LEXINGTON — Nate Valentine wanted to test his inexperienced but talented North Laurel squad right out of the gate, and No. 4 ranked Collins showed why they’re considered one of the state’s top teams by handing the Jaguars an eye-opening 78-59 loss during Monday’s BGO Tip-Off Classic.
North Laurel (0-1) hung tough throughout the contest, and only trailed 57-49 with 7:34 remaining in the game before seeing the Titans (1-0) use a 21-10 run to wrap up the win.
“Some times you get what you ask for,” Valentine said. “We wanted to play some good teams early in the season as a measuring stick, and Collins is really good. I thought at times we competed really hard and at times we backed down a little bit.
“I don’t think our guys saw pressure one through five like they saw tonight, but this is exactly what you want,” he added. “I’d rather go out here and get beat by 20 and learn a little bit about our team and where we gotta go, as opposed to beating somebody by 50. I still have a lot of confidence in these guys. We just have to get back to work and keep getting better.”
The Jaguars entered the second quarter tied with Collins at 17 apiece, but the Titans began to take control of the game in the second quarter, using a 17-6 run to take a 34-23 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Collins led 57-46 going into the fourth quarter before seeing North Laurel’s Isaiah Alexander get hot from the outside and hit his fourth 3-pointer to help pull the Jaguars to within 10 points (65-55) of the Titans’ lead with 4:26 left in the fourth quarter.
The Jaguars couldn’t get any closer as the duo of Marcellus Vail and Tyson Turner helped put the game out of reach.
Vail led all scorers with 25 points while finishing with six rebounds and five 3-pointers. Turner scored 10 points and hit two 3-pointers.
“There were several opportunities we were able to get it back in single digits and had the ball there, but we quit doing the things that helped get us back into it,” Valentine said. “We lost discipline. You have to stay disciplined the whole way through and hopefully it’s something we will learn for the future.”
The Titans finished the game hitting 26-of-51 shot attempts from the floor while outrebounding North Laurel, 33-28. The Jaguars connected on 22-of-59 shot attempts, including an 8-of-25 effort from 3-point range.
Freshman Ryan Davidson led North Laurel with 21 points and seven rebounds while Alexander added 14 points.
Valentine said he hopes the 19-point defeat is an eye-opener for his team.
“You never want to lose, but when you lose to the No. 4 team in the state in your opener, I’m OK with it,” he said. “I think we’ve learned some things. Hopefully, it was an eye-opener for them. We will get some things corrected and get back at it Thursday. You can say you need to go harder in drills and play more harder and physical, but until you get out here and get your tail handed to you, sometimes you don’t believe it.“
North Laurel will be back in action Thursday during the Legacy Nissan Classic. The Jaguars will tip off against Montwood High School (Texas) at 7:30 p.m.
BGO Tip-Off Classic at Transylvania University
Collins 78, North Laurel 59
Collins 17 17 23 21—78
North Laurel 17 6 23 13—59
Collins (78) — Turner 10, Vail 25, McKnight 12, Eden 4, Thompson 11, Hawley 9, Scriber 7.
North Laurel (59) — Sheppard 6, Bruner 2, Kelley 8, Elmore 2, Davidson 21, Sizemore 6, Alexander 14.