Lady Cougars win, reach Class 4 final four

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The Lady Cougars battle Sherando in front a large crowd in the Cougar Den Friday night. (Brian Bishop/The Patriot)

Patriot Staff Report

It’s on to the final four in the state for Pulaski County’s Lady Cougars after they beat Sherando, 54-44 on Friday night for their 24th win of the season and 18th in a row.

The Lady Cougars move on to the state semi-finals on Monday night at Millbrook in Winchester. The Pioneers defeated E.C. Glass, 56-33 to advance.

Gametime Monday is 6 p.m.

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Erin Russell puts up a shot against Sherando Friday in the Cougar Den. Russell scored all nine of her points to keep Pulaski County ahead down the stretch. (Brian Bishop/The Patriot)

In the other two quarter-final contests, Manor High defeated Eastern View, 53-48 and King’s Fork beat Powhatan, 71-52.

Manor, located in Portsmouth, will now make a relatively short trip Monday to Suffolk to take on King’s Fork.

Monday’s winners advance to the state championship game for Class 4 at 12:30 p.m. Thursday in Richmond at the Siegel Center.

As for Friday’s win, the Lady Cougars jumped out to a big 18-2 to start the game and led 26-9 at halftime before Sherando came alive in the second half.

Paige Huff paced the Lady Cougars early, scoring all eight of her points in the game during the first quarter, highlighted by two big three-point buckets.

The Warriors out of Stephens City roared back to life in the third quarter, outscoring Pulaski County, 20-13 to make it 39-29 PCHS heading into the fourth.

The Warriors’ Grace Burke led the rally, scoring 14 points in the quarter including four three-pointers.

Ally Fleenor kept the Lady Cougars in the lead, however, as she scored 10 of her team-high 16 points in the third.

Both teams scored 15 points in the final quarter with Erin Russell scoring all nine of her points during the quarter, including going five-for-seven at the line to salt the game away.

“I think the girls responded better than I did,” joked Lady Cougars Head Coach Scott Ratcliff about the Warriors’ third quarter rally.

“We knew 22 (Burke) was a good shooter. She scored 14 in the quarter. But the girls responded well, they didn’t flinch any. They were pretty solid.”

Region D Player of the Year Keslyn Secrist added 12 points for the Lady Cougars. Other scorers were Jaden Lawson, 5; Hannah Keefer and Tori Vest, 2 each.

For those who want to see Monday’s game at Millbrook, but can’t make the trip, you can steam it live. Use this link:

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Pulaski County Head Coach Scott Ratcliff talks to his team during a timeout. (Brian Bishop/The Patriot)