By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Five players in double figures, including the returning Jake Allen, helped the North Laurel Jaguars overcome a slow start to pull away from Garrard County, 82-64, in the opening round of the Legacy Nissan Shootout II at North Laurel Thursday.
Allen, seeing his first action of the season after returning from an injury, came off the bench to score 16 points. Afterwards, Coach Brad Sizemore was happy to see his big man back in action.
“Jake looked like he hadn’t missed a beat,” Sizemore said. “I’m happy for him to be back on the floor. He’ll get better as the games go on.”
It took a while for Allen to get in the flow of things, scoring just three points in the first half. While he was getting back into the flow, it was Marcus Carson leading the way, scoring 12 of his 16 points in the first half.
North Laurel (5-4) led 14-12 at the end of the first, with Carson scoring six, including a floater in the lane that gave his team an 11-10 lead. Kendrick Henson and Peyton Broughton both drained threes in the quarter.
Garrard County (1-8) countered with the play of Austin Sebastian, who had seven first quarter points. He would lead the Golden Lions with 20 points.
The Golden Lions were no strangers to Sizemore, as he was their head coach two years ago. In fact, several of this year’s team was playing for his junior varsity squad.
“It was kind of weird,” Sizemore said.
The Jaguars went inside to Austin Rush at the start of the second quarter, scoring five points, including a nice spinning lay-up that gave the Jags a 25-22 lead with 4:31 left. A three by Clayton Ray, followed by another jumper, and the lead was down tone, 25-24. Carson answered with a three of his own to push the lead back to four, 28-24.
Allen scored his first points of the season when he scored and was fouled with 2:38 left. He sank his free throw and North Laurel was up, 31-27.Sebastian answered with a three to once again cut the Jaguar lead to one, 31-30.
A 9-2 run to end the half, including a steal and basket by Henson and a three from Elijah Jervis, gave North a 40-32 halftime lead.
The game remained close throughout the early part of the third quarter. A three by Henson gave North a 43-37 lead at the 6:02 mark, but Billy Abney matched that three to once again bring Garrard County within three, 43-40. That would be as close as they would get.
A 16-2 run to end the third quarter, capped off by a three from Allen, gave North Laurel a 59-42 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Jaguars would continue to build on their lead, coming away with the 82-64 win.
Coming into the game, the Jaguars were 2-4 over their last six games, including tough district losses to Jackson County and Clay County. Sizemore said his team is just trying to get better.
“It’s early,” Sizemore said. “You play 30 regular season games. You can’t win them all. The kids are working hard to get some more wins to give us some momentum going into our Florida trip next week.”
Henson added 11 points for North, while Austin Thompson and Broughton chipped in with 10 each.
Legacy Nissan Shootout II
At North Laurel
North Laurel 82, Garrard County 64
Garrard County 12 20 10 24—64
North Laurel 14 26 19 23—82
GARRARD COUNTY (64)—Sebastian 20, Abney 12, Teague 6, C. Ray 10, Smith 8, J. Ray 5, Logan 2, Woods 1.
NORTH LAUREL (82)—Thompson 10, Rush 5, Henson 11, Carson 16, Broughton 16, Asher 2, Allen 16, Jervis 7, House 2.