By DOUG EADS
The Clay County Tigers — undefeated on the season and a solid favorite in the 13th Region — figured to give Pulaski County a stern test on Thursday night, and Glenn Gray’s club did just that.
The Tigers trailed the Maroons most of the night, and was still behind PC 54-50 through three quarters of play.
However, thanks to a decisive 21-12 run by the Tigers in the final stanza, it was Clay County escaping The PC Gym with a hard-fought, 71-66 victory over the Maroons on the second night of the M & W Shootout.
PC senior Jake Combs paced the Maroons with 17 points, while Garrett Heath added 15, Grant Oaks chipped in with 12, and Colton Fraley added 11 points.
Yet, despite having four of its five starters hit for double figures in the contest, John Fraley ‘s club still could not overcome a late, Clay County flurry.
Jacob Curry’s three-pointer late in the game put the Tigers back out on top for good at 59-57, but PC would not go away.
Trailing the Tigers 61-57, a three from Combs would cut the lead down to one at 61-60, but Clay County would go on a quick 6-0 spurt down the stretch to ice the game, dropping the Maroons to 4-3 on the season, while the Tigers improved to a perfect, 9-0 on the year.
Meanwhile, over at The Wigwam, Southwestern got well, and got well in a hurry.
One night after falling to Madison Southern 70-57 in the opening round of the tourney, Chris Baker’s club came out on Thursday night and punched Spring Hill, Tennessee squarely in the mouth.
The Warriors held the visitors from Tennessee to only 11 points in the first half, racing out to a 36-11 lead by the intermission.
Cole Dysinger led the Warriors with 16 points, which included a perfect night from the charity stripe, going 8-8 at the free throw line.
Brayden Sims recorded a double-double in the win for the Warriors, with 14 points, while pulling down 12 boards.
Cameron Pierce also hit for double figures scoring 11 points.
Southwestern — 4-5 on the season — will return to action tonight at 6:30 p.m. in round three of the tournament, hosting Huntington Prep St. Joseph from West Virginia.
Pulaski County meanwhile will be in action tonight at The PC Gym at 8 p.m. taking on Madison Southern.
The M & W Shootout will run through Saturday at both Pulaski County and Southwestern High Schools.
Tonight’s Southwestern–Huntington Prep game can be heard on iHeartRadio of Somerset on Lake 102. 3, as yours truly and Melanie Hines will be bringing you all of the action.