By John Stepp For The Times-Tribune
KNOX CENTRAL — Despite being down seven points to start the fourth quarter, the Knox Central Panthers clawed back to defeat the South Laurel Cardinals 43-39 in the 13th Region matchup.
The Panthers were still without point guard Matthew Barger, who is out with a hip injury, but got a big game from freshman center Chad Marsee. Marsee controlled the paint for Knox Central, scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
“It was a really good game for him. He did a great job of finishing around the basket and making passes from the high post,” Knox Central Coach Brian Evans said. “He also hit all of his free throws and pulled down several rebounds. It was just a really great game for him.”
The game was a defensive struggle for much of the first half. Both teams scored just eight points in the opening quarter before the Cardinals took an 18-17 halftime lead.
South Laurel started to take control of the game early in the third quarter. Senior guard Matt Slavey hit two three-point shots to give the Cardinals a 24-19 lead just two minutes into the second half. One possession later South Laurel scored nine straight points, increasing their lead to 33-22 with just a minute to go in the third, and helping them to a 33-26 lead heading into the final period.
Senior point guard Blake Sanders was the key to the Cardinals’ success in the third quarter, scoring seven of his 11 points. This was the first game back for Sanders, who missed several games with a broken wrist.
“(Blake) played well. He still has a way to go to get into game shape. He has stayed in pretty good shape but there’s nothing like playing games,” South Laurel Coach Jeff Davis said. “It’s going to take him some time to get adjusted to playing with everybody, but, for the most part, I was pleased with him.”
After scoring on their final two possessions of the third quarter, the Panthers scored the first 12 points of the fourth. The Knox Central defense held the Cardinals scoreless for the first six minutes of the final period and led 38-35 with just under two minutes left in the game. South Laurel cut the lead to two with six seconds left in the game, but sophomore guard Jeffrey Adams knocked down two free throws to seal the victory for the Panthers.
“We started forcing things in the fourth quarter. We were taking the ball to the hole when things were not there. We were forcing passes. We just started running around like we didn’t know what to do,” Davis said. “You have to give Knox Central credit. They went man-to-man and their guys got into us. We had to play patient and see things better and we didn’t do that.”
Knox Central 43, South Laurel 29
Knox Central 8 9 11 17 43
South Laurel 8 10 15 6 39
Knox Central (43) – Marsee 18, Adams 10, Hensley 6, Merida 4, Wilburn 2, Hall 3.
South Laurel (39) – Baxter 12, Sanders 11, Slavey 10, Schaser 2, Vandeventer 2, Miller 2
Knox Central rallies in the fourth quarter to knock off South Laurel
By John Stepp For The Times-Tribune
- Local Sports
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.
- 13th Region Top Scorers
Harlan coach Derrick Akal knew his team needed to change things up during their second meeting with the Barbourville Lady Tigers.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- No Contest