Tates Creek senior Marcellus Barksdale had an epiphany early in the fourth quarter of the 43rd District semifinals against Lexington Christian Academy Tuesday night.
"I looked at the scoreboard, and we were down (33-29) with about seven minutes left," he said. "It put things in perspective. That was how much time was left for our seniors. We weren't going down without a fight."
With Barksdale leading the way, No. 12 Tates Creek battled back and outscored LCA 21-4 to close out a 50-37 victory at Lafayette.
"We just willed it out," said Barksdale, who had 17 of his 19 points in the second half and finished with 15 rebounds.
Tates Creek advances to Friday's district finals against the winner of Wednesday's Lexington Catholic-Lafayette semifinal game. The Commodores are assured a spot in next week's 11th Region tournament in Richmond.
Tates Creek Coach Wayne Breeden had the same take on the game as Barksdale's.
"I think some of our seniors realized they didn't want the season to be over, so they stepped up the defensive intensity," Breeden said.
"This is the way we've won games all year, by being a tough team defensively."
Looking for its first trip to the boys' region, LCA seized momentum in the third quarter thanks to the long-range shooting of Taylor Barnette.
The junior lefty fired in three threes — giving him six for the game — to push the Eagles ahead 26-24.
LCA had the ball as the clock wound down in the quarter, but a charging call gave Tates Creek possession, and Barksdale hit a three to beat the clock.
"I thought that was the turning point," Eagles Coach Tommy Huston said. "We went from five up with the ball, to just two up."
Carter Helton opened the fourth quarter with a driving layup to give LCA a 33-29 lead, but that was the beginning of the end for the Eagles. Tates Creek went on 10-0 run, the start of their 21-4 burst. Everybody contributed for the Commodores. Barksdale had nine points in the big finish, but Ryan Fucci, Darius Gibson, Kendalle Mack and Todd Bradley also scored.
Fucci finished with 12 points and six assists. Bradley added eight points and six rebounds.
Barnette led LCA with 22 points.
Tates Creek whipped the Eagles by 24 and 22 points during the season, but the district was a different story.
"I'm so proud of this team," Huston said. "We're so close to being as good as anybody around here, and we showed it tonight."
LEXINGTON CHRISTIAN (17-11) — Barnette 7-14 2-3 22, Harville 2-10 0-0 5, Helton 3-8 0-0 6, Barjuca 1-5 0-0 2, Duncan 0-0 0-0 0, Bundy 0-1 0-0 0, Staton 0-1 0-0 2. Totals 14-39 2-3 37.
TATES CREEK (22-4) — Barksdale 6-13 6-9 19, Fucci 2-9 6-6 12, Mack 2-6 1-1 5, Bradley 2-2 4-4 8, McFarland 0-0 2-2 2, Gibson 2-5 0-0 4, Fugate 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 14-37 19-22 50.
Lexington Christian 9 8 14 6—37
Tates Creek 9 11 9 21—50