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Lady Cougars finish regular season strong

By DAVID GRAVELY

sports@southwesttimes.com

 

Salem was determined to spoil the party, but the Lady Cougars were able to finish the first half and game out strong to earn a 52-41 victory over the Spartans on Senior Night in the Cougar Den Thursday.

 

With the win the Lady Cougars end their regular season with a record of 16 wins and six losses. Salem falls to 7-14 with the loss.

 

Seniors Alicia Noble and Mary Catherine Martin were recognized before the start of the game for their years of loyalty to the program. Both started the game and both finished with points.

 

“It’s always a good night when you get a win, but it’s even better that we could send these two young ladies out in style,” Lady Cougar Head Coach Bradley Sutphin said. “You’d have to look pretty far to find two better kids, they’ve been great teammates and we’ll miss them next season. We’re very proud of them and look forward to seeing how far they can go in life.”

 

As for the game, things started out tough for both teams but the Spartans held a 12-9 advantage at the end of the first period. Sutphin either hit the switch or pushed a button that lit a fire under his team, who came out to outscore Salem 15-4 in the second period to take a 24-16 lead into the halftime break.

 

Pulaski County kept the pressure on in the third, outscoring Salem 21-17 to bring the lead to 45-33 heading into the final period. The Lady Cougars were able to hang on for the win and send the seniors out with a bang, winning 52-41.

 

“It wasn’t perfect and we still made some mistakes, but we got the win and will move into the River Ridge District tournament starting Monday,” Sutphin said. “We’re hosting the district tournament this year, so if fans want a chance to see some great basketball this is the time. We’ll play Salem again. It’s tough to beat a good team twice in a season, but we did. Three times is even tougher. We’ll need to bring our best game from here on out every night.”

 

Freshman Ally Fleenor led the way for the Lady Cougars with 21 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Nine other Pulaski County players put points on the board. Freshman Taryn Blankenship scored six points, earned eight rebounds, four assists and one steal. Freshman Courtney Cregger scored five points and had three rebounds and an assist.

 

In case you missed that, three freshmen led the way in stats Thursday against Salem.

 

Junior Maddie Ratcliff was invaluable with four points, three rebounds, six huge assists and a block. Senior Alicia Noble had four points, four rebounds and an assist. Junior Kassidy Secrist scored four points and had a rebound. Junior Alaina Akers had three points and five rebounds. Junior Jaira McNair scored three points and had a rebound. Freshman Erin Russell had one point and an assist. Senior Mary Catherine Martin had one point and two rebounds.

 

The Lady Cougars will host Salem in the opening round of the district playoffs Monday. Tipoff for that game is set for 6 p.m.

 

The JV contest was another win for the younger Lady Cougars. They ran away with a 46-26 win over the visiting Spartans.

 

Eighth-graders Keslyn Secrist and Paige Huff led the team in scoring with 17 and 16 points, respectively. Eighth-grader Brooke Goble added eight points, sophomore Aubrey O’Dell scored three and sophomore Anna Fricker scored two.

 

With the win the JV team finishes their season with a stellar record of 21 wins and just one loss. The win was also the 21st in a row and the team has won 45 out of their last 46 games, dating all the way back to the 2016-17 season.

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