MOUNT STERLING — Top-rated Elliott County got a serious scare but rallied to beat Anderson County 76-72 in overtime in the Kentucky Prep Classic on Saturday night at Montgomery County.
Elliott County trailed by 17 points midway through the second quarter, and by 12 at halftime.
When the Lions got to the locker room, Coach Rick Mays had a message for them: if they expected to stay unbeaten against Kentucky competition, they had to play harder on both ends of the court.
The message got through. Elliott County opened the second half by outscoring the Bearcats 18-2.
The game was close the rest of the way.
Anderson County forced overtime when Jacob Russell hit a buzzer-beater three from the right corner.
Elliott County prevailed in OT, with Timmy Knipp scoring five points. The 6-7 sophomore finished with 21 points and eight rebounds.
"We kept asking him to reach back for more, and tonight he did," Mays said.
Anderson County Coach Glen Drury said Knipp was a handful all night. "He caused us a lot of problems, on the dribble and with his offensive rebounding."
Jonathan Ferguson had 18 points for Elliott County. Ethan Faulkner added 16 and Chris Knipp 13 as the Lions ran their record to 12-1.
C.J. Penny's 31 points and eight rebounds led Anderson County. Russell had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
"Give Elliott County credit for coming back on us," Drury said. "We knew they were a team of runs."
Do the two-time defending 16th Region champs like being No. 1?
"We know it doesn't mean a whole lot at the end of the day," Evan Faulkner said. "We still have to come out and take care of business on the court."
No. 21 Madison Central 69, No. 4 Jeffersontown 68 (OT): JaQuentin Jenkins and Keshawn Simpson, Madison Central's 6-1 inside players, came up big against Jeffersontown's 6-10 Jordan Reves.
Jenkins had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Simpson had 16 points and six rebounds as the Indians became the first Kentucky team to beat J-town.
"Not bad for a couple 6-1 post players," Madison Central Coach Allen Feldhaus said.
After Jenkins' tip-in tied it 61-61 with 15 seconds left in regulation, J-town missed a layup at the buzzer that would have won it.
Madison Central hit five of six free throws in the last 65 seconds of overtime. Simpson hit one of two foul shots to tie it 65-65. Vince Clay cashed a pair to give the Indians a 67-65 lead with 23 seconds left.
After a J-town turnover on an inbounds pass, Brenton Covington hit two clinching free throws. J-town's Desmond Dorsey banked in a three at the buzzer for the final score.
Clay added 14 points and eight rebounds for Madison Central, which outrebounded the Chargers 46-32.
"We've got a super bunch of kids who don't show a lot of emotion on the floor," Feldhaus said. "They just play hard day in and day out.
"We don't have any size, but this is one of the quickest teams I've ever had."
Reves led J-town with 15 points and seven rebounds. Aaron Cosby and Dorsey had 13 points apiece.
Both teams were missing a starter — Thomas Jackson of J-town and Terry Jarvis of Madison Central.
J-town was coming off an emotional 80-65 win over previously unbeaten 7th Region rival Eastern.
South Laurel 77, Madisonville 59: Zack Smith's 25 points and 10 rebounds sparked the Cardinals to an easy win.
Smith got plenty of help, too. Matt St. John, a 6-8 senior, was jammed by Madisonville's defense but still got 16 points and six rebounds. Matt Watkins had 15 points and Wes Dean added 12.
Coach Steve Wright was pleased, especially considering his team survived a tough district game against Whitley County on Friday night.
"We had a little hangover from that, but we were still active, especially early. I was very happy with our kids. They met the challenge."
Madisonville's 6-7 senior Jon Hood, a UK signee, had 20 points and 15 rebounds, but nothing came easy.
"We made him work every possession for every shot for 32 minutes, and that's hard to do," Wright said. "We chased him and doubled him wherever he went, and he didn't get a lot of great looks."
South Laurel looks like a contender again in the 13th Region, despite a relatively new roster.
"We keep getting kids who come in and step up," he said.
MADISON CENTRAL 69, J-town 68 (OT)
JEFFERSONTOWN (12-2) e_SEmD Reves 15, Cosby 13, Dorsey 13, Tim Jackson 7, Kennedy 9, Wilson 7, Dillard 4.
MADISON CENTRAL (12-3) — Jenkins 17, Simpson 16, Clay 14, Mays 7, Smith 2, Covington 9, Ford 4.
Jeffersontown 12 17 21 11 7—68
Madison Central 13 17 16 15 8—69
elliott co. 76, anderson co. 72 (OT)
ELLIOTT COUNTY (12-1) — Ferguson 18, T.Knipp 21, Ethan Faulkner 16, Evan Faulkner 8, C.Knipp 13.
ANDERSON COUNTY (9-4) — Penny 31, Russell 14, Will Ruggles 5, Walt Ruggles 6, Humphries 10, Jenkins 6.
Elliott Co. 17 10 24 16 9—76
Anderson Co. 17 22 12 16 5—72
south laurel 77, madisonville 59
SOUTH LAUREL (11-3) — Z.Smith 25, St. John 16, Dean 12, Gilbert 7, Watkins 15, C.Smith 2.
MADISONVILLE (6-8) — Hood 20, C.Hatchett 12, R.Hatchett 5, Gregory 14, Robinson 6, Tomblinson 2.
South Laurel 27 16 20 14—77
Madisonville 18 10 14 17—59