Nope, it didn’t end the way they hoped. In athletics that’s most often the case. In the end, it will end perfectly for just one team. It ended Friday evening in Christiansburg for the Pulaski County girls basketball team in the quarterfinals of the Class 4 state tournament.
And they were knocked out by a good team. Millbrook has good size, good guard play, some depth, a good team. Did Pulaski County play its best game in the 65-58 defeat? No, it didn’t. But you can never guarantee that anyway. Athletics is much like life. Your best does not always guarantee success in the end, other than the satisfaction that you know in your heart and mind, you did the very best you could, you gave a more than required effort.
Pulaski County’s team did that. The opposing coach Erick Green said so. “They (PCHS) got heart. Everyone of their players gave a 100. That’s what coaches look for.”
And they’ve also got a lot of wins because of their heart and hard work. The Cougar girls have won 43 games over the past two seasons. Have advanced to the state championship game a year ago, and to the quarterfinal round this season. That’s a lot of W’s in two seasons of high school basketball.
But even with the loss of some seniors that have contributed much and countless hours of work in the gym, the program did not come to an end Friday. Just this season. Sure, Millbrook will advance and good luck. Pulaski County’s gals will take a bit of a well deserved break, maybe go to a couple of movies, a dance, just hang out, whatever, but enjoy your successes, and take a much deserved rest. Lay the ball down for a spell. For the seniors, remember where you were when it started, and where it is now that you are finished and feel really good about that.
Your coach feels really good about your contributions and all that you are about. “I hate it’s over for the girls, especially the seniors. We’re a pretty close family. This team has been a pleasure to coach. Now we have to say goodbye to some of them, and that hurts just as much as the loss, but we lost to a good team. Millbrook’s record (27-2 now) is what it is for a reason. But we have a lot to be grateful for. I’m certainly grateful for this team, their competitive spirit, and we’re very grateful for the great support our fans have given this team. We’ve got a lot to feel good about, and a lot to look forward to,” said Brad Sutphin.
And ain’t that the truth. The state has not heard the last of Cougar girls basketball. An outstanding nucleus returns once again for Pulaski Co. next season and will again for the season after that and on and on as the building continues.
All you can do is the very best you can at that moment. It wasn’t good enough Friday. Credit Millbrook for that. That team will not be an easy out. But Pulaski Co. has been more than good enough 43 times the past two seasons, and that’s all a credit to the players, coaches, fans, and hard work. And you know what. This program is going to be more than good enough a bunch more times. Nothing has ended. It’s only just begun.
By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot