By Les Dixon / For the Times-Tribune
SOUTH LAUREL — Jeff Davis' South Laurel Cardinals got a step closer to grabbing the 50th District's top seed by upending Whitley County Friday, 52-51.
The Cardinals evened their record to 9-9 on the season and 3-1 against 50th District competition by holding off the Colonels during the final seconds, as Whitley County is now 1-2 in 50th District play.
South Laurel also evened their record to 9-9 on the season while extending its season-best four-game win streak in the process.
“This is a big win for us,” Davis said. “It's against a district team, and it improved us to 3-1. Just getting the district's top seed would be a big accomplishment for our guys. But we know this district has three other good teams, so it's going to he hard once the district tournament begins.”
Whitley County entered the game with hopes of solidifying its seeding in the district after coming off of a big win over Corbin, instead the Colonels (11-7) now find themselves at the No. 3 spot at 1-2 behind Corbin, who is 2-1. Jerry Overbey's squad is now 3-3 during its past six games.
South Laurel opened the game by taking a two-point lead (11-9) into the second quarter, and the Cardinals extended their lead to 26-21 at halftime.
“We played well at times, but we missed some easy shots, and really didn't shoot the ball well from the free-throw line,” Davis said. “The big thing is that we got a win. It was ugly, but it's a win, and it doesn't matter how you get it.”
The Colonels rallied to tie the game at 37 apiece heading into the fourth quarter, but that's when it seemed as if Davis' squad was going to pull away from Whitley County.
South Laurel opened the fourth quarter with a nice little run, and the Cardinals found themselves ahead 47-37. But just as it seemed as if Davis' squad was going to pull away, Whitley County came storming back.
The Cardinals failed to put the Colonels away by missing to lay-ups, and three front-ends of bonus free throws.
“We really struggled hitting our free throws down the stretch,” Davis said. “We had a 10-point lead, and I called a time out, so we could focus on what we needed to do. Then the next thing you know, they are within four points of us. We've got to do a better job of execution down the stretch.”
South Laurel connected on only three-of-seven free throw attempts during the game's final eight minutes, while Whitley County turned in an eight-of-12 effort.
Despite their struggles from the charity stripe, the Cardinals were able to hold on and pull off the one-point win, thanks in part to freshman Jared Grubb scoring five of his 14 points during the fourth quarter.
“We didn't shoot the ball well at the free-throw line and we turned the ball over some, and I was disappointed a bit with that, but we overcame ourselves,” Davis said. "Earlier in the year, we would have gotten down on ourselves, but we did what we needed to do to get the win.
“I think the win shows to them, and myself, that we are growing up a bit,” he added. “The big thing is that we never stopped fighting. These type of games helps our guys understand what it takes to when games like this.”
Zac Baxter led South Laurel with 17 points while James Sasko added 17 for the Colonels.
Things don't get any easier for the Cardinals with games against Corbin, Knox Central and Barbourville, while Whitley County will have tests against Williamsburg, North Laurel, Clinton County, Knox Central and Corbin.
South Laurel 52, Whitley County 51
Whitley County 9 12 16 14 – 51
South Laurel 11 15 11 15 – 52
Whitley County (51) – Foley 2, James Sasko 17, Barton 10, Crisologo 9, Petrey 2, Johnson 11.
South Laurel (52) – T. Grubb 6, Anders 6, Miller 4, Baxter 17, J. Grubb 14, Helton 5.
Cardinals' 52-51 win over Whitley inches team closer to top seed
By Les Dixon / For the Times-Tribune
- Local Sports
It’s hard to imagine anybody as big as Corbin head coach Jason McDaniel having any trouble filling shoes.
Here we go again
It'll be a matchup between two of the most historic programs in the 13th Region tonight when the Clay County Tigers defend their 13th Region title against the Corbin Redhounds.
The Way It Is
We’re not even through with the 2013-14 season yet, but it’s never too early to talk about next season. Since we’ve crowned a 13th Region champion on the girls’ side of things, let take a glimpse of what might be for the 2014-15 campaign.
Les Dixon's Daily Region Pick'em
Well, here we are, Corbin vs. Clay County for the right to see who will represent the 13th Region next week at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
For the seventh time in the last 10 seasons, the Corbin Redhounds are headed to the 13th Region finals, after their 56-48 win over the Bell County Bobcats in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Like It or Not
I hate to steal an idea, but I guess in the end that's what everyone seems to be doing these days. After reading Les Dixon’s list of what he thought were the top five upsets in recent memory of the 13th Region Tournament, I decided to rank my top five basketball movies in today's column. With that said, here goes.
Williamsburg sees Cinderella run come to an end
For the third straight year, the Clay County Tigers are playing for the 13th Region Championship and the opportunity to play in the Sweet Sixteen at Rupp Arena, after their 79-58 victory over the Williamsburg Yellow Jackets on Saturday.
- 13th Region Tournament Schedule
Clay County, Bell County fall in semifinal round
Both Corbin and Harlan had to withstand battles during the 13th Region semifinals, but when all was said and done, they both won, punching tickets into the finals of the 13th Region Girls Tournament title game.
Pick Up Game
Six straight 50th District titles and a 10-game winning streak were not enough to place the Corbin Redhounds as the favorite heading into their matchup with the Jackson County Generals in the first round of the 13th Region Tournament.
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