By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent Commonwealth Journal
Despite a rough start against winless Cumberland County, the Pulaski County Maroons used big second and third quarters to power their way to a 79-54 victory in the first night of the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic on Friday evening at PC Gym.
With the 25-point victory over the visiting Panthers, Al Gover and the Maroons advanced to the second round of the winner’s bracket, where they met up with St. Xavier. Also with the win, the Maroons upped their record to 6-1 on the year.
“We didn’t come out ready to play in the first half, and it showed – we were sluggish in our play,” began Gover. “We came out with some energy and some effort in the second half. Our defensive intensity picked up a little bit, which allowed to widen the lead. We’ve got to learn to come out ready to play every night.”
Cumberland County, who came into the game with a winless 0-6 record, made it a game early against the Maroons. After one quarter in the books, both teams were tied up at 16-16.
Gover is hoping his team will learn not to look past any team on their schedule for the remainder of the 2013-14 season.
“Hopefully our guys will learn from tonight,” stated the Maroon coach. “You can’t overlook anybody, no matter what their record is. Cumberland County came out early and played really well, hitting a lot of shots. When you overlook teams, you usually get yourself in trouble.”
The Maroons had a big second quarter, outscoring the Panthers by a margin of 24-9. Thanks to the strong play in the second frame, Pulaski County went into the locker room with a 40-25 advantage.
Pulaski County had another big frame in the third quarter, outscoring Cumberland County by a 26-11 margin. Heading into the fourth and final quarter, Gover’s squad held a 66-36 lead over the Panthers.
The Maroons, who had four different players finish in double figures, were led by Sean Ross’ game-high 17 points. Blake Burton chimed in with 15 points, while Riley Hall scored 13 points and Austin Clark had 10 points.
“I thought we had a lot of different guys do a lot of good things for us,” Gover said. “I thought Austin Clark played well in the second half, while Blake Burton came out in the third quarter and scored 10 points. Those two guys kind of stood out to me tonight as far as having solid ballgames.”
The Maroons continued tournament play last night, hosting the St. Xavier Tigers at PC Gym. Look for details of that game in Tuesday’s edition.
CC – 16 9 11 18 – 54
PC – 16 24 26 13 – 79
Cumberland County (0-7): Carter 14, Webb 8, Crowley 8, Perdue 8, Poole 6, Flowers 5, Owens 3, Towns 2.
Pulaski County (6-1): Ross 17, Burton 15, Hall 13, Clark 10, Gover 8, Gregory 6, Stevens 6, Ridner 3, Johnson 1.