Southwestern rolls past Pulaski County in regional opener

Pulaski County’s Heidi Thompson battles for position in last week’s Girl’s 47th District Basketball Tournament. On Wednesday night, Thompson and the Lady Maroons fell to Southwestern in the first round of the 12th Regional Basketball Tournament.
Photo by David Rogers

By DOUG EADS

The Southwestern Lady Warriors came into this season as a legitimate regional contender, and on Wednesday night  in the opening round of the Girl’s 12th Regional Basketball Tournament, Stephen Butcher’s club certainly looked the part.

The Lady Warriors led homestanding Pulaski County from wire to wire, throwing a balanced scoring attack at Chris Adkins’ club. When the dust had settled, Southwestern had walked out of The PC Gym with an impressive, 68-34 victory over the Lady Maroons.

With Pulaski County playing without it’s top gun in Shelby Cothron, Southwestern basically put this one away early on, forcing the Lady Maroons to have to play from behind for the entire game.



The Lady Warriors raced out to a 31-17 lead by the intermission, and stretched that margin out to 47-24 through three quarters of play.

And, Southwestern was able to do it by throwing a very balanced scoring attack at PC.

Kallie Sheron paced the Lady Warriors with 13 points, while Regi Cundiff scored 10 of her 12 points after the intermission when the Lady Warriors began to methodically pull away from Pulaski County.

In the fourth period, Ayden Smiddy hit back to back three’s as well as adding two free throws, extending the lead out late to 66-34 in favor of the Lady Warriors.

Ayden Smiddy and Kennedy Harris each tallied 8 points for the Lady Warriors in the win, while Alexa Smiddy and Kaylee Young each chipped in with 7 points.

For Pulaski County, the Lady Maroons season ended at 17-14 on the year with the loss.

PC was led by Heidi Thompson and Haylee Ridner, who each scored 8 points in the contest.

With the win, Southwestern moved to 22-5 on the year and advanced to the semi finals of the tournament, which will get underway from The PC Gym beginning on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.



The Lady Warriors will meet up in what figures to be a great matchup on Sunday against Lincoln County in the first semi final matchup.

The Lady Patriots punched their ticket to the semi’s, improving to 24-6 on the season with an emphatic, 67-38 blowout win over an out-manned East Jessamine team. 

Sunday’s second semi final gamewill feature the two winners from tonight’s final opening round contests.

In Thursday night’s first game, Casey County will tangle with Wayne County beginning at 6:30 p.m., with Thursday’s second game featuring two of the top teams inside the 12th Region, when Danville squares off against two-time defending state champion Mercer County.

The championship game of the tournament will be held at Pulaski County High School on Monday night at 7 p.m.



Somerset’s season ends with loss to Wayne County

Kade Grundy is seen here scoring two points in a game earlier this season against Pulaski County. On Tuesday night, Grundy and the Briar Jumpers fell in the first round of the Boy’s 12th Regional Tournament to Wayne County 59-52.
Photo by David Rogers

By DOUG EADS

STANFORD — Same two teams — same tournament. This time however, there would be a different outcome.

And unfortunately for Somerset, the Briar Jumpers would not be able to notch the repeat this time around.

After dispatching Wayne County in the first round of the 12th Regional Basketball Tournament last season at Pulaski County High School, Jeron Dunbar and Somerset ran up against the Cardinals once again on Tuesday night at Lincoln County High School in the opening round of this year’s tourney.



And this time around, it would be Rodney Woods’ club that would make the plays late to gain the ‘W’.

Aubrey Weaver scored 17 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, helping lead Wayne County to a 59-52 win over Somerset, ending the Jumpers season with a 16-15 record.

“I am extremely proud of my guys,” stated coach Dunbar following the contest.

“We are the youngest team in the region, and we put up a heck of a fight,” continued the Somerset coach. “Hats off to Wayne County. We played the way we needed to win, but they (Cardinals) hit some really good shots.”

Weaver was a one-man wrecking crew in the opening half of play — a half that saw Wayne County go in with a 28-26 lead over Somerset.

The senior forward tallied 17 of those 24 points in the first half, but Somerset would respond, forcing Wayne County to have to play from behind.

In the second half, the Jumpers reclaimed the lead, but the Cardinals — as Dunbar eluded to — hit some big shots to thwart the Somerset rally.

