Cougars competitive in loss to Gate City

By Rodney Young

SWT Sports Writer

 

SALEM –  Playing in front of a standing room only crowd at Salem High School Saturday, the Pulaski County Cougars faced the top-ranked Group 2A Blue Devils of Gate City in the Adam Ward Memorial Tournament.

 

The game also featured Gate City highlight player Mac McClung, who has signed with Georgetown University and is averaging over 36 points per game.

 

The Cougars played hard the entire game, actually taking the lead early in the third quarter, but McClung and company pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Cougars 89-69.

 

Only three Gate City players scored, but that’s not a knock on the Cougars. McClung led all scorers with 47 points. He had help from junior Zac Irvin with 24 points and sophomore Bradley Dean’s 18 points.

 

Pulaski County (10-10)  placed four players in double figures with CC Grubb leading the way with 20. Logan Robertson and Dre Grubb scored 15 points each. Kade Akers pumped in 10 as the Cougars hit 14 three-pointers.

 

Coming off their worst performance of the season Friday against Blacksburg, the Cougars fought and battled all game long. CC Grubb and Kade Akers have both been fighting the flu and the Cougars have now played their last five games without starting forward Benjamin Poe. This was the Cougars fifth consecutive loss.

 

The Cougars trailed by only four, 19-15, after the opening period. They were also down four going into intermission, 40-36, and had scored almost as much in the first half as they had in their Friday night debacle at Blacksburg.

 

The third quarter saw the Cougars continue to battle, only trailing by six, 57-51, going into the fourth quarter.

 

Gate City (18-1) went on a 14-1 spurt in the first three and a half minutes to put the game away. Many of those points came on a variety of dunks from McClung and Irvin slashing to the basket.

 

“Pulaski County played extra hard today,” Gate City Head Coach Scott Vermillion remarked. “They shot the ball very well. You can tell their head coach does a great job and knows what he’s doing.“

 

”We played extremely hard,” Pulaski County Head Coach Andrew Hart said. “I’m proud of our effort. We wanted to challenge them and not back down. Our guys really battled but Gate City executed and made more plays than we did in the fourth quarter.”

 

When asked about McClung, Hart replied, “He’s one of the best finisher’s around the basket.”

 

The Cougars will need to get back on the winning track as their last two games of the regular season were scheduled to be at Cave Spring Monday and then home against Salem Wednesday. It will be Senior Night in the Cougar Den Wednesday.

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