February 19, 2014

Lady Jags wake up in second half

North Laurel shrugs off sluggish start to beat Williamsburg

By Mitch Howard
Sports Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — In the first half, Williamsburg couldn’t miss a three-pointer. In the second half, they couldn’t find one. The Lady Jackets led the entire first half before North Laurel rallied for a 55-39 win.

“We weren’t focused. There was no rhythm to anything,” North Laurel coach Eddie Mahan said.

On offense, the Lady Jaguars were able to get open only to miss shots under the goal. On defense, Williamsburg was able to find open looks from three-point range.  Behind four first-quarter three-points, the Lady Jackets opened a 16-9 lead. Only a Kayla Bruner layup with two seconds in the first quarter pushed North Laurel into double figures.

“(Williamsburg) came out shooting a lot better that what I think my girls anticipated,” Mahan said. “They are a better team than what their record shows.”

The Lady Jackets led 23-19 midway through the second quarters with 15 of those points coming on three-pointers.  Bruner tried to keep pace for the Lady Jaguars by scoring their first 10 points of the second quarter, but offensively not much was happening aside from Bruner. Some of Bruner’s points came in transition and others off of set plays. Mahan said some of the plays were designed for her to pass the ball when the defense rotated to her. When the defense didn’t rotate it was a layup for Bruner. Bruner finished the night with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

“I have high expectations for her. Sometimes you can have a 23 and 10 game and you still left a whole lot out there,” Mahan said. He pointed out a few early shots that didn’t fall, but usually do.

Mahan said it was probably after the second three-pointer in the first quarter that he started to direct his team to step out quicker to contest shots. Williamsburg’s only three-pointer of the second half came with 16 seconds to play.

“I don’t think they started to listen until after halftime, but that’s pretty typical that we can’t make those adjustments,” Mahan said.

The Lady Jackets managed just one point in the third quarter. With the score tied 28-28, North Laurel made three straight three-pointers from three different people. Bruner, Madison Shepherd, and Hannah Gray all made threes as North Laurel took the lead for good.

“They were all either penetration and a pass in or transition and a kick back out. That’s exactly what I have been telling our girls. Those are high-percentage three-point shots for us,” Mahan said.

North Laurel expanded the lead in the fourth quarter with Makayla Sexton setting the tone for the Lady Jaguars. Sexton was relentless on the boards and also scored on a pair of offensive rebounds. Sexton finished the night with 11 rebounds.

“She’s been doing well for us for about three or four weeks now. She’s been getting better and better ever since Christmas. She’s been about as big a difference maker as anybody because that’s what we were missing,” Mahan said.

North Laurel was scheduled to play at Middlesboro Tuesday. The regular season wraps up with a game at Lynn Camp on Thursday.


North Laurel 55, Williamsburg 39

Williamsburg      16    11   1  11—39

North Laurel       11   11 15  18—55

WILLIAMSBURG (39)—Brown 14, Maxey 4, Harris 9, Davis 9, Baker 3.

NORTH LAUREL (55)—Shepherd 7, Chestnut 3, Gray 6, Bruner 23, Lawson 8, Bridges 1, Sexton 7.