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Lady Cougars, Pulaski County can be proud

There were tears. If there had not been, I would have been disappointed. The Pulaski County Lady Cougars walked off the floor Thursday after falling to a bigger, stronger opponent in the Group 4A state championship game with a wounded look in their eyes.


A wounded Cougar is a dangerous animal, especially when it also has a little Wolf in it. People close to the program will understand that reference perfectly.


Head Coach Bradley Sutphin walked into the press room at the Siegel Center after the game with one of his sons and three of his players. As coach, he spoke about the game and gave credit to a tough and determined Lake Taylor squad. He thanked his players and those that have supported them through the season and allowed his players to take questions.


The young ladies in Burgundy and gold had just suffered a tough loss. They were not happy and you could still see the marks the tears had made on their faces as they fell. They answered the questions asked with self-confidence and as representatives of Pulaski County. Their poise, for having just completed what they had done, was remarkable.


During his remarks, Coach Sutphin mentioned the fan support. It was later learned that the Shelor Motor Mile had donated enough money through their Growing the Future program to send two buses with students and faculty to the game. The donation also covered the cost of their tickets.


Not everybody rode the bus, however, and the crowd for the Lady Cougars was impressive. If the Pulaski County fans didn’t outnumber the much closer Lake Taylor fans two to one, it didn’t miss it by much.


After the game, before sending them off to the locker room, Sutphin told his team a few things. Most of that will remain between players and coach, as it should. One thing he did tell them was to soak the moment in and to remember it. He reminded them that you never know if or when a chance like this might come along, so you have to absorb it while you can.


Like most people, I think this will not be the last time this Lady Cougar team will visit the Siegel Center. In fact, I’ll be very surprised if they don’t make it back. Not because they have a magic formula or because making it this season is a promise for anything, but because I trust that they will do the work in the offseason.


That look in their eyes said it all. This group of Lady Cougars does not like to fail. I have a strong suspicion that feeling as they walked off the floor the final time Thursday will burn in their guts until the next season begins. I hope it burns just hot enough to not let them forget.


Congratulations to the Lady Cougars on a great season and for achieving the unexpected. There is a culture change taking place in the Cougar Nation. Winning is starting to matter again.



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