Josh Seidel came up with 29 points and seven rebounds in a losing effort Friday against Clay County.

Zach Lewis grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a free throw with 8.3 seconds left Friday, helping Clay County hand North Laurel a heartbreaking 75-71 overtime loss.

Jaguar coach Jim Conway wasn’t sure what to expect from his club after a week of turmoil that saw three assistant coaches resign and four players suspended after a prank gone awry the previous weekend. The loss was disappointing, he said, but he saw lots of positives in the way his team played.

“I had so many kids step up,” Conway said. “Their effort was remarkable.”

North took advantage of cold shooting in the first half by Clay, using a 15-4 run to go up by 11. The Jags led most of the game, but Clay steadily clawed its way back into the game, and pulled ahead at the end of the third quarter. The Tigers led by six with just under four minutes to play, but the Jags then clawed their way back, sending it into overtime on Shannon’s baseline jumper at the buzzer.

“I thought North played a really inspired game,” Clay County coach Kevin Spurlock said. “I was impressed with their crowd — they really showed up tonight, because they knew their kids needed a big boost.”

With about a minute to play in overtime, Clay got a 15-footer from Lewis to stretch their lead to three. Then, on the ensuing possession, Clay’s Jeremy Sizemore picked Nick Shannon’s pocket, which led to a Moe Campbell stickback at the other end, giving Clay a 74-69 lead.

That put the nail in the coffin, Conway said. Sophomore Josh Seidel drove to the basket with 35 seconds left to cut it to three, but the Jaguars failed to score again.

“My team made some plays down the stretch (and) gave us a chance to win,” Spurlock said.

Seidel had yet another monster game for the Jags, going for a career-high 29 points, and also tied for the team-high in rebounds with seven. Junior Josh Tiller added 14.

Sophomore Zack Eversole — pressed into varsity service after the suspensions claimed the Jags’ three main post players — came up with a huge effort, hitting all five of his shots in a 13-point, seven-rebound night. Also playing well was freshman Adrian Wardrup, who hit key buckets toward the end of regulation and in overtime as part of a nine-point, five-rebound night.

“They played their tail ends off,” Conway said. “If we can take this kind of effort down to Whitley County on Tuesday, I think we’ll be OK.”

Justin Hobbs led Clay with 18, and Campbell added 17. Lewis had 13 and Sizemore 11 as four Tigers hit double figures.

Spurlock was complimentary of Conway and the Jags’ focus despite the team’s recent distractions.

“Coach Conway did a great job in a week’s time getting this bunch ready,” Spurlock said. “North doesn’t know what they’ve got (in Conway). They’ve got a good coach — they ought to give him a chance.”

The Jags have dropped four of their last five games, and fall to 7-10 on the season. Clay improves to 12-3 in their first season under Spurlock.

The two teams could potentially meet again in the 49th District tournament, which will be held again at Clay County after Red Bird elected to pass on hosting the tournament.

Clay Co. 75, North Laurel 71 OT

CC 12 20 19 13 11—75

NL 17 16 17 14 7—71

CC (75)—Campbell 17, Hobbs 18, Lewis 13, Wilson 6, Sizemore 11, Smith 4, Garrison 2, Mitchell 4.

NL (71)—Shannon 4, Tiller 14, Hubbard 2, Eversole 13, Seidel 29, Wardrup 9.

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