By DOUG EADS
The Pulaski County Maroons scored the first 11 points of the game on Friday night against arch-rival Southwestern, and then trailed for the first time of the contest early in the third period.
No problem for John Fraley and crew however.
On Friday evening at The PC Gym, the Maroons made the plays they needed to make at crunch time, and in a game that was what one might expect between two solid district and regional contenders, it was Pulaski County surviving in round one of this county rivalry, with a hard-fought, 69-64 win over the Warriors.
After falling behind PC early on in this affair by that 11-0 margin, Southwestern managed to slowly climb back in this one.
Senior point guard Cole Dysinger hit three of his four made three-point baskets in the first half, helping the Warriors get off of the mat.
Despite being down by double figures right out of the gate, the Warriors were only down to the Maroons by a bucket at halftime, only trailing Pulaski County by a 31-29 margin.
In the third frame, Southwestern took its only two leads of the contest, grabbing a one-point lead early in the third quarter, and later in the frame, Chris Baker’s club found itself up by two points over the Maroons.
However, Pulaski County would come back on a night where the Maroons wouldn’t be denied.
The game was tied up at 47-47 through three quarters of play, but thanks to a 22-12 rally by the Maroons in the final frame, PC finally took charge in this one for good.
Pulaski County led this one late — 69-59 — before Southwestern would score five late points inside the final 10 seconds of the game.
KJ Combs hurt the Warriors all night long with his ability to post up in the paint for some easy baskets, and he led PC with a game-high 20 points.
Colton Fraley added 17 points in the win for the Maroons, and Zach Travis chipped in with 11 points.
Southwestern meanwhile was paced by Dysinger’s 18 points, while Brayden Sims added 17 points for the Warriors.
The Maroons came into Friday night’s game as the only team in the 12th Region with an undefeated record against 12th Regional opponents, and thanks to the win over the Warriors, that streak remained in tact.
Pulaski County — 14-3 on the season with the win — will return to action at The PC Gym on Monday night, hosting 13th Regional power Clay County at 7:30 p.m.
The Warriors — 11-8 on the year with the loss — with seven of those eight losses coming by five points or less — will swing back into action tonight at the friendly confines of The Wigwam, as Southwestern will host Tates Creek at 7:30 p.m.