LEXINGTON — Talent is important, but South Laurel coach Jeff Davis knows it’s not everything when it comes down to making plays with a big game on the line.
Davis watched his Cardinals make those plays Thursday in the opening round of the state tournament after a six-point lead disappeared in the fourth quarter when 2nd Region champ Christian County took the momentum, and the lead, with an 11-4 run.
“We’ve been able to answer runs all year,” said Davis. “The last couple of years, we might have folded in that situation.”
The Cardinals didn’t fold this time, especially not junior guard Jared Grubb, who hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:15 left to put South up 49-47.
Grubb finished with 20 points to lead the 28-6 Cardinals. Senior big men Andrew Grififth and Caleb Taylor added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
“It doesn’t surprise me with Jared,” Davis said. “We’ve ran that same play all day, all year. They were trying to keep it out of the lane, and they left Jared open.”
Grubb’s 3-pointer started a 6-0 run that sent the Cardinals into a quarterfinal game Friday against South Oldham or Owensboro Catholic.
Tyrik Edwards led 2nd Region champion Christian County (29-3) with 26 points and six steals. His layup with 1:56 to play gave the Colonels their only lead of the fourth quarter at 47-46 in a game that had 13 lead changes.
Christian County coach Frankie Smith switched to a 2-2-1 press when his team fell behind by six in the fourth quarter and the Cardinals had three turnovers to boost the Colonels’ comeback.
“We kind of went away from the press earlier this year to concentrate on our half-court defense,” Smith said. “We’ve always had the 2-2-1 but didn’t use it a lot. The press did give us new energy. If I know what I know now we’d have pressed them more.”
Jaylen Sebree added 11 points for the Colonels.
South Laurel jumped out to a 12-9 lead after one quarter despite five turnovers and held a 21-20 lead at halftime. The Colonels shot only 23 percent (eight of 25) in the first and missed all six of its 3-point attempts.
“They had a great gameplan,” Smith said. “They made us shoot from the outside but had a hand in our face and did a good job. It was not our ‘A’ game offensively.”
“Christian County is very athletic,” said Davis. “We did a great job of communicating on defense.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Jaylon Hall scored 23 points to lead Doss past Lawrence County 66-57 on Thursday in the first round of the KHSAA Boys Sweet 16 tournament.
Hall sank nine of 10 free throws in the final 2:13 to help Doss (28-5), the 6th Region champion, hold off 15th Region champ Lawrence County (29-5). He finished 13 for 15 at the line and the Dragons made 22 for 31 overall.
Lawrence County, making its first state tournament appearance, led 46-45 after Robert Dalton’s three-point play with 5:42 remaining. Kelshawn Knight-Goff answered with a dunk for Doss to launch a 9-0 run that put the Dragons in the driver’s seat.
Doss shot 48 percent and outrebounded Lawrence County 39-24 to reach its second straight quarterfinal and a matchup Friday against South Laurel or Christian County.
Timmy Dalton had 16 points and Brandon Richardson 15 for the Bulldogs, who shot 35 percent.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134