By MIKE WILLIAMS
The Pulaski County Lady Cougars used a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter Tuesday evening to pull away from and defeat the Louisa County Lady Lions, 63-49 to advance to Friday’s Region 4D Tournament championship game.
Pulaski County will travel Friday to Lynchburg to face the E.C. Glass Lady Hilltoppers for the Region 4D championship at 6 p.m. Glass reached the final by beating Halifax County.
For the Lady Cougars, Tuesday’s win was sweet revenge against the Lady Lions who upended Pulaski County in last year’s Class 4 state championship battle.
“Payback is always good,” exclaimed Lady Cougars Head Coach Scott Ratcliff following the win.
“The girls have been focused all week. They’ve been waiting on this since last year. Cougar pride right here tonight! The fans were fired up and focused. Great atmosphere for basketball. I loved it! Cougar pride right there, man, Cougar pride!”
Tuesday’s contest was close throughout, but the Lady Cougars were able to build leads of eight points twice before the fourth quarter run.
Just after halftime, the Lady Lions scored to tie things at 35. But Paige Huff hit two “threes” in a row from the right side, and Ally Fleenor scored a layup off a fast break to put Pulaski County back up, 43-35.
Louisa scored on three consecutive trips down the floor to again cut the PCHS lead at 43-41.
Just as before, the Lady Cougars would build back the lead by hitting two more buckets to end the third quarter up, 49-43.
In the fourth, Pulaski County went up by nine, 52-43 off another Huff “three,” before Louisa again rallied to cut the lead to four at 52-48 with 3:45 to go.
That’s when the Lady Cougars put the game away.
Pulaski County scored on five consecutive trips down the floor on a 10-0 run fueled by two buckets by Fleenor, two more by Keslyn Secrist and another by Huff to take a 62-48 lead.
The Lady Cougars’ scrappy defense limited Louisa to just one point over the last 3:45 of the game to seal the win.
Pulaski County was led in scoring by Secrist, River Ridge District Player of the Year, with 21 points.
“This feels really good since they got us in the state championship last year,” Secrist said. “Getting them back is really good. I thought we came out hard and gave the effort we needed to and pulled out the win.”
Huff scored 17 and Fleenor added 16 for Pulaski County. Other scoring came from Hannah Keefer, 4; Jaden Lawson, 3, and Tori Vest, 2.
Both Pulaski County and Glass have now qualified for spots in the state Class 4 tournament to be held March 4-5.
The winner Friday night between PCHS and Glass will face either Millbrook or Sherando from Region C in the first round of the state tournament.
Teams making it through the first round will face-off in the state sem-finals March 7-8, and the State Championship will be decided March 10 at 12:30 p.m. at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center in Richmond.