By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
MOUNT VERNON—North Laurel scored almost as much in the fourth quarter as it had in the first three. It wouldn’t be enough as Rockcastle County held on for a 53-48 win Monday.
“It was more on the energy and effort. We still didn’t execute anything,” North Laurel coach Eddie Mahan said. “It was two or three people stepping up and starting to play.”
Kayla Bruner scored nine of her team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter as the Lady Jaguars got as close as four points after trailing by as much as 14 points in the final period. It was a rally Mahan didn’t think his team would have needed if they had opened the game with the effort they ended with.
the McCreary Central game a lot. It was almost like déjà vu.”
Although the North Laurel offense struggled in the first quarter, the defense stifled the Lady Rockets. There were four early ties as the Lady Jaguars showed the type of shut-down defense Mahan expected to be this team’s calling card.
“Coming into this season that’s what I thought we were going to be able to do,” Mahan said.
Three layups in the quarter’s final two minutes allowed the Lady Rockets to lead 11-7 after one quarter. More went wrong than right for North Laurel in the second quarter. Rockcastle County seemed to be a step quicker to every loose ball and rebound. By halftime the Lady Jaguars had committed nine turnovers and were looking at a 26-14 deficit.
“Just being honest, if this team played with heart we would probably be 2-1 right now instead of 0-3. If we played with heart we should be able to lock down just about every team that we play,” Mahan said.
Bruner tried to lead her team back with 10 points in the third quarter and 19 in the second half. Mahan would like to see more players involved in the scoring and more scoring from a set offense.
“I’m proud of the way she competed at the end of the game, but she’s going to have to get better at playing as a point guard,” Mahan said.
North Laurel made its move when Bruner and Ashley Raines made free throws to cut the lead to 45-39. Bruner then grabbed a missed rebound and scored to cut the lead to four with 2:45 to play. The Lady Rockets made enough free throws to seal the win.
North Laurel will travel to Berea tonight and will host Clay County in a doubleheader Friday.
Rockcastle County 53, North Laurel 48
North Laurel 7 7 12 22—48
Rockcastle County 11 15 10 17—53
NORTH LAUREL (48)—Bruner 28, Gray 5, Lawson 4, Bridges 2, Sexton 1, Raines 5, Shepherd 3.
ROCKCASTLE COUNTY (53)—Reynolds 6, Hansel 8, Coquer 10, Eversole 11, Mattingley 4, Saylor 6, Renner 7, McKinney 1.