By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
WILLIAMSBURG—With Whitley County’s Kandace Craig out with a broken hand, the Lady Colonels knew they would have trouble containing South Laurel’s Taylor Arthur inside.
And they were right.
The Lady Cardinal senior scored 27 points and pulled down 16 rebounds as South Laurel upset Whitley County, 54-48.
“This was a big win for us,” South Laurel coach Konnie Snyder said. “I thought we played better in the first half than in the second. We were fortunate to hold on at the end.”
When these two teams met earlier in the season, Whitley County (12-5, 2-1) rolled to a 67-44 win. That game was during the stretch where the Lady Colonels opened the season 9-0, including a big win at Clay County.
“With Craig out that gave us an advantage in the paint,” Snyder said. “We did a good job on the offensive boards. I would have liked to seen us more influential on the defensive boards. We gave them too many extra shots.”
Both teams struggled in the first quarter, but South held a 7-6 lead after one, with Arthur scoring five of those points. The Lady Cards picked things up in the second quarter, opening with a 6-0 run (including a three by Karli Parker), to open a 13-6 lead with 5:40 left in the half.
A steal and basket by Preslie Baker pushed the lead to 17-8. Emily Clonce ended the half with an old-fashioned three-point play to give South Laurel a 20-12 cushion at the break.
Parker opened the third with a basket to make it 22-12. Then Whitley’s Sabrina Sizemore caught fire, scoring the Lady Colonels first eight points of the third to bring her team to within four, 24-20, with 5:59 left.
A steal by Taylor Dingess led to a three from Maria Johnson, and suddenly the 10-point lead was down to one, 24-23.
But South Laurel held its composure, eventually pushing the lead back to 33-27 with 2:37 left. South led 37-32 heading into the fourth quarter.
A 6-0 lead to open the fourth made it 43-32 in South’s favor. Once again the Lady Colonels made a run, cutting the lead to 43-39 with 3:55 remaining.
Once again South responded. The Lady Cards went inside to Arthur for a basket. Cassandra Johnson drove down the middle of the lane for an easy lay-up. Arthur followed with another basket, and with 2:04 left, the lead was back to seven, 49-42. From there South held on for the 54-48 win, even though free throw shooting was once again a problem for the Lady Cards. They were 9-of-22 from the free throw line, including 3-of-10 in the fourth quarter.
Snyder was pleased with the way her team held off both second half runs by the Lady Colonels.
“I thought earlier in the year I saw panic in their eyes when someone made a run at them,” Snyder said. “I didn’t see that tonight. The older girls helped the younger ones. I’m proud of the way we handled the situation.”
Brandi Smith and Bethany Powers led Whitley with 13 points a piece. Johnson and Parker both added right for South Laurel.
The Lady Cards will now host Williamsburg Thursday.
South Laurel 54, Whitley County 48
South Laurel 7 13 17 17—54
Whitley County 6 6 20 16—48
SOUTH LAUREL (54)—Arthur 27, Reynolds 2, Johnson 8, Parker 8, Baker 2, Clonce 7.
WHITLEY COUNTY (48)—Sab. Sizemore 4, Smith 13, Powers 13, Sav. Sizemore 4, Johnson 8, Dingess 6.