Wayne County remained undefeated for another day, but it needed a furious finish to stay that way.
The No. 8 Cardinals rallied from 16 points down with five minutes left to beat No. 13 Knott County Central 81-77 Saturday in the Jock Sutherland Classic at Lafayette.
Wayne County Coach Rodney Woods paid tribute to his team's determination after it ran its record to 24-0.
"Like the old saying goes, the teams that play the hardest are the last to surrender," he said. "When you haven't lost, you don't want to lose."
The Cardinals looked cooked when they trailed Knott Central 68-52. But Wayne County sophomore guard Trey Blevins thought a comeback was possible.
"We hate to lose more than any team I've ever seen," he said. "And when you can shoot like we can, you're never out of it.
"We flipped the switch."
Wayne County blitzed the Patriots 19-3 over the next three minutes to tie it 71-71. On Knott Central's next possession, star junior guard Camron Justice fouled out.
Corey Stearns hit two free throws to put Wayne County ahead 73-71, and it never trailed again.
Blevins led the winners with 28 points. Stearns had 20 points and nine rebounds. Peyton Woods added 16 points and Jason Perkins 10.
Blevins also singled out Logan Gardner, who came off the bench to score seven points in the fourth quarter.
"He really helped us out. It was a complete team effort," Blevins said.
Knott Central Coach B.B. King wasn't surprised by Wayne County's fight.
"I told my kids they wouldn't quit, even when we were up 16," he said.
"Foul trouble hurt us, and we didn't play smart. We were trying to run over people."
Justice had 32 points and nine rebounds. Evan Hall, a 6-7 junior, had 22 points and nine rebounds. Chance Cornett added 11 points.
Wayne County puts its perfect record on the line Sunday when it plays host Montgomery County in the Joe B. Hall Prep Classic.
Paul Laurence Dunbar 61, Augusta 58: Dunbar, which beat Tates Creek in two overtimes on Friday, won back-to-back games for the first time since mid-December.
"These were two games I don't think we would've won early in the season," Bulldogs Coach Scott Chalk said. "We're learning and maturing."
Dunbar used a 9-0 run to take a 55-48 lead with two minutes left only to see Augusta rally to within 55-54.
Dunbar responded with a 6-0 run to go up 61-54.
Augusta had one last comeback but couldn't finish it off. Brent Bach missed a 40-footer at the buzzer.
Darius Williams led Dunbar with 18 points, including eight in the last quarter. Donnie Lewis had 16 points and P.J. Corio added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Bach had 27 for Augusta. Camryn Snapp added 17 and six rebounds. Connor Maddox had 10 points.
Dunbar is in the midst of seven games in nine days. Next up is a district battle with Lexington Catholic.
Lexington Catholic 81, Lafayette 79: Lafayette has made a habit of erasing big deficits and rallying to win big games this season.
The Generals had the tables turned on them in the Sutherland finale Saturday.
Lexington Catholic wiped out an 18-point deficit and wound up winning on Robert Dence's layup with :03 left.
"I just kept telling my guys to keep chipping away and play a little defense and we'd have a fighting chance," Coach Brandon Salsman said.
"I thought if we were able to get the (deficit) under 10, we could put points on the board pretty quick."
Lafayette led Lexington Catholic 69-51 with three minutes left in the third quarter before the Knights stormed back.
Lexington Catholic still trailed by 10 going into the fourth quarter, but it scored the next eight points to pull to within two. Lafayette's shaky free-throw shooting kept the Knights alive in the closing minutes.
After Lexington Catholic went up 79-78, Dequise Robinson hit one of two foul shots to tie it with :41 left.
The Knights ran down the clock before Jarod Griffin drove the lane and dished to Dence who hit a wide-open layup with :03 left to win it.
"A great play by Jarod," Salsman said. Griffin finished with seven assists.
Tanner Johnson led Lexington Catholic with 22 points. Reese Ryan had 17 and Dence added 13 points and eight rebounds. Michael Talbott also had 13 points.
Lance Blakley's 28 points, including six threes, led Lafayette. Jackson Davis had 21 points, 15 rebounds and four assists.
Wayne Co. 81, Knott Central 77
Knott Central (17-6) — Justice 32, Hall 22, Cornett 11, Criston 2, Sammons 3, Miller 5, Shrum 2.
WAYNE COUNTY (24-0) — Woods 16, Blevins 28, Stearns 20, Gardner 7, Perkins 10.
Knott Central 14 17 23 23—77
Wayne County 10 19 19 33—81
Paul Dunbar 61, Augusta 58
AUGUSTA (13-10) — Bach 27, Maddox 10, Snapp 17, Crawford 4.
PAUL DUNBAR (10-12) — Williams 18, Corio 14, D.Lewis 16, Brown 6, Hollingsworth 2, Black 2, Hurst 1, Ward 2.
Augusta 13 18 11 16—58
Paul Dunbar 12 14 20 15—61
Lexington Catholic 81, Lafayette 79
LEXINGTON CATHOLIC (16-6) — Talbott 13, Johnson 22, Ryan 17, Dence 13, Boothe 6, Griffin 8, Morris 2.
LAFAYETTE (15-7) — Davis 21, Blakley 28, Robinson 8, Jackson 7, Lane 11, Jenkins 2, Carpenter 2.
Lexington Catholic 20 14 28 19—81
Lafayette 19 24 25 11—79
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.