By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
MANCHESTER—After the first quarter in South Laurel’s game at Clay County Monday night, the No. 18 Lady Tigers held a 10-9 lead over the Lady Cardinals.
Then South Laurel went ice cold from the field.
Over the next three quarters, South was just 5-of-35 for 14.2 percent. For the game, the Lady Cards finished hitting 20 percent in a 54-36 loss.
“We shot the ball very poorly,” South Laurel coach Konnie Snyder said “We didn’t get a lot of second shots. When you are shooting as poorly as we were you need those second and third chances, and we didn’t get those rebounds.”
A bright spot, if one was to be found, was South’s free throw shooting. The Lady Cards hit 17-of-24 from the charity stripe. Those 17 free throws accounted for almost half of the Lady Cardinal points.
Clay County (23-5) opened the game with a 6-0 lead before South Laurel (12-13) finally scored at the 4:09 mark on a basket by Emily Clonce. Taylor Arthur then scored the final seven Lady Cardinal points of the first quarter to cut the lead to one, 10-9. Arthur finished with 19, 13 of those coming in the first half that saw South score 18 points.
South opened the second quarter by missing its first 12 shots from the field. Clay County took advantage, outscoring the Lady Cards, 14-2, to open up a 23-11 lead. It was 25-11 before Clonce finally scored from the field with 1:06 left. She was fouled on the play and made her free throw. Arthur finished the half with a short jumper to pull South to within seven, 25-18.
Arthur and the Lady Cardinal defense held former North Laurel player Cheyenne Madden in check in the first half, holding her to just two points. But she made up for that in the second half, scoring 14 to lead Clay with 16 points. Morgan Chestnut added 14, and Ajaycia Cotton, 12. Clay County hit 16-of-38 shots from the field for 42 percent, and 19-of-26 from the free throw line for 73 percent.
The Lady Tigers continued to build on their lead in the third quarter. A 14-4 run to start the quarter made it 39-22 at the three minute mark. It was 43-25 going into the fourth quarter.
A three-point play by Madden with 5:15 left in the game pushed the lead to 20, 49-29. South scored its first bucket from the field in the quarter with 4:04 left on a lay-up by Clonce. Bailey Miller followed with a three for the only other Lady Cardinal field goal, as Clay County rolled, 54-36.
“We were not aggressive on offense and didn’t attack the perimeter,” Snyder said. “We just didn’t play well tonight.”
The Lady Cardinals will wrap-up regular season play Friday night against visiting Rockcastle County in a girl-boy doubleheader.
Clay County 54, South Laurel 36
South Laurel 9 9 7 11—36
Clay County 10 15 18 11—54
SOUTH LAUREL (36)—Arthur 19, Clonce 7, Johnson 6, Miller 3, Parker 1.
CLAY COUNTY (54)—K. Mathis 5, Madden 16, Chestnut 14, Cotton 12, T. Mathis 5, K. Roberts 2.