By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Fishermen always like to tell stories about the one that got away.
South Laurel boys’ basketball coach Jeff Davis knows how they feel after Saturday’s 49-48 loss to visiting Clinton County.
“I felt like we let this one get away,” Davis said. “We’ve got to do a better job of finishing out quarters and games.”
The Cards had a chance to win the game. After Clinton County’s Colby Langford hit one of two from the free throw line to give his team the 49-48 lead, South got the ball with 7.3 seconds left and into the hands of Zac Baxter, who pulled up for a three that hit off the front of the rim, sealing Clinton County’s win.
“We had options and we didn’t get the shot we wanted,” Davis said. “We all, and that includes coaches, have to do a better job finishing out games.”
South Laurel raced out to a 6-3 lead before Clinton County answered with a 9-0 run for a 12-6 advantage. The Bulldogs led 12-8 after one.
Threes from Trevor Grubb and Baxter, and a hook shot by Tyler Vandeventer, gave South Laurel a 16-14 lead with 5:21 left in the half. Langford and Lance Claywell then hit back-to-back threes for Clinton County to give them a 20-16 lead wit three minutes left.
The two teams continued to battle back and forth for the remainder of the half, with South ending on a 5-0 run to hold a 27-25 advantage at the break.
The lead grew to 35-27 midway through the third quarter before Clinton County went on a 12-4 run to end the third with the score tied, 39-39.
Two baskets from Brennan Miller, the second with 2:55 left, gave South a 47-46 lead. Three times in the fourth quarter the Cards were called for a charge, the last coming at the 1:03 mark on Baxter with the Cards still up by one. The South bench and fans felt like it should have been a blocking call on Clinton County.
So instead of South having the chance to go up three, Clinton County got the ball back and scored for a 48-47 lead. Trevor Grubb was then fouled and sent to the free throw line. He missed the first but made the second to tie the game at 48-48.
“We had three charge calls on us which hurt,” Davis said. “We’ve got to learn to play under control and be patient. We answered every run they had, but we’ve got to do a better job defensively. Offensively we got a little impatient instead of taking what the defense gave us. Clinton County is a good, fundamentally sound team, a really good team, and this was good for us. It was a tournament-type game.”
Baxter and Trevor Grubb led South Laurel with 14 points each. Keifer Dalton led the Bulldogs with 21 points while Langford tossed in 15.
The Cards were scheduled to be on the road at Madison Central Tuesday night.
Clinton County 49, South Laurel 48
Clinton County 12 13 14 10—49
South Laurel 8 19 12 9—48
CLINTON COUNTY (49)—Dalton 21, Claywell 8, Nelson 3, Langford 15, McWhorter 2.
SOUTH LAUREL (48)—T. Grubb 14, Vandeventer 4, Bre. Miller 4, Helton 2, Baxter 14, J. Grubb 8, Holcomb 2.