PARIS — Bryan Station's boys' basketball team took two tough defeats in 15 hours this weekend, but Coach Champ Ligon isn't about to let that get him or his team down.
"I'm disappointed with the losses, but I'm still excited about the season," Ligon said. "We have so much potential, so many guys with a tremendous upside.
"A lot of teams are as good on the first day of the season as they are on the last. But we've got a lot of room to get better, and we will."
Friday night Bryan Station let a fourth-quarter lead slip away and lost to ninth-rated Tates Creek 72-64.
Saturday afternoon the Defenders twice rallied from double-digit deficits against Newport, tied the game in the closing seconds, but fell 66-65 in the Kentucky Bank Shootout at Bourbon County.
Anthony Luther's free throw with three seconds left was the game-winner.
Bryan Station is 2-3, a record it's not used to having this early in its schedule.
Last season the Defenders didn't absorb their third defeat until mid-January.
Two seasons ago they didn't lose for the third time until March.
Three years ago it didn't happen until early January.
But this is a rebuilt Bryan Station team with inexperienced guards, two transfers, and a lack of proven scorers.
Newport jumped out to a 13-point lead midway through the second half, but the Defenders scored the last 10 points of the first half to cut the margin to 31-27.
Newport, sparked by Brandon Sizemore's three three-pointers, zipped to a 55-42 lead in the third quarter.
But Bryan Station responded again. It battled back and tied it 63-63 on Darius Waide's three-point play with 48 seconds left.
After Newport went ahead 65-63 on Luther's baseline drive, the Defenders tied it on James Evans' layup — off a nifty assist from Phillip Barner — with 18 seconds to go.
But the Wildcats salvaged victory on Luther's foul shot. Luther finished with 15 points. Demarko Foster led Newport with 21 points.
"I would've liked to have won, but how much heart did we show coming back not once but twice?," Ligon said.
"Lack of experience is the big thing holding us back. We've got good size and good athleticism, and as we start to jell we're going to get better and better."
Barner, a 6-foot-6 transfer from Mason County, is coming on strong. He had a team-high 19 points against Tates Creek, and led the way against Newport with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Evans, a 6-6 junior from Mississippi who sat out last season, is shedding the rust. He had 10 points and seven boards on Saturday.
Waide, a sophomore guard, also had 10 points.
Ligon also noted that "help is on the way." Tyler Smothers, a 6-4 senior who was a part-time starter last year, will be eligible to play this week.
No. 2 Scott County 76, Roger Bacon (Ohio) 68: Ge-Lawn Guyn had team-highs of 22 points and seven assists to help the Cardinals win their fourth straight.
Chad Jackson added 15 points and four steals for Scott County, who forced 20 turnovers and jumped out to a 22-5 lead early in the game.
Lexington Christian 94, Danville 65: Will Evans had 27 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and six steals in just 25 minutes to lead the Eagles to victory in the Kentucky Bank shootout.
Evans was 11-for-17 from the field for an LCA team that shot 56.7 percent from the field for the game and 66.7 percent in the second half.
Taylor Barnette added 22 points and Charlie Gullett chipped in with 20 points for the Eagles, who forced 28 turnovers and held the Admirals to just six assists.
No. 20 North Hardin 61, Henry Clay 56: Roosevelt Emerson had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Trojans to a victory. North Hardin held the Devils to 29 percent shooting from the field.
Marquel Johnson led Henry Clay with a game-high 20 points. He made four three-pointers and was 6-for-6 on free throws. Daniel Kiesling chipped in with 14 points and 13 rebounds, six on the offensive boards.
Madison Central 86, Deming 76: Freshman Dominique Hawkins scored a team-high 22 points to lead the Indians to their second win of the season.
Central took just a two-point lead in the second half before outscoring Deming 27-14 in the third quarter.
Deming junior forward Luke King recorded his 1,000th career point during a 27-point performance.
Newport 66, Bryan Station 65
NEWPORT (4-0) — Luther 15, Foster 21, McDaniel 6, Jones 3, Sizemore 11, Tucker 3, Collins 7.
BRYAN STATION (2-3) — Barner 15, Fain 7, Andrews 4, Evans 10, Waide 10, Demus 3, Ball 7, Baffour 6, Renfro 3.
Newport 19 12 24 11—66
Bryan Station 12 15 17 21—65
Lexington Christian 94, Danville 65
Danville — Ford 3, Mountjoy 9, Elmore 4, Meckes 2, Dunn 5, Walton 16, Taylor 24, Burgess 2.
Lexington Christian — Burdette 9, Kindred 2, Bundy 3, Staton 2, Evans 27, Barnette 22, Gullett 20, Stephans 5, Hickey 2, Duncan 2.
Danville 7 22 17 16—65
Lexington Christian 22 18 24 30—94
Madison Central 86, Deming 76
Madison Central (2-4) —Pyatt 20, Hawkins 22, Ford 16, Schneider 4, Cox 4, Bryan 20.
Deming (3-2) — Stitt 1, L.King 27, K.King 24, Collins 9, Pilosky 8, Schalch 7.
Madison Central 21 18 27 20—86
Deming 12 25 14 25—76
north hardin 61, henry clay 56
north hardin — C oney 4, Phelps 9, Rol. Emerson 12, Ruttley 8, Roo. Emerson 17, Berry 11.
henry clay — Stewart 1, Prewitt 2, Nichols 2, Kiesling 14, Kimball 4, Johnson 20, Pinder 2, Patton 3, Smith 8.
North Hardin 11 21 15 14—61
Henry Clay 11 17 10 18—56
Scott Co. 76, Roger Bacon (Ohio) 68
Roger Bacon — Ingram 10, Bien 1, Hudson 17, Coaston 18, Byrd 8, Bryant 12, Peterkin 2.
Scott Co. — Jackson 15, Flannery 8, Guyn 20, Relford 2, Shotwell 12, Manning 8, Schu 3, Euton 8.
Roger Bacon (Ohio) 7 17 23 21—68
Scott Co. 22 18 15 21—76