By RODNEY YOUNG
Christiansburg – The weather outside was cold, and so was the Cougars shooting late in the fourth quarter as they lost to the Christiansburg Blue Demons Tuesday 60-55.
Down 32-23 at intermission, the Cougars finally tied the game at 37 with 2:55 showing in the third quarter. Both teams would go cold from the field for the remainder of the third quarter, and the Demons took a 39-37 lead into the final quarter. Pulaski County missed five straight shots and committed two turnovers with the score tied at 37. The Cougars would continue to battle, and actually went up 46-42 with just under five minutes remaining. That was the biggest lead they would have in the game. Pulaski was holding on to a four point lead until Christiansburg’s Matt Herndon hit a huge three pointer with 3:34 remaining to bring the score to 50-49.
This would be the Cougars last lead of the game. Joey Augustin hit a bucket that put the Blue Demons on top to stay 51-50 at the 2:50 mark. Pulaski would miss on a one and one foul shot, and Augustin hit another shot for the Demons. Pulaski then committed two straight turnovers and found themselves down 55-50 before Lonnie Mattox hit a short jumper to cut the margin to three. The Cougars would then miss four of their last five shots of the game. Tyler Ervine was the only Cougar to connect from the field in the last minute of play, hitting a three pointer to cut the deficit to 60-55.
A disappointed Cougar head coach Mark Hanks remarked, “I believe in making your own luck and hard work. I also think we can’t catch a break.” He then added, “we up four late in the fourth quarter, but we didn’t make shots when we needed to. It’s tough to win when the ball want go in the hoop.”
The Cougars committed 20 turnovers, with lot of those coming at key times. They shot less than 25 percent from the floor for the ballgame. Turnovers and trouble shooting have been a big part of why the Cougars (3-12, 0-5) are now in a seven game losing streak. The Cougars seem lacking in confidence, and need to find a break before the start of the district tournament if they want to find any success this season.
Christiansburg is now 5-10 and was led in scoring by Tanner Cayton with 19 points. Joey Augustin had 16 points.
Marcus Johnston had 15 points to lead the Cougars in scoring, and got help from Tyler Ervine who chipped in 13 points. Lonnie Mattox finished with 10 points, and Marcus Burks had 8 points. Tyler Blevins had a team high 12 rebounds and scored seven points.
The Pulaski junior varsity team improved to 10-5 as they defeated the young Demons 56-33. Twelve Cougars scored in the victory, with Hesus Hickman pacing the team with 12 points. Dublin Middle School eighth grader Hunter Thomas added 8 points. The Demons leading scorer was Chase Overton with 9 points.
The Cougars were scheduled for a makeup game on Wednesday on the road against Salem, and will host the Cave Spring Knights Friday night. Junior varsity action is starting at 6 p.m. and varsity tip off is scheduled for 7:30.