By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
SOUTH LAUREL – The South Laurel Cardinals struggled early last season thanks to a rash of injuries early on in the season, the biggest being that of starting point guard Blake Sanders.
As a result, the Cardinals stumbled out to a 4-8 record over the first month of the season. Head coach Jeff Davis righted the ship somewhat in the month of January as his team won six of the next nine games thanks to a pair of three-game win streaks sandwiching a three-game skid.
The Cardinals went back to their early season ways in February as they dropped six of nine games, including a loss to Corbin in the 50th District finals and a first-round loss to Harlan County in the 13th Region Tournament that ended their season with a disappointing 13-17 record.
With his team's summer routine in full swing (they've actually been playing since spring according to Davis), Davis said he's been able to see what some of his younger players can do on the floor and he expects the work to payoff when the regular season arrives.
“We've got a lot of kids out with baseball just getting over with and football going on,” Davis said. “The good thing is that it gives the kids that are here a chance to get better because they're getting floor time they may not have gotten otherwise.
“Considering the amount of games these kids have played, it really will help them to play against the kind of varsity competition that they've seen,” he added.
As the summer progresses Davis said he knows he'll have his regular players back on the floor eventually, but for now he's going to take advantage of the opportunity to evaluate some young talent and see what they may be able to bring to the table when the games count for something.
“What we really want to look for is getting the kids to break some bad habits they may have,” Davis said. “We want to put them in situations they may not have been put in before and see how they respond and what kind of focus they have.
“The biggest thing though is being able to evaluate kids that we may not have a chance to look at during regular season games,” he added.
By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
- 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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