NORTH LAUREL — The North Laurel Jaguars came out on top on Tuesday night after a nailbiter against the Madison Southern Eagles, with a 73-68 win for the Jaguars.
“I was very pleased, this was a great win for us tonight,” said Coach Brad Sizemore.
North Laurel (2-0) started the game off strong, with a 7-0 lead three minutes into the game but soon found themselves behind the Eagles 17-15 by the end of the first quarter.
By the second quarter, the Eagles found a 7-0 run and the Jaguars spent much of the second quarter struggling to catch back up.
With 5:08 left in the second quarter, the Jaguars were able to cut the Eagles' 11-point lead down to only three points, though Madison Southern was able to extend that lead back up to nine points going into halftime with a 37-28 lead.
“We had 11 turnovers at halftime and you can’t do that against a good team,” Sizemore said of his Jaguars’ first half. “We got off to a really good start but had a really bad second quarter, down 9 (points) going into the third quarter.”
The Jaguars finally came alive in the second half. Though the Jaguars trailed the Eagles for much of the third quarter, they were finally able to cut the Madison Southern lead down to only one point going into the fourth quarter with a score of 54-53.
The Jaguars put up 20 points in the fourth quarter, while the Eagles only put up 14. And the Jaguars were able to hold off the Eagles the remainder of the fourth quarter to give North Laurel a 73-68 win and its second win of the season.
Cole Kelley led the Jaguars with 24 points on the night. Isaiah Alexander came off the bench in the second half and was able to put up 15 points.
Sizemore said the Jaguar defense was able to create some turnovers in the second half that helped to give North Laurel some opportunities to score.
“I thought we had a lot of guys that responded,” he said. “We’ve just got a lot of young kids that don’t have a lot of experience but we found a way. I thought we played tremendously hard. Madison Southern has a pretty good team and we could’ve very easily lost that game by 20 (points), so that shows how hard our kids competed.”
With such a young group of kids, Sizemore said his Jaguars will continue focusing on the basics when looking ahead at Friday’s game against Leslie County.
“We’ve got a lot guys that are learning a lot of things and we’ve just got to stay consistent on simple things and move forward,” he said. “There’s no easy games at this point—you’re on the road, out of region. We’re going to get as familiar with Leslie County as we can over the next couple days.
“We’ve just got to expect a varsity game. These guys are going to come out and compete and we’ve got to take care of the things that we can handle, as far as taking care of the ball and just getting good shots and playing good, solid defense.”
The North Laurel Jaguars will be traveling to Leslie County on Friday, with tipoff set for 7:30 p.m.