February 6, 2013

Hot-shooting Clay dismantles North, 58-22

By Mitch Howard
Sports Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Statistics show Clay County leads the state in field goal shooting at 51.8 percent. North Laurel doesn’t have to see those numbers to be convinced. The Lady Tigers made 24-of-35 shots in rolling to a 58-22 win over the Lady Jaguars on Monday.

“They are very patient and that’s what we’re going to have to try to do if we play them again,” North Laurel coach Eddie Mahan said. “We have to pressure their guards enough that they are not able to get it inside.”

Clay County did get inside and rarely missed once they did. Former Lady Jaguar Cheyenne Madden led the Lady Tigers with 15 points despite sitting the fourth quarter. Madden ranks third in the state in field goal shooting at 66 percent.

The Lady Tigers are not just an inside team with Talura Mathis among the top 10 in the state in three-point shooting at 2.6 per game. Clay County made just three three-pointers on the night with little need to shoot further than point-blank range.

“Our problem is we can’t keep our mental focus long enough to keep doing the things we need to do,” Mahan said. “We have mental lapses that cause us to forget somebody or help off the wrong person. Next thing you know you are giving up a three or a wide open layup.”

Clay County did use and inside-out attack in the first quarter as it jumped ahead 15-4. But even the three-pointers were set up by working the ball inside first.  The Lady Tigers made 7-of-10 shots in the second quarter as they extended the lead to 22 points at halftime. The Lady Jaguars managed just one field goal in the second quarter, a runner by seventh grader Hannah Lawson.

“There are a lot of things we can learn from this if we take and apply, if we get the opportunity to play them again,” Mahan said.

The Lady Jaguars have to shake off the loss fast as they turned around to play at Jackson County Tuesday. Although the district seeding is set, it is still an important game for the Lady Jaguars post season hopes. North Laurel already has a 53-28 win over the Lady Generals this season.

“To me that is one of those games where you don’t want to give a team confidence they can beat you,” Mahan said.

Friday’s game

McCreary County 59, North Laurel 38

A late change in game time may have left the Lady Jaguars feeling like they were playing a scrimmage.

The JV game against McCreary Central was cancelled with the varsity starting at 6:30. There were few fans and no announcer for the game.

“I don’t know if that affected our mentality or not, but we looked like we had been on a bus for three or four hours,” Mahan said.

North Laurel kept the game close early with the Lady Raiders going on a 10-2 run to end the first half for a 26-18 lead.

“I felt like we couldn’t play much worse and they proved me wrong,” Mahan said. “They hit two or three threes that kind of broke our mentality. From that point on they extended the lead.”

Clay County 58, North Laurel 22

Clay County   19  14 14  11—58

North Laurel    9  2   7  4—22

CLAY COUNTY (58)—Roberts 2, Cotton 14, Mathis 7, Chestnut 11, Madden 15, Robinson 5, Woods 4.

NORTH LAUREL (22)—Wyatt 2, Gray 3, Lawson 2, Carpenter 2, Ellington 9, Sexton 4.

Thursday’s game

McCreary County 59, North Laurel 38

North Laurel       8 10 5 15—38

McCreary County 11 15 24 9—59

NORTH LAUREL (38)—Wyatt 5, Gray 6, Lawson 3, Bridges 1, Carpenter 9, Ellington 5, Sexton 2.

MCCREARY COUNTY (59)—Foster 25, Cotton 22, Terry 7, Gibson 1, Stevens 2, Lowery 2.