By DOUG EADS
Way back last October in the weeks leading up to the start of the 2019-’20 high school basketball season, both Pulaski County and Lincoln County were widely favored to collide in March to settle a champion inside the 12th Region.
Yet on Wednesday night at Pulaski County High School on the opening night of the Boy’s 12th Regional Basketball Tournament, there stood the Patriots and Maroons staring at each other as they met in the first round of the tourney, instead of the title game.
And for the second time this season, Pulaski County had Lincoln County’s number.
John Fraley’s club used an 8-0 spurt to begin the second half to take this game by the throat, and the Maroons got a game-high 21 points from sophomore forward Zach Travis, helping Pulaski County to move on to the semi finals of the tourney with an impressive, 62-49 win over the Pats.
This game was a low-scoring affair in the first half — much like the first game this season between the two regional powerhouses, in a game won by PC 56-50.
On Wednesday night however with the stakes much, much larger, it was the Maroons that clearly made their case that they’re going to be a tough out in this tourney on their home court.
PC led the Patriots at the half 22-17, but took firm control of this one with a modest, 8-0 spurt to begin the third frame, taking a 30-17 lead over Lincoln County.
The Patriots — held without a three-point basket in the opening half of play — finally got on track from downtown after that PC spurt, as Baylor Mattingly knocked down a couple of treys for Lincoln County, as did Elijah Frye.
However, it was Pulaski County that led this affair 41-28 through three quarters oif play.
In the final stanza, the Patriots eventually trimmed that deficit down to seven points and had the ball, with momentum on their side.
However on that possession, PC’s Colton Fraley came up with a steal, and Travis drained a three-pointer from the corner on a nice dish from Fraley, and just like that, the Maroons were back up by 10 points, and closed it out from there.
KJ Combs also hit for double figures with 12 points for PC, and Fraley added 10 points, as the Maroons moved to 25-6 on the season with the win and onto the semi finals.
The Maroons will meet West Jessamine next Monday night in the first semi final game at Pulaski County High School at 6:30 p.m.
The Colts punched their ticket to the semi finals, with an 84-56 win last night over Southwestern.