By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
South Laurel led wire-to-wire while Vince Holcomb paced five players in double figures as the Cardinals claimed third place in the Legacy Nissan Shootout at North Laurel with an 86-63 win over Pickett County, Tn.
“Everybody was really focused,” South Laurel coach Jeff Davis said. “This was probably the best we played all year. We played defense, shot the ball well and made the extra pass. It’s good to go into Christmas on a winning note.”
Davis also noted that the team played with assistant coach Dennis Hammonds on their mind. Hammonds missed the game with health issues.
“This win was for him,” Davis said. “We played with him on our mind and send out our prayers.”
Holcomb’s 18 led the Cardinals while Zac Baxter added 17. Ethan Anders and Jared Grubb chipped in with 12 each and John Helton added 10.
It was an Anders’ three that got the Cards on the board first, and that would be a lead they would never relinquish against a very good team from Tennessee. Anders would hit another three in the quarter as South Laurel raced out to a 20-12 lead after one. Baxter and Jared Grubb would also drain threes in the quarter.
“Zac is getting back in basketball shape,” Davis said.
A Baxter jumper opened the second quarter and gave South a 10-point lead at 22-12. The Cards went on a 9-0 run to push their lead to 31-17. A Helton basket and two Trevor Grubb’s free throws gave South a 35-19 halftime advantage.
After Pickett County cut the lead to 35-23 to open the third quarter, Holcomb scored six of the next South Laurel 12 points as the Cardinals led 47-26 at the 4:08 mark. Holcomb, who would be named to the all-tournament team along with Baxter, scored 10 of his 18 points in the third quarter.
A three by Braden Miller gave South a 20 point advantage at 59-39. The Cards led after three, 63-40.
“Braden has improved unbelievably from last year,” Davis said. “He was just one who came off the bench to give us spot minutes without falling off.”
A Ryan Anders three opened the fourth quarter and gave South a 66-40 advantage. The lead continued to grow behind a three-point play from Tyler Vandeventer, and back-to-back baskets from Ryan and Ethan Anders. With 6:34 left in the game the lead had stretched to 73-46. The Cards made six of their first seven shots in the quarter.
“Pickett has a good team,” Davis said. “Their shots just weren’t falling.” Davis was also pleased with the energy his team shown in spite of playing three games in three days.
“We had a week to get ready for this tournament,” Davis said. “We have improved and that’s what I wanted to see.”
The Cards will open play tonight at Southwestern High School against George Rogers Clark in the Lake Cumberland Holiday Tournament.
Legacy Nissan Shootout III
at North Laurel
South Laurel 86, Pickett County 63
Pickett County 12 7 21 23-63
South Laurel 20 15 28 23-86
PICKETT COUNTY (63)-Edwards 6, Boulin 4, Garrett 12, Ferrell 9, Parris 6, Hughes 11, Rich 11, Hughes 3, Gore 1.
SOUTH LAUREL (86)-T. Grubb 2, E. Anders 12, Holcomb 18, Baxter 17, J. Grubb 12, Helton 10, Vandeventer 4, Bra. Miller 4, R. Anders 7.