North Laurel’s Caitie Jackson is defended by Perry County Central’s Heather Sturdivant in Monday’s battle featuring two of the better point guards in southeast Kentucky.

With more than 1,100 wins between the two, there’s likely never been a meeting on the court of two more successful Kentucky high school coaches than Roy Bowling and Randy Napier.

“Probably not,” said Bowling, who has 488 career wins to go with his four state championship rings. He moved into seventh on the all-time Kentucky girls coaching wins list earlier this season.

And while Bowling has the upper hand when it comes to state titles, Napier is no slouch either. The Perry County Central coach has accumulated a whopping 628 wins — No. 2 all-time — to go with the 1994 state title at M.C. Napier (which later consolidated into Perry County Central).

“It was a special night to get an opportunity to go up against Roy and (North assistant) Rex (Fredricks),” Napier said.

Napier said he spent some time at practice the day before the game talking to his kids about the history surrounding Bowling and Fredricks, who was Bowling’s longtime assistant while at Laurel County. Napier’s M.C. Napier clubs frequently faced Bowling’s squads in the earlier part of Napier’s career, when Bowling was still at Laurel County.

“It’s a very special atmosphere having Roy back on the sidelines,” Napier said.

Napier’s club got the best of Bowling this time around in a meeting of a pair of undefeated teams in a cross-regional matchup, as the veteran Commodores held North Laurel to a difficult 34 percent shooting night to win 57-43.

“We had to really push the pace and keep the game at a high speed,” Napier said. “We felt (North Laurel) wouldn’t be comfortable with that.”

The strategy worked, with the Commodores forcing 20 Jaguar turnovers, and hassling the Jaguars into a 2-for-17 night shooting threes and 19-of-56 overall. Combine that with a 41-28 deficit on the glass, and North suffered its first loss of the year at the hands of the top team in the 14th Region.

“We just got beat — we just got our butts beat,” Bowling said. “This will be a good learning experience for us.”

North Laurel (5-1) senior Stephanie Strange had 13 points and seven rebounds, and sophomore Caitie Jackson finished with 13 points, four assists and three steals. The Jags visit districtmate Jackson County (2-0) on Friday.

The Perry Central (5-0) attack was spearheaded by dominant performances by the post duo of Kristen Madden and Allyson Feltner, who combined for 33 points and 25 rebounds. Point guard Heather Sturdivant added another 12.

“I’m kind of lucky,” Napier said. “I’ve got some good kids.”

Perry Co. Cent. 57, North Laurel 43

PCC 12 17 15 13—57

NL 11 8 9 15—43

PCC (57)—Kilburn 7, Combs 2, Gaines 1, Sturdivant 12, Madden 18, Feltner 15, Fugate 2.

NL (43)—Jackson 13, Prichard 2, Karr 5, Bargo 4, Strange 13, Harris 6.

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