By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
CORBIN—When you sport a very young team you can expect some growing pains early in the season.
South Laurel is a very young team, but for 2 1/2 quarters they stayed right with heavily favored Bell County in the Cumberland Falls Invitational Thursday night.
Then the Lady Bobcats used a 12-0 run midway through the third quarter to take a 8-point lead all the way to a 20-point advantage, and the Lady Cards never recovered, falling 64-40.
“When you play a team like Bell County you can’t have lulls where you don’t score,” South Laurel coach Konnie Snyder said. “And you can’t have turnovers.” South Laurel had both, especially turnovers, as unofficially they committed 25 on the night.
“I think a lot of it had to do with first game jitters,” Snyder said. “Both the game and the opponent. Bell County is a very good team, and our inexperience showed a few times tonight.”
But early on it was South Laurel taking a 5-2 lead with all five points coming from Brittany Vandeventer, who would finish with 10 on the night. A three by Preslie Baker and South held a 10-9 lead at the 1:44 mark. It would be the last time the Lady Cards had a lead in the game.
Bell County’s Jess Sanders drained a three that sparked a 6-0 run to end the quarter with the Lady Bobcats on top, 15-10.
The offense sputtered on both sides in the second quarter, with Bell outscoring South, 8-7, to hold a 23-17 lead at the half.
An 8-0 run early in the third quarter pushed the lead to 31-19. After Vandeventer and Katie Reynolds scored to cut the lead to eight, Bell went on the 12-0 run to make it 43-23. They would lead after three, 50-29. Bell outscored South 27-12 in the quarter.
From there it was only a matter of time as the Lady Bobcats pulled away for the 64-40 win. Maci Morris led Bell with 16 points, while Kelli Smith had 14 and Katrina Johnson, 12.
“I thought we played fearless tonight,” Snyder said. “We didn’t play scared, we played hard defense and we hit the boards pretty good.”
South Laurel was scheduled take on Whitley County Friday night and wrap-up play on Saturday. The Lady Cards will host Whitley County Tuesday.
Cumberland Falls Invitational
Bell County 64, South Laurel 40
South Laurel 10 7 12 11—40
Bell County 15 8 27 14—64
SOUTH LAUREL (40)—Miller 3, Vandeventer 10, Madden 3, Baker 7, Reynolds 8, Phelps 4, Cromer 5.
BELL COUNTY (64)—Sanders 7, Garnett 8, Smith 14, Morris 16, Johnson 12, Collins 2, Collett 5.