By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
A North Laurel team lagging from a rugged early-season schedule probably didn’t need the type of game East Jessamine brought to town. The running and pressing style could have been too much.
“The thing about that team is they don’t allow you to play lazy. You’ve either got to play wide open for 32 minutes or you get blown out,” North Laurel coach Brad Sizemore said.
Instead North Laurel scored a season-high 92 points and needed almost all of them in a six-point win.
“It was good for us. I made us kind of wake up and play a little basketball,” Sizemore said.
One of the keys for North Laurel was getting off to a quick start. It wasn’t as good as the 22-0 first quarter against Rockcastle County, but it was close.
“We talked before the game about how flat we have been playing, so I kind of challenged them to come out and try to play hard for 32 minutes. We got off to a really good start,” Sizemore said.
North Laurel led 6-0 before East Jessamine got a long three-pointer from Hayden Smith. North Laurel then reeled off 12 straight points with Peyton Broughton sinking a pair of three-pointers. Broughton led North Laurel with 29 points.
North Laurel led 21-7 going into the second quarter. The lead peaked at 15 points in the second quarter with much of the scoring coming at the foul line. North LaureEast Jessamine started to get the ball into the hands of junior Ronnie Carson. Carson entered the game averaging 30 points per game, including 38 points against Pulaski County and 54 against Anderson County. He would score 10 points in the last four minutes of the second quarter, but East Jessamine still trailed 42-29 at halftime.
“That kid is really good. He got 44 points on us. We had a really hard time stopping him in the lane,” Sizemore said. “We obviously try to keep it out of his hands, but he just goes and gets it. When he does he’s going to the basket.”
Carson scored 11 points in the third quarter, including a three-pointer that cut the lead to 50-47. Austin Thompson played a key role in North Laurel not losing the lead. He scored seven of 10 North Laurel points during one stretch in the quarter. The other three points came on a Thompson assist to Broughton for a three-point play.
“He made some big buckets,” Sizemore said. “I thought a lot of guys played really well. They’re all starting to come along; we’ve just played a lot of games in a short amount of time.”
Broughton’s three-point play and a layup for Thompson off the press made it a 55-47 game. Add to that a couple of three-pointers by Elijah Jervis and North Laurel led 67-55 after three quarters.
Bryson Asher scored three straight goals for North Laurel midway through the fourth quarter. Asher finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds. When Asher scored inside with 3:51 to play the North Laurel lead still seemed secure at 83-72. It wasn’t safe. East Jessamine scored six straight to make it an 83-78 game with 2:13 to play.
“We were kind of shell-shocked at times. Obviously we had way too many turnovers,” Sizemore said. “We’re a work in progress. We made a lot of mistakes, but we played really hard.”
Asher scored on the inbounds play on a run out. Broughton then scored on a baseline drive and added a free throw for an eight-point lead. That would be enough cushion for North Laurel to run out the final minute.
“They are as quick and fast as any team we’ve seen this year. I don’t know if we’ll see another team that presses like that in this region,” Sizemore said.
Legacy Nissan Shootout III
at North Laurel
North Laurel 92, East Jessamine 86
East Jessamine 7 22 28 29—86
North Laurel 21 21 25 25—92
EAST JESSAMINE (86)—Jones 5, Smith 20, Carson 44, Ross 7, Downey 6, Harper 2, Bruner 4.
NORTH LAUREL (92)—Broughton 29, Miller 12, Jervis 10, Thompson 11, Asher 22, Jeffers 4, Maggard 4.