FRANKFORT — West Carter's Derek Lawson is a morning person when it comes to rising, shining and playing basketball.
Lawson got out of bed at 5 a.m. Thursday to get ready for the Comets' 8:30 a.m. eye-opener against Webster County in the Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic.
He said he didn't mind the early wake-up at all, and he certainly didn't play like he was groggy. The 6-foot-4 senior had 23 points and 12 rebounds to lead West Carter to a 61-51 victory in the Frankfort Convention Center.
"We expect that out of Derek," Coach Jeremy Webb said. "He's done that all year for us. His rebounding is always there, and his scoring has been consistent.
"That's just an example of having senior leadership out there making plays."
Lawson played only seven minutes in the first half, so most of his production — 19 points and 10 rebounds — came in the second half.
The Comets built a 21-6 lead midway through the second quarter, but Webster County rallied to within one point twice midway through the second half.
Lawson told his teammates to "step it up and play strong," and they responded.
After the Trojans misfired on a shot to take the lead, West Carter went on a 10-2 run to regain control. Lawson, Kyle Brown, Travis Duvall and Dustin Blackall contributed points in the surge that sealed West Carter's 19th win of the season.
Duvall finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Brown and Kyle Cundiff combined for 17 points.
Lawson said he and his teammates weren't thrilled with the early-morning tip-off, "but we knew we could do it, and we came out and did it."
Webster County, making its first All "A" appearance, was led by Jacob Scott's 21 points. Taylor Turner had 14 points and seven rebounds.
Trojans Coach Jon Newton thought his team's shaky start was due to nerves in its first All "A" appearance.
"The first time being here, there was a little bit of an 'awe' factor," he said. "It was a little overwhelming."
But down the stretch, it was West Carter, especially Lawson, that overwhelmed Webster County.
"He's an animal on the glass," Newton said. "And West Carter is a good team. They rebound well and shoot free throws well."
The Comets feel they have unfinished business in the All "A." They lost to Betsy Layne 58-56 in overtime in the semifinals last year, and the Bobcats went on to win the small-school title.
West Carter could have had a rematch with Betsy Layne in this year's quarterfinals, but the Bobcats lost to Heath in Thursday's first round.