RICHMOND — Being a heavy favorite can be hazardous to a basketball team's health.
Just ask Hazard.
The Bulldogs were supposed to have an easy time against Clinton County in the boys' Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic on Friday.
Instead, Hazard struggled most of the afternoon and needed a late run to pull out a 45-37 first-round victory.
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"Before the game I could tell everything was going to be weird," Hazard junior Allan Fugate said. "Nobody was really pumped up and ready to play like we usually are, I guess because we didn't know much about Clinton County."
That was a mistake.
"The biggest thing is our kids' desire and never-say-die attitude, and forgetting what everybody else says," Clinton County Coach Todd Messer said. "We're coming to play and we're going to play for 32 minutes."
Clinton County led much of the way, and held a 31-30 lead with five minutes left.
But Hazard's big-game experience showed, and it went on a 15-6 run to pull out the victory.
"We just didn't play well, and give credit to Clinton County for that," Coach Al Holland said. "But we played through it, and I thought our bench really helped us out."
Fugate didn't start but wound up leading the winners with 10 points and five rebounds.
"Once I got the nerves and shakes out of my system I felt comfortable," the 6-foot-3 junior said.
Robert Warren had eight points and five rebounds. Corey Martin had seven points and seven rebounds.
Clinton County had its chances down the stretch, but it failed to finish some shots inside.
"We were maybe a little too finesse there," Messer said. "Those are plays where you've got to muscle it up a little bit stronger and harder."
Messer thought his team was oh-so-close to pulling the upset. "If we got one basket and one stop with four minutes to go, I think we would've won the game."
That wouldn't have surprised Clinton County's Dillon Flowers. "I thought we were the better team the whole time," he said.
Brent Durham led the Bulldogs with 11 points and five rebounds. Flowers had 10 points and five rebounds.
Pineville 37, Calvary Christian 36: James David Strange scored 25 points and hit a layup at the buzzer to send the Mountain Lions past Calvary Christian.
Strange was 10-for-19 from the field and added seven steals on defense.
The rest of the Pineville team combined to go 3-for-19 from the field and only two players other than Strange managed to score.
There were five lead changes in the last 1:59 after the Mountain Lions had trailed for most of the first quarter.
Chase Vandermeer put the Cougars ahead 36-35 on a layup with 24 seconds left. After a Pineville turnover, Calvary Christian missed a layup with four seconds left and Strange grabbed the rebound and raced down to hit the game-winning layup.
Joe Flanigan led the Cougars with 10 points.
Elliott County 85, Whitefield Academy 24: Jonathan Ferguson scored 25 points and Ethan Faulkner delivered a triple-double to lead the top-ranked Lions to an easy first-round victory.
Faulkner had 12 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists despite being pulled after the third quarter.
Elliott County led 20-0 after the first quarter and built a 25-0 lead before Whitefield made a basket. The Lions led 44-7 at halftime.
Elliott County made 50 percent of its shots and outrebounded the Wildcats 49-27. The Lions also held Whitefield to 19 percent shooting.
Shelby Valley 53, Henry County 26: Ashley Hatfield scored 11 points to lead a balanced Shelby Valley team in a rout of Henry County.
Shelby Valley made 49 percent of its shots and took a 24-3 lead at halftime.
Elisha Justice had eight points, six assists and four steals for the winning Wildcats.
Connor Jeffries led Henry County with 10 points.
Edmonson County 68, Lyon County 50: Edmonson County hasn't made much of a state-wide splash in basketball since its Cinderella Sweet Sixteen championship in 1976.
But the Wildcats won their All "A" opener, and a familiar name led the way.
Cody Rich, whose dad Phil was a star for Bo Davenport's '76 title team, had 31 points and 15 rebounds. Cody, a 6-4 junior, hit five of 10 threes.
Edmonson County hit 10 of 21 threes and shot 54 percent overall. Mike Wallace and Aaron Dunbar combined for 23 points for the Cats.
Lyon County, which beat eight-time All "A" champ University Heights in regional play, was led by Ramsey Walker's 14 points and eight rebounds.
Shawnee 67, Murray 54: Shawnee blitzed the Tigers 17-0 to start the second half and cruised to an easy win.
Cory Jackson led Shawnee with 19 points and five assists. Kendal Holt added 16 points.
The Golden Eagles' defense forced 19 turnovers and converted them into 21 points.
Cole Hurt had 21 points for Murray. Chastin Sheppard added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Newport Central Catholic 57, Danville 43: Jeramie Connor made five three-pointers and scored a game-high 27 points off the bench to lead the Thoroughbreds.
NewCath (39 percent) had a similar shooting night as Danville (40 percent) but the 'Breds made seven threes and the Admirals went 0-for-8.
Miles Kingsley led Danville with 15 points and 16 rebounds.