By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
North Laurel continued pool play in the Kentucky Basketball Academy Tournament in Lexington by splitting games with Lawrence County and Owensboro Apollo. The Jaguars beat Lawrence County by six and lost to Apollo by the same margin.
“Against Lawrence County, we played really well. They’ve got a really good team. They’ll have one of the better teams in the 15th Region this year,” North Laurel Coach Brad Sizemore said.
The Jaguars missed a chance to pick up a win against Apollo, who swept through the three teams in the pool without a loss.
“We led them basically the entire game until about a minute and a half to go and ended up letting the lead slip, but I thought we played really well,” Sizemore said. “They got upset in the district last year, but they’ve got basically the same team from two years ago that went to the state tournament.”
After pool play, the Jaguars played one additional game against Southwestern and fell by 21 points. Former South Laurel Coach Steve Wright did not coach against North Laurel and Sizemore, his assistant at South Laurel.
“Southwestern’s got a really good team. They are probably the best team we’ve played all summer. They are big, strong, and we got them on one of those games where they hardly ever missed a shot. It was a learning experience,” Sizemore said.
The Jaguars have an 11-6 record through the summer, which has been more about learning what his young team can do than wins and losses.
“You’re not going to win every game you play in the summer, but our effort has been there,” Sizemore said.
So far, he has liked what he has seen. Sizemore described the summer as “encouraging.”
“We’ve had different guys in different games that played really well. The thing that sticks out to me is just how hard we are playing and we have shot the ball really well,” Sizemore said. “It’s not really one guy in particular, but they all shot it well.”
Many of the same players that saw varsity action also played with the junior varsity, giving them eight games played over the weekend. The junior varsity was still able to pick up wins over Bryan Station and Berea before losing to Lafayette by two points in the semifinals of the JV tournament. It was a chance for young players to get additional experience they will need when they see varsity action during the regular season.
“It’s going to be a lot different this year. I think we’re going to have to ask a lot of different kids to do different things and we’re going to have to do it as a group,” Sizemore said. “I’m really pleased with what I think our team is going to be able to do.”
The Jaguars will be playing this week at a team camp at Tennessee Tech before going into the annual dead period through July 9 when teams cannot practice.
“We’ll get seven more games in three days to finish the summer off. Hopefully we’ll continue to improve,” Sizemore said.