By DOUG EADS
Losers of two of their last three games — and a trip to arch-rival Somerset awaiting them at the end of the week — the Pulaski County Maroons needed a win on Tuesday night.
And, that’s exactly what John Fraley and company were able to achieve.
KJ Combs led three Maroon players in double figures with 20 points, helping the Maroons get back on track and into the ‘win’ column with a 68-58 win over visiting Mercer County.
“We’re always a work in progress, but I thought we played hard and played together tonight,” stated a very pleased coach Fraley after his club improved to 19-5 on the season with the win.
“We’ve kind of been on somewhat of a rough skid of late, so we needed some confidence, and we needed a win, and we were able to get over the hump and get it tonight,” continued the Pulaski County head coach.
The Maroons led this one basically from the outset, only trailing Mercer County on a couple of occasions by a single digit.
Combs meanwhile tallied 11 of his team-high 20 points in the opening half of play, but the Maroons only led the Titans by a 34-31 score at the intermission.
At the beginning of the second half, PC took control of things for good.
Combs nailed a three-point basket, and Colton Fraley scored on a nice drive to the hole, and thanks to that mini, 5-0 spurt out of the gate to start the second half, the Maroons had stretched the lead out to 39-31 over the Titans, forcing Mercer County to call a timeout and try to regroup.
PC eventually stretched the lead out in the fourth quarter to as many as 12 points, as the Titans never really threatened the Maroons coming down the stretch.
Colton Fraley added 15 points in the win for PC, while Zach Travis chipped in with 12 points, on a night when coach John Fraley saw his club get back to doing some of the things that it is good at doing — mainly, overcoming some big-time adversity.
“We’ve had some young kids that have stepped up,” Fraley said.
“I’m not sure of the number of games, but I think Grant (Oakes) has only played in about six or seven games this year,” added the PC coach. “He’s just not been able to get going, and what we thought we might have going into the season, and what you end up playing with, has been nothing close. I know everybody goes through that somewhat. I’ve been proud of our kids for fighting through some adversity and winning some tough games.”
Those tough games continue for Pulaski County on Friday night, as the Maroons will travel to The Briar Patch to face a Somerset team that defeated Pulaski County just last week on the Maroons home court by a final score of 72-52.
That game will follow the girl’s contest, which will get underway at 7:30 p.m.
The PC at Somerset game can be heard on local radio, on LAKE 102.3 FM, as yours truly along with my brother — Jamie Eads — will have all of the action for you, beginning with our pregame show which will get underway at 7:15 p.m.