March 3, 2014

Punching their ticket

North rolls into region tourney

By Mitch Howard
Sports Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — them all week, but at the same time that also kind of builds in some nerves,” Mahan said.

There may have been some nerves early as the Lady Jaguars led by just one point with 3:10 in the first quarter.  Mahan liked what he saw from the offense, which found open shots that just did not fall.

“In the first quarter we were playing a half court game. Our half court sets were working decently, but when we did get shots we were shot-arming them. I think a lot of it was nerves,” Mahan said.

They would shake off the jitters and open a double-figure lead on Hannah Lawson’s steal and layup early in the second quarter. The lead only dropped below double figures for a matter of seconds from there.

“We did a much better job of executing in some of the second quarter and then obviously in the third. We did a better job of pushing the ball in transition. That was a key for us,” Mahan said.

Mahan thinks it will take a better effort to dethrone a Clay County team that beat them by 14 points in the previous meeting. The Lady Tigers also thrashed North Laurel 65-38 in mid December.

“I don’t think we played well tonight. I don’t think we executed as much as I would want us to,” Mahan said.

Mahan had issues with rebounding and not adjusting to Jackson County physical play. He pointed out his team had two hands on several rebounds only to have them taken away.

“They were still a lot more physical than we were and we have to correct that in the next 24 hours because we are going against another very physical team,” Mahan said.

Regardless of the outcome against Clay County, the Lady Jaguars already know they will have at least one game in the 13th Region Tournament.

“I understand most people in the world think we are the underdog, so that’s how we’re going in and approaching it. No pressure on us,” Mahan said.

Kayla Bruner led North Laurel with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Ashley Raines scored 13 points with three three-pointers. Hannah Gray was also in double figures with 10 points and three three-pointers.

“It’s honestly just style of play from here on out,” Mahan said. “You will have some teams that want to slow it down and some teams that want to speed it up. Then it’s about whose style wins out. Everybody is good from here on out.”

Girls’ 49th District Tournament

at Clay County

North Laurel 60, Jackson County 37

Jackson County    6   13    8 10—37

North Laurel       13   19  14 14—60

JACKSON COUNTY (37)—Belt 3, Ball 2, Crowe 7, Madden 9, Ford 3, Adkins 2, Mulligan 6, A. Creech 4, R. Creech 1.

NORTH LAUREL (60)—Sheppard 2, Chestnut 1, Gray 10, Bruner 22, Lawson 4, Raines 13, Bridges 2, Sexton 6.