LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
It was everything you would expect from a rivalry game and then some.
North Laurel and South Laurel waged a county battle for the ages Friday night, but in the end, the Jaguars had a little too much for the Cardinals in an 81-74 victory. The win completed the season sweep for North Laurel.
“I’m really proud of the way our guys handled the press tonight,” North Laurel coach Brad Sizemore said. “In the past we’ve not done that over here. Hopefully they guys are growing up and maturing.”
“Give North Laurel credit,” South Laurel coach Jeff Davis said. “They did a great job handling our press and they moved extremely well. Coach (Sizemore) did a great job with his players.”
Two quarters were South Laurel’s downfall in this game. In the first quarter, North Laurel outscored them 19-9. Then again in the third quarter the Cardinals managed only nine points compared to North Laurel’s 22. In between those quarters, the Cards played a strong second quarter, outscoring the Jags 30-16 to hold a 39-35 lead at the half.
But the Cardinals couldn’t carry that momentum over into the third quarter, while North Laurel made some adjustments to help take control of the game.
“We got them spread out a little and made them come out of their zone,” Sizemore said. “We were able to find the open man.”
One of those open men was Bryson Asher, who finished with 15, most of them coming in the second half. Chris Miller led the Jaguars with 23 points, while Peyton Broughton had 17 and Austin Thompson, 10.
The Cardinals placed three players in double figured with Zac Baxter leading the way with 23. Jared Grubb tossed in 14 and Trevor Grubb, 12.
After making just one of their first five shots, the Jaguars then caught fire, hitting six of their last nine shots in the first quarter for the 19-9 lead.
Next it was South’s turn to get hot, hitting seven of its first nine second quarter points, and when Braden Miller drained a three at the 1:58 mark, the Cards had their first lead of the game at 34-33. Baxter followed with another three and South Laurel led at the half, 39-35.
North Laurel opened the third quarter with a 7-2 run to take a 42-41 lead. The Jags were still leading 46-45 when they went on an 11-3 run to end the quarter and hold a 57-48 advantage. Broughton led the way in the third quarter with 12 points.
The Cards could never recover from that run. Soon the lead grew to double digits at 63-51 when Broughton scored again. North then started going inside to Asher, who scored the next seven North Laurel points to keep the Jaguars firmly in control. His last point, a free throw, made it 70-59 with 2:40 remaining in the game. From there, the Jags struggled at the free throw line, hitting 5-of-16 over the last minute, but it was enough to hold on for the 81-74 win.
“We’ve still got to make our free throws,” Sizemore said. “Hopefully we will work that out. I thought our defense played pretty good. When we played Bell Tuesday night, we were up 12 in the fourth but we were scared of Bell. Tonight we finished the clock out. Hopefully this game gives us confidence and hopefully all these battles will help us come district.”
“We just came up short tonight,” Davis said. “I thought we were impatient at times, especially in the first and third quarters. I told the team afterwards you can learn from this and make adjustments and it will be a good thing, or you can hang your head down because you lost to your county rival and then it would be a bad thing. I think our guys got a little caught up in the hype of this game.”
The road doesn’t get any easier for either team. North Laurel played Jackson County on Saturday, and will host Pineville tonight then travel to Clay on Tuesday.
South Laurel will play Bell County tonight and Williamsburg on Thursday.
North Laurel 81, South Laurel 74
North Laurel 19 16 22 24—81
South Laurel 9 30 9 26—74
NORTH LAUREL (81)—Broughton 17, Miller 23, Thompson 10, Asher 15, Jeffers 6, Griebel 3, Jervis 6, Hodges 1.
SOUTH LAUREL (74)—T. Grubb 12, Baxter 24, J. Grubb 14, Holcomb 6, Helton 2, E. Anders 2, R. Anders 2, Bre. Miller 5, Bra. Miller 7.