By RODNEY YOUNG
Dublin – The Cougars hosted the first place Salem Spartans Tuesday, and after the end of the night were on the short end of a 74-66 score.
Pulaski played their best half of basketball this season in the first two quarters, and led 39-30 at intermission over the Spartans. As has been the story all season long, however, the Cougars couldn’t maintain their play for all four quarters.
Cougar head coach Mark Hanks remarked, “I thought we played our best half of the season in the first half. Then we couldn’t buy a bucket in the second half. We were able to control them (Salem) in the first half defensively. Then in the second half the fouls situation slowed the game down and we had trouble with the zone.” He then added , “I’m very proud of our two seniors (Akers and Dotson). They both played very well tonight.”Salem was down 42-32 with 5:52 remaining in the third quarter before going on a 24-5 run to take a 56-47 lead going into the final quarter.
The Spartans shot 37 foul shots in the game, with 28 of those coming in the second half. They connected on 20. The Cougars shot just nine in the second half as they were outscored by 10 points at the foul line for the game.
Dotson led the Cougars (3-17, 0-10) with 14 points, hitting four three-pointers in the game. Akers added nine points and a team high six assists.
Salem, 12-9 overall and 7-2 in district play, got a game high 28 points from Troy Mann who hit 12 of 16 foul shots. Alex Wright chipped in 16 points and Matt Hill added 10.
Besides Dotson and Akers, the Cougars Lonnie Mattox scored 13 points, seven rebounds and five deflections on defense. Tyler Blevins finished with 11 points and Tyler Ervine had seven.
The Cougars played the game without Cameron Merchant, who is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury.
The Cougar junior varsity lost to Salem’s JV 43-39 in the opening game. Miguel Garcia had 13 points and Kevin Smith had 10. Salem was led by Austin Coulling with 15 points.
Pulaski County was scheduled to travel to Wytheville Thursday to take on the George Wythe Maroons, and the regular season finale Friday at Northside. JV action against George Wythe starts at 6 p.m. On Friday at Northside the JV action will begin at 5:30, with the varsity beginning 20 minutes after the JV games.