LONDON — The North Laurel Jaguars were in unfamiliar territory entering second half action against crosstown rival South Laurel on Saturday.
Nate Valentine’s Jaguars were trailing, 26-24, while connecting on only an uncharacteristic 10-of-30 shot attempts while the underdog Cardinals had the momentum with 16 minutes remaining.
But one play changed the course of the game, according to South Laurel coach Jeff Davis.
Reed Sheppard’s steal to begin the third quarter which led to his one-handed dunk, switched the momentum for good.
Sheppard scored 15 of his game-high 32 points during the period as North Laurel used a 19-3 run to put the game away while securing a 64-49 victory over South Laurel.
“That was the play of the game,” Davis said of Sheppard’s steak and dunk to begin the second half. “That shifted the momentum, and seemed to pick them up.”
And, Davis was right.
The Cardinals (10-4) managed to regain a 34-33 advantage With five minutes remaining but it was short-lived. Ryan Davidson scored on an old-fashioned three-point play to put his team ahead for good at 36-34 with 4:21 left.
Davidson added five of his 17 points during the third quarter while the Jaguars (14-0) used an 11-1 run to take a 44-35 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Clay Sizemore’s 3-pointer remaining capped off a 19-3 run and gave North Laurel a 52-37 lead with 5:07 remaining in regulation.
The Cardinals got as close as 11 points the remainder of the game before seeing their crosstown counterparts wrap up a 15-point victory.
“That was a perfect game for us today,” Valentine said. “We struggled offensively in every sense of the game. We really wanted to focus on our defense and get stops in the half-court. We’ve been able to play fast and win. We wanted to see if we could grind one out in a low scoring game. We played the fourth quarter with four sophomores and junior after Caden Harris fouled out. I’m extremely proud of our guys for finding a way against an outstanding team.”
Clay Sizemore finished with nine points for the Jaguars while Brody Brock finished with four points and Caden Harris scored two points and led the team with eight rebounds.
Eli Gover led South Laurel with 13 points while Brayden Reed scored nine points, Micah Anders finished with eight points and Caden Jones tossed in seven points.
“They created turnovers when they needed it, and capitalized on them,” Davis said. “When you play an outstanding defensive coached team, you can’t make those mistakes. We’ve got to be able to put four quarters together. We just had too many mistakes but to their credit they caused them. We just got outplayed and outcoached. We’ve got to get better.”
North Laurel is scheduled to be back in action Tuesday at home against McCreary Central while South Laurel is scheduled to host Pulaski County Thursday at home. Both games are slated for 7:30 p.m. starts.
North Laurel 64, South Laurel 49
North Laurel 15 9 20 20 64
South Laurel 13 13 9 14 49
North Laurel (64) — Sheppard 32, Sizemore 9, Davidson 17, Brock 4, Harris 2.
South Laurel (49) — Anders 8, England 5, Gover 13, Jones 7, Payne 4, Reed 9, Smith 3.