By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
“We haven’t had too many of these since I’ve been here.”
South Laurel coach Jeff Davis was referring to blowout wins, which is exactly what his team got Friday night, rolling to a 74-41 win over visiting Rockcastle County on Senior Night.
The 33-point margin was the largest in the two years that Davis has been at South. The Cards beat Harlan to open last season by 32, the first game Davis coached at South Laurel.
“I’m pleased that we got this win on Senior Night,” Davis said. “We came out focused, which is hard to do sometimes on a night like this. I’m glad to through the second quarter,” Snyder said. “We came in at the half, regrouped, got a few steals, took the lead and never relinquished it.”
see our focus and the energy we played with.”
Before the game, seniors Blake Sanders, Matt Slavey, Austin Rader, Austin Schaser, Zack Jones and Tyler Detherage were honored. Jones led South with 15, one of four Cardinals in double figures. Zac Baxter and Brennan Miller added 11, and Slavey had 10.
Jones set the tempo right at the opening tip when he came down and drained a three, one of 10 the Cardinals would make on this night. He then scored on a floater in the lane. Slavey and Baxter hit consecutive threes to end the first and give South a 13-6 lead.
Rockcastle (7-21) tried to hang close throughout the second quarter. When Tyler Harper scored on a reverse lay-up with 3:30 left, the lead was four, 20-16. That would be as close as the Rockets would get. Another three by Baxter sparked a 15-7 run to end the half, capped off by a three from Slavey at the buzzer and the Cardinals (12-15) took a 35-23 lead into the locker room. South had four steals in the quarter, and Davis praised the play of his defense.
“Our defense was a lot more active tonight,” Davis said. “When we are active like that and play with that much energy good things happen.”
South’s defense turned things up a notch in the third quarter, holding Rockcastle to just 5 points. Meanwhile, South scored 23 and the lead ballooned to 30, 58-28, after three. Jones had seven points in the quarter.
The Cards continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter. Miller would make two threes from the corner while inside, Jon Helton scored four points as the Cardinals rolled, 74-41.
“We moved the ball a lot better and attacked the basket,” Davis said. “We took what their defense gave us. We didn’t rely on the three. We got the ball inside the paint.”
The Cards will now face Whitley County in the opening game of the boys’ 50th District Tournament at Williamsburg Tuesday night.
“I hope this carries over,” Davis said. “If we can take this effort and energy to the next game we will give ourselves a chance to win.”
South Laurel 74, Rockcastle County 41
Rockcastle County 6 17 5 13—41
South Laurel 13 22 23 16—74
ROCKCASTLE COUNTY (41)—Pensol 12, McPhetridge 6, Arvin 2, Mason 2, Poynter 2, Mullins 5, Hasty 5, Harper 4, Blanton 3.
SOUTH LAUREL (74)—Slavey 10, Rader 4, Sanders 8, Schaser 4, Jones 15, Baxter 11, Miller 15, Helton 4, Vandeventer 3, T. Grubb 2, Anders 2.