The first local team in the City of Palms Classic for 2022 took the court as Charlotte took on North Laurel out of the tradition-rich basketball hotbed of Kentucky. North Laurel features Reed Shepherd, a UK signee while the Tarpons of Charlotte have high-flying senior John Gamble.
North Laurel got out fast as 6’4 senior Ryan Davidson scored on a drive and 6’1 junior Brody Brock knocked down a three. Charlotte finally got on the board with a driving bucket from 6’5 junior Chris Cornish. Davidson threw down a dunk in transition for North Laurel but that was offset by another Cornish bucket. A thee from Shepherd gave North Laurel a 10-4 lead with just over four minutes left in the period. Charlotte then got on a roll, scoring four quick points to get within two. However, North Laurel would close out the period with a 5-0 run courtesy of Shepherd. After one quarter of play, North Laurel led 15-8.
North Laurel took over the game in the second quarter. They scored the first four points of the period to push their lead to double-digit at 19-8. In all, North Laurel outscored Charlotte 29-16 to make the half-time score 44-24.
Give credit to Charlotte for not mailing it in after North Laurel’s 6’0 senior Kyler Elza dropped in five straight points to make the score 49-24 with only one minute off the clock in the third. Charlotte responded with a 10-0 run to make the score 54-34 with just over five minutes to play in the third. However, they never got any closer and with one quarter to play, North Laurel held a commanding 64-42 advantage.
Charlotte made one last push at the start of the final period. A 7-0 run got the Tarpons to within fifteen, 64-49. That run pretty much emptied their tank and North Laurel didn’t hesitate to take advantage. The margin got back to twenty, 73-53 with 3:36 to play. North Laurel would go on to win comfortably, 79-58.
North Laurel had three players score twenty or more points as Sheppard led all scorers with 28 while Davidson added 22 points and Brock tossed in 20 points.
For Charlotte, Gamble led the way with 20 points while Cornish finished with 12 points and 6’3 junior Blake Maddox added 11 points.