END OF AN ERA: Lady Maroons fall to West Jessamine

Mar. 7—STANFORD — The Lady Maroons began their regional tournament journey on Tuesday, squaring off with a young but ever-improving West Jessamine squad that figured to be one of the better first round matchups. With Pulaski riding their momentum from a buzzer-beating win in the 47th District title game.

It was quite a game as it turns out, although both teams struggled on the offensive end with a ton of missed shots on both sides. However, it was the Maroons on the wrong end of the buzzer-beater this time around, as West Jessamine won on a last-second shot courtesy of sophomore Kimberly Johnson to eliminate Pulaski and end their season.

Johnson was the first player to score early on in the first before Sydney Martin had her first two points of the evening. An offensive put-back from Maggie Holt gave Pulaski their first advantage of the game, followed by a massive block on the defensive end by Martin. Johnson gave the Colts the lead again, although Hannah Murray soon drained the first three-pointer of the night to flip the lead back to the Maroons.

The Colts continued to ride the offense of Johnson late in the period as a basket from the sophomore brought the Pulaski lead down to one. A Holt three seemingly gave the Lady Maroons a bit of an advantage heading into the second, but once again it was Johnson pulling West Jessamine within one at 11-10 after a three to end the quarter.

Brooklyn Thomas, the hero from the district title game, finally got on the board with a free throw in the second, followed by a traditional three-point play from Martin that gave the Maroons a 15-10 lead. Senior Morgan Dowell and Murray traded threes in the middle of the quarter. A 7-0 run by the Colts, including the first points from freshman Claire Marshall and five from sophomore Ariana McLoney, threatened to give West Jessamine a lead going into the halftime break, however a late three from Madeline Butcher put Pulaski up 21-20.

An offensive put-back from Marshall to begin play in the second half gave West Jessamine the lead, before Thomas drained a shot from long range to give the Maroons the lead right back. The teams traded baskets over the next few minutes, with a three from McLoney putting the Colts up by five at 33-28.

Holt nailed a three and Butcher scored on a layup following a steal to tie the game up late in the quarter. Martin and Johnson traded baskets to close and the game was all tied up at 35-35 heading into the final quarter.

A massive block from Holt eventually led to two made from the line by Martin in the fourth. Coming out of a West Jessamine timeout, McLoney nailed another three to put the Colts up by one, with that lead soon flipping after a basket inside from Thomas. Some free throws from sophomore Isabella Lewis and Marshall put their team up 43-41 before Butcher came up huge with a three, giving the Maroons a one-point edge late in the ball game.

McLoney hit her fourth shot from downtown to once again flip the lead. It looked grim for Pulaski until Butcher was able to draw a foul with about 10 seconds left. After hitting both from the charity stripe, the game was deadlocked at 46-46. A shot by the Colts for the win was off the rim, but rather unfortunately for the Maroons, a wide open Johnson was able to rebound the ball at the basket and put it in at the buzzer, giving West Jessamine an upset victory over Pulaski County 48-46.

Martin was the leading scorer for the Maroons with 16 points, with Butcher adding 10. Holt almost had a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds, while other scorers included Murray and Thomas with six apiece. West Jessamine was led by Johnson with 15 points and McLoney with 14, while Marshall added seven points and 15 rebounds.

The careers of Pulaski County greats Sydney Martin and Maggie Holt come to an end. Martin ends a remarkable high school career with the all-time scoring record at Pulaski County High School. Best of luck to both of these players on all of their future endeavors.

Jacob Pratt is the Sports Editor of the Commonwealth Journal and can be reached at