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Cougars edge Cavaliers

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Carroll County never found the range from the foul line and dropped a 48-41decision to Pulaski.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

HILLSVILLE –– Pulaski County has evidently been working hard on its free throw defense.

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The Cougars took advantage of a chilly night at the foul line by the Cavaliers and held off a second-half rally to escape with a 48-41 nondistrict win Monday night.

Carroll County hit just 6-of-19 from the stripe, or 31.6 percent, in falling to 4-5 on the year. The Cougars crept over the .500 mark with the win, improving to 5-4.

“Two words,” Carroll County coach Marc Motley said. “Free…throws. Bottom line. We played well. We handled their pressure, we had open looks all night long, we just couldn’t make our free throws. Shooting 32 percent from the free throw line isn’t going to win any games against anybody that’s any good.”

Pulaski County led 30-28 when the Cougars’ Emma Riegert opened the fourth quarter with a stickback and free throw. The old-fashioned three-point play ignited a 9-2 run capped by Kasey Holcomb’s 3-pointer that left the Carroll down 39-30 with 5:42 to play.

The Cavaliers scored four straight, including a runner from the lane by Audrey Dickens, and Rachel Dalton fed a cutting Kaitlan Viars for a layup as Carroll County pulled to within 40-36 with 1:26 to go, but the Cougars hit eight straight foul shots in the final 52 seconds to seal the win.

“We made a couple of shots,” said Motley. “We were still in it. They turned it over on an inbounds play and we went down and scored, but you just can’t miss that many free throws.”

Foul shooting was by and large the difference. The two teams were a combined 5-for-21 from the line in the first half, including 3-for-11 by Pulaski. But the Cougars found the range after intermission, hitting 14-of-18 in the second half while the Cavaliers stayed cold and sank just 4-of-10.

“It’s been that way all year,” Motley said. “I don’t think we’ve shot above 55 percent for a game yet. We shoot 35 or 36 percent as a team from the 3-point line, and we’re shooting roughly 35-36 percent as a team from the free throw line.”

Motley was pleased with his team’s performance otherwise. The Cavaliers kept the Cougars in the 40s, held their own on the boards (51-50, Pulaski) and stayed below their turnover average.

Viars opened the second half with a pair of inside baskets, but a 6-0 Pulaski County run had the Cougars leading 26-18 midway through the third period. Dickens knocked down a 3-pointer at 2:40 of the period and sparked a 10-2 Carroll County rally that saw the Cavaliers catch the Cougars at 26. Dalton picked off a Cougar pass and fed Cydnie Cornell for a layup, and Cornell hit a trey on the next trip down the floor to pull the Cavaliers even with 2:01 left in the third.

The score remained square on putbacks by Pulaski’s Carly Samuelson and Viars for the Cavaliers before Nicky Shay drained a long jumper from the corner to send Pulaski into the fourth leading 30-28.

Neither team shot above 26 percent from the floor, the Cavaliers hitting 15-of-61 and the Cougars going 15-for-56.

Kayla Goins led the Cavaliers with 11 points and 13 rebounds, while Viars contributed eight points and 11 boards. Holcomb came off the bench to lead the Cougars with 12 points.

Pulaski County 8 9 13 18––48

Carroll County 6 8 14 13––41

Pulaski County (5-4)

Patterson 1 2-2 4, Riegert 1 2-3 4, Davidson 2 4-4 8, Long 1 0-0 2, Ball 4 0-3 8, Holcomb 5 5-5 12, Shay 1 2-5 4, Thacker 0 0-0 0, Samuelson 2 1-5 5, Lawson 0 1-2 1, Dean 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 17-29 48.

Carroll County (4-5)

M.A.Jones 0 0-0 0, Goins 4 3-6 11, Neely 0 0-0 0, Dickens 2 0-0 5, Viars 4 0-0 8, Dalton 0 1-5 1, Hill 0 0-1 0, K.Goad 1 0-0 3, Cornell 3 0-1 8, Martin 1 2-6 5. Totals 15 6-19 41.

Three-point field goals – Pulaski County 1-9 (Holcomb), Carroll County 5-24 (Cornell 2, Goad, Martin). Rebounds – Pulaski County 51 (Davidson, Samuelson 7), Carroll County 50 (Goins 13, Viars 11). Turnovers – Pulaski County 19, Carroll County 19. Steals – Pulaski County 8 (Riegert 2), Carroll County 9 (Cornell 3). Team fouls – Pulaski County 19, Carroll County 23. Fouled out – Patterson, M.A. Jones.

JV – Carroll County 28-27.