LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
MANCHESTER —It was a highly anticipated game between arch rivals with district tournament seeding at stake. Unfortunately it didn’t live up to the billing.
“It’s just disappointing that everyone came out to see a really good game and we weren’t there,” North Laurel coach Brad Sizemore said.
Clay County opened a 10-point lead in the first quarter and never wavered in an 87-58 win over the Jaguars. The defending 13th Region champions are now head to head with Jackson County for the No. 1 seed in the 49th District Tournament, which will be played in Manchester.
“We’ve got two weeks from now,” Sizemore said. “We’ve got two more games to squeeze in this week and then next week we get back on a regular Tuesday-Friday schedule. I’m just hoping we’ll have our legs.”
Sizemore thought it was the legs that were missing Tuesday. Trying to cram regular games and makeup games into the last two weeks of the season may have taken a toll.
“We didn’t have any legs whatsoever. Clay County shot the ball extremely well. We didn’t do anything well. There isn’t a whole lot to say,” Sizemore said. “We’re going to have to chalk it up and move on to the next day. We’ve played a lot of games in a short amount of time.”
In an NBA worthy schedule, the Jaguars faced South Laurel Friday and Jackson County Saturday. Sunday was a day of rest, followed by a game Monday against Pineville. Clay County had not played since Friday.
“With that being said, they outplayed us too. A lot of it, we just could not move. We hit a wall. You’ve got to give them credit. They’ve got a really good team,” Sizemore said.
It showed early that the Tigers seemed to have more energy. Clay County scored eight straight points beginning with a Jake Allen put back for a 4-4 tie. Tyler McDaniel took a rebound end to end for a layup and potential three-point play. McDaniel missed the free throw, but the Tigers claimed the rebound and McDaniel scored again.
“Even on free throws a couple of times we would get it and they would just take the ball away from us,” Sizemore said.
The Jaguars were within 12-9 with 2:44, but wouldn’t manage another field goal until two minutes into the second quarter.
“We took a lot of bad shots early in the game and at the start of the break. Then we didn’t get back and we didn’t defend and rebound,” Sizemore said.
McDaniel started a 9-0 run with a foul line jumper. Wes Wolfe ignited the crowd with a steal and a two-handed dunk. Trey Farmer capped the run with a foul line jumper for a 21-9 lead.
By the time North Laurel made its first field goal of the second quarter they trailed by 17 points. The lead topped 20 points at 33-12 on a driving layup by Blake Smith. With 1:11 in the half, a Trevor Sams three-pointer made it a 41-17 lead. The Tigers led 43-19 at the half.
The Jaguars managed just one field goal in the final 3:40 of the third quarter as the lead grew to as much as 32 points.
There is little time for the Jaguars to put this loss behind them with a game last night against Corbin and a road trip to Easy Jessamine Saturday.
“I know these kids good enough that they’re going to show up when it counts,” Sizemore said.
Clay County 87, North Laurel 58
North Laurel 9 12 19 18—58
Clay County 21 22 28 16—87
NORTH LAUREL (58) – Broughton 9, Miller 15, Thompson 2, Asher 8, Jeffers 2, Jervis 2, Griebel 2, Hodges 4, Riley 2, Henson 2, Marcum 2, Gray 5, Nicely 3.
CLAY COUNTY (87) – McDaniel 21, Smith 7, Farmer 21, Wolfe 10, J. Allen 4, House 11, Sams 5, Sexton 3, Mills 2, Hughes 2, B. Allen 1.