By Les Dixon For the Times-Tribune
SOUTH LAUREL — On a night that saw former South Laurel coach Steve Wright receive a banner to be hung in the rafters of The Cardinals' Nest, there wasn't much left to celebrate after the ceremony if you were a Cardinal fan.
Crosstown rival North Laurel jumped out to an early double-digit lead before rallying from a second half deficit to knock off South Laurel, 81-74.
It was a night that saw Brad Sizemore's team miss 18 free throws, but still manage to grab the seven-point victory.
"I thought we played a good first quarter," Sizemore said. "But South is South, and Zac Baxter took the game over in the second quarter.
"I was proud of our guys, though," he added. "We weren't scared of the press in the second half, and that's a sign of growing up and maturing. I thought we played great Tuesday against Bell County. We led by 12 points, but lost."
A balanced scoring attack allowed North Laurel to come back from a two-point deficit at halftime, as Chris Miller led the way with 23 points while Peyton Broughton had 17. Bryce Asher followed with a 15-point effort and Austin Thompson added 10 points.
Asher took over in the fourth quarter, and scored nine points, allowing the Jaguars to pull away.
"We were able to get them spread out a bit (in the fourth quarter), and they came out of the zone," Sizemore said. "We just need to quit worrying about stuff and continue to play. This was a great win for us."
Despite the loss, the Cardinals showed they were a team to keep an eye on once postseason play begins.
South Laurel fell behind 19-9 in the first quarter before outscoring the Jaguars 28-16 in the second period to take a 37-35 lead at halftime.
Baxter played a big role in the Cardinal comeback attempt by scoring 14 of his game-high 24 points during the period.
But just as soon as it looked as if South Laurel might begin to pull away from North Laurel, the Jaguars answered the Cardinals' run, and used a 13-3 run to close out the third quarter, while taking a commanding 57-48 lead into the fourth quarter.
Jeff Davis' squad got as close as six points (70-64) late in the game before seeing the Jaguars pull away and win.
"Give North Laurel credit," Davis said. "They did a great job handling the press. Coach (Sizemore) did a great job and the players did a great job. We just came up short. We've got to do a better job attacking.
"We can take this as a good thing and learn from it, or we can down our head because we lost to our rival, and it could be a bad thing for us," he added. "We were on a roll, and I believe our guys got caught up in it, and we got a reality check."
Jared Grubb also scored in double figures for the Cardinals, finishing with 14 points while Trevor Grubb added 12.
North Laurel will be back in action Saturday at home against 49th District rival Jackson County while South Laurel will host Bell County Monday before having a chance to clinch the 50th District's top seed Thursday with a win at home against Williamsburg.
North Laurel 81, South Laurel 74
No. Laurel 19 16 22 24—81
So. Laurel 9 28 11 26—74
North Laurel (81) — Broughton 17, Miller 23, Thompson 10, Asher 15, Jeffers 9, Griebel 6, Hodges 1.
South Laurel (74) — T. Grubb 12, J. Grubb 14, Baxter 24, Halcomb 6, Helton 2, E. Anders 2, R. Anders 2, Bre. Miller 5, Bra. Miller 7.
North Laurel pulls away, defeats South Laurel, 81-74
By Les Dixon For the Times-Tribune
- Local Sports
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are partying like it's 1987! That was the last time the Jackets won a game in the 13th Region Tournament, and they ended the 27-year drought with a 47-44 win over the heavily-favored Knox Central Panthers on Thursday night.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'Em
When it comes to picking region tournament games, it’s not an easy task to say the least. This is the most parity that I’ve ever seen in the 13th Region Boys and Girls Tournaments.
If Clay County’s play during the first game of the 13th Region Tournament is any indication of things to come, Robert Marcum’s squad could be well on its way of capturing their second straight 13th Region championship.
The Way it is
Since I’m picking Corbin to pull off the upset against Jackson County today, I figured I’d give my top five upsets dating back to 2005-06 when the 13th realigned and welcomed both North and South Laurel high schools to the mix.
Tony Pietrowski’s Corbin Redhounds have been favored during the past two first round 13th Region match-ups, and have been upset both times. Corbin is hoping things might change a bit this time around.
Barbourville will have hands full against Bell County today
Dinky Phipps’ Barbourville Tigers are looking for their first 13th Region Tournament win dating back to 2006’s tournament when they defeated Clay County in the regional semifinals.
Like It or Not
There’s an elephant in the room at this year’s 13th Region Tournament, and really in basketball in general, and I guess I’ll be the first one to point it out (publicly with my name attached to it).
Chris' Daily Region Pick'Em
With the first three days of opening round games in the books, I can honestly say I'm not surprised that I'm 4-2 overall when it comes to my pick'ems record.
You can never count out the Clay County Lady Tigers when it comes to the 13th Region Tournament.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
After going just .500 during the girls games, things are going to get even tougher when it comes to picking the 13th Region Boys Tournament games.
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