Over the past five days, not a great deal has changed.
Last night at The PC Gym — for the second time in the past week — the Pulaski County Maroons had enough in the tank to ‘run’ past arch-rival Somerset.
In a game that featured extended runs by both clubs last night, freshman Jake Johnson helped ignite the Maroons final run of the night — a 16-4 flurry early in the fourth quarter — helping Pulaski County make it two for two against Somerset with a 64-54 victory over the Briar Jumpers.
“I was proud of the way our kids responded tonight with the runs that Somerset made on us,” stated Maroon head coach Al Gover, after his club moved to 8-3 on the season with the win.
“I thought they showed some maturity and showed they are capable of responding when adversity hits,” continued the PC coach. “When we get up by ten or 12 points sometimes, it seems like we lose focus a little bit, and I thought that happened to us tonight.”
Pulaski County’s Blake Burton tallied nine of his game-high 23 points in the opening stanza, helping lift the Maroons to an 18-10 lead late in the first quarter, but the first run by the Jumpers trimmed that margin to just one at the end of the frame.
A Daniel Coldiron three-pointer just before the buzzer ended the opening frame trimmed the PC lead down to a single digit — 18-17 — enabled the Briar Jumpers end the quarter with a 7-0 run.
However, Pulaski County would respond to begin the second quarter.
The Maroons tallied the first 11 points of the quarter taking a 29-17 lead, before a Tyler Dishman trey with 3:02 remaining in the opening half cut the PC lead down to 29-20.
That three pointer by the younger Dishman kick-started an 11-0 run by the Jumpers, that extended to the 6:22 mark of the third quarter of play, cutting the deficit to 29-28 early in the third period, forcing coach Gover to call a timeout.
Whatever the PC coach told his troops during that full timeout, the message was certainly received by his players.
Coming out of that timeout, it was Pulaski’s turn, as the Maroons regained control of the contest with another 11-0 spurt, extending a slim 31-30 lead over Somerset out to a 42-30 advantage late in the third period.
It was that kind of night — a night of runs by both clubs.
“The bottom line is, they (Pulaski County) just played better defense tonight than we did,” lamented coach Jeff Cothron, who saw his club fall to an even 7-7 on the year.
“That and rebounding again cost us the game,” added the SHS coach, in talking about PC’s 42-26 advantage on the glass. “We worked on rebounding over the past two days leading up to this game, because we had been outrebounded in our last two games prior to this one.”
Still, despite the fact the Maroons were winning the rebounding battle, the Jumpers did not go away.
After trailing PC by a 43-35 score through three quarters of play, Somerset came out in the final stanza and got right back in the game with another modest spurt.
With 5:40 left in the contest and the Maroons clinging to a 44-41 lead over the Briar Jumpers, Gover called another timeout in an attempt to stymie Somerset’s momentum.
Coming out of that timeout, the Maroons — behind the stellar play of freshman Jake Johnson off the bench — took control of things with the final run of the evening.
PC went on a 16-4 run, to take a commanding 60-45 lead very late, and it was Johnson that was instrumental during that final rally.
After a Johnson putback eased the lead out to nine points at 52-43, he would come right back with a couple of key plays.
Austin Coomer’s two free throws trimmed the PC lead to 52-45, but a Johnson trey from deep out of the corner extended the Maroon lead out to double figures once again at 55-45.
On PC’s next trip down the floor, it was Johnson that came up with an offensive rebound and threw a beautiful pass to Sean Ross for an easy lay-up, giving the Maroons a 57-45 lead.
At that juncture, PC had this 47th District contest well in hand.
“I thought Jake played really well in that fourth quarter — that’s what Jake can give you, and that’s a lot of athleticism,” pointed out coach Gover.
“He got a few loose balls, he can get a lot of rebounds because he’s just got a nose for the ball and can go get it,” stated the PC coach. “I thought his fourth quarter was really good. Overall as a team, I thought everybody that got in there played well for us. Blake Burton, with his 23 points tonight, had yet another strong game. Peyton (Gover) wasn’t shooting the ball well tonight, but he had five or six assists in the game and got the ball where it needed to be.”
Pulaski County — now 8-3 on the season — will return to action next Tuesday night at home against Boyle County.
For the Jumpers meanwhile, coach Cothron and crew will be back on the hardwood tonight at Mercer County High School, taking on the East Jessamine Jaguars.
“We’re getting better,” pointed out the Jumper coach. “We’ve just got to stay the course and continue to keep working hard.”
“We’ve played two, four-game tournaments back to back and that’s something that I won’t ever do again,” said Cothron. “When you do that, you just don’t get any practice time. We had two days of practice to get ready for this game, but we still need to be in the gym practicing on some of the things that we’re still not doing well.”
Tonight’s Somerset—East Jessamine game is set to tip off at Mercer County at 8 p.m.
SHS — 17 6 12 19 — 54
PC — 18 11 14 21 — 64
SOMERSET — T. Dishman 11, Coomer 10, R. Dishman 10, Lindsey 9, Powell 7 Purcell 4, Coldiron 3.
PULASKI CO. — Burton 23, Johnson 12, Ross 9, Clark 7, Hall 5, Ridner 4, Gover 4.