LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
HARLAN—North Laurel led most of the game in its season opener with Harlan. The Green Dragons would slip ahead in the final minutes for a 68-66 win Tuesday.
“We have got to stay out of foul trouble, take care of the ball and execute down the stretch. Tonight was a learning experience for our young team,” North Laurel coach Brad Sizemore said.
Fouls would be a big story this game with most of the whistles blown in the first quarter. Bryson Asher played only a couple of minutes in the first half due to fouls. The Jaguars had to pull deeper and deeper from their bench as more fouls were called.
“We played 14 kids in the first half because of foul trouble. It was very hard for any of our starters to get into a flow of the game because of this,” Sizemore said.
Together the two teams combined to shoot 50 free throws in the first half. The Green Dragons trailed for much of the first two periods, but probably wouldn’t have if they had shot better than 14-for-31 from the line. Harlan starters Tyler Miller, Drew Parks and Aaron Simpson were all forced to sit nearly halfway into the first quarter.
“I have never seen a team shoot so poorly from the foul line and still win,” Harlan coach David Parks said. “I guess we did some good things. We had some different kids step up at different times. With the way fouls are being called, we really have to watch what we do.”
Elijah Jervis turned in eight points in the first quarter as North Laurel jumped out to 21-16 advantage. The Jaguars were still leading 37-32 at the half.
“Elijah was able to hit his outside shot early on,” Sizemore said.
The teams exchanged leads for much of the final eight minutes. North Laurel’s Peyton Broughton scored in the lane with 1:51 left to give the Jaguars a 62-61 advantage. However, Miller answered on the opposite end just 20 seconds later to put Harlan back on top.
Broughton missed a turnaround jumper in the paint on the Jags’ next trip down the floor and Miller pulled down the rebound. Aaron Simpson drained a pair of free throws with 48 seconds left to extend the lead to three. Miller had four points in the final 25 seconds as Harlan held on for the win. Miller had seven of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter.
“Miller is good. We had trouble keeping the ball out of his hands on the inside and he got some big buckets down the stretch when the game was on the line,” Sizemore said.
North Laurel was scheduled to return to action Thursday against Riverside Christian. They will also host Oneida Baptist at 7:30 p.m.
“I thought we played extremely hard,” Sizemore said. “We will learn from this and move on to the next one. I was extremely pleased with our effort and attitude in tonight’s game.”
The Harlan Daily Enterprise contributed to this story.
Harlan 68, North Laurel 66
HARLAN (68)—Busroe 12, Hogue 6, Parks 12, Miller 15, Simpson 5, Piper 8, Davis 6, Dupar 4.
NORTH LAUREL (66) —Broughton 19, Miller 13, Jervis 10, Thompson 8, Asher 2, Jeffers 2, Hodges 3, Riley 2, Bundy 1, Fleming 6.