By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Resolve is something coaches like their teams to have, but hope they never have to use.
Take Tuesday night’s South Laurel-Knox Central girls’ basketball game.
After building a 29-20 lead with 5:35 left in the third quarter, the Lady Cardinals saw the Lady Panthers go on a 16-0 run that carried over into the start of the fourth quarter to turn that nine-point deficit into an eight-point lead, 37-29. But South Laurel showed its resolve by battling back to take a 48-45 win.
“You like for your team to have that kind of resolve,” South coach Konnie Snyder said. “But you don’t like to be in that position. I’m proud of the team; they stayed with it and didn’t fold.”
Neither team turned in their best performance. South Laurel shot 33 percent from the field and only 50 percent from the free throw line, going 11-of-22. The Lady Cards also turned the ball over 20 times.
Meanwhile, Knox Central (4-3) shot 37 percent from the field, 57 percent from the free throw line, and the Lady Panthers committed 14 turnovers. Both offenses struggled in the second quarter, where South outscored Knox Central, 6-5.
South Laurel (4-6) came out with a different look, with Katie Reynolds and Madyson Morris inserted into the starting line-up as Snyder was trying out different combinations.
“We were looking to get more scoring in the line-up,” Snyder said. “We looked for good shots, and I’ve got confidence they will start falling.” Six different Lady Cardinals scored in the win as Snyder used eight different players.
South led after one, 16-13, and at the half, 22-18. Two threes from Karli Parker highlighted South’s first half. Parker would finish with 10 points.
Emily Clonce scored and was fouled with 5:35 left in the third. She completed the old-fashioned three-point play to give South a 29-20 lead. The Lady Cards would miss their final six shots of the quarter, and missed all four free throw attempts as their offense disappeared. After scoring 16 points in the first quarter, South would manage just 13 over the next two quarters.
While that was happening, Knox Central’s offense started to heat up, thanks to Jenna Mills, who scored nine of her game-high 24 points, including a three that capped off the 16-0 run early in the fourth quarter. By that time, the Lady Panthers were up by eight, 37-29.
Now it was South’s turn to make a run, a 15-2 one, and with three minutes left, South had regained its lead, 43-39. Taylor Arthur, who turned in another impressive game with 17 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks, scored five of those points during that run.
“Everybody knows this team goes the way Taylor goes,” Snyder said.
It was a basket by Preslie Baker with 4:50 left that gave South the lead, 38-37, before Cassi Shippy was fouled. She made both free throws, and with 4:38 left, Knox Central was back on top, 39-38.
Parker would make a big steal with 3:31 left when she stepped in front of a pass after a South miss and deflected the ball to Arthur, who got it back to the Lady Cardinal point guard. She then drained her third three, which was followed by an Arthur basket to give South a 43-39 lead. The Lady Cards would never trail again.
Mills scored Knox Central’s final six points in the game, but the Lady Cards countered with a Cassandra Johnson basket and two Arthur free throws.
Parker had a chance to ice the game at the free throw line in the final 26 seconds, but she made only 1-of-4, and with 4.6 seconds left, South led by three, 48-45, and Knox Central had one last chance, but Shippy’s attempted three rimmed off and South escaped with the win.
“We’re not close to where we want to be,” Snyder said. “We are still trying to find the perfect fit. This team wants to win and play well. We haven’t done that yet.”
The Lady Cardinals will be on the road at Williamsburg tonight.
South Laurel 48, Knox Central 45
Knox Central 13 5 16 11—45
South Laurel 16 6 7 19—48
KNOX CENTRAL (45)—J. Mills 24, Hubbard 3, Shippy 15, McNeil 1, Lacefield 2.
SOUTH LAUREL (48)—Arthur 17, Morris 2, Parker 10, Johnson 8, Clonce 9, Baker 2.