By RODNEY YOUNG
HILLSVILLE – Coming into the season the Pulaski County boys basketball team had only three returnees. They got much younger in their season opener held at Carroll County on Monday night and lost that opener 69-48.
First their senior leader Khalib Horton was in a walking boot due to a practice injury. Then with 6:48 left in the second quarter, arguably their best player and leading returning scorer Lane Nester got hurt.
Nester went up for a rebound and came tumbling down onto a Carroll County Cavalier player and turned his left ankle. He laid on the floor in obvious pain and had to be helped off the court and never returned.
The score at the time was 19-16 Carroll County. Nester had already scored eight of the Cougars’ 16 points and the injury seemed to take all the air out of the Cougars.
Carroll went on to outscore the Cougars 14 to 6 to take a 31-22 lead into halftime.
The third quarter for the Cavaliers saw them outscore the Cougars 17 to 9 and 38 to 26 in the second half.
Carroll County was led by 6’4” big man Elijah Cox with 15 points. Ethan Richardson tallied 14 and Nathan Redd came off the bench to toss in nine.
The Cougars got 10 points from Jeremiah Turner, as he scored all his points in the fourth quarter. Chandler Hollins came off the bench to score eight points. Tootie O’ Dell and Nester both tossed in eight apiece.
Cougar head coach Tyler Cannoy said afterwards, “We lost our senior leader last week to an injured foot and tonight we lose our returning leading scorer. This team has to grow up and and get better. We’re facing adversity right here at the start of the season.”
“We had some good looks, but the shots wouldn’t go down. We probably shot less than 30 percent from the floor and less than 20 percent from the three-point line,” Cannoy added.
Carroll County head coach Anthony Barnes remarked, “We got some good production from our bench and I thought we were good in transition. Elijah Cox did some good things tonight and I thought we were unselfish. It was a good opening win for us.”
The Cavaliers led 19-14 after the opening quarter and 31-22 at intermission. They stretched their advantage to 48-31 going into the last quarter. At the end of the second quarter and start of the third the Cavaliers went on a 11-0 run to put the game away. Their biggest lead was 48-24 late in the third.
The two teams will go at it again this Saturday at 3 p.m. at Pulaski County.
The Cougar junior varsity won their opener by defeating the Cavaliers 56-45. They scored the last 11 points of the game. Justus Hash scored 23 points, Jalere Harlow had 15, and Sammy Carrasco chipped in with 11. Carroll got a game-high 25 points from Isaiah Easter.
PC – 14 – 8 – 9 – 17= 48
CC – 19 -12 – 17 – 21= 69
PC – Turner 10, Hollins 8, Nester 8, O’Dell 8, Reed 4, O’Neal 6. J. Green 2, Burchett 2. Carroll Co. – Cox 15, Richardson 14, Redd 9, Bray. Smoot 5, Bry. Smoot 8, Reitzel 6, Campbell 4, Talley 8
3 Pt. Goals – PC 5 – (Hollins 2, Turner, O’Dell, Nester) , Carroll Co. 6 – ( Richardson 2, Bry. Smoot 2, Bray. Smoot, Redd)
Total FG’s – PC – 18, CC – 28
FT’s – PC – 7 of 12, CC – 7 of 13
Total Fouls – PC – 14, CC – 11
Fouled Out – None
Technicals – None