By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
SOMERSET—Playing in holiday tournaments can be a double-edged sword.
On one hand you get to play a lot of games in a short time. On the other, you don’t have a lot of time in the gym to work out the kinks and fatigue can set in.
South Laurel found that out Monday, playing its seventh game in 10 days, falling to Ohio County, 68-61, in the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic at Southwestern Pulaski.
As the game wore on you could tell the Cardinals were getting tired both physically and mentally, several times leaving an Ohio County player wide open on inbounds plays for an easy basket.
“Some of that is fatigue and some is playing a lot of young kids,” South Laurel coach Jeff Davis said. “Today our effort was a lot better. We are fighting the flu and sickness so we just need to rest and get healthy. I’m proud of our effort.”
South Laurel came out strong with Trevor Grubb opening things with a three. Zac Baxter and Jared Grubb both had threes in the quarter as the Cardinals led after one, 13-11.
An 8-0 Ohio County run, helped along by two threes from Trent Hall, gave the Eagles a 22-15 advantage at the 4:54 mark. South answered with a 6-0 run to cut the lead to one, 22-21.
After Ohio County pushed the lead back to five, 26-21, Jared Grubb drained a three, then Baxter, who finished with 23, scored and was fouled. He completed the three-point play, and with 7.5 seconds left, South had retaken the lead, 27-26. But Trevor Lewis nailed a three at the buzzer and Ohio County took a 29-27 lead into the half.
The two teams continued to battle tooth and nail in the third quarter. South was trailing, 38-33, with 4:22 left when Baxter’s three sparked a 6-0 run, all points from Baxter, to take a 39-38 lead with 2:53 left. But Ohio ended the quarter with a 7-1 run to hold a 45-40 advantage.
South tried to hang tough throughout the fourth quarter, but could never get closer than three twice (47-44 and 56-53). The Eagles made 11-of-13 from the free throw line in the quarter to seal the win. South struggled from the free throw line, hitting 14-of-23. Davis feels fatigue was a factor in the poor free throw shooting.
“We haven’t had a lot of practice and this was the first game we played man to man throughout,” Davis said. The Cards won’t play again until Saturday when they host Eastern. “We have two days and will get in a lot of practice.”
Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic
Ohio County 68, South Laurel 61
South Laurel 13 14 13 21—61
Ohio County 11 18 16 23—68
SOUTH LAUREL (61)—T. Grubb 9, Helton 4, Baxter 23, J. Grubb 16, Holcomb 6, E. Anders 1, Vandeventer 2.
OHIO COUNTY (68)—Sloyan 23, Morse 9, Young 13, Carter 4, Hall 12, Segers 6, Lewis 1.
Records—Ohio County 5-6, South Laurel 5-7