By John Stepp For The Times Tribune
WHITLEY COUNTY — After dropping two straight games to South Laurel and Williamsburg, the Whitley County Colonels were able to knock off the visiting North Laurel Jaguars, 77-61, on Friday.
The win was really the epitome of this Colonels' squad whose play style could be summed up in one simple word — relentless.
Not only were they on a two-game skid, but Whitley County also found themselves down 10-2 to start the game, before going on a 23-2 run that extended all the way into the second quarter.
“It’s the intensity factor. The kids played with a lot of intensity tonight. That’s what we have to do. That’s the kind of team we are,” said Whitley County Coach Jerry Overbey. “When we don’t play with that intensity, we struggle. We didn’t do that against South Laurel or Williamsburg, but we came out with fire tonight and beat a well coached ball team.”
It was the fire that gave Whitley County their second-highest scoring game of the year with 77 points scored. The Colonels had three players in double figures, led by junior guard James Sasko with 21 points. Sophomore Luke Woods finished with 17 points, while eighth-grader Corey Johnson added 16.
While their defense kept North Laurel on their heels, it was their offense that kept the Jaguars from getting back into the game.
“I thought we could win the game when we cut it to six, but we came out and didn’t do anything in the fourth quarter,” said North Laurel Coach Brad Sizemore. “It’s a credit to Whitley County. They kept hitting shots. Every time we cut it to five or six, they would hit a three that broke our back.”
The Colonels' run in the first two quarters was impressive, as six players were able to score during the stretch. Most of their points came off of turnovers, as the Whitley County defense hounded North Laurel in the backcourt. The Jaguars finished with 23 turnovers in the game.
“This is probably the worst we have played all year. You’re not going to beat many teams playing as poorly as we did tonight,” Sizemore said. “I told them this would be a hard place to win. It’s always loud and Whitley County plays hard and they scrap. Hopefully, we’re going to learn from this.”
After taking a 36-23 lead into the half, the Colonels struggled to score in the third quarter. North Laurel battled back behind the play of freshman point guard Peyton Broughton who scored nine points in the quarter, helping the Jaguars cut the lead to 51-45 heading into the fourth.
Broughton went on to score a team-high 15 points in the game, all coming in the second half, as the Colonels defense worked to hold the star point guard in check.
“We had someone hanging on his hip and forcing him to his left for the game,” Overbey said. “We did a good job of taking away his strong hand. Our defense played well for us tonight.”
Whitley County 77, North Laurel 61
Whitley County 10 26 15 26 – 77
North Laurel 11 12 22 16 – 61
Whitley County (77) – Sasko 21, Woods 17, Johnson 16, Barton 9, Petrey 7, Crisologo 6, Foley 4
North Laurel (61) – Broughton 15, Miller 13, Jervis 9, Jeffers 8, Asher 6, Thompson 4, Hodges 3, Griebel 2