By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
After one half of play Thursday night, the Williamsburg Lady Yellowjackets looked nothing like a team that had won only two games this season.
The underdog Lady Yellowjackets led South Laurel, 30-21, at the break, and despite being outscored 17-9 in the third quarter, still managed a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter (39-38) before the Lady Cardinals started to take control, winning by a final of 56-51.
“Williamsburg played awfully well,” South Laurel coach Konnie Snyder said. “They did a very good job. But they have been playing better lately, so this was not a surprise.” Williamsburg (2-20, 0-4) had played both Barbourville and Whitley County close before falling in both of those contests.
The Lady Yellowjackets were paced by Tarrah Davis, who scored a team-high 20 points, quite a contrast from the first time these two teams met this season, when she scored just four in a 49-36 loss on Dec. 21. That was a game that saw South Laurel (10-10, 3-3) build a 32-10 lead by halftime.
But on this night it wouldn’t be that easy for the Lady Cardinals.
Behind seven points from Davis Williamsburg was able to hold an 18-15 lead after the first quarter. The Lady Yellowjackets raced to a 6-0 lead when Davis drained a three with 6:25 left.
That lead grew to 18-11 with 48.2 seconds left before Taylor Arthur and Preslie Baker both scored to cut the lead to 18-15 after one.
South Laurel managed to hang close throughout the second quarter, but every time the Lady Cards got close it seemed like Davis had a response.
South was down 23-21 when Davis scored on a lay-up, then drained a three, and with 3:21 left, the lead was back to seven, 28-21. A basket by Carissa Conlin made it 30-21 at the half.
“We didn’t come out with a lot of desire,” Snyder said. “Our thought process wasn’t there in the first quarter and that carried over into the second. And we missed a lot of easy shots in the first half.”
South Laurel’s thought process picked up in the third quarter. Cassandra Johnson scored six of her 12 points in that quarter as the Lady Cards hit 8-of-13 from the field. Meanwhile, Williamsburg struggled from the field, making only 3-of-12 as a nine-point lead was cut to one, 39-38, when Baker’s buzzer-beater fell to end the third quarter.
“I thought Preslie played really well for us tonight,” Snyder said. “She was a big lift off the bench.”
South started to go inside more to Taylor Arthur in the fourth quarter, and when she was fouled at the 7:07 mark, her two made free throws gave South its first lead of the game, 40-39. She then scored on a turn around jumper to make it 42-39.
Williamsburg responded with a 6-0 run to retake the lead, 44-42, with 5:29 left. Johnson then found Arthur for a basket to cut the lead to one, 45-44.
After an offensive foul on Conlin, Karli Parker drained a three with 3:34 left to put South up by two, 47-45. A Davis jumper tied the game, 47-47, before Johnson scored to give the Lady Cards the 49-47 lead at the three minute mark. They would hold that lead for the remainder of the game for the 56-51 victory. Free throws by Arthur and Johnson in the final 16 seconds sealed the deal for the Lady Cards.
Parker finished with eight points as six Lady Cardinals scored. Arthur led South with 20 points.
“Our kids are realizing that some of the rest of them have to score,” Snyder said. “They stepped up. Taylor can’t do everything.”
Snyder was pleased with her entire team’s play.
“C.J. (Cassandra Johnson) and Karli (Parker) both played well,” Snyder said. “A lot of the girls did what they were supposed to do.”
The win was the third in a row for the Lady Cards, who will travel to take on North Laurel tonight. South beat North on Jan. 14, 77-42.
South Laurel 56, Williamsburg 51
Williamsburg 18 12 9 12—51
South Laurel 15 6 17 18—56
WILLIAMSBURG (51)—Berry 9, Davis 20, Conlin 11, Harris 2, Ash 6, Brown 3.
SOUTH LAUREL (56)—Arthur 20, Reynolds 4, Clonce 6, Johnson 12, Baker 6, Parker 8.