC had cut the Indians lead down to 30-27 late in the opening half of play, with just over a minute left in the second quarter.
However, Kole Browne drained a three-pointer, and another Indians hoop from Quae Charlton eased the lead out to 35-27 at the intermission.
So, thanks to that little 5-0 run to close out the first half of play, a three-point game was all of a sudden an eight-point deficit as the teams went into their respective locker rooms at halftime.
“I think (Isaiah) Cozart is one of the best bigs in the state, and that’s why he is going to Western,” pointed out Fraley.
“He’s going to be a nice player, and he’s a very nice player at the high school level, and we’ll be hard pressed to see another big guy like him for the rest of the year,” Fraley added.
Madison Central put this one away early in the second half, going on a 12-6 spurt to begin the third quarter, opening up a double-digit lead over the Maroons at 47-33.
From that juncture, Pulaski County was able to cut the deficit down to nine points on three different occasions, but could never get any closer, as the Indians methodically pulled away for the 78-57 victory.
Browne joined Cozart in double figures with 19 points, hitting on eight of 11 field goal attempts, which included going three for four from behind the three-point line.
Charlton also tallied 19 points for the Indians, while Pulaski County was led by Jake Combs’ 17 points. Colton Fraley added 14 points, and Grant Oaks chipped in with 11 points.
The Maroons will return to action this Wednesday night at The PC Gym, as night one of the M & W Classic gets underway.
PC — now 3-2 on the season — has another monumental task in front of the Maroons, as Fraley and crew will open up play in the tournament against Huntington Prep, out of West Virginia.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Huntington Prep is a perennial basketball powerhouse nation wide, and is the alma mater of former University of Kentucky standout Patrick Patterson. The M & W Classic will feature both boys and girls teams, and will be held at both Southwestern and Pulaski County High Schools for four days, with games beginning each day at 5 p.m. starting on Wednesday.