NICHOLASVILLE — Tied with Western Hills at 74 Tuesday night, East Jessamine called for time with 40 seconds left.
Coach Chris O'Bryan set up his lone senior starter, Kyle Lamb, to take control.
Lamb did, driving down the lane and tossing up a shot that rolled round and round before dropping through the rim with 28 seconds left, propelling East to a 78-74 win.
"I couldn't see — the dude covered my eyes up," Lamb said. "I just threw it up there, and it rolled in somehow."
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Teammate Andrew Brockman then rebounded an errant Western Hills shot, was fouled and converted both ends of a one-and-one.
The Jaguars (8-7) were coming off an emotional 88-81 loss to district and crosstown rival West Jessamine.
"I was hoping to see how they would respond," O'Bryan said. "We came out a little bit (slow). ... I didn't think our intensity was quite there to start the game, but they really came around in the second quarter."
Michael Rexroat, who sank four three-pointers — three in the fourth quarter — came off the bench to lead East with 18 points, one more than Lamb. Jordan Redd scored 11. Brockman and Cody Collins each tallied 10.
Western Hills (7-7) lost its fifth game in a row.
J.T. Riddle kept the Wolverines alive with 28 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Jalen Clark added 14 points.
"Our inexperience really cost us in the end," said Enoch Welch, coach of the Wolverines. "We've got only two seniors and lost seven seniors last year. We're still trying to find our identity. We're still trying to find somebody to put us on their back and carry us in those last couple minutes. And East Jessamine just simply outfought us at the end."
In a game that was tied 13 times, Western Hills led 18-10 early. But East caught up at 30, midway through the second quarter, when Cameron Thomas set up Brockman for a point-blank basket. The Jaguars led 42-41 at halftime.
"We started off in a match-up zone. Maybe we started a little bit asleep because of that," O'Bryan said. "So we jumped into a little man-to-man, full-court run-and-jump and really just tried to get them going. ... We didn't get what we wanted necessarily in terms of transition and getting steals, but we did get our blood flowing. We did get back into the game mentally."
A 7-2 start in the second half gave the Jags their biggest lead, 49-43. Western Hills scored the next six to tie.
The game was tied through three quarters, 57-all.
There were four more ties in the fourth quarter, but Western Hills was unable to wrest away the lead.
Rexroat, a sophomore, drained three three-pointers over a four-minute stretch, the last of those to give the Jags a 72-68 lead with 1:57 left.
"I like shooting on this goal better," Rexroat said. "I practice more on this goal, too, and it seemed like they looked for me more in the second half than they did in the first half."
The margin was 74-70 with a minute left. But Dylan Curry's put-back, followed by a Riddle steal-and-layup off the inbounds pass, tied the game a final time.
Lamb took it from there.
East jessamine 78, western Hills 74
WESTERN HILLS (7-7) — Riddle 28, D. Curry 7, J. Barrass 4, Morris 2, Clark 14, Howard 8, R. Barrass 7, L. Curry 4. Totals 30-58 12-17 74.
EAST JESSAMINE (8-7) — Thomas 3, Lamb 17, Webb 7, Brockman 10, Redd 11, Bowman 2, Rexroat 18, Collins 10. Totals 29-57 15-22 78.
Western Hills 24 17 16 17—74
East Jessamine 19 23 15 21—78