By Mitch Howard
For the Times-Tribune
MCKEE — Clay County made it 10 straight 49th District titles with a 64-58 win over North Laurel Friday. Although the game was still in doubt until the final minutes, the Tigers did not trail again after a pull-up jumper by Tyler McDaniel gave them a 4-2 lead.
“When you’re playing a team like Clay, they have a really nice team; it comes down to possessions at the end. You’ve got to make free throws and get stops, complete big plays when you need them. We couldn’t get the ones we needed,” North Laurel coach Brad Sizemore said.
With 1:41 to play, the Jaguars were within 54-51 on a three-pointer by Marcus Carson. Clay County’s Stephon Lyttle drew a foul on the inbounds play. He made one free throw to make it a four-point game. Carson then missed on another three-point attempt. A Marty Bowling free throw added a point to the lead. Two free throws from Elijah Jervis had the Jaguars back within three points with 1:09 to play. Clay County hit their final eight free throws to ice the game.
“I thought we were right there. We played really hard. We tried to come up with some steals, but we couldn’t turn them over as much as we wanted to,” Sizemore said.
Clay County turned the ball over eight times on the night and just once in the fourth quarter. They also out rebounded North Laurel. But possibly the Tigers biggest strength was an active, aggressive zone that forced North Laurel to take 20 three-point shots. They made only four.
“Them and Harlan County are the most physical teams that we’ve played all year as far as guarding the inside,” Sizemore said. “They’ve got some veterans out there, big strong kids that know how to play.”
The Jaguars were still able to get 15 points from Jake Allen, but it may have been his toughest 15 points this season.
“I thought the guys worked really hard for the ball. Again, everybody is playing us zone. They are basically putting four guys down there and just clogging the lane up. We did the best we could trying to get it in there,” Sizemore said.
49th District Tournament
at Jackson County High School
Clay County 64, North Laurel 58
Clay County 14 17 14 19 64
North Laurel 13 11 18 16 58
Clay County (64) — McDaniel 19, Reed 8, Rice 10, Lyttle 6, Bowling 15, Wolf 6.
North Laurel (58) — Carson 18, Thompson 11, Henson 5, Allen 15, Rush 4, Jervis 5.
Tigers win 10th straight 49th district championship by beating North Laurel
By Mitch Howard
- Local Sports
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.
The Way It Is
With four girls games finished in the 13th Region Tournament, now it’s time to switch things around a bit, and focus on the boys tournament.
Like It or Not
After a perfect opening night when it came to picking winners, Les Dixon and I both struggled in the second night of action.
Brian Evans’ Knox Central Panthers might be tagged as one of the teams to beat in the 13th Region Tournament, but they have to get past upstart Williamsburg first.
Chris Parsons' Daily Region Pick 'Em
After the first two days of the girls 13th Region Tournament I find myself at 2-2 when it comes to picking the winners.
Tigers look to eliminate Middlesboro for second straight year
Even though his team is the defending 13th Region champion, Robert Marcum was quick to point out he doesn’t believe his Tigers are the favorite to repeat just yet.
Ready to Defend
Coming into Tuesday's first round match-up with North Laurel in the 13th Region Tournament, Corbin coach Jason McDaniel knew his team would see a different Lady Jaguar team than the one it beat earlier in the season, 86-48. He was right.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Early Exit