By DOUG EADS
The Pulaski County Maroons have gone through a brutal stretch on their schedule over the past month, and on Saturday night at The PC Gym things didn’t get any easier for coach John Fraley and company.
Coming off a gut-wrenching, 64-62 loss to arch-rival Somerset the night before on a buzzer beater, the Maroons were faced with the daunting task of facing a Lincoln County team that had defeated PC back on January 8th by 30 points — 71-41.
On Saturday night in the rematch, things were different the second time around between these two club — make that a whole lot different.
Sophomore guard KJ Combs scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, helping the Maroons erase that Somerset loss with a hard-fought, 86-83 win over the Patriots.
This was a game that saw Pulaski County lead wire to wire, but the Patriots attempted to rally in the second half by exploding for 54 points after the intermission, and still, even that wouldn’t be enough for Jeff Jackson’s club.
Pulaski County raced out to a double digit lead after one quarter of play, leading Lincoln County 19-6, and maintained that lead at the intermission over the Patriots, 36-25.
The Maroons were still in charge of things at the end of the third period with a 56-49 advantage, and that’s when Lincoln County’s Baylor Mattingly went to work.
The sophomore guard scored 21 points — all on three-point baskets — and he drained four of those game-high seven treys in the final stanza, helping Lincoln County explode over the final stanza with 34 points.
Freshman guard Jaxon Smith scored 11 of his 22 points in the final frame as well, but PC would weather the rally by scoring 30 points in the fourth quarter.
And, the Maroons were able to do a lot of their damage from the charity stripe, with the Patriots playing from behind.
Colton Fraley scored 15 points in the contest, going a perfect, 12-12 from the charity stripe.
As a team, the Maroons hit on 87.9 percent from the free throw line, hitting on 29-33 free throw attempts.
Grant Oaks — coming off a monster game against Somerset, scoring 26 points in that contest — had another solid outing for the Maroons with 21 points, while senior guard Jake Combs added 17 points for a PC team that moved to 15-9 on the year with the win — a win the Maroons desperately needed helping to get the bitter taste of that Somerset game behind them, as well as exacting some revenge over the Patriots for that 30-point loss last month.
Pulaski County will return to action on Tuesday night at home, hosting the Estill County Engineers at 7:30 p.m.