These are exciting times for North Laurel Middle School.
State championship wins in both the 7th Grade Girls Basketball State Tournament and the 8th Grade Division I State Championship game has given Jaguar and Lady Jaguar fans alike a lot to cheer about.
Both teams put on dominating performances during their state title run.
Haley Ratliff’s Lady Jaguars dominated their opponents during tournament play by outscoring them 231-49 in six games before cruising past Elkhorn Middle in the championship game, 48-32 to capture their second straight state crown.
“I am very proud of my team for working hard, handling tough moments, playing together, and for playing a game they love with such great passion,” said Ratliff. “I hope these girls cherish this moment and grow from what they have learned throughout the season.”
The championship team members are Bella Sizemore, Saige McClure, Halle Collins, Brooke Nichelson, Ellie Adams, Kelsie Smith, Maria Yount, Kierra Larkey, Abby Hubbard, Holly Mathis, Carley Evans, Hannah Hensley, Cecile Craig, and Kyra Lewis.
On the football side of things, Joey McKnight’s Jaguars dominated throughout the season while defeating some of the best teams in the process.
North Laurel finished the 2019 campaign with a perfect 15-0 record, that’s right, 15-0.
The Jaguars received a first-round bye in the playoffs before blowing out Whitley County while handing Northern Pulaski a 12-6 loss in the region title game.
North Laurel locked up a 6-0 victory against Royal Springs to pull off the Semi-State win.
The Jaguars then followed with a 38-0 dominating win over Elkhorn Middle School in the state championship game. Both the girls basketball team and the football team defeated Elkhorn Middle School in their respective state title games to claim their respective state championships.
“It’s hard to go undefeated (at 15-0), but these guys worked themselves to death and put in all of the time and effort to get to this point,” McKnight said. “Winning this is all on these guys right here. They’re the ones out here playing.”
Members of the team are Christian Larkey, Joe Gilbert, Travis Smith, Tucker Warren, Hunter Morgan, Logan Hall, Elijah Miller, Treshawn Holmes, Austin Johnson, Elijah Johnson, Devin Jarvis, Conner Jones, Gage Larkey, Calvin Miracle, Gunner Coots, Tyler Yocum, Gabe Claybrook, Austin Lewis, Quentin Jarvis, Malichi Bailey, Keegan Stout, Jordan Gibson, Jacob Byrd, Cole Messer, Matthew Boone, Roman Robinson, Pacey Simpson, Dalton Smith, Donavon Wyatt and Jay Douglass Gilliam.
Winning a state championship at any level is a tremendous feat and honor. You don’t see things like this happen very often folks, so if you happen to see any of the players or coaches when you’re out and about, be sure to congratulate them.
They represented Laurel County well during their respective state championship runs, and each of the student-athletes and coaches should be commended for a job well done.
Great job, Lady Jaguars, and Jaguars, the future is bright for the blue and green.