North Laurel basketball brings hope to storm victims through hoops

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

For months, the North Laurel Jaguars basketball team have been working on plays, their shots, and their conditioning all for the pay off: the school's first ever trip to the Kentucky High School Sweet Sixteen.

"First practice, first game, you know you go through all of those firsts and now you get to the first state tournament game and it makes it all worth it," described North Laurel Senior Taylor Bowling of the historic season.

"I still can't put it into words how I feel, it's just great. I love it," said Junior Kenndrick Henson.

However, just ten days ago, a chance to play in Rupp Arena seemed distant as the community of East Bernstadt, where many of the players and their classmates live, was torn up by a deadly tornado.

"It puts everything in perspective, and it tells you that basketball is just a game," said first year coach, Brad Sizemore.

Still, this team knows when they take the floor this Wednesday at noon against Rowan County, they're playing for more than just the "W." They're playing for all of their friends, family, and the community affected by this devastating storm.

"It's really hard on us, but thankfully they were okay," said Senior Ethan Eversole, whose grandparents were victimized by the tornado, "I feel sorry for the [victims] who did lose [family members] and we plan on doing this for them."

"It's good to see people feel like that, after their house was destroyed, [we get] to cheer them up," said Senior Ryan Shears.

"You know who you're playing for now, you're playing for all of those people that were hurt or affected by the storm. Their lives are changed forever," added Bowling.

"There's a lot of people hurting right now, but I know these kids are giving them a little hope this week," said Coach Sizemore.

While the name North Laurel is on the team's chest, the community is on their back and this team wants to bring a little joy to a county torn down by the tornado.

As for the historic run to the tournament, these players hope to make it count and play all the way to state.

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