Kade Grundy tried to keep the Jumpers close, as the sophomore guard tallied 22 points in the loss, while teammate Jase Bruner added 10 points for Somerset.



The loss to the Cardinals ended Somerset’s season with a 16-15 mark, but Dunbar pointed out that, despite the bitter loss on Tuesday night, there are better days ahead for the Somerset basketball team.

“We knew coming in we had to take away their three’s, and out perimeter defense was good, but Wayne County just hit some tough, contested shots tonight,” stated Dunbar.

“I think our inexperience showed up some when we were ahead, but all of that will play out,” he added. “These guys had a great year of experience. There are going to be some fun years coming up.”

The Final Four of the 12th Regional Tournament is now set for Friday night.

In game one at 6:30 p.m., Danville will take on Pulaski County, while the nightcap will feature the homestanding Lincoln County Patriots squaring off against Wayne County immediately following the first game.

The championship game of the tournament will be held on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

If you can’t make it to ghe game, Friday night’s PC-Danville contest can be heard on Somerset’s iHeartRadio on LAKE 102.3 FM, with yours truly and Melanie Hines bringing you all of the action.



Maroons take down McCreary Central in first round of regional tourney

Pulaski County sophomore guard KJ Combs goes up for a jump shot in last week’s district tournament against Somerset. On Monday night, Combs led the Maroons with a game-high 20 points, as John Fraley’s club topped McCreary Central 60-38 in the opening round of the Boy’s 12th Regional Basketball Tournament.
Photo by David Rogers

By DOUG EADS

STANFORD — Survive and advance.

When it comes to post season play in basketball at any level, you hear that phrase bounced around quite a bit.

In a win or go home proposition, living to play another day is the bottom line when it comes to post season hoops.



And on Monday night at Lincoln County High School in the opening round of the Boy’s 12th Regional Basketball Tournament, the Pulaski County Maroons did just that — PC lived to fight another day.

John Fraley’s club certainly didn’t bring its ‘A’ game to the first night of the regional tourney, but after an ice-cold first half shooting the basketball, the Maroons heated up at the right time to hold back a determined McCreary Central Raider basketball team.

KJ Combs hit 4-8 shots from downtown — scoring a game-high 20 points in the process — as PC held back McCreary Central 60-38, to advance to Friday night’s semi finals of the tournament.

“I told our kids before that game that when you get here (regional tournament), everybody can play,” stated a very happy coach Fraley after the contest.

“You have got to treat every game like you’re playing against the best,” added the Pulaski County head coach. “I thought we played very hard and were trying to do the right things in the first half, but we maybe were trying just too hard. I told them at halftime to just calm down, keep running our stuff, and let’s not get away from what we can do. We came out and executed a little better in the second half, and got some better looks, and that’s why we shot a better percentage.”

Pulaski County — early on at least — was simply ice cold from the floor, shooting just 34.8 percent from the field in the opening half of play, hitting on 8-23 field goal attempts.

McCreary Central meanwhile wasn’t much better, but Wade Davis’ club was right in this one against the Maroons, only trailing PC 24-18 at the half.

In the second half — at the beginning of the third period — the Maroons came out and punched the Raiders in the mouth attempting to land the knockout punch, and while it looked as if that was indeed going to happen, McCreary Central would not go away.



After Pulaski County took its biggest lead — at that time — of the game late in the third period at 36-21, the Raiders stormed right back.

Down 15 points with just over two minutes left in the third stanza, McCreary Central ended the frame on an 11-2 run, to only trail PC 38-32 headed into the fourth quarter.

“McCreary Central had evolved into a team that could get into the lane against about anybody they went up against,” stated Fraley.

“We watched them in the district tournament in the finals against Wayne County, and they got into the lane anytime they wanted to,” pointed out the Maroons coach. “I thought our kids did a good job tonight of keeping them out of the lane, and we did a good job of rebounding. Any time you hold a team to just 38 points in a regional tournament, that’s pretty good.”

With the Raiders riding all the momentum headed into the fourth quarter of play, only trailing PC by that 38-32 margin, it was time for the Maroons to answer the call, and Fraley’s club did just that.

PC held McCreary Central to just six points over the game’s final eight minutes, outscoring the Raiders 22-6 in the final frame, to blow this one wide open with the 60-38 final margin of victory.

And, it was PC’s offensive execution that allowed the Maroons to finally put this contest away.

After not shooting very well at all in the opening half of play, Pulaski County shot a torrid, 62.5 percent from the field after the intermission, hitting on 15 of 24 field goal attempts.



