By Chris Parsons/Staff Writer
NORTH LAUREL —Thursday’s 49th District showdown between North Laurel and Jackson County was one for the ages as the Generals came away with the 86-85 road win.
After 43:59 of back-and-forth basketball, the game came down to a pair of free throw attempts by Jackson County’s Zach Lawson with :0.8 left in the game.
Lawson made good on his attempts as the Jaguars came up short.
After the loss, North Laurel head coach Brad Sizemore said he was pleased with his team despite the outcome.
“It was a great high school game and with triple overtime, I’ve never been involved in anything like that,” he said. “We had to use our entire bench and it was great experience for our younger kids.
“You know, you have to put it in perspective when you think about it,” he added. “This is the third game of the season in a district tournament-type atmosphere, but they made a lot of plays. We played hard enough to win the game and I’m really proud of our guys.”
The tone was set for a nip-tuck affair in the early going as North Laurel grabbed a 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Jaguars were able to extend the lead in the second period as they outscored the Generals 21-12, pushing the gap to 35-25 at halftime.
Jackson County came out firing in the third quarter, using a 10-4 run to start things out by cutting the lead to four points at 39-35. By the end of the third quarter, the Jaguars’ lead was trimmed to 43-40 with eight minutes to play in the game.
Jackson County’s rally continued to start the fourth quarter in the form of a 9-4 run, taking advantage of six straight points from Jacob Hammons to grab a 49-47 lead with just over four minutes to play in regulation.
A three-pointer by Elijah Jervis gave the Jaguars the lead and after that, the see-saw battle was on for the final few minutes.
Jackson County took a 58-56 lead with 7.9 seconds to play and the race was on as the Jaguars’ Marcus Carson took the ball straight to the basket, making good on a layup to send the game into the first overtime.
Despite jumping out to a 65-61 lead to start the first overtime, North Laurel saw the margin shrink as the Generals tied things up at 67 points apiece.
With North Laurel leading 69-68, Jervis went to the line to extend the gap to 71-68, but the fun wasn’t over yet, as Jackson County’s Austin Whitehead knocked down a three-pointer to send the game into the second overtime all tied up at 71 points apiece.
Despite a low-scoring period, the two teams traded points for the duration of the second overtime as Austin Wagers came through with a pair of free throws to tie things up at 78 apiece, forcing the third overtime.
Jackson County struck first in the third overtime, but the tit-for-tat continued until the Jaguars secured an 86-85 lead with 2.9 second to play in the period. After a long inbounds that went the length of the floor, Lawson was fouled after the ball was tipped loose, sending him to the line for a chance to end the game. He was able to come through, ending things for a final score of 86-85.
Carson led North Laurel with 25 points, but Wagers led all scorers pouring in 27 points in the win.
Jackson County 86, North Laurel 85
Jackson County 13 12 15 18 13 7 8 86
North Laurel 14 21 8 15 13 7 7 85
Jackson County (86) – Wagers 27, Hammons 17, Fox 15, Lawson 13, Bingham 9, Hays 4, Whitehead 3.
North Laurel (85) – Carson 25, Rush 20, Jervis 15, House 9, Henson 7, Thompson 4, Asher 2, Broughton 2, Bundy 1.