By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
NORTH LAUREL — North Laurel’s hopes of capturing the top seed in the upcoming 49th District Tournament came to an end Friday with Clay County picking up a 58-52 win over the struggling defending 13th Region champions.
The loss turned out to be the Jaguars’ third in a row while they are now under .500 on the season at 10-11.
“It’s a tough loss for us,” North Laurel coach Brad Sizemore said. “I think now we’ll have to end up playing Jackson County in the district tournament.
“We just started off slow,” he added. “We didn’t score a basket until three minutes left in the first quarter. They packed the zone in on us and we didn’t know what to do. I think we’re tired with all of the games and traveling we had to do last week. We’ve not had any easy games and it’s going to be tough again next week, too, with games at Somerset and Clark County.”
The Tigers (12-6) were led in scoring by Tyler McDaniel, who connected with four three-pointers while finishing the game with 16 points. Kody Reed added 14 points in the win while teammate Marty Bowling chipped in 12.
Clay County jumped out to a 15-7 edge in the first quarter while holding a 25-19 edge at halftime.
It looked as if Robert Marcum’s squad had put the game out of reach in the third quarter thanks to a 17-9 run. Two three-pointers by McDaniel allowed the Tigers to take a 42-28 lead into the fourth quarter.
But that’s when the Jaguars rallied.
Senior guard Marcus Carson caught fire and scored 10 of his team-best 15 points during the quarter while Jake Allen added six, but in the end, the Tigers held on and picked up the six-point victory, while moving one step closer to the 49th District’s top seed at 3-0.
Clay County 58, North Laurel 52
Clay County 15 10 17 16 58
North Laurel 7 12 9 24 52
Clay County (58) — McDaniel 16, Reed 14, Rice 9, Lyttle 5, Bowling 12, Smith 2.
North Laurel (52) — Carson 15, Rush 4, Allen 11, Henson 12, Jervis 7, Miller 3.
North Laurel falls to 1-3 in 49th District play
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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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