LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
North Laurel opened the season with a 69-65 loss at McCreary Central. If Thursday night is any indication, the Lady Jaguars have come a long way since then. North Laurel sprinted to a 15-2 lead and kept rolling to a 74-46 win.
“I was proud of our kids also being able to execute on our game plan. We knew we needed to take (Cierra) Terry out of the game. We knew (Kaylee Cotton) was a key as well,” North Laurel coach Eddie Mahan said.
The Lady Jaguars led by more than 20 points in the second quarter and added to the lead each quarter. The lead peaked at 33 points at 68-35.
“I saw things that we definitely need to improve on,” Mahan said. “What I was pleased with was we came out more focused than we did against Somerset.”
North Laurel lost to Somerset 61-48 on Tuesday the night after a tough 58-56 win over South Laurel.
“I do know we were pretty tired the other night, coming off an emotional win the night before. Good teams have to be able to put strings of games together. Even if it was our fifth game in seven days, fight through it,” Mahan said.
Still with just one day off, the Lady Jaguars looked rejuvenated.
Kayla Bruner led four North Laurel players in double figures with 18 points. Madison Shepherd and Ashley Raines scored 13 points each and Hannah Lawson added 10 points. Nine different players scored for North Laurel. Mahan liked the fact that more players were attacking the basket.
“That’s something we’re trying to work on because especially in today’s game where fouls can easily be touch. They can call just a hand check or a forearm. Things you used to get away with two or three years ago you don’t get away with any more,” Mahan said.
North Laurel was also hitting well from the outside by kicking the ball to the open shooters. Three pointers by Lawson and Shepherd to close the first quarter pushed the Lady Jaguars to an 18-3 lead. Raines made back-to-back three-pointers in the second quarter as the lead reached 20 points.
It was Bruner with the first six points of the third quarter as North Laurel led 43-20.
Some of the change from the first meeting to the second could be because the first meeting was a late game with the Lady Raiders shooting more than 40 free throws. McCreary Central is also working their way back from injury.
“They have been without their point guard until just about a week ago. Their still trying to get their legs back too and get some confidence back,” Mahan said.
North Laurel was scheduled to host Jackson County Saturday and will play at Clay County Tuesday.
North Laurel 74, McCreary Central 46
McCreary Central 5 15 8 18—46
North Laurel 18 19 13 24—74
MCCREARY CENTRAL (46)—Neal 3, Jones 6, Cotton 30, Terry 4, Studer 2.
NORTH LAUREL (74)—Shepherd 13, Gray 8, Bruner 18, Allen 4, Lawson 10, De la Pena 2, Raines 13, Bridges 2, Sexton 4.