Roy Bowling didn’t think much about the possibility of reaching a very significant coaching milestone prior to North Laurel’s showdown with Model Wednesday in Richmond.

It wasn’t until after the Lady Jaguars had wrapped up a 64-33 win that the legendary coach took just a moment to reflect on becoming only the eighth girls high school basketball coach in Kentucky to reach 500 victories.

“I’ve had a lot of great players and a lot of excellent assistant coaches,” said Bowling, who was honored following the game. “I never scored a basket or guarded anyone. I’m proud of these kids. I’m glad they could be a part of this.”

Stephanie Strange and Bobbie Jo Harris each had 16 points and Caitie Jackson added 11 points as North Laurel (11-5) built an early lead and cruised to one of its most lopsided wins of the season.

The Lady Jaguars shot 53 percent in the first half and took a 35-12 lead at halftime after finishing the second quarter on a 16-2 run. That advantage quickly grew to 31 points in the opening minutes of the second half.

“We took control early and I got a lot of kids some extra playing time,” Bowling said. “I thought in the first half we played pretty darn well.”

Model (1-12) shot just 29 percent (13-of-45) and had 20 turnovers, which were converted into 20 North Laurel points. Kathryn Engle finished with a team-high 16 points and five rebounds for the Lady Patriots, who have lost five straight.

“They are well-coached,” Model coach Stephen Minter said of North Laurel. “They took their time offensively and we were out of synch defensively. I thought they played extremely well.”

Jackson had a team-high six points, six assists and three steals, while Makenzie Prichard had six points, three rebounds and two assists. North Laurel dominated on the inside, outrebounding Model 42-27, including 12 offensive rebounds.

Engle helped Model hang around in the opening minutes, but Harris scored 11 early points to give the Lady Jaguars a 17-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Lady Patriots had just two field goals in the second quarter — both by Engle — as North Laurel stretched its lead to 20 points.

Engle had 10 points in the first half.

“She’s really come on the last few games,” Minter said of Engle.

But, Engle’s performance wasn’t nearly enough to keep Model in the game. Lauren Heath had five points and Madison Scheid finished with four points as Model once again struggled to get going on offense.

The Lady Patriots are averaging just more than 35 points a game this season.

Bowling has coached girls basketball for 20 years, winning four state titles at Laurel County along with 13 district titles and eight regional championships. He posted a 404-62 record at Laurel County, which including three straight state titles, before leaving in 1989.

He went on to coach at Mercy Academy for five years, then came out of retirement this year to take over the program at North Laurel.

Bowling has been named Kentucky Coach of the Year three times and is a member of the Dawahare’s KHSAA Hall of Fame (1990) and the Kentucky Hall of Fame (2003).

“I’m not worried about numbers,” Bowling said. “I want to win and help build this program. For the few years that I will be here I want to help them as much as I can.”

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