Pulaski County head coach John Fraley had never lost to Casey County, heading into Saturday afternoon's contest against the Rebels in the opening round of the Boy's 47th District Basketball Tournament at Somerset's Briar Patch.

However, that perfect 10-0 mark against the Rebels was certainly put to the test in a win or go home contest on Saturday afternoon.

Simply put, Don Irvine's club came out of the gate and punched Pulaski County in the mouth, leading throughout the first half of play.

However, thanks to a third-quarter onslaught by Pulaski County -- led by sophomore Cayden Lancaster -- it was the Maroons living to fight another day, with a come from behind and hard-fought, 67-62 win over the Rebels.

"Don (Irvine) did a great job, and I thought their (Rebels) game plan was really good," stated a very happy and relieved coach Fraley immediately following the contest.

"My hat's off to them, and the (Spencer) Baird kid is a very nice player, and (Ethan) Willoughby and all of those kids," continued the PC coach. "They wanted to slow it down and make it a 40-point game, and we wanted it in the 60's or 70's. We went and got them in the second quarter, and we made them play faster than they wanted to play."

Early on, Casey County had this game right where the Rebels wanted it.

Playing a 2-3 zone against the Maroons, the Rebels were able to dictate the tempo early on.

Casey County raced out to a quick, 10-3 lead, and early in the second quarter the Rebels had the score doubled up on Pulaski County at 16-8. And, it was due in large part to the fact the Rebels were limiting PC to just one shot, cleaning up on the defensive glass, while the Maroons were struggling to hit shots from the outside.

In the second frame however, after falling behind by that eight-point margin, Fraley implemented a full-court press, and that caused problems for the Rebels.

PC forced some turnovers, caused Casey County to pick up the pace, and thanks to a three-point hoop by Lancaster with :02 remaining in the first half of play, the Maroons only trailed the Rebels by a single point at the break at 23-22. The Maroons were only down one point at the half, even though two of PC's leading scorers -- Zach Travis and Barek Williams -- were each held scoreless at the intermission.

"We forced them into some turnovers there when we went with the press in the second quarter, and we forced them to play faster than they wanted to play," pointed out Fraley.

That three-point hoop by Lancaster turned out to be a bad omen for Casey County, and was a sign of things to come from the Maroon sophomore.

In the third period -- a quarter won by the Maroons by a tally of 29-15 -- Lancaster simply went off and took over, putting his club squarely on his back.

Lancaster hit his first five shots of the period -- three of which came from behind the three point line. The sophomore forward tallied 16 of his team-high 27 points in the third stanza, and thanks to his outburst, Pulaski County led the Rebels 51-38 headed into the fourth quarter of play. The lead ballooned to those 13 points, as Travis hit a three-point hoop just before the horn sounded ending the frame.

In the second half, Pulaski County led Casey County by as many as 15 points, but the Rebels go-to guy -- Spencer Baird -- led a furious fourth quarter rally for the Rebels.

Baird scored 18 of his game-high 28 points in the second half, and brought Casey County to within five points of the Maroons late in the contest, but the Rebels couldn't get any closer.

"Our kids faced some adversity today, but they found a way to overcome, and that's what I told them after the game," stated Fraley. "We never quit or gave up. We knew we were in a ballgame, and we were going to have to go out and execute and get back in it, and that's exactly what we did."

"We came out a little tight today for whatever reason," added the Maroons coach. "We didn't hit the basket early, but again, we never quit. They went on and played, and I was really proud of how they handled some adversity today."

Lancaster led Pulaski County in the win with those 27 points, while KJ Combs and Williams joined him in double figures.

Combs scored 16 points for the Maroons, while Williams tallied all 12 of his points in the second half.

Casey County meanwhile was led by Baird's 28 points, while Ethan Willoughby added 15 points, and Blake Caudill scored 12 points for the Rebels.

With the win, the Maroons -- 12-6 on the season -- advanced to the championship game of the tournament, where they will face the Rockcastle County Rockets at The Briar Patch on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the title game.

Rockcastle County rallied from a 16-point first half deficit on Saturday night to upset the homestanding Somerset Briar Jumpers by a 61-57 margin.

CC -- 14 9 15 24 -- 62

PC -- 6 16 29 16 -- 67

Casey County -- Baird 28, Willoughby 15, Caudill 12, Jackson 5, Goode 2.

Pulaski County -- Lancaster 27, Combs 16, Williams 12, Travis 7, Sloan 5.

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