North Laurel coach Brad Sizemore got what he wanted from the Jaguars’ opening game of the 49th District Tournament.
“We won and advanced to the next one. That’s the most important part,” Sizemore said.
He also got a little more. North Laurel’s 113-46 win was easily the largest margin of victory of the season, topping a 31-point win over Casey County. It also marked the first time North Laurel topped 100 points this season. The season-high in offense had been 81 points in a loss to Wayne County.
“I thought one positive, we finally hit some shots. That’s what I told them, it doesn’t matter who you are playing, the ball went in a little bit and maybe that will carry over to Thursday,” Sizemore said.
North Laurel had not scored over 100 points since beating Red Bird 103-53 in the 2010 49th District Tournament. The KHSAA does not list a higher scoring game in the history of North Laurel.
Where the points came from was more important the total. Ethan Eversole poured in 20 points with four three-pointers. Austin Rush scored 17 points and was very active on the boards.
“We need those guys to step up and play. We’ve been talking about that all year,” Sizemore said. “If they just hit a couple of shots and loosen those zones up and play the way they are capable of.”
The win puts North Laurel into the championship game of the 49th District Tournament where they will face Clay County Thursday at 7 p.m. at North Laurel. It also assured the Jaguars a spot in next week’s 13th Region Tournament at The Arena in Corbin. Sizemore left immediately after Tuesday’s game to scout the 50th District Tournament and one of their potential region tournament opponents.
North Laurel lost an earlier meeting with Clay County 88-52 in Manchester, where the Tigers are 11-3 this season. Their three home losses came against George Rogers Clark, Harlan County, and Barbourville. The Tigers had a tougher first-round game in the 49th District Tournament, outlasting Jackson County 57-44.
North Laurel’s first round game was more of a formality. North Laurel never trailed, but did draw a quick timeout from Sizemore when Erik Young was allowed to take a rebound coast-to-coast for a layup that made it a 7-6 game.
“They’ve got a kid leading the region on scoring, Young. That’s what I told them, you have to get up and down the floor and guard him or he’s going all the way to the basket. They thought to start the game they didn’t have to guard him,” Sizemore said.
After the timeout, North Laurel went on a 15-0 run with Rush accounting for six points. After a pair of Red Bird baskets, the Jaguars ended the half on an 8-0 run for a 30-10 lead. The Cardinals scored first in the second quarter with North Laurel scoring the next 11 points as the lead reached 41-12.
“I thought we played hard. We enjoyed ourselves. They got out there and were smiling and playing,” Sizemore said.
North Laurel scored the first 25 points of the third quarter. The lead would peak at 64 points at 90-26. The Jaguars reached 100 points with 3:30 remaining on a drive by Austin Thompson.
North Laurel got points from 11 of the 12 players on the roster with five players in double figures.
Boys’ 49th District Tournament
at North Laurel
North Laurel 113, Red Bird 46
Red Bird 10 8 8 20—46
North Laurel 30 20 34 29—113
RED BIRD (46)—Young 17, Wilder 14, Napier 4, D. Smith 9, C. Smith 2.
NORTH LAUREL (113)—Carson 6, Shears 15, Allen 10, Eversole 20, Rush 17, Henson 13, Thompson 6, Jervis 9, Bowling 5, Miller 8, Hodges 2.