The Wayne County Lady Cardinals hosted 12th Region rival Pulaski County, last Thursday night at the Rodney C. Woods Gymnasium, in the regular season finale for both teams. The Lady Cards entered with a 15-12 mark on the season and were coming off a 61-27 home win over Clinton County earlier in the week. Pulaski County entered with a 16-11 record overall and was coming off an impressive 52-50 home overtime win over Russell County, in their last outing. Wayne County had won the last three meetings in the series, including a 43-41 at PC Gym, on February 14 of 2019.
Pulaski County grabbed the lead with a 17-7 third quarter run and
made the plays down the stretch with a very balanced attack to claim
a 57-53 road win. Junior guard Caroline Oakes led four Lady Maroons
scoring in double digits with 12 points, scoring 7 of those in the
third quarter run, as the sparkplug made 4 of 5 field goal attempts
and 3 of 6 free throws with 3 rebounds, in 28-minutes of action.
Senior Heidi Thompson connected on 3 of 12 from the floor and 5 of 7
from the free throw line to post 12 points with 5 rebounds, as the
winners improved to 17-11 on the season.
"Pulaski County has had a very good season with some signature wins
like we have as well, so we knew it would be a very intense game and
it was. We didn't shoot the ball very well and gave up some big
offensive rebounds which led to some easy points. However, we
competed and had the game close at the end. It was certainly a
disappointing loss on Senior Night and the girls felt the same way,"
said Lady Cards head coach Mark McKinley.
Junior Madelyn Dunn was solid as well, shooting 5 of 8 from the
floor and 2 of 4 from the free throw line to add 12 points, while
fellow junior Dawn Wilson added 10 points with a team best 6 boards.
Wilson was 2 of 5 from 3-point range and a perfect 4 of 4 from the
charity stripe, while Haylee Ridner was 3 of 8 from 3-point range to
tally 9 points with 3 rebounds and 3 steals. Reserve Molli Nelson
chipped in with 2 points, as six different Lady Maroons scored in the
Wayne County, which dropped to 15-13 for the regular season, only
had three players score and all were in double figures led by the
game highs of 27 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists of Macey Blevins.
The 5-10 junior was 9 of 19 from the field, which included 1 of 7
from 3-point range and converted on 8 of 11 free throws, while
logging all 32-minutes. Sophomore Kenzie Upchurch was terrific off
the bench with 14 points and 6 boards, in 21 minutes of play.
Upchurch was 5 of 8 from the floor and a perfect 4 of 4 from the free
throw line, while Mallory Campbell posted 12 points with 6 rebounds,
as the Lady Cards managed a 32-25 rebound advantage.
Pulaski County opened just 4 of 13 from the floor but made the most
of 6 Wayne County turnovers and used four different scorers to take
an 11-10 first period edge.
The Lady Cards were 7 of 18 from the field in the opening half and
connected on 8 of 10 free throws paced by the 9 points of Macey
Blevins to spark a 12-7 second stanza to claim a 22-18 halftime lead.
The Lady Maroons opened the third frame with a 12-0 run and held the
hosts scoreless for over 5 minutes to use a 17-7 clip to own a 35-29
advantage, after 24 minutes of play. Wayne County was 0 for 11 from
the field in the quarter and was able to stay in it with the 4 points
of Kenzie Upchurch.
Blevins heated-up for 16 points down the stretch in the final period
but it wasn't enough as Pulaski County connected on 6 of 8 free
throws and used the 8 points of Madelyn Dunn to claim a 57-53 road win.
The Lady Maroons shot 18 of 45 overall from the field for 40 percent
and that included a 7 of 24 clip from 3-point for 29 percent. The
winners connected on 14 of 20 free throw attempts for 70 percent and
totaled 6 assists against 13 turnovers.
Wayne County made 17 of 44 field goal attempts overall for 39
percent and that included 1 of 10 from 3-point range for 10 percent.
The squad shot 18 of 24 from the free throw line for 75 percent and
tallied 7 assists with 4 steals against 12 turnovers, with 6 of those
in the opening quarter.
Up next for the Lady Cards is the opening round of the Girls 48th
District Tournament at Southwestern and a date with McCreary
Central. The teams split in the regular season as the Lady Raiders
won at Wayne County 60-49 on December 12 and the Lady Cards repaid
the favor on February 11 with a 72-45 road win. The winner will
advance to face host Southwestern Thursday night at 7 p.m.
"We just have to go back to work and get ready for a very tough
McCreary Central that is playing really good basketball at the right
time of the year," said McKinley.
Details on the matchup will appear in next week's edition of The Outlook.
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