The Cardinals led by as many as 27 points in the second half and held off every Lynn Camp (19-11) rally to advance to the 13th Region championship game for the third straight season since moving from the 12th Region.
"We were ready to go," South Laurel coach Steve Wright said. "We didn't play great, obviously, but we got the job done. That is all that matters.
"You're not going to play real well every night. We played a little sloppy. They made us play a little chaotic at times, that is the way they play. They made us play that way a little bit, but we got through it and that is all that matters. We did a lot of good things. We are back in the championship game."
Lynn Camp responded late in the first quarter. The Wildcats outscored South Laurel 9-4 over the last 2:42 of the period and trailed 18-9.
The Cardinals opened the second quarter in similar fashion, embarking on a 13-4 run over the first two and a half minutes of the period to take a 31-13 lead. South Laurel led 40-22 at halftime.
Lynn Camp shot a dismal 28 percent from the field in the first half, including a 1-for-6 effort from 3-point territory. The Wildcats finished the game shooting 32 percent (21-for-65).
"I'm not taking anything away from South Laurel," Lynn Camp coach Anthony Pennington said. "They are a great team and well-coached, but I thought we just came out a little tight there. We were getting some good shots - they just weren't falling.
"For example, (David) Sizemore had several looks in the first half, and they just wouldn't fall for him. If you are not making shots, a team like us with possessions up and down, you dig yourself a hole. You've got to say it again that our kids didn't quit tonight, either."
South Laurel (26-7) pushed the lead to 60-33 on a Matt St. John tipin with 43 seconds left in the third quarter. Lynn Camp scored the final four points of the quarter and trailed 60-37 heading into the final period.
Jordan Bortnem led the Cardinals with 18 points. The senior was 8-for-9 from the foul line. Billy Jones was 6-for-8 from the floor and added 14 points for South Laurel.
Lynn Camp made a final run at South Laurel in the final quarter. The Wildcats went on a 10-2 run over a 2:30 period, including a slam dunk by senior Darick Knuckles, to cut the lead to 67-53, but the Cats could get no closer.
"I just want to brag on these guys," Pennington said. "They made a lot of history here at Lynn Camp - the seniors, especially. They are just an exciting team to watch, and they never quit.
"A lot of people think we're not running anything, but it is a controlled chaos. It is a fun style to play, and we try to play a lot of guys. We have evolved this season, and grew up and matured. I am really proud of them. They got to this point, and our school has never been there."
The Wildcats' coach said his team set a school record for wins (19) and that he's looking forward to next year.
"I think the future looks bright," Pennington said. "I have some good kids coming back. You've got Brad Bargo, Tyler Wagner, Cody Mobley, David Sizemore, Jonah Mitchell and several (other)guys. Those guys learned a lot from our seniors and got a lot of experience this year. They are going to be hungry next year, and I am excited about it."
The Cardinals will take on Corbin, an 84-73 winner over Knox Central in Monday's first game, tonight at 7:30 at Knox Central for the regional title.
LYNN CAMP (19-11)
Cody Mobley 1-3 0-1 2, Jonah Mitchell 2-11 3-4 8, Brandon Abner 1-4 3-4 5, Darick Knuckles 10-19 0-0 20, David Sizemore 1-13 2-3 4, Brad Bargo 4-8 3-5 11, Tyler Brock 0-0 0-0 0, Josh Solis 0-0 0-0 0, Brian Smith 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 21-65 13-20 57.
SOUTH LAUREL (26-7)
Matt Watkins 1-4 2-2 5, Jordan Bortnem 5-12 8-9 18, Billy Jones 6-8 2-2 14, Zach Smith 3-7 3-7 9, Matt St. John 3-4 1-2 7, Matt Gilbert 0-2 3-5 3, Jamaal Duncan 0-1 1-2 1, Wes Dean 2-5 0-0 5, Ricky Bowling 1-2 0-1 2, Wes Chandler 0-0 0-0 0, Jordan Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Chris Adams 0-0 0-0 0, Chris Cheek 0-0 0-0 0, Eric Wright 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-53 20-34 72.
Lynn Camp 9 13 15 20 - 57
South Laurel 18 22 20 12 - 72
3-point goals: Lynn Camp 2-11 (Wagner 1-1, Mitchell 1-5, Mobley 0-1, Knuckles 0-2, Abner 0-2), South Laurel 2-14 (Watkins 1-3, Dean 1-4, Smith 0-1, Bowling 0-1, Gilbert 0-1, Bortnem 0-4). Rebounds: Lynn Camp 40 (Sizemore 11), South Laurel 37 (Price 9). Assists: Lynn Camp 3 (Mitchell 2), South Laurel 8 (Smith 3). Turnovers: Lynn Camp 24, South Laurel 19. Fouled out: Lynn Camp (Abner), South Laurel (Price).