By DOUG EADS
The Pulaski County Maroons — coming into this season as a legitimate contender in both the 47th District and 12th Region — are still just that — in the hunt for both titles.
However, John Fraley’s club — despite those lofty preseason expectations — are going to be limping into post season play — both literally and figuratively — thanks to another heartbreaking loss at the buzzer.
Playing without starting point guard Colton Fraley in the regular season finale on Thursday night, and with senior guard Jake Combs getting a little banged up late, the Maroons saw a furious fourth quarter rally go by the boards in a tough loss to visiting Christian County.
The Colonels Eric Brody came up with a steal deep in PC’s backcourt, and put a shot up off the glass that went in just before the final horn sounded, giving the Colonels a 67-65 win in a thriller over the Maroons, sending Pulaski County down to its second straight defeat of the week.
Not exactly the way any coach would want to head into the post season.
As for Fraley the player — Colton Fraley — was held out of the game after being diagnosed with Mono earlier in the week.
Coach Fraley meanwhile hopes to get his coach on the floor back for Monday night’s district tournament game, but with Colton Fraley questionable, and with Jake Combs banging a knee late in the contest, all of a sudden the Maroons have become the walking wounded so to speak.
“Jake (Combs) banged knees with a kid late in the game and we’re hoping he’s OK, but we’ll have to get it looked at,” stated coach Fraley, after watching his team’s season end at 17-11 with another tough loss at the buzzer.
“Hopefully, we’ll have everybody available and ready come Monday night,” added the PC coach. “As far as the two-game losing streak goes, I’m not worried about that at all. Our schedule this year has been good enough I feel like that we are ready. We have played some very good competition all season long, and we wanted to do that to get us prepared, and I feel like we are prepared headed into the post season.”
As for the game with Christian County, Brody was a one-man wrecking crew of sorts, scoring a game-high 24 points for the Colonels.
The senior foward hit five treys in the contest — four coming in the first half of play — yet PC led this one at the intermission 37-35.
However, the Colonels came out and took control of this one in the second half, and led PC at the midway mark of the fourth quarter by a 63-54 margin.
Down nine points late in the game, and with no Colton Fraley on the floor — no problem for PC.
The Maroons rallied with a 9-0 spurt to tie this one up at 63-63, and after both teams traded baskets, it was Brody that picked Jake Combs’ pocket and drove in for the game-winning layup as time expired.
“I thought Garrett Heath came in and did a very good job of running the point tonight in Colton’s absence, and we had some other kids step up as well,” stated Fraley.
“We had a couple of things that just didn’t go our way tonight, and we didn’t rebound the ball well enough,” added the PC coach. “We are hopeful that we will get Colton back and he’ll be ready to go on Monday night for the district tournament. If he’s not, then it’s next man up and we’ll have to have some kids step up, just like they did in this game tonight.”
Jake Combs led PC in the loss with 18 points, Grant Oaks added 17 points, and KJ Combs chipped in with 10 points.
Pulaski County will begin post season play on Monday night in the friendly confines of The PC Gym, hosting Rockcastle County in the first round of the Boy’s 47th District Basketball Tournament.
That game is set to get underway at 7:30 p.m.