By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
It wasn’t as painful as Middlesboro’s last-second shot two nights earlier. Still North Laurel’s 50-43 loss to Lynn Camp felt like another win got away.
“I’ll take some of the blame on some adjustments. I had a problem trying to keep the girls calm at some points,” North Laurel coach Eddie Mahan said. “At the same time, we didn’t have the same focus we had the other night.”
With 4:41 to play, a put back by Kendall Ellington had the Lady Jaguars within 40-39. Ellington fouled out 32 seconds later, and the Lady Jaguars were outscored 10-4 the remainder of the game.
“What we were missing was her focus on wanting to win, her competitiveness. She wants to make every day count right now,” Mahan said of his senior.
Also with Ellington out, the Lady Wildcats claimed a few more rebounds. They pulled three offensive rebounds in the final four minutes.
“There were loose balls that ended up with them as well,” Mahan said. “Those are the plays we are missing out on right now.”
The final margin was the largest lead of the game with neither team leading by more than five points prior. North Laurel held a lead in every quarter except the fourth quarter. The Lady Jaguars biggest lead was a 20-15 with two minutes in the half. Their last lead would be 20-19, early in the second half. Lynn Camp took a 21-20 lead using good ball movement to get an open baseline jumper for Heather Wilson. A pair of Ashley Wyatt free throws tied the game for the final time. Brenna Hollin broke the tie with a three-pointer.
“Lynn Camp is a solid team. There is a reason they have 20 wins,” Mahan said.
Kayla Smith and Jessica May combined for 10 of the Lady Wildcats 16 points in the fourth quarter. Smith led Lynn Camp with 19 points and May added 12.
“When they needed a score, they knew who to go to. That’s something right now my team doesn’t know and I don’t always know. It’s something different every night for us,” Mahan said.
In the fourth quarter, it was seventh grader Hannah Lawson keeping North Laurel close with eight of her team-high 14 points.
“If anybody doubts how good we are going to be in the next two or three years, all you have to do is come see our young kids. I’m pleased to death with how Hannah has developed. She’s by far not the only one. You have Ella Hamm. Ashton Bridges who I think has come a long way. Then you add Kayla Bruner, who is just a freshman, coming back after injury. You give us some time to gel with what is going to be our future corps and we’re going to be a very good team in a couple of years,” Mahan said.
North Laurel has lost four straight, but has been in each of those games. They have one more chance to pick up a win before the 49th District Tournament starts next week in Jackson County. They played host to Oneida Baptist on Saturday.
“It reminds a lot of the end of last year. I would like to have gotten a couple of wins this week. I think that would have made a big difference,” Mahan said. “We are focusing in at the right time.”
Lynn Camp 50, North Laurel 43
Lynn Camp 10 7 17 16—50
North Laurel 7 13 10 13—43
LYNN CAMP (50)—Smith 19, Wilson 6, Burke 9, May 12, Miller 1, Hollin 3.
NORTH LAUREL (43)—Wyatt 12, Gray 2, Lawson 14, Carpenter 9, Ellington 6.