Big “Senior Night” for Cougar girls

     Two 14-5 teams locked horns on “Senior Night” for the Pulaski County girls basketball program at PCHS Tuesday evening, and the Cougars were the team that came away, 15-5 in a big way as PCHS routed Cave Spring, 66-48.
     All five Pulaski Co. seniors started the game, and all five of them got to finish before taking a bow before a grateful crowd on one of the best basketball performances of the season for the Cougars. Playing their last regular season home game for Pulaski County were Kassidy Secrist, Maddie Ratcliff, Alaina Akers, Hannah Walson, and Bailey Nash.
Maddie Ratcliff led the way for Pulaski County with 17 points. (Brian Bishop/PC Patriot)

The Knights had two big scorers. Kiera Mooney was seven of nine from the field and scored 20 points, and Callie Porter got 18, but was seven of 18 from the field. So those two Knights combined for 38 points on 14 of 27 shooting. The rest of the Cave team combined to make only three of 24 shots.

    Pulaski County had a balanced effort with three players scoring in double figures, but that doesn’t tell all the story either. Ratcliff led the way with 17, hitting seven of 16 shots, Ally Fleenor, playing limited minutes due to foul trouble, was four of five and finished with 11, and Paige Huff was five of nine and scored 10. But Keslyn Scrist tickled the twine for nine points, Taryn Blankenship moved nicely inside for seven, Akers got five, Walson four, Courtney Cregger and Kassidy Secrist both got two.
     Cave finished 17 of 51 as a team for the game, only 33.1% against a contesting Cougar defense. Pulaski Co. finished 28 of 55, a solid 50.9%. PCHS coach Brad Sutphin saw that all 12 of the Cougars dressed for the game saw plenty of action, especially his seniors. Nine of them scored.
    “This was a really nice night for our seniors. I’m happy for them,” said Sutphin. “It was a special night for us to play really well and the girls were outstanding tonight. I thought our floor game was really good, we shot the ball good enough, and it was just a well rounded performance. I’m especially happy that their final regular season home game went so well for those seniors. I’m proud of them,” said Sutphin.
     He should be proud of how his team performed from a fundamental aspect as well. In fact, both teams displayed outstanding floor games. The two teams combined for only six turnovers the first half. Cave committed two early in the fourth quarter and Huff quickly turned them into two baskets at the other end, but still the Knights turned the ball over only six times in the game. But the Cougar offense executed even better, and finished with a season low four turnovers for the game.
     Keslyn Secrist hit a big three-point shot to put the Cougars up, 14-10 at the end of the first quarter. They would never trail in the game. It was 33-15 at the half as Parker and Mooney combine for 21 of Cave’s 25 points, but Ratcliff and Keslyn Secrist closed the first half strong and the Cougar gals led, 33-25 at halftime.
    Pulaski Co. took control of the game early in the third quarter and never looked back. A late surge by Ratcliff again and Huff resulted in a 49-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Cougar defense held the Knights to three of 16 shooting in the third.
    Fleenor took over early in the fourth. She cranked home a big three off the right wing, and quickly followed with a power move inside for five quick Cougar points.  With 3:22 left in the game, the lead had reached 20, 62-42. The remainder of the game was dedicated to the five seniors. Pulaski Co. is now a perfect 10-0 in the River Ridge District and 15-5 on the season. Cave drops to 7-4 and 14-6.
By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot
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