KJ Combs led the way with those four, three-point baskets and a game-high 20 points, while Grant Oaks added 12 points in the win, and freshman Zach Travis came off the PC bench to chip in with 10 points.

The Maroons — 20-11 on the season with the win — advances to Friday night’s semi finals, where Pulaski County will meet up with the 28-5 Danville Admirals.

Danville punched its ticket to Friday’s semi’s, by winning Monday night’s first game, with a hard-fought, 57-54 win over West Jessamine.

Friday night’s semi finals will get underway from Lincoln County High School beginning at 6:30 p.m., and the championship game of the tourney will tip off on Saturday evening at 7 p.m.



Boy’s and Girl’s 12th Regional Tourney brackets now set

Pulaski County senior guard Jake Combs goes up for a shot  in the recent 47th District Tournament. Combs and the Maroons will begin play in the 12th Regional Tournament at Lincoln County High School on Monday night against McCreary Central.
Photo by David Rogers

By DOUG EADS

The fields for both the Boy’s and Girl’s 12th Regional Basketball Tournaments are now set, after the draws for both events were held earlier today at Lincoln County High School.

The Boy’s 12th Regional Tournament will get underway from Lincoln County High School on Monday night, with a pair of games, with two more  contests set for Tuesday night.

The tourney will tip off on Monday evening, February 25th at 6 p.m. with one heck of a matchup, when West Jessamine (16-12) will take on the Danville Admirals (27-5) beginning at 6 p.m.



The Admirals own the 12th Region’s top won-loss record at 27-5, and were atop the regional standings for much of the season. Yet, Ed McKinney’s club is coming into the regional tourney as a district runner-up, losing to Lincoln County on Friday night 46-45 in the title game of the 45th District Tournament.

In Monday night’s second game at 7;45 p.m., the Pulaski County Maroons (19-11), will square off against the only team that will bring a losing record into the tourney, in McCreary Central (9-23).

The Maroons are coming off of last week’s 71-65 win over Somerset in the title game of the 47th District Tournament — a win that gave Pulaski County its ninth district tournament championship in the past 10 years.

On Tuesday night, February 26th, the Somerset Briar Jumpers (16-14) will take on Wayne County (23-8) at 6 p.m., with homestanding Lincoln County (20-12) running up against Mercer County (18-11) at 7:45 p.m.

The tourney semi finals will take place on Friday night, March 1st at 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., with the championship game set for Saturday night, March 2nd at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Girl’s 12th Regional Tournament gets underway on Wednesday night, February 27th from Pulaski County High School beginning at 6 p.m.

And, the tourney will tip off with an in-town rivalry right out of the gate.

The homestanding Pulaski County Lady Maroons (17-13) will face arch-rival Southwestern (21-5) at 6 p.m., with Lincoln County (23-6) taking on East Jessamine (10-20) at 8 p.m.



On Thursday night, February 28th at 6 p.m., the Casey County Lady Rebels (23-8) face the Lady Cardinals of Wayne County at 6 p.m., while Mercer County (20-10) will face the Danville Lady Admirals (23-6) at 8:00 p.m.

The semi finals of the tournament will take place on Sunday afternoon, March 3rd, at 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., while the championship game will be held on Monday night, March 4th at 7 p.m.



Casey topples PC for 47th District Girl’s title

Pulaski County’s  Molli Nelson battles for position against Wayne County in a game earlier this season. Last night, Nelson came off the bench and hit a three-point basket, but Casey County prevailed in the Girl’s 47th District Basketball Tournament final at PC 46-35.
Photo by David Rogers

By DOUG EADS

Could the third time be the charm this season for the Pulaski County Lady Maroons?

PC — after losing both regular season contests to the Casey County Lady Rebels — had one more shot at their district rival last night at The PC Gym in the title game of the Girl’s 47th District Basketball Tournament.

Unfortunately, thanks to a slow start out of the gate and a rough shooting night, the answer to the above question was a downright ‘NO’.



Jordyn Stephens led Casey County with 13 points, while teammate Gena Cravens added 10 points, helping Tara Weddle’s club nail down the district championship with a 46-35 victory over Pulaski County.

“Everybody forgets that Casey County beat us by 35 points last year in the district tournament,” stated PC head coach Chris Adkins immediately following the contest.

