By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Playing their best game of the season, the South Laurel Lady Cardinals snapped Breathitt County’s 7-game winning streak Thursday night with an 85-78 win.
“No doubt this was our best game,” South Laurel coach Konnie Snyder said. “Especially the first half. We were a little shaky at the end, but that’s because we hadn’t been in that situation much. We’ll get there.”
What Snyder was referring to was the fourth quarter, where South Laurel held a 75-59 lead with 5:16 left. The Lady Cats then finished the game on a 20-10 run, cutting the lead down to six at one point (84-78) but ran out of time as the Lady Cards emerged with the victory, their third in their last five games.
The key quarter in this game was the second, where South outscored Breathitt 27-18 to turn a six point deficit after one into a three-point lead at the half, 41-38. The Lady Cards hit six three pointers in the second quarter, including three straight from the same spot by Preslie Baker, who finished with 19 points to lead South Laurel. Bailey Miller and Taylor Cromer also drained threes in the quarter. South’s last 12 points of the quarter all came via the three point shot.
“At halftime the girls said they were finally just playing and it was a big relief for them,” Snyder said.
That relief became confidence in the third quarter as the Lady Cards continued to build on their lead. A 6-0 run made it 47-40. A three-point play by Baker upped the lead to 50-42 at the 5:19 mark. The lead ballooned to 12 on five different occasions, the last being when Cromer scored with 8.9 seconds left to give her team a 64-52 lead going into the fourth quarter.
A three from Miller made it 69-54 with 7:10 left in the game. Two free throws by Baker, followed by a Miller basket, and the lead grew to 73-57. An Austin Hacker putback with 5:16 left gave South its biggest lead at 75-59 before Breathitt started to chip away at the lead.
“Tonight we made shots,” Snyder said. “I’m very happy for the girls.”
One key to the second half was rebounding and second chance points. In the first half the larger Breathitt County team outrebounded South by 10, but the Lady Cards were able to block out better and limit the Lady Cats’ opportunities in the second half. Breathitt’s two big girls led them in scoring as Allison Herald had 20 and Carissa Hatton added 16.
“We talked about that at half,” Snyder said. “We talked about not giving them second chance points.”
South Laurel 85, Breathitt County 78
Breathitt County 20 18 14 26—78
South Laurel 14 27 23 21—85
BREATHITT COUNTY (78)—Cox 6, Hatton 16, Herald 20, Stamper 6, Bates 13, Gross 6, Brewer 7, Noble 3, Griffith 1.
SOUTH LAUREL (85)—Miller 13, Vandeventer 15, Madden 6, Baker 19, Davis 8, Reynolds 3, Hacker 6, Cromer 15.
Records—Breathitt County 8-2, South Laurel 3-9