By Les Dixon/Sports Editor
SOUTH LAUREL — When it rains, it pours.
South Laurel coach Jeff Davis summed up his team’s luck coming out of the locker room after the Cardinals’ 63-56 loss to Tates Creek — “If it wasn’t for bad luck, we wouldn’t have any luck at all.”
The Cardinals were already without starters Trevor Grubb and Austin Rader entering South Laurel’s contest against Tates Creek, but the Cardinals suffered another big blow midway through the game when starting point guard Blake Sanders went down with an apparent injury to his hand. This is the second time in as many years Sanders has been hit by the injury bug. He missed most of last season due to an injury.
“You prepare all summer and spring to have him in the mix because he does so much for us, it’s not even the scoring he does for us. He keeps us calm and makes the job for the other kids easier. I hate it for the kid. He’s such a great kid and he’s got a great attitude and he deserves more than what he’s been given and he’ll be the first one not to complain.
“My heart breaks for him,” he added. “I just hope it’s not as bad as we think. I don’t know what I’ve got to do. If anyone has any suggestions, please send them my way. I don’t know — I tell the kids adversity makes us stronger and I think last year, we went through some adversity and at the end of the year, we were playing well. Again this year, we’re going through some adversity and now we’ve got some younger kids that’s going to have to step up. We can’t sit here and cry about it and feel bad for ole pitiful us. We hate it for Blake, but we’re going to go out and play. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. I’ll just admit it, I’m frustrated.”
South Laurel was holding its own against the Commodores and led 16-9 at the end of the first quarter thanks to a four-of-five effort from three-point range, which included two by Sanders.
The Cardinals continued to shoot well from behind the three-point line in the second quarter, as Zac Baxter’s three-pointer to end the first half gave his team a slim 25-24 edge. South Laurel was six-of-11 from behind the arc in the first half.
Both teams continued to trade baskets in the third quarter, which resulted in Tates Creek taking claim to a 42-41 edge going into the final quarter of play.
South Laurel rallied and led 52-49 with 4:15 remaining after two made free throws by Baxter, but Desmond Duke ignited a 14-6 run that allowed the Commodores to pick up the win.
Baxter led the Cardinals with 19 points and Sanders finished with 14.
• The Cardinals were back in action Sunday against Purcell Marian and dropped a 70-67 decision to fall 0-3 on the season. Baxter led the way with 19 points while Matt Slavey turned in a 17-point effort. Brennan Miller also finished in double figures by scoring 12 points.
Tates Creek 63, South Laurel 56
Tates Creek 9 15 18 21 63
South Laurel 16 9 16 15 56
Tates Creek (63) — Sturdivet 10, Duke 25, Mattox 10, Love 1, Fucci 9, Davis 7, Shelton 1.
South Laurel (56) — Sanders 14, Slavey 1, Schaser 6, Miller 5, Vandeventer 2, Jones 6, Grubb 3, Baxter 19.
Purcell Marian 70, South Laurel 67
South Laurel 9 16 15 27 67
Purcell Marian 15 20 14 21 70
South Laurel (67) — Baxter 19, Slavey 17, Miller 12, Schaser 2, Vandeventer 3, Jones 10, Anders 4.
Purcell Marian (70) — Jones 13, Ali-Sahkir 10, Smith 2, Johnson 8, Wilson 20, Howard 10, Johnson 7.
By Les Dixon/Sports Editor
- 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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