LOUISVILLE — Reed Sheppard’s triple-double effort wasn’t enough to push North Laurel past Covington Catholic in the finals of Tuesday’s King of the Bluegrass Tournament.
Sheppard scored 25 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, and recorded 10 assists in the Jaguars’ 79-67 loss.
Sheppard was named tournament MVP and joined Ryan Davidson on the All-Tournament team.
North Laurel’s struggles shooting the ball from 3-point range and lack of rebounding turned out to be its downfall.
The Jaguars (6-2) finished connecting on 7-of-18 shot attempts from 3-point territory after hitting only 1-of-6 attempts in the first half. They finished the game connecting on an efficient 25-of-50 shot attempts and 10-of-12 shot attempts from the free-throw line. They were outrebounded, 32-24.
North Laurel also struggled to contain Cov. Cath’s Evan Ipsaro, who rallied a game-high 34 points on 11-of-23 shooting from the floor.
“First off, I’m proud of our guys’ effort this week,” North Laurel coach Nate Valentine said. “We came out of here with a 3-1 record, and that’s really big. We learned a lot about our team this week and we continue to grow.
“We just didn’t have an answer for their inside guys,” he added. “They made jump shots and the guards hit their outside shots. They’re just a really good team.”
Sheppard’s 25 points led the way for the Jaguars while Davidson scored 24 points and Caden Harris finished with 10 points.
North Laurel hung tough in the first half thanks to the trio of Davidson, Harris and Sheppard.
Davidson recorded 16 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor while Harris scored six points and Sheppard delivered five points, seven rebounds, and six assists.
The Jaguars trailed 16-14 at the end of the first quarter, and 37-29 at halftime after seeing Cov. Cath knock down 16-of-34 shot attempts, which included a 5-of-16 effort from 3-point range.
North Laurel had no answer for Ipsaro, who scored 18 points in the first half while 8-of-15 shot attempts from the floor.
Valentine’s squad connected on 12-of-25 shot attempts but was only 1-of-6 from 3-point range.
North Laurel cut its deficit to 55-48 entering the fourth quarter after finally heating up from the outside.
Sheppard and Davidson both connected with two 3-pointers apiece as the Jaguars outscored Cov. Cath, 19-18, during the third quarter. Sheppard scored 11 points during the period while Davidson added six points.
Cov. Cath pulled away for good during the fourth quarter, outscoring the Jaguars, 24-19, despite seeing Sheppard add nine more points while Brock Brock connected with two 3-pointers.
North Laurel will be scheduled back in action Sunday against Louisville Trinity during first round action of the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic.
“We are getting better,” Valentine said. “We just got to keep finding ways to keep getting better. This is a growing stretch. We played teams that are ranked state wide, and we also played nationally ranked teams. This tournament helped us become a better team.”
Cov. Cath 79, North Laurel 67
North Laurel 14 15 19 19 67
Cov. Cath 16 21 18 24 79
North Laurel (79) — Sheppard 25, Brock 8, Davidson 24, Harris 10.
Cov. Cath (79) — Ipsaro 34, Wilson 3, McGillis 3, Rylee 19, Starks 4, Johnson 3, Hussey 13.