Henderson County rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit and toppled No. 1 Trinity 57-54 in the semifinals of the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic on Monday night.
David Simmons led the Colonels to the stunning upset. The 6-foot-2 senior had 21 of his 28 points in the second half, including nine in a row to close the third quarter that enabled Henderson County to tie the game at 41.
The Colonels were clutch in the fourth quarter. They took the lead for good at 49-47 on Bryce Crowley's three-pointer — his only basket of the game — with 2:40 left.
Simmons' two free throws with :04 left made it 57-54. Trinity's last shot — a 22-foot three-pointer by D'Angelo West — didn't come close.
Simmons wasn't surprised by his team's improbable comeback. "We played (Trinity) this summer and came within three points of them, so I knew we could still play with them. And they had some doubt."
Henderson County will face Lexington Catholic in the tournament finals Tuesday night. The host Knights beat Boyle County 65-47 in their semifinal.
Henderson County Coach Tyler Smithhart said when the Colonels got three stops to start the second half and whittled Trinity's lead to seven, it was game on.
"Anytime you can keep the No. 1 team close and it gets late, you put a little more pressure on them," he said.
"Our guys believed they were supposed to be in the game at that point."
Brady Norman had 17 points for Henderson County. D.J. Washington added seven points, four rebounds and three assists. Andew Mattingly had only one point and one rebound, but the 6-8 senior used his bulk to wear down Trinity's 6-10 star Ray Spalding.
Spalding finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Daniel Ramser also had 13 points.
Rocks Coach Mike Szabo said his team was "asleep" to start the second half, "and we never woke up until it was too late. We tried to get excited and fired up, and we couldn't do it."
Szabo credited Henderson County, and in particular Simmons, for playing with "great energy. He wanted to win really bad, you could tell."
Lexington Catholic 65, Boyle Co. 47: Knights coach Brandon Salsman is well-versed in the school's heated football rivalry with Boyle County. He got a first-hand feel for it in the win over Boyle County.
Salsman said he "kinda felt like" football coach Mark Perry on the sidelines. "It was that kind of game."
Tanner Johnson, who led the Knights with 31 points, concurred.
"The fans, players, coaches ... everybody was really into it," he said. "It was a pretty hyped-up game, and it's pretty awesome we were able to come out with a win."
Lexington Catholic blew out to a 24-point lead (that's four touchdowns in football) late in the first half.
Johnson led the early assault. He and Jarod Griffin combined to hit five of seven three-pointers in the first 13 minutes. Johnson had 20 points by halftime.
"We were really executing, passing the ball, hitting our shots and rebounding," he said. "It was one of our best halves this year."
Boyle County Coach Steve Adams said the Knights' strong start "knocked us back on our heels. We weren't attacking. We were settling."
The Rebels found a spark in the second half, though, and trimmed the Lexington Catholic lead to 11 points late in the third quarter.
But the comeback stalled there. Johnson and Griffin each hit a three as the Knights extended the lead back to 21.
Reese Ryan, who quarterbacked the Knights to two football wins over Boyle County this season, had four points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Walker Boothe battled inside for eight points and eight rebounds.
Lexington Catholic had assists on 17 of its 24 field goals. "We're sharing the ball so well now, I'm tickled to death," Salsman said.
Boyle County was led by Hagen Tyler's 16 points and six rebounds. Chapman Bean had 11 points, and Jeremiah Bell had 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Colton Elkins, the Rebels' 6-foot-6 junior center, had four points, four rebounds and seven blocks.
"I was proud of the way we came out the second half," Adams said. "This is going to be a learning experience for us."