By DOUG EADS
The Pulaski County Maroons looked to have things well in hand in the opening minutes of the second half of Friday night’s game with visiting Rockcastle County in an all-important 47th District game for both clubs.
John Fraley’s club led The Rock by 15 points at 37-22 in the early moments of the second half, but somebody forgot to tell the Rockets this game was over.
Andrew Cash’s club roared back from the dead, and when Daniel Mullins made yet another three with under three minutes left in the contest, the Maroons lead stood at just a single digit at 60-59.
However, that’s when PC went to work and sealed the win.
Jake Combs hit a driving layup, Garrett Heath — who was the difference maker in this game for the Maroons on the defensive end — came up with a steal, Grant Oaks scored in the paint, and it was 64-59 Maroons just like that.
Colton Fraley then sealed the deal for PC from the free throw line, and Pulaski County held off the Rockets in a thriller, 73-65.
“This bunch has a whole lot of perseverance and they don’t panic ever,” stated a very happy coach Fraley in talking about his club’s execution coming down the stretch.
“We’ve been in situations this year where we’ve been down early, and then come back and make a game of it, or we get out to a big lead and let a team get back in it,” added the Maroons head coach. “We didn’t panic tonight, and we did what we did to close this one out.”
Early on, PC was in complete control in this one, leading the Rockets 36-22 at the intermission.
And, that lead was due in large part to the defensive play of Heath, who was blocking shots, getting deflections, racing into the passing lanes and picking up steals — you name it — at the defensive end, Heath took Rockcastle County out of its offense.
But, in the second half, The Rock started making shots, led by Mullins, who came off the bench to lead Rockcastle County with 20 points, hitting four, three-point baskets on the way to his big offensive night.
Still, even that wouldn’t be enough for the Rockets.
Colton Fraley led Pulaski County with a game-high 27 points, hitting on 10-12 free throws, with many of those coming at crunch time in the game’s final couple of minutes.
Jake Combs added 16 points for Pulaski County, Oaks chipped in with 11 points, and Heath added 10 points.
Pulaski County will have another huge 47th District game on Monday night, when the Maroons will go across town to face arch-rival Somerset in a girl-boy doubleheader from The Briar Patch.
That twinbill will get underway on Monday evening with the girl’s game at 6 p.m.