MOUNT STERLING — The difference between Madison Central's boys' basketball team this season and last?
"This year, if we're not playing our best, we've at least still got a chance," Coach Allen Feldhaus Jr. said. "Last year, if we didn't play our best, it was all she wrote."
Madison Central had just proved Feldhaus' point by rallying past Elliott County for a 69-60 victory in the Joe B. Hall Prep Classic at Montgomery County on Saturday.
Elliott County outplayed the Indians for three quarters, but Madison Central went on an 18-2 run to salvage its 12th win in its last 14 games.
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Sophomore Ken-Jah Bosley sparked the Indians with 17 points, five rebounds and five steals off the bench.
"This year, we've got eight or nine guys that can play," Feldhaus said. "We've got options, and that makes it easier to coach. If somebody's not playing well, we can bring somebody else in."
Madison Central sophomore star Dominique Hawkins, recovering from strep throat, wasn't at full strength but still had 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Senior Nick Ford had 10 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Quan Taylor added five points and seven rebounds.
Elliott County was led by Timmy Knipp. The 6-foot-8 senior, who has signed with Eastern Kentucky, had 25 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Jacob Ison, a 6-6 senior, added 17 points and eight rebounds.
Ashland Blazer 72, Lafayette 68: The Tomcats hit six of six free throws in the last 24 seconds to hold off Lafayette for their sixth win in a row.
Ashland was 18-for-23 from the line for the game, a statistic Coach Buddy Biggs was happy to see.
"That's our second highest percentage of the year," he said. "We've struggled massively there, and it's cost us a couple times. But tonight, we were almost perfect — 78 percent, we'll take that any day of the week."
Dylan Delaney led the Tomcats with 22 points. Ryan Whetsel had 17, and Corey Gregg added 12 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and what Biggs called the biggest play of the game.
It came with the score tied at 56 with five minutes left. Gregg inbounded the ball by bouncing it off an unaware Lafayette player, taking the deflection and converting a layup.
"That gave us the lead and a lot of momentum," Biggs said.
After Lafayette rallied to within one at 66-65, Ashland stayed a step ahead thanks to four free throws by Whetsel and two by Gregg.
Dee Yarbrough led Lafayette with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Freshman Snoop Johnson had 14 points, and freshman Jackson Davis played only 15 minutes because of foul trouble and had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Mason County 60, John Hardin 49: Treg Setty's 20 points and 10 rebounds paced the Royals. Tyler Black had 12 points and nine rebounds. Jordan Gilbert and Josh Harris added 10 points apiece.
The Royals hit 25 of 45 (56 percent) shots from the field. They converted 17 John Hardin turnovers into 25 points.
Mason County's defense limited Bulldogs leading scorer Malcolm Foster to eight points, 10 below his average.
Jeff Richard led John Hardin with 12 points and eight rebounds.
It was the second loss in a row for the Bulldogs after they started the season 13-0.
Rowan County 47, Montgomery County 39: Adam Wing had 15 points, including three three-pointers, in the first 10 minutes of the second half to help the Vikings break away to their sixth win in a row.
Wing finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and four steals. Corey Hunter had 12 points and six rebounds, and D.J. Townsend added 10 points and seven steals. Darrell Cross was the only other Rowan County player to score, getting six points.
Montgomery County didn't have anybody in double figures. Jake Handshoe led the Indians with eight points. Omar Prewitt had six points and 10 rebounds.
ELLIOTT COUNTY (8-6) — Knipp 25, Ison 17, C. Nickell 9, Fraley 3, L. Nickell 6.
MADISON CENTRAL (13-5) — Hawkins 11, Bosley 17, Ford 10, Covington 6, Pyatt 7, Taylor 5, Allen 5, O'Bryan 8.
Elliott County 13 17 22 8—60
Madison Central 11 12 24 22—69
ASHLAND BLAZER (15-3) — Gregg 12, Delaney 22, Whetsel 17, Withrow 7, Hart 3, Bush 3, Johnson 8.
LAFAYETTE (6-13) — Yarbrough 16, S. Johnson 14, B. Johnson 7, Davis 11, Wilkerson 10, Trisko 8, Evans 2.
Ashland 17 17 22 16—72
Lafayette 15 21 15 17—68
JOHN HARDIN (13-2) — Foster 8, Richard 12, Harness 3, Price 2, Savoy 8, Anderson 5, Bonner 7, Holloway 2, Rasheed 2.
MASON COUNTY (10-7) — Setty 20, Black 12, Harris 10, Gilbert 10, Henry 4, Menefee 4.
John Hardin 14 12 8 15—49
Mason County 15 17 10 18—60
ROWAN COUNTY (11-3) — Wing 19, Townsend 10, Hunter 12, Cross 6.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY (7-10) — Handshoe 8, Prewitt 6, Crisp 3, Fruth 4, Clark 2, Asberry 4, Mullins 6, Dotson 6.
Rowan County 12 6 16 13—47
Montgomery County 8 10 9 12—39