Justin Saunders has been nagged by back problems this season, but the Bishop Brossart senior looked hale and hearty in the opening game of the Republic Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic on Wednesday.
Saunders had 27 points, six rebounds and four steals as the undefeated Mustangs rallied to beat Oldham County 58-52 in overtime.
"Justin's still not 100 percent, but he was pretty tough out there today," Brossart Coach Mike Code said.
Oldham County, the defending 8th Region champ, led Bishop Brossart 43-33 before the Mustangs mounted their comeback.
Saunders, who made 13 of 14 free throws, hit two with :04 left in regulation to tie it 47-47. He had six points in the extra period, and Jake Jennings had five points and a clinching steal in OT as the Mustangs improved to 9-0.
Bishop Brossart, a 10th Region contender, has a roster stacked with underclassmen who got lots of playing time last season.
"Even though we're young, we're still fairly experienced," Code said.
Is he surprised his Mustangs are unbeaten?
"We thought we could be in a spot like this if everybody stepped up," he said.
Jennings, a 5-foot-9 junior guard, finished with seven points. Alex Trentman, a 6-6 junior, had four points and nine rebounds.
Oldham County was led by Sam Gruber's 22 points, including 5-for-7 three-point shooting. Garrett Masters had 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Colobels' 23 turnovers, including a couple in overtime, were costly.
Ohio County 72, Bourbon County 57: Ohio County, which got out of Western Kentucky just ahead of the snowstorm, hit a flurry of three-pointers (10 of 22) to stay undefeated (12-0).
The 3rd Region Eagles were led by Jonathan Wortham's 20 points. Trevor Lewis was 4-for-10 on threes and had 18 points. The 6-0 junior also had nine assists and eight rebounds. B.J. Morse, a 6-7 junior, added eight points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Bourbon County was led by Snoop Johnson's 27 points, including four threes. He also had four assists and three steals.
Lexington Catholic 81, Somerset Academy 33: Cory Canter, a 2002 graduate of Lexington Catholic in his first year as coach at Somerset Academy in Miami, Fla., asked to be invited to his alma mater's holiday tournament.
Lexington Catholic Coach Brandon Salsman said he always obliges a former Knights' wishes.
Despite the lopsided score, Salsman took it easy on Somerset by playing his starters for just over a quarter. That was more than enough time to make it a rout.
The Knights rolled to a 57-12 halftime lead, which meant a running clock in the second half. A new high school mercy rule merits a running clock when there's a 35-point margin.
Jack Whitman led the winners with 16 points and seven rebounds, despite playing only nine minutes. Michael Talbott had 12 points and Tanner Johnson added 11.
Lexington Christian 70, Fayette County, Ga. 68: Tyler Harville’s 18-footer at the buzzer capped a frenzied rally by LCA, which trailed by 12 points with four minutes left.
Harville, who led the Eagles with 28 points, credited the defense by teammates Drew Schacht and John Stein for fueling the comeback, which erased Fayette County’s 60-48 lead.
“They kept stealing the ball and laying it out to me, and that’s how I got eight points in a row there,” Harville said. “They got up into ‘em and that set the tone.”
Harville hit a three-pointer to cut the Fayette County lead to 68-66 with 1:15 left.
After the Tigers missed the front end of the bonus, Harville assisted on Matt Rose’s tying layup with five seconds left.
LCA got the ball back with two seconds left, thanks to a a Fayette County turnover. Rose in-bounded to Harville in the right corner, and the senior guard let the game-winner fly.
“I knew if Tyler had a clean look at it, it had a good chance of going in,” Coach Brad Carter said.
Rose, a 6-5 sophomore, had 25 points and 11 rebounds for LCA.
Fayette County, which is coached by former Woodford County star Andre Flynn, was led by C.J. Johnson’s 20 points.
Bishop Brossart 58, Oldham Co. 52 (OT)
BISHOP BROSSART (9-0) — Jennings 7, Uebel 4, Saunders 27, Trentman 4, Rieger 4, Burns 9, Hackworth 3.
OLDHAM CO. (8-3) — Masters 12, Gruber 22, Davis 2, Kopp 6, Hicks 5, Lape 5.
Bishop Brossart 12 11 10 14 11—58
Oldham Co. 6 16 19 6 5—52
Ohio Co. 72, Bourbon Co. 57
OHIO CO. (12-0) — Lewis 18, Lambrich 15, Wortham 20, Morse 8, Hall 6, Baggarly 2, Patterson 3.
BOURBON CO. (3-6) — Johnson 27, Pitts 7, Moore 2, Bellville 2, Mullins 2, D.Baker 2, Williams 2, Jones 3, M.Baker 6, Deluna 2, Thomas 2.
Ohio Co. 17 22 18 15—72
Bourbon Co. 14 15 11 17—57
Lexington Catholic 81 Somerset academy 33
SOMERSET academy (4-6) — Stephens 9, Martin 1, Guardia 4, Cavite 2, Miranda 5, Diaz 5, Ross 3, Romero 2, Hall 2.
LEXINGTON CATHOLIC (7-4) — Whitman 16, Johnson 11, Talbott 12, Avare 3, Fraliex 7, Pippen 2, Dence 2, Neuer 5, Ryan 2, Poe 4, Frank 3, Boothe 2, Banahan 4, Hatton 8.
Somerset Christian 7 5 7 14—33
Lexington Catholic 29 28 14 10—81