Hillsville – Basketball is a game of runs, and sometimes the last run is the most important one.
The Pulaski County Cougars basketball run and season came to an end Tuesday evening as they lost to the Carroll County Cavaliers 57-51.
Up 41-37 with 5: 40 left in the game the Cougars also had the ball, but missed a shot and then the Cavaliers would go on an 11-0 run to go up 48-41 with 3:05 remaining. That was enough to give them a working margin that the Cougars couldn’t overcome.
The Cougars would cut the margin down to 3-points a few times. With the score 54-51 in favor of the Cavaliers, the Cougars got the ball on a turnover and Coach Hanks called a timeout. Pulaski County would work the ball around the permitter, but missed a five footer with 25 seconds to go. The Cavaliers would then get a huge bucket from Cody Keith to put the game and the Cougar season away.
“We didn’t perform at a high level late in the game and it cost us,” said a dejected Cougar head coach Mark Hanks. “Beamer and Lundy are tough and they handle the ball well. We weren’t holding onto the ball when I called a timeout and we had the ball and down three. I wanted a good shot so we could cut it one. We still had enough time. It didn’t work out for us though.”
“I want to say what a pleasure its been to coach seniors Lonnie Mattox and Marcus Johnston these last three years,” said Hanks. “They both performed well tonight. We have improved this season as a team. The big thing is we still lack the discipline in practice that will carry us over into the games. Our practice habits must improve, we need to get better at that. When I came back a couple years ago we were just trying to survive, and tonight we came very close to advancing in the playoffs.”
The Cougars (11-11) got 17 points from senior Lonnie Mattox and Cam Merchant finished with 10 points. Senior Marcus Johnston had 8 points and 8 rebounds.
Carroll County (17-5) got 18 points from Gunnar Beamer and Connor Lundy scored 12 points. They will now host the E.C. Glass Hilltoppers as they advance on in the Conference 24 playoffs.
For the Cougars it’s a disappointing ending, but this squad has come a long way. They won more games this season than the two previous teams did combined. They halted a district losing streak, as well as the streak of not winning against double AA schools. They had a winning streak that stretched to five games. the first time in two years that has happened.
It is a disappointing ending, but this team and the Cougar JV team has given hope for better things ahead. They won more district games this season than the previous two years combined.
This team wanted to play.
PC 10 11 16 14 – 51
CC 14 13 8 22 – 57
PULASKI COUNTY (11-11)
Eaves 6, Mattox 17, Merchant 10, Hickman 2, Johnston 8, Garcia 6, Burks 2.
CARROLL COUNTY (17-5)
Shinault 2, Beamer 18, Lundy 12, Keith 8, Giles 8, Dalton 7, Reece 2.
3-point-goals — Pulaski County 4 (Mattox, Merchant, Garcia 2), Carroll County 5 (Beamer 2, Giles, Dalton 2).