By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
HYDEN—For the second straight game, North Laurel coach Brad Sizemore changed his lineup. For the second straight game it worked.
“We went with smaller lineup. We’re just doing different things different games to try and find out what is going to be our best look for the tournament,” Sizemore said.
Tuesday’s 70-47 win at Leslie County Tuesday follows a 20-point win over Whitley County Saturday. Although the lineups have changed one constant with either lineup has been effort.
“We actually pressed from start to finish. We played really hard. We only had 12 turnovers for the game, which against that team is pretty good because they play so hard,” Sizemore said.
Returning to the starting lineup was eighth grader Peyton Broughton. Broughton has led North Laurel the past two games with 17 points.
“He came out jacked up Saturday and played really hard. He played well today. He shot the ball well. He’s been getting in the gym and getting extra reps,” Sizemore said.
Also in the starting lineup were Austin Thompson, Kendrick Henson, Marcus Carson, and Jake Allen.
Allen recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Also turning in a big performance was Elijah Jervis with 12 points on 4-of-4 three-point shooting off the bench. Jervis started against Whitley County.
“I’m really pleased with the last two games. I think we are starting to maybe make a turn here,” Sizemore said.
The scrappy Eagles trailed 33-23 at halftime and did not stop competing when the lead became insurmountable. It was what Sizemore expected after scouting Leslie County the previous night against Buckhorn.
“I told the guys this team plays harder than anybody you’ve played all year,” Sizemore said.
The Eagles proved that statement with players leaping over the scorer’s table twice trying to save balls. But despite their effort, North Laurel expanded the lead to 22 points in the third quarter.
“We got the press going and got them sped up I thought and got some easy layups,” Sizemore said.
It was a 15-2 run that opened the game up for North Laurel. Broughton scored twice in the spurt, but also set up three goals with assists.
Sizemore said he might not be able to continue the current 10 to 11-player rotation once the district tournament starts, but he also finds not playing them all difficult.
“I’m not used to coaching like that, but I’ve got so many kids,” Sizemore said. “I just think we’ve got some talent. That younger group, the JV guys, we have to get into the game somehow.”
Which lineup Sizemore will go with Friday against South Laurel is yet to be determined. It should be a good test of how far the Jaguars have come since losing at South Laurel on 62-53 on Jan. 4.
“It’s going to be a tough game. They are playing really well. We’re going to have to be ready to go to compete with them,” Sizemore said.
North Laurel 70, Leslie County 47
North Laurel 11 22 24 13—70
Leslie County 8 15 14 10—47
NORTH LAUREL (70)—Carson 9, Broughton 17, Thompson 9, Rush 2, Allen 10, Henson 1, Jervis 12, House 4, Hodges 2, Bundy 2, Riley 2.
LESLIE COUNTY (47)—Collett 6, Asher 8, Couch 6, A. Sizemore 10, Bay 8, Bray 2, Bentley 2, C. Sizemore 1, Brock 3, Eldridge 1.