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PCMS Cougars, Lady Cougars open with wins

By DAVID GRAVELY

editor@southwesttimes.com

 

David Gravely/SWT – Morgan Vest goes up for two of her 15 points as Reese Nolan gets ready for a possible rebound.

The first official sporting events for the newly opened Pulaski County Middle School took place on the road Wednesday, with the Cougar and Lady Cougar basketball squads each earning victories.

 

The night started off with the Lady Cougars on the floor against the host Lady Buffalos. As it was the first game for both teams, the action started somewhat slowly with the Lady Cougars leading 7-2 after one quarter. Both teams picked up the pace in the second quarter, with Pulaski County taking a 28-9 lead into the halftime break.

 

The Lady Cougars, led by Head Coach Misi Gilbert, pressured both ends of the court in the third, outscoring Floyd County 23-4 to take a commanding 51-13 lead at the end of the third. Pulaski County cruised to the 59-19 victory.

 

“It was great to see our girls on the floor,” Coach Gilbert said. “They’ve all worked so hard. We are still not sure how the season will go, but we’re going to keep working and have the girls ready for each game we get. I’m proud of our team.”

 

Morgan Vest led the Lady Cougars with 15 points. Reese Nolan scored nine and Emma Ritter chipped in eight points. Morgan Price and Palyn Sweet scored six each. Taylor Goble added five points. Sara Ritter and Madolyn Legg scored four points each. Sydney Phibbs added the final two points for Pulaski County.

 

Floyd County was led by Kelly Campbell with 7 points.

 

The Cougar boys, led by Head Coach Josh O’Dell, took the floor next against a tall and athletic Floyd County squad.

 

David Gravely/SWT – Tootie O’Dell goes up for two of his 20 points against Floyd County.

The game started with the Cougars having trouble against the taller inside players from Floyd County, but shots from the outside quickly opened up the middle for the Cougars, who led 18-8 at the end of the first quarter. Floyd County narrowed the Cougar lead to 28-19 at the halftime break.

 

The Cougar defense put on a show in the third quarter, holding the Buffalos to just one point while adding 12 to their own tally. Leading 40-20 after three quarters, the Cougars kept up the pressure in the fourth, outscoring Floyd County 15-9 to earn the 55-29 victory.

 

“I think we all were a little rusty at the start, but that’s to be expected in the first game,” Coach O’Dell said. “We’re all glad that we could get this game for the players. We’re hopeful that we can get some more games in. We’re going to keep working to be ready for them.”

 

“Tootie” O’Dell led the younger Cougars with 20 points. Chandler Hollins added 15 points and Jeremiah Turner scored 11. Hunter Hill added five and Silas Sweet scored two points for the Cougars.

 

While most of the surrounding counties have canceled middle school sports for the winter season, Pulaski County and Floyd County each did an outstanding job of giving the young athletes a chance to safely compete. The current plan for the Cougars is to host Floyd County this week, likely Tuesday, but the schedule is currently very fluid as both school systems continue to work hard to ensure the safety of all involved.

 

While it was encouraging to finally see the athletes in action, it was different. Only a small amount of fans were allowed inside the gym and they were spaced apart from each other. Players on the bench were spaced out to ensure social distancing. Players not in the game, officials, coaches and staff wore masks throughout the contests.

 

Cheerleaders for Floyd County were allowed to be in the gym, but they remained seated in the bleachers while they cheered, keeping them a safe distance from the players and other fans. The game was livestreamed, something that will likely be used at all events this season.

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