In a typical hard-fought boys' basketball scuffle between bitter rivals, No. 7 Scott County slipped by No. 5 Lexington Catholic 85-81 Saturday night.
The tight contest included nine lead changes in the fourth quarter, but visiting Scott County made the plays on both ends of the court in the closing minutes for its 20th win.
Things got tense in the final seconds when the Cardinals' Tamron Manning took a hard foul. There was some shoving among players, and angry words were exchanged, but coaches and officials kept it from getting ugly.
Manning shrugged off the incident.
"It's fun basketball when it's that close with so much at stake in a big rivalry," he said. "I love this kind of environment. I thrive in it."
Manning and Tanner Shotwell led the winners with 19 points apiece. Shotwell also had eight rebounds. Isaiah Ivey had 17 points, 15 coming in the second half.
After trailing 42-34 at halftime, Lexington Catholic rallied to lead by as many as eight points in the third quarter. But Ivey lit the fuse on a Scott County comeback that made it a one-possession game the rest of the night.
"It was a battle and always is between us," Scott County Coach Billy Hicks said. "I was proud of the way we overcame that third quarter when they had a 20-4 free-throw advantage. You usually don't win a ball game when that happens."
The problem for Lexington Catholic was that it didn't cash in enough at the free throw line. The Knights were 23-for-40 for the game. Scott County made 22 of 30.
Scott Schuette led Lexington Catholic with 24 points. Taylor Martin had 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals. Seth Beckham added 15 points.
"It was a war," Knights Coach Brandon Salsman said. "There was a lot of intensity in the jayvee game, so you knew it was going be wild.
"We just made mistakes at the end like we have in our other losses this year. I think our seniors recognize it and will correct it from here on in."
Scott County took the lead for good at 80-79 on Ron Barber's putback. After Ivey blocked a Lexington Catholic shot, the Cards went up 82-79 on Manning's two free throws.
Martin's layup cut the lead to 82-81 with a minute left, and the Knights regained possession on a jump ball. But Martin couldn't convert a driving layup, and Manning answered with two free throws with 16 seconds left.
Lexington Catholic never got a chance at a tying shot. It made a turnover with seven seconds left, after which Manning took the hard foul. He had to leave the game, but Christian Cunningham hit one of two free throws in his place to seal the victory.
Does Scott County's victory mean it's the 11th Region favorite? "I wouldn't say that, but it puts us in a lot of people's minds," Manning said. "It definitely makes people know Scott County can still play."
Scott Co. 85, Lexington Catholic 81
SCOTT COUNTY (20-4) — Manning 6-12 7-12 19, Ivey 6-16 4-4 17, Shotwell 5-10 7-8 19, Harris 6-8 0-0 12, Richardson 3-4 2-2 9, Gilbert 1-1 0-0 3, Barber 2-4 1-2 5, Cunningham 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 29-55 22-30 85.
LEXINGTON CATHOLIC (20-6) — Martin 6-12 8-9 20, Schuette 7-10 6-10 24, Beckham 4-10 7-15 15, Floyd 2-3 0-0 4, Woomer 1-4 0-2 2, Porter 3-3 0-0 7, Keller 3-3 2-4 9, Whitman 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-46 23-40 81.
Scott Co. 24 18 25 18—85
Lexington Catholic 24 10 36 11—81