So how do you get ready to the biggest game of the season the first of the next week?
You go out on a Saturday afternoon and totally demolish and dismantle a homecoming opponent — that’s how.
And, that’s exactly what the Pulaski County Maroons did on Saturday afternoon against visiting Russell County.
John Fraley’s club barely broke a sweat in the first half in this one, leading the Lakers by a whopping, 50-20 margin at the intermission.
And as a result, it was PC cruising to an easy, 79-43 victory over the Lakers.
Pulaski County put 10 players into the scoring column, and had three players hit for double figures, while senior Garrett Heath — who had been out for the past three weeks with a shoulder injury — returned to the starting lineup on Saturday and tallied nine points.
Colton Fraley paced the Maroons with 14 points, KJ Combs added 13 points, and Logan Bates netted 10 points, as Pulaski County moved to 17-3 on the year with the win.
The win sets up a monumental, huge, big-time game — take your pick — game this Tuesday night inside both the 47th District and 12th Region.
The Somerset Briar Jumpers — also 17-3 on the year and coming off of last Friday’s 51-50 loss to St. Henry in the All A Classic — will travel to the PC Gym for the first of two regular season meetings between two very solid favorites to win the 12th Region this year.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m., and you can follow all of the action on Somerset’s iHeartRadio, as yours truly and Adam Bray will bring you all of the exciting action between the Maroons and Briar Jumpers, beginning with our pregame show on LAKE 102.3 FM, which will get underway around 7:15 p.m.
Forget about the old sports adage, ‘Feast or Famine’.
For Al Gover and the Campbellsville-Somerset University Tigers, Saturday’s game against visiting Cincinnati-Clermont was a version of ‘Famine-Feast-Famine’.
And as a result of the latter, it was Gover and the Tigers dropping another heartbreaker, falling to the visiting Cougars by a final score of 99-92 in overtime.
The culprit in this one you might ask?
As has been the case for much of the season, what did in the Tigers on Saturday was missed opportunities at the charity stripe, and costly turnovers at winning time.
CU-Somerset was 0-3 from the free throw line in the overtime period – one of those being the front end of a one and one – and the University of Cincinnati-Clermont took advantage.
The Cougars didn’t hardly miss a shot in the extra session – from the field or the free throw line for that matter – dropping CU-Somerset to 5-14 on the season with a fourth consecutive loss.
“In overtime in a close game like that, free throws are obviously very crucial, and we just didn’t make them today when it mattered,” lamented coach Al Gover immediately following the game.
“We had several turnovers today, and we had two or three in a row with just about a minute and half to go in the game,” added the Tigers head coach. “When you fail to cash in at the free throw line, and you have two or three turnovers in a row at crunch time in a close game against a quality opponent like Cincinnati-Clermont, it’s going to get you beat, and that’s exactly what happened to us today.”
For Campbellsville-Somerset to even get back in this game was impressive.
The Cougars came out of the gate and threw and landed what looked to be the proverbial knockout punch against CU-Somerset from the very outset.
Cincinnati-Clermont jumped out in front of Somerset 22-6 early on, but Gover’s crew would not go down without a fight.
TC Wright paced the way for the homestanding Tigers with 22 points, while Malik Lovan came off the CU-Somerset bench to add 18 points.
Thanks to weathering that early storm, the Tigers only trailed this one at the intermission by a score of 47-41.
Early in the second half, CU-Somerset maintained the momentum in this affair.
In fact, at about the midway point of the second frame, it was the Tigers with a nine-point lead over Cincinnati-Clermont, leading the Cougars by a 65-56 margin.
However, coach Steve Ellis and the Cougars had one final run left as well.
UCC fought back from that nine-point deficit, and actually took a 79-76 lead late in the contest, but with his club down 82-80, Lovan scored a basket on a nice move down in the paint for the Tigers, forcing the game into overtime at 82-82.
In that extra five-minute session, the Cougars played an almost flawless five minutes of basketball, hitting shot after shot, while the Tigers missed those three crucial free throws, while turning the ball over on three consecutive possessions late in the OT period.
“Right now, we just have way too many trips down the floor for whatever reason, we’re just not focused and ready to execute and get the job done,” Gover stated.
“I mean you’re up eight or nine points in the game with about eight minutes to go – you keep that lead by guarding and rebounding– and we lost focus at that juncture, and we didn’t do either of those things very well in that stretch coming down to the end of the game,” added the CU-Somerset coach.
Besides Wright and Lovan, CU-Somerset put three other players in double figures in the loss.
Jalen Howard had 17 points, Antwan Hurt added 12 points, and AJ Thomas netted 10 points for the Tigers.
For the University of Cincinnati-Clermont, the Cougars were led by Kort Justice who tallied a game-high 26 points, while John Aicholtz added 23 points, Clay Spivey tallied 19 points, and David Hunter had 18 points.
The Tigers – 5-14 on the season – will return to action this coming weekend, playing a pair of games at Great Lakes Christian College up in Lansing, Michigan.
CU-Somerset’s next home game is on Friday, February 14th at 7:30 p.m. against Grace Christian College at Somerset Christian School.
Marred in a four-game losing skid, the Southwestern Warriors were in dire need of a win — regardless of the opponent.
That opponent on Thursday night just happened to be district-rival McCreary Central, and Chris Baker’s club did indeed get that much-needed victory in a very hard-fought battle by a final score of 47-40.
Southwestern led this one 26-22 at the half and stretched that lead out to eight points — 37-29 — by the end of the third quarter.
