RICHMOND — "Taking a powder" usually means leaving in a rush to avoid something unpleasant.
Lexington Catholic put a new twist on the phrase by taking a powder and rushing past Madison Central 59-43 to win the boys' 11th Region championship Monday night in EKU's McBrayer Arena.
The Knights' senior trio of Scott Schuette, Seth Beckham and Taylor Martin led the way, combining for 49 points, 16 rebounds and eight steals.
This is the third time in four years Lexington Catholic has won the region, a feat that hadn't been done since Henry Clay in the mid-1970s.
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"What an unbelievable accomplishment by this senior class, and all our younger guys," Lexington Catholic Coach Brandson Salsman said.
"After we lost (to Lafayette in the district) last year, we did a lot of soul searching, and what we found was an 11th Region championship this year."
No. 5 Lexington Catholic (26-7) will play No. 12 Dixie Heights (29-3) in the first round of the Sweet Sixteen on March 16.
Does getting to Rupp Arena ever get old?
"It got old last year when we didn't get there," Martin said.
The region finals had an odd beginning Monday night.
Madison Central students threw handfuls of baby powder into the air before tip-off, à la LeBron James. The white cloud wafted down to the court, causing the playing floor to become slick.
Play was halted briefly while the court was swept, but that didn't solve the problem. After Martin slipped on a drive to the basket, officials stopped the game again, this time for more than 20 minutes, while the floor was mopped and dried.
"It was a nuisance, but it really didn't bother us," Schuette said.
Beckham wasn't bothered a bit. The tournament MVP poured in 10 points in the second quarter to keep the Knights rolling.
The No. 17 Indians, most of their key players underclassmen, couldn't cope with Lexington Catholic's defensive heat.
"We don't have enough ball handlers to handle that kind of pressure," Madison Central Coach Allen Feldhaus Jr. said. "We couldn't get them in a half-court game because we couldn't get into the half court most of the time."
The Indians stayed close for a while and trailed by only 30-28 at halftime. But the gap widened quickly in the third quarter, with the Knights converting turnovers into transition baskets.
They led by 16 points after three quarters, and the margin grew to 24 (57-33) midway through the fourth.
Schuette said the memory of the loss to Lafayette last March "left a sour taste in our mouth. We wanted to show that Lexington Catholic is still here and still the best in the 11th Region."
This will be the Knights' 11th state tournament appearance, and fifth since 2000.
Madison Central was seeking its fourth region title with a team led by seniors Brenton Covington and Nick Ford, but loaded with sophomores and juniors.
Point guard Dominique Hawkins, a sophomore, had 12 points against Lexington Catholic. Covington had 11.
"This is great experience for our young guys," Feldhaus said. "Nobody expected us to be in finals of 11th Region tournament this year, so we'll keep our heads held high."
MADISON CENTRAL (22-10) — Hawkins 4-6 4-5 12, Covington 4-7 3-4 11, O'Bryan 2-4 0-0 6, Allen 1-3 2-2 4, Ford 1-4 0-0 2, Taylor 0-1 1-4 1, Pyatt 1-1 0-0 2, Bosley 0-1 0-0 0, Walker 1-1 1-1 3, Parke 1-1 0-0 2, Abshear 0-2 0-0 0, Congleton 0-1 0-0 0, Stocker 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-33 11-16 43.
LEXINGTON CATHOLIC (26-7) — Martin 5-9 2-2 13, Schuette 9-18 0-0 20, Beckham 7-12 2-2 16, Woomer 0-5 2-3 2, Floyd 2-4 1-3 6, Keller 0-3 0-0 0, Whitman 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 24-52 7-11 59.
Madison Central 12 10 7 14—43
Lexington Catholic 17 13 15 14—59
All-tournament: Seth Beckham (MVP), Taylor Martin, Scott Schuette, Brian Woomer of Lexington Catholic; Dominique Hawkins, Nick Ford, Brenton Covington; Ryan Fucci, Marcellus Barksdale of Tates Creek; Jay Johnson, David Greenwell of Woodford Co.; Tamron Manning of Scott Co.; Brandon McGuire of Madison Southern; Daniel Kiesling of Henry Clay; Garrett Hamilton of Franklin Co.