RICHMOND — Bardstown and Lexington Christian Academy have followed different scripts in the boys' Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic in recent years, and it was more of the same when they met in Friday's first round.
Bardstown, which won the title in 2006 and was runner-up in '07, held on for a 54-48 victory at Eastern Kentucky University's McBrayer Arena.
This is the fourth year in a row LCA has lost in the first round of the small-school tournament.
Bardstown looked comfortably ahead — 45-33 — with six minutes left, but LCA closed with a rush. It had two chances to lead and one chance to tie. The Eagles couldn't make the clutch shots, however, and Bardstown did.
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Tigers Coach Gary Goode said he thought his team played its most poised basketball in the last three minutes of the game. "That's testimony to these guys, and the experience they've gotten from playing several games up here," he said.
Veteran seniors Jordan Hickman and Damien Edelen led Bardstown with 13 points apiece. Edelen also had 10 rebounds. Hickman had six.
Junior Keaton Hall had 11 points, including three three-pointers.
LCA, sparked by Branden Burdette and Carter Helton, went on a 15-4 run to pull to 49-48. The Eagles had two chances to take the lead but missed a short jumper in the lane and a contested layup.
Bardstown's Demarco Phillips did hit a layup to put Bardstown ahead 51-48 with 30 seconds left.
LCA's Taylor Barnette had a good look at a three, but it was off target.
Bardstown clinched its victory at the foul line.
Hickman said the Tigers weren't distracted by the weather problems that delayed the start of the tournament.
He called it a "business trip" and said "we're focused on trying to win another state championship."
LCA Coach Tommy Huston praised his team's heart for its late rally.
"You've got to be lucky and good," he said. "The ball just didn't go in for us."
Will Evans had 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists for the Eagles. Burdette also had 12 points. Barnette added 11 points.
"We did a good job coming back, we just didn't finish it off," Evans said.
Huston thought Bardstown's athleticism made it a tough matchup for his team, especially trying to score.
"(Bardstown) is hard to get open against, hard to run your offense on them," he said.
LCA has played a brutal schedule, and has lost to eight teams that have been ranked in the top 25. Huston thinks the trials will pay dividends in the post-season.
"These kids believe in themselves," he said. "I know we've got the potential to put the chemistry together in the next three weeks."