Cole Dysinger led the Warriors in the win with 12 points, Hunter Coffey added 10 points, and Brayden Sims tallied seven points while pulling down a game-high 15 rebounds.
The Warriors — 12-9 on the season — will return to action tonight on the road at Bell County.
Southwestern will return home to The Wigwam on Friday night, January 31st at home against arch-rival Wayne County at 7:30 p.m.
The Pulaski County Maroons were a prohibitive favorite over district rival Casey County coming into their matchup on Tuesday night at The PC Gym.
On paper, this one was a mismatch with the 2-16 Rebels facing a 15-3 Pulaski County team that was undefeated against 12th Regional opponents.
On the court meanwhile, this one was a complete mismatch — and then some.
The Maroons put four players in double figures, had 11 players hit the scoring column, and for good measure, senior guard Colton Fraley hit a shot from midcourt just before the horn sounded ending the first half.
By that point, Pulaski County led the Rebels 43-21, and never looked back, as the Maroons went on to post an 82-51 victory.
Pulaski County was led by KJ Combs with 17 points in the win, while Grant Oakes added 16 points.
Logan Bates played a great game for PC, as the senior came off the Maroons bench to add 14 points, while Zach Travis added 10 points, along with a fantastic ally-oop dunk off an assist from Fraley.
Pulaski County — 16-3 on the season – will return to action on Saturday night at home to take on Russell County.
The Southwestern Lady Warriors traveled to Clay County on Monday night, and after the game, maybe head coach Junior Molden summed it up best.
“My team showed back up tonight,” stated the Lady Warriors head coach.
Indeed, it did.
Southwestern absolutely pummeled homestanding Clay County on Monday night, rolling to a 67-31 victory to improve to a 12th-Region best, 15-3 mark on the season.
Alexa Smiddy led a very balanced scoring effort for Southwestern with 12 points, followed by 11 points from Kennedy Harris, 10 points from Jenna Wood, and nine points from Regi Cundiff, who pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds in the win.
“We have number 19-ranked South Laurel at home tomorrow (Tuesday) night,” pointed out Molden after the win at Clay County.
“I’m going to find out if my team is back to buying in and playing together real quick,” he added.
In Monday’s win at Clay County, the Lady Warriors grabbed this one by throat from the outset, leading the Lady Tigers by as much as 38 points, putting this game on a running clock.
South Laurel — 13-4 on the year and ranked number 19 in the state of Kentucky — will be Southwestern’s next opponent.
That game is tonight at The Wigwam, with tip off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
They are two teams that are legitimate regional contenders in their respective regions, and on Monday night at The PC Gym, they certainly played like it.
Clay County — a powerhouse out of the 13th Region — squared off against a Pulaski County team that has been rolling along this season, and faced a Maroon squad that remains undefeated this season against 12th Regional opponents.
With both teams stepping out of the their respective regions, they put on a show on Monday night in a great basketball game.
When all was said and done however, it was John Fraley and the Pulaski County Maroons that just keep right on rolling along, as the Maroons held off the visiting Tigers down the stretch to post a hard-fought, 78-73 win over Clay County, improving to 15-3 on the season.
“I thought we played very well offensively tonight in stretches, and then there were other times I didn’t think we really got into anything,” stated a very happy coach Fraley after his club’s victory.
“When we ran our stuff, we got what we wanted,” added the PC head coach.
This game was close throughout, with eight lead changes and three ties in the first half.
However, thanks to 11 points by senior point guard Colton Fraley in the opening half of play, along with 14 first half points off the PC bench, the Maroons went into the intermission on top in this one, albeit by a single digit at 37-36.
Grant Oakes — who scored all six of his points in the second half — gave the Maroons their biggest lead of the night late in the third period with a hoop, that extended the PC lead at that juncture to 50-43.
Clay County however would fight back.
Behind the game-high 24 points from Connor Robinson, the Tigers came all the way back to cut the lead back down to a single point once again.
With PC leading by three points late in the third quarter, sophomore Zach Travis made the first of three big plays on the night to get the Maroons over the proverbial hump.
Travis drained a three-pointer just before the horn sounded ending the third frame, and PC went into the fourth quarter with a 59-53 lead over Clay County.
In the final stanza with his team leading by that one point, Travis scored a huge bucket at crunch time, easing the PC advantage out to 74-71 with just over a minute left to play.
With the score 74-73 after a Clay County bucket — facing a full-court press — Travis broke free behind the defense, received a half court pass, and raced down for an emphatic dunk, putting PC on top of the Tigers at 76-73 with only :47 remaining in the game.
After a key defensive stop by the Maroons on the next possession downcourt by Clay County, Colton Fraley made both ends of a one and one to ice the game for Pulaski County.
Afterwards, head coach John Fraley was a very proud coach of his team, and the way that it has played throughout the course of the season, overcoming injuries to key players such as Oakes and Garrett Heath.
“If you would have told me that we would have been 15-3 through 18 games before the start of the season, I would have probably taken it, especially with the kind of schedule that we’ve played,” stated coach Fraley.
“We’re battling, and we’re trying to get better everyday,” added the PC coach. “As long as we can roll into February with everybody healthy, I feel like we’ve got a chance.”
Colton Fraley and Travis led a very balanced Pulaski County scoring attack in the win with 15 points each, while KJ Combs and Caleb Sloan each contributed 14 points for the Maroons.
The Maroons return to action tonight at home, hosting Casey County in a girl/boy doubleheader at The PC Gym.
The action will tip off at 6 p.m. beginning with the girl’s contest.