By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
CORBIN—North Middle and South Middle teams squared off Saturday in the Coal Classic at The Arena in Corbin. After South Middle won the eighth grade game, North Middle picked up wins in the seventh and sixth grade game.
Eighth grade game
South Middle 49, North Middle 40
After the first quarter, it looked like a game that would go to the wire. At halftime, North Middle seemed to be in command. The second half would be all South Middle.
“I really think our guys just stepped it up in the second half. They were more intense and played with more energy,” South Middle coach Roger Parker said.
The Cardinals scored more points in the third quarter than they had in the first half. They would outscore the Jaguars 17-4 to turn the game around.
Zac Feltner scored 10 of his team-high 19 points in the second half as the Cardinals concentrated on getting the ball inside. Feltner made it a double-double with 12 rebounds.
“In the first half I think we settled for jump shots. It’s hard to shoot in this gym,” Parker said. “I explained to the guys that you’ve got to get it to the rim.”
Weston Griebel led North Middle with 12 points, but they were not easy points.
“Griebel is an amazing player. We tried to work him up and down the floor,” Parker said.
The score was tied four times in the first quarter. The final tie came at 8-8 on a short fade by Griebel. South Middle led 12-8 before Griebel closed out the first quarter with a three-pointer.
The Cardinals led 14-13 on a put back by Kris Ball with 4:45 in the half. It would be their last field goal of the half as the Jaguars led 24-16 at the break.
Just as South Middle ended the half cold, North Middle would start the second half cold. Other than a pair of early free throws from Griebel, their only points in the third quarter came on a Trae Feltner layup as time expired. Feltner finished with 10 points. In between, South Middle scored 15 unanswered points with Zac Feltner scoring seven in the quarter.
The Jaguars got as close as four points three times in the fourth quarter. South Middle also got 12 points from Brody Deaton and 10 from Blake Phelps.
Seventh grade game
North Middle 48, South Middle 21
Three pointers from Tyler Conway and Jack Capobianco helped North Middle open a 10-point lead in the first quarter.
The Jaguars continued to stretch the lead in the second quarter with South Middle unable to contain Nick Broughton in the post. Broughton scored the first 10 points of the second quarter as the lead stretched to 18. Broughton would lead all scorers with 11 points.
The Jaguars scoring spurt stretched to 17 straight points before South Middle ended its drought with a Jake Christensen free throw just before the half. Christensen led the Cardinals with nine points.
The Jaguars led 30-6 at halftime. South Middle’s offensive woes continued as North Middle opened its biggest lead at 46-13 on a Dillon Hammons’ free throw. The Jaguars placed 11 players in the scoring column.
Sixth grade game
North Middle 44, South Middle 38
After South Middle had led the entire game, Hunter Bowling’s three-pointer with 1:43 to play gave the Jaguars a 39-38 lead. That would be enough for the win as North Middle held the Cardinals scoreless the final 3:38.
The ending was much different than the beginning, as South Middle reeled off the game’s first seven points with five coming from Matthew Dalton. Dalton led the Cardinals with 17 points.
It was a drive by Bowling that finally got North Middle on the board with 1:21 in the first quarter. Still they would trail 12-3 after one quarter as Dalton finished with eight points.
There were a total of 18 fouls called in the first quarter with South Middle making 6-of-14 free throws. North Middle went 1-for-6 in the quarter.
The Cardinals lead peaked at 11 points in the second quarter before North Middle showed signs of life. Adam Sizemore started a rally with a three-pointer from the top of the key. He then made a steal and assisted on a layup for Bowling. Another steal led to a Sizemore layup and a 21-15 score. South Middle would have to settle for a 25-19 halftime lead.
Dalton Sizemore opened the second half with a three-pointer to pull the Jaguars within three-points. It was an even quarter from there with South Middle getting a late free throw for a 34-30 lead.
With 4:47 remaining, Adam Sizemore tied the score for the first time with a three-pointer. Dalton regained the lead for South Middle with a tough runner. Adam Sizemore drove again, this time dishing back out to Bowling for another three-pointer. That three put the Jaguars ahead for good.