By RODNEY YOUNG
SWT Sports Writer
Floyd – The young Cougar basketball team played hard but not always smart, as they traveled to Floyd and lost 71-66.
Down 19-9 after the opening quarter the Cougars battled back to within four, 38-34, at the halftime break.
The Buffaloes, led by junior guard Caleb Tanner’s 39 points in the game, had 23 points at intermission. He hit several long jumpers from behind the arc, that seemed like 30 footers.
The second half saw the Cougars open up on a 8-4 run to tie the game at 42 with four minutes left. Suddenly they had the ball looking for their first lead. The Cougars shot and missed, and then Tanner hit another one of those “downtown Floyd” three pointers. After a Cougar turnover he drilled a two point jumper, and it was 47-42. He then hit another trey and Brandon Lemons hit a short jumper, and just like that it was 52-42 Floyd. A 10-0 run in less than two minutes and the Cougars would once again have to battle back.
Cougar players Marcus Johnston and Tyler Dotson would hit a couple buckets, and with 4:20 left in the game the Cougars found themselves down 62-59.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, it was Tanner time again. He would hit a huge three pointer, allowing Floyd to fight off the comeback.
Cougar head coach Mark Hanks remarked, “we got career highs from Marcus Johnston and Tyler Dotson, but came up short.”
Johnston finished with 18 points and nine rebounds in the losing effort. Dotson has 20 points and four rebounds.
The Cougars committed 19 turnovers, but most seemed to occur at the wrong time as they fall to 0-2 on the season and Floyd improved to 2-0.
Pulaski got seven points from both senior Zack Akers and sophomore Cam Merchant. Tyler Blevins had six and four rebounds. Marcus Burks chipped in with four points and four boards. Two others, Lonnie Mattox and Isaac Poe, both had two points.
Tanner had 39 points for Floyd, and Dorian Harris was the only other Buffalo in double figures with 10.
“I thought we played hard. We want to go to the foul line more than the other team and we did tonight,” Coach Hanks said. “We need to be more aggressive passing the ball, we are a work in progress.”
The Cougar JV team won their first game of the young season on Thursday, beating the Buffaloes 50-37. Elliott Brewster led them with 22 points. Head Coach J R Montgomery said, “I’m pleased with the win. We played hard.”
Pulaski gets back into action Wednesday, as they host the two time defending State Champion Galax Maroon Tide. Junior Varsity action gets underway at 5:30, and the varsity contest is scheduled to being at 7 p.m.