By Chris Parsons
SOUTH LAUREL — Tuesday’s game against the state’s fourth ranked team in Madison Central was a tale of two halves for the South Laurel Cardinals as they fell, 77-52.
Jeff Davis’ squad shot 50 percent from the field (11-of-22) in the first half, while Madison Central connected on just 9-of-25 field goal attempts en route to a slim 31-28 lead at the break.
The Indians turned the tables in the second half, connecting on 21-of-31 attempts from the field, while the South Laurel made just seven -of-24 attempts.
While the difference on paper may have been the shooting percentage, Davis said it was a matter of the Indians having “too many horses.”
“We just got tired against a really good team,” Davis said. “They really had too many horses to run with and our kids wore down as the game went on.
“I was pleased with our effort in the first half, and we didn’t play terrible in the second,” he added. “We were able to do some good things and the effort was there, we just couldn’t compete with one of the top teams in the state.”
On the flipside of things, Indians’ coach Allen Feldhaus hasn’t been happy with his team’s defensive play.
“Defensively we have been struggling and South shot 50 percent in the first half, so that didn’t help,” he said. “I challenged the guys at halftime and told them we needed to pick it up on defense and that’s what we did.
“Our team is as good as our defense is and we held them to four field goals in the third quarter, so that’s what allowed us to get going,” Feldhaus added. “Once we got going on defense, it allowed us to get some fast breaks and things snowballed from there.”
Matt Slavey paced the Cardinals with 16 points, 14 of which came in the first half. No other South Laurel player reached double figures as Austin Schaser and Jared Grubb both added eight.
Madison Central was led by an 18-point effort from Dominique Hawkins, while Ken-Jah Bosley added 17 and Sam Jones chipped in 15.
Quan Taylor’s 14 points were only fourth best for the Indians, but a pair of thunderous dunks were the highlight of the game, bringing even the South Laurel fans to their feet.
After leading by three at the half Madison Central used a 24-16 third-quarter effort to push the lead to 55-44 with eight minutes to play. A 20-4 run to start the fourth quarter put the game out of reach for Madison Central as they cruised to the 77-52 win, improving to 21-5 on the season.
The Cardinals were without Zac Baxter, but Davis said he hopes to have him back in a few days.
“Zac is battling a bug right now, so hopefully he can get his strength built back up soon,” Davis said.
Madison Central 77, South Laurel 52
Madison Central 16 15 24 22 77
South Laurel 16 12 16 8 52
Madison Central (77) – Hawkins 18, Bosley 17, Jones 15, Taylor 13, Stocker 4, George 4, Ramsey 4, Hutchkiss 2.
South Laurel (52) – Slavey 16, Schaser 8, J. Grubb 8, Jones 7, Helton 4, Vandeventer 4, Sanders 4, Rader 1.