South Laurel cruises to 72-30 victory over Bell

Headlined by 20 turnovers in the first half, the Bell County Lady Cats (13-18) fell to the South Laurel Lady Cardinals (26-7) in the opening round of the 13th Region Tournament in Corbin on Thursday. The Lady Cardinals held the Lady Bobcats to just 27 percent shooting in the first half and 24 percent the second half.

The second half opened with a running clock as South Laurel continued to dominate and pull away to post 72-30 victory.

“We had a hard time with their pressure,” said Bell County coach David Teague. “We struggled with their intensity. They forced us into a few turnovers, and we had a hard time recovering from that. I told the girls after the game how proud of them I was.

“Both of our seniors have done a phenomenal job all year. We are going to miss both of them badly. They are both going on to do bigger and better things after high school. I told the younger girls that this was a good experience for them. It’s an opportunity for them to learn and grow and come back next year. I’m really proud of our team this year.”

Led by Amerah Steele with 24 points and seven rebounds, the Lady Cardinals dominated every quarter of the match-up. Bell County was led in scoring by Abigail Cornett with 10 points and Brea Browning with eight points and six rebounds.

The Lady Cardinals came out hot against the Lady Cats in the opening frame, holding Bell County to just eight points in the period, outscoring them 30-8. The second quarter matched the trend of the first with South Laurel outscoring Bell County 24-5 in the period. Behind Steele’s 18 first half points, the Lady Cardinals took a commanding lead into halftime, 54-13.

With a running clock to start the second half, the Lady Cardinals continued to dominate. Opening the third period on a 9-0 run, the Lady Cardinals quickly extended their lead to 63-13. Matching their first quarter total with eight points, the Lady Bobcats cut the gap to 65-21 heading into the final period.

Bell County played their best offensive quarter of the game in the final frame, scoring nine points. Although the Lady Cats began to find offensive rhythm in the final quarter, the Lady Cardinals had already built a substantial lead. Outscoring the Lady Bobcats 12-9 in the final stanza, the Lady Cardinals cruised to a 42-point victory over the Bobcats.

Bell County closes the season at 13-18. South Laurel will advance to play the winner of Knox Central and North Laurel on Saturday inside the Corbin Arena at 2:30 p.m.

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Bell County (13-18) (30) — Abigail Cornett 10, Brea Browning 8, Abby Harris 6, Nadine Johnson 4, Talyah McQueen 2.

South Laurel (26-7) (72) — Amerah Steele 24, Allie Collett 15, Sydnie Hall 12, Brianna Howard 8, Hannah Neal 4, Lindsay Cox 3, Emily Cox 2, Corbin Miller 2, Mariah Anders 2.