By Chris Parsons
JACKSON COUNTY — The North Laurel Lady Jaguars dug a hole too big to climb out of Thursday as they fell 59-32 to Clay County in the 49th District championship game.
The Lady Jaguars (6-25) failed to score a point in the first quarter and trailed 30-8 at the end of the first half. Lady Jaguars’ coach Eddie Mahan said he felt like his team was out of the game early on and was never able to recover.
“From the first missed shot that was in and out, our mentality just kind of dropped from there,” Mahan said. “They got very aggressive. We wilted away. We showed the team that we had been a few weeks ago and not the team we had been the last week or so.
“I’m very disappointed in our mentality for that,” he added. “We’ve got some things to work on before the region tournament.”
North Laurel managed to mount some offense in the second half, but the Lady Tigers outscored them 18-11 in the period to extend the margin to 48-19 with one quarter to play in the game.
The Lady Jaguars outscored Clay County 13-11 in the final eight minutes, but eventually fell 59-32 as the 49th District Runner Up.
The Lady Jaguars have a few days to prepare for the 13th Region Tournament, which will get underway next Tuesday. Mahan said there’s plenty of work for his team to do between now and then.
“Clay County is probably the best team in the region right now, so we are not going to see anybody better than that. That is the good news,” Mahan said. “The bad news is everybody is pretty good at this point.
“We’ve got to have the mentality that we know we can win instead of thinking we can,” he added. “We went in thinking we can win. If you just think something, it can change in a ballgame with one or two missed shots.”
Ashley Wyatt led the Lady Jaguars with nine points in the loss, while Hannah Gray added seven.
Clay County’s Morgan Chestnut led the Lady Tigers with 19, while Cheyenne Madden chipped in 14.
49th District Tournament Tournament
at Jackson County High School
Clay County 59, North Laurel 32
North Laurel 0 8 11 13 32
Clay County 20 10 18 11 59
North Laurel (32) — Wyatt 9, Chestnut 3, Gray 7, Smith 3, Lawson 3, Rains 2, Carpenter 3, Ellington 2.
Clay County (59) — Robert 4, Cotton 8, Mathis 4, Chestnut 19, Madden 14, Robinson 7, Smith 2, Woods 1.