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Lady Cougars take down Patriots in overtime

By DAVID GRAVELY

sports@southwesttimes.com

 

It was, without question, one of the most exciting games of the season to this point. It was also the most gut-wrenching.

 

With time running out in regulation and trailing by two points, Pulaski County drove the ball down the court, missed a shot, rebounded and suddenly Ally Fleenor had the ball under the net. The strong sophomore went up, hit the basket and drew the foul.

 

The crowd went wild, as expected. After a couple of deep breaths, Fleenor calmly sank what everyone thought was the winning free-throw that put the Lady Cougars up by one point with .01 seconds remaining on the clock. In their excitement, the team rushed the court to celebrate and the official called a team technical foul. Patrick Henry was still alive. Down by one, S. Fidler hit the first free-throw to tie the game again. Her second shot went up, looked good, but bounced off the rim. Fortunately for the Lady Cougars, the game went into overtime.

 

“Man, what a high school basketball game,” Lady Cougar Head Coach Bradley Sutphin said. “We made some mistakes tonight and it put us in a bad spot a few times. Patrick Henry has a heck of a team, so you can’t do that. Those mistakes almost cost us dearly.”

 

As for the technical at the end of regulation, Sutphin had mixed emotions. “We let our emotions show a little early,” he said. “To be honest I thought it was over too, but I can promise that’s a mistake this team won’t ever make again. I’m proud of our girls. They battled all night against a very good opponent. They never gave up, even when we fell behind at times. They just kept fighting. We got a little better again tonight.”

 

Pulaski County played with grit and they played with heart. So did Patrick Henry. Neither team wanted to take a loss and it showed. This was a game between two very good and very proud programs that don’t take losing well.

 

Pulaski County led 17-16 at the end of the first quarter and outscored the Patriots 15-14 in the second to take a 32-25 lead into the halftime break. Suddenly, in the third quarter, the Lady Cougars had trouble finding the bottom of the net. Patrick Henry outscored the Lady Cougars 21-12 in the third quarter to take a two-point lead into the fourth, 46-44. 

 

Then the drama started. Players for both teams began to foul out. Tempers started to flair. Technical fouls were called, then a few double technicals were called as well. As the final minute ticked off the clock, the Lady Cougars continued to pull back into range. Then the drama of the final second happened.

 

Fortunately, for the Lady Cougars at least, Pulaski County had just enough left in the tank. They outscored Patrick Henry 13-4 in the overtime period to earn the 87-78 win. It was their ninth win in a row and moves the team to 13-5 overall. 

 

Freshman Keslyn Secrist earned a double-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Sophomore Ally Fleenor also earned a double-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Senior Maddie Ratcliff fouled out, but not before she scored 11 points and grabbed four rebounds and earned two assists. Sophomore Taryn Blankenship was the final Lady Cougar in double digits with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal. Sophomore Courtney Cregger added six points, 12 rebounds, two assists and a steal. Senior Alaina Akers added six points and two rebounds. Sophomore Paige Huff added four points and two rebounds. Sophomore Erin Russell chipped in four points, a rebound and an assist. Senior Hanna Walson added one assist.

 

In junior varsity action, the Lady Cougars rolled to their third win in a row and moved to 12-1 overall with a 51-43 victory over the Patriots. Jaden Lawson led the way with 16 points. Hannah Keefer scored 11 and Andi Ratcliff scored nine. Kenzlee Jones scored six and Hailey Capps added four. Brook Goble scored three and Tori Vest added the final two points in the win.

 

The Lady Cougars will be back in action Tuesday, Feb. 4, when they host the Hidden Valley Titans. JV action will begin at 5:30 followed by the varsity contest at 7 p.m.

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