“This is their same team that has been starting for them in this, their third year,” continued the Lady Maroons coach. “We’ve come a long way, and Casey County knows they were in a ballgame. And, my kids understand where they’re at right now.”

Where PC was at the beginning of Thursday night’s contest might have well been in a freezer, because the Lady Maroons began this contest ice-cold — from the field at least.

Pulaski County managed only two field goals in the first quarter of play, and one of those was a steal and layup by Shelby Cothron.

For the first half, Pulaski County only had five made field goals at the intermission, and as a result, it was Casey County going into the locker room with a 22-14 lead in a low-scoring affair.

At the beginning of the third quarter, things went from bad to worse for Pulaski County.

The Lady Rebels began the second half with a modest, 7-0 spurt, that concluded with a basket from Shaylah Wilkie.



That bucket gave the Lady Rebels a whopping, 29-14 lead over an ice-cold PC squad with almost half of the third period gone by.

The Lady Maroons didn’t score a single point until the 4:02 mark of the period, thanks to a three-pointer by Madelyn Blankenship.

That trimmed the deficit at that juncture down to 29-17, but Casey’s Gena Cravens answered that three with a trey of her own on the Lady Rebels next trip downcourt, extending the advantage over PC to 15 points again at 32-17.

A three-pointer from Shelby Cothron — who led Pulaski County in scoring with a game-high 16 points — at the buzzer to end the third stanza, cut the deficit down to 36-28 headed to the fourth and final frame.

However, in the fourth quarter, the Lady Rebels were able to keep the pressure on the Lady Maroons, forcing Adkins and company to play from behind — mostly by double digits throughout the stanza.

“I think our girls realize they’re not very far away from being competitive against some of the top teams in our region,” pointed out Adkins

“Our girls are great kids, they work real hard, their parents are very supportive, and our administration is very supportive,” he added. “We have everybody back next year, so our future is very bright.”

With the loss, Pulaski County fell to 17-13 on the season, and will move on to next week’s Girl’s 12th Regional Basketball Tournament, which will be hosted by the Lady Maroons



The Girl’s 12th Regional Tournament will begin next Wednesday night, February 27th, beginning at 6 p.m.

The entire tourney bracket with first round matchups will be on The Doug Out over the weekend.



Warriors fall in shocker to McCreary Central

By DOUG EADS

STEARNS — Last season, the Southwestern Warriors won the 12th Regional Tournament, with one of the biggest post season upsets in the state, winning on a last -second shot over Mercer County at the buzzer.

On Monday night, the Warriors were denied an opportunity to defend that regional crown, thanks to falling victim to a big-time upset themselves.

Playing the homestanding McCreary Central Raiders in the play-in game of the Boy’s 48th District Basketball Tournament — a team Southwestern had defeated twice during the regular season — Chris Baker’s club saw its season end with a very tough, 52-50 loss.



Andrew Smith was a bright spot for the Warriors, draining five, three-point baskets leading Southwestern with 15 points, while Cole Dysinger added 13 points.

However, it wouldn’t be enough.

The Warriors led this low-scoring affair after three quarters of play — 35-33 — but McCreary Central would take the win by outscoring the blue and orange in the fourth stanza by a 19-15 margin.

With the loss, Southwestern ended its season with a 13-17 record.



Jumpers punch their ticket to region, with win over Casey County

By DOUG EADS

It didn’t come easy, but the Somerset Briar Jumpers punched their ticket on Monday night to next week’s 12th Regional Basketball Tournament, with a hard-fought, 78-67 win over Casey County in the opening round of the Boy’s 47th District Basektball Tournament at Pulaski County High School.

Jeron Dunbar’s club trailed the Rebels 14-13 at the end of the first quarter, but fought back to lead Casey County at the intermission 26-24.

Leading the Rebels 43-39 through three quarters of play, Somerset iced this one with a 35-28 fourth quarter, as both clubs put up points by the dozens over the game’s final eight minutes of play.



Kade Grundy led Somerset in the win with 28 points, while Kaiya Sheron added 25 points in the win, and Dylan Burton added a baker’s dozen.

Casey County got a game-high 29 points from senior guard Max Reyes, while Spencer Baird added 20 points.

Somerset — 16-13 on the season with the win — will move on to Wednesday night’s championship game, where the Jumpers will take on Pulaski County.

The Maroons survived in overtime in Monday night’s second game, holding back Rockcastle County in overtime, 72-70.