By Les Dixon For the Times-Tribune
NORTH LAUREL - The South Laurel Cardinals hung tough for three quarters during Saturday's Legacy Nissan Classic semi-final game against 14th Region power Cordia before falling, 69-56.
“I was happy with our effort,” South Laurel coach Jeff Davis said. “It's a learning process, but I am really pleased with our efforts the past two games.”
South Laurel led throughout the first quarter before trailing, 14-10, at the end of the period after connecting on only three-of-13 from the floor.
Despite their struggles from the floor, the Cardinals still managed to hang in the game. A 12-2 Cordia run to begin the second quarter put the Cardinals on their heels, but South Laurel only trailed 38-26 at halftime.
“We played hard,” Davis said. “Cordia is a great team. The biggest thing is we're getting experience while playing good teams. We're not playing slouches.
“The good thing about playing in tournaments at Christmas, is your team's weaknesses are exposed and we can work on them,” he added.
Davis' squad got as close as 10 points in the third quarter before staring at a 45-32 deficit with eight minutes to play.
Junior Zac Baxter kept his team in the game with some smooth drives to the basket and key three-pointers, as South Laurel got as close as eight points with less than six minutes left before seeing Cordia pull away and capture the 14-point win.
Baxter finished with a game-high 32 points while scoring 14 in the fourth quarter.
“He is still trying to come back — he had the flu,” Davis said. “When he attacks the basket, he is one of the best players in the region.”
Cordia 69, South Laurel 56
Cordia 14 24 7 24 – 69
South Laurel 10 16 6 24 – 56
Cordia (58) – Cunningham 24, Frimpong 15, Smith 3, Combs 5, Chilson 7, Keita 2, Cuthrings 13.
South Laurel (56) – T. Grubb 4, Baxter 32, Holcomb 7, J. Grubb 10, Miller 3.