By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
WILLIAMSBURG—It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but a win it was, as South Laurel gutted out a 43-39 victory over Whitley County Tuesday night.
“As long as we keep gutting it out and play hard it will happen,” assistant coach Dennis Hammonds said. Coach Jeff Davis was still in the hospital after passing out before last Friday’s game at Clay County.
“Please remember to keep Coach Davis in your prayers,” Hammonds said.
Neither team exactly burned it up for outside. South (2-2, 1-0) shot 32.5 percent for the game, while the Colonels (1-3, 0-1) shot 30.2 percent.
“I told them that it was okay to shoot and miss as long as you stopped them on the other end,” Hammonds said. “I thought we did a good job of that.”
South came out ice cold in the first quarter, missing its first 11 shots before Zac Baxter’s jumper fell with 32.7 seconds left to pull the Cards to within 8-5 at the end of the quarter.
Whitley pushed its lead to 11-5 on a three-point play by James Sasko. As cold as the Cards were in the first quarter, they heated up in the second, hitting their first four shots and 6-of-8 overall. An 8-0 run, four from Baxter, who finished with 16, gave South a 13-11 lead with 5:02 left. Both teams would battle back-and-forth for the rest of the half and South led 21-19 at the break.
With the game tied 21-21, Trevor Grubb drained a three to give South a 24-21 lead. Luke Woods answered with a trey of his own to tie the game at 24. Another three, this one by Coty Arnold, made it 27-24 in favor of the Cards. Brennan Miller ended the third with a buzzer-beating three and South led 30-27 heading into the fourth quarter. All of South’s third quarter points came from three point land.
A Vince Holcomb basket to open the fourth gave South its biggest advantage at 32-27. Two Baxter free throws kept the lead at five before Whitley battled back to cut the lead to two, 34-32, with 4:47 left.
Both teams struggled from the field in the fourth, as they both hit 3-of-9 for 33 percent. After Holcomb opened the quarter with a basket, South wouldn’t score again from the field until the 33.5 mark. Whitley went from the 5:35 mark to 55.6 without a field goal. All the points during that stretch came via the free throw line.
A three by Corey Johnson tied the game at 39-39 with 55.5 seconds remaining. Baxter answered with a lay-up to give his team a 41-39 lead. Then Braden Miller made a steal at the 15.1 mark and got it to Grubb, who found Brennan Miller for a lay-up with 8.5 seconds left to give South the 43-39 win.
Hammonds felt like it being a first district game accounted for the sloppy play.
“The first district games the two teams always go at each other differently,” Hammonds said.
The Cards are off until Tuesday when they will host Corbin in another key district match-up.
South Laurel 43, Whitley County 39
South Laurel 5 16 9 13—43
Whitley County 8 11 8 12—39
SOUTH LAUREL (43)—T. Grubb 8, Bre. Miller 9, Holcomb 5, Baxter 16, J. Grubb 2, Arnold 3.
WHITLEY COUNTY (39)—Foley 2, Sasko 17, Barton 7, Woods 3, Crisolge 1, Petrey 4, Cor. Johnson 3, Richardson 2.
Bart Rison Classic
at Montgomery County
South Laurel 63, Estill County 43
South Laurel 7 18 13 25—63
Estill County 11 16 8 8—43
SOUTH LAUREL (63)—T. Grubb 2, Bre. Miller 12, Vandeventer 2, Helton 4, Holcomb 1, Baxter 18, Bra. Miller 8, J. Grubb 11, Arnold 5.
ESTILL COUNTY (43)—Jones 8, Jenkins 12, Dennis 5, Jenkins 12, Alexander 4, Click 2.