LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
MCKEE—As the game approached the midpoint of the third quarter, it had been everything you expected. North Laurel and Jackson County traded leads 13 times and shared five ties. Toss in a two-minute stretch that the Generals scored 10 straight points and you get an 83-68 Jackson County win.
“We played really well for two and a half quarters and were right there. Then we do a couple of silly things and give them about a five or six point swing in one possession,” North Laurel coach Brad Sizemore said.
A jumper in the lane by Peyton Broughton gave the Jaguars their last lead at 42-41. Isaiah Collier followed with one of his four three-pointers to put the Generals back on top. A steal led to a layup for Jordan Fox. Then North Laurel misses set up a three-pointer for Zach Lawson and a layup for Jacob Hammons.
Just like that it was 51-42. North Laurel would spend the rest of the game playing catch-up.
“You have to give them credit. They shot the ball extremely well. We would try to take one or two of their guys away and the others guys would step up and make open shots,” Sizemore said.
The closest North Laurel came in the fourth quarter was seven points on a strong drive by Austin Thompson with 5:10 to play. It would be almost four minutes before the Jaguars managed another field goal.
The positive takeaway for North Laurel is that it did play with the team that has the best record in the 13th Region aside from one sloppy two-minute span.
“It’s still encouraging just because we know that we can play with this bunch and we’re going to be right there hopefully when it counts,” Sizemore said. “We didn’t take care of the ball. We missed some open layups. We missed some free throws. Hopefully we’ll learn from it.”
Kyle Jeffers helped get North Laurel off to a good start with a pair of three-pointers and seven points in the first quarter. The Jaguars led 16-14 at the end of one quarter after a pair of lead changes.
With three minutes to play in the half, there had been nine lead changes with the Generals shooting well from outside. Part of the perimeter attack was because the defense was trying to concentrate on Jordan Fox, who had averaged 26 points over the last three games.
“We try to take the ball out of his hands. We did a decent job of that and then Collier starts hitting all those shots,” Sizemore said. “We try to adjust and do some different things and it kind of opened the game up for him.”
Fox scored seven points in the final three minutes of the half, but Jackson County was clinging to a 34-32 lead at the break. The Generals had a four-point lead and the ball with under a minute. Broughton came up with a steal to cut the lead to two points. North Laurel would get two shots at tying the game in the closing seconds.
Miller opened the second half with a three-pointer for a 35-34 North Laurel lead. The lead would change on almost every made shot until the crucial two minutes that allowed the Generals to open a gap.
“Their kids are a little older than us in spots. They didn’t turn the ball over and they made some crucial plays,” Sizemore said. “We have guys in different roles this year and they are just learning how to play in certain games. I think we have as good a chance as anybody here in the next three or four weeks if we can get it going.”
North Laurel 70, Tates Creek 65
After an unplanned 11-day break due to weather, the Jaguars picked up a five-point win over Tates Creek.
“You get out of shape quick, but at the same time you get a lot of time to practice. Hopefully in the next three or four weeks we’ll get all these games made up and get us back in the flow,” Sizemore said.
North Laurel seemed to get in the flow in the fourth quarter with 30 points erasing a deficit.
“We got off to a little bit of a slow start. We were down two at half and they had us down 12 early in the fourth quarter. We ended up playing really, really well and ended up going up by seven,” Sizemore said.
“Tates Creek was a good team. Henry Clay only beat them three points the game before that,” Sizemore said.
North Laurel was scheduled to travel to George Rogers Clark Tuesday and will play at Whitley County Friday.
Jackson County 83, North Laurel 68
North Laurel 16 16 18 18—68
Jackson County 14 20 25 24—-83
NORTH LAUREL (68) – Broughton 25, Miller 19, Jervis 2, Thompson 2, Asher 4, Jeffers 8, Hodges 2, Riley 2, Griebel 4.
JACKSON COUNTY (83) – Fox 21, Collier 21, Hammons 27, Lawson 14.
North Laurel 70, Tates Creek 65
Tates Creek 13 15 18 19—65
North Laurel 15 11 14 30—70
TATES CREEK (65)—Sturdivant 5, Duke 14, Hart 8, Fucci 15, Rose 2, Polus 11, Davis 10.
NORTH LAUREL (70)—Broughton 29, Miller 4, Jervis 9, Thompson 4, Asher 10, Jeffers 8, Griebel 6.