LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
CORBIN—Prior to tip-off of Monday night’s 50th District tournament game between No. 1 seed South Laurel and No. 4 Williamsburg, a fan asked Williamsburg coach Patrick Robinson if his team was ready.
“We are ready,” Robinson replied.
Indeed they were, racing out to an 18-9 lead after one, then holding on to upset the Cardinals, 53-51. When these two teams met back on Feb. 13, South Laurel rolled to a 40-point win.
“They came out and hit big shots,” South Laurel coach Jeff Davis said. “We got off to a slow start. Give them credit; they did what they had to do to win. They are a good team.”
Coming into the game South knew that Williamsburg (15-15) would have Skylar Griffith back, and that worried Davis. While Griffith did have 12 points, it was Corey Shelton who did most of the damage, finishing with 19. But it was Dalton Sizemore who got things rolling for the Yellowjackets, scoring seven of his team’s first 12 points, while Shelton scored 10 of Williamsburg’s 18 first quarter points.
South Laurel (14-14) started its comeback in the second quarter behind back-to-back threes by Trevor Grubb, who led the Cardinals with 14 points. Vince Holcomb followed by hitting three free throws as South opened on a 9-1 run to cut the lead to 19-18 with 5:37 left in the half.
Skyler Griffith then hit two threes of his own to push the lead back to 25-18 before South ended the half with a 7-2 run to trail by just two heading into the locker room, 27-25.
A three by Brennan Miller with 5:22 left in the third gave South its first lead at 30-29. Zac Baxter followed with a bucket to make it 32-29, forcing Williamsburg to call a time out with 4:16 left.
Out of the break, Skylar Griffith and Shelton hit back-to-back threes, both coming after questionable calls, to take a 35-32 lead. The game was tied heading into the fourth at 37-37.
“We had a couple of possessions with the game tied where we didn’t get the shot we really wanted,” Davis said.
A John Helton basket tied the game at 41-41 at the 5:56 mark, the last tie of the game. Williamsburg pushed its lead to 46-41 before Trevor Grubb drained a three to bring South back to within two, 46-44. Followed two Shelton free throws, Brennan Miller hit a three of his own to cut the lead to one, 48-47, with 1:58 left.
Andrew Griffith was then fouled and hit two big free throws to give Williamsburg a 50-47 lead. Then Jared Grubb and Baxter both missed threes before Chase Lowrie was fouled. He hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it a four point game, 51-47, with 24.5 seconds left.
Baxter scored to cut the lead to two, but Shelton answered on the other end, sinking two free throws. Baxter then grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, and was fouled on the play. With his team down two, he intentionally missed his free throw, hoping that his team could get the rebound. But that didn’t happen, as Williamsburg’s Sizemore grabbed the ball and was fouled with 1.4 seconds left. He missed both free throws, but South’s final attempt fell short, and Williamsburg advanced to Friday night’s finals with a 53-51 win.
For the game, the Cards hit 33 percent from the field while making five three pointers. Williamsburg hit 41 percent and sank seven threes.
“It all came down to execution and we came up short,” Davis said. “That goes back on me as coach. I hate it for these kids. I love coaching this team and will miss the seniors.”
Boys’ 50th District Tournament
Williamsburg 53, South Laurel 51
Williamsburg 18 9 10 16—53
South Laurel 9 16 12 14—51
WILLIAMSBURG (53)—Shelton 19, Lowrie 1, Sizemore 14, A. Griffith 5, Sulfridge 2, S. Griffith 12.
SOUTH LAUREL (51)—T. Grubb 14, Bre. Miller 12, Baxter 10, J. Grubb 4, Holcomb 5, Helton 6.