On Scott County's team of stars, Austin Flannery usually plays a backup role.
But the 6-foot-3 senior had his time in the spotlight Saturday night as he scored a season-high 23 points — three times his average — in leading the third-ranked Cardinals to a 69-54 victory over Male in the Central Bank Classic at Lexington Christian Academy.
No. 16 Clark County beat short-handed LCA 63-45 in the second game. The Eagles were without 6-7 senior star Will Evans, who was out with an ankle injury.
Flannery's breakout game came at a good time for Scott County, which has been struggling offensively. It had lost four of its previous seven games, including three at the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
"Austin's been working his tail off, and it paid off for us tonight," Scott County Coach Billy Hicks said. "We don't need him just to score, we need him to play defense, and he's been giving us that, too."
Flannery, who also had five rebounds and two assists, helped the Cards shake off a lethargic start that saw them fall behind Male 15-2.
"We didn't come out ready to play, and that was a wake-up call when they got up on us like that," Flannery said.
While Scott County's offense has been spotty, Hicks has been pleased with his Cards' defensive effort.
"We played some great defense in Myrtle Beach," he said. "But we've been in a rut not being able to score."
Scott County's big-name players contributed their share of points Saturday night.
Dakotah Euton had 15 points, including back-to-back three-pointers that gave his team a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. The 6-8 senior also had nine rebounds.
Ge-Lawn Guyn had 14 points, five rebounds and five assists. Chad Jackson added 13 points and nine rebounds.
Male, playing its ninth game in Lexington this season, was led by Tony Horne's 17 points and six rebounds.
The No. 24 Bulldogs stayed with Scott County until midway through the fourth quarter, and might've taken it to the wire if they hadn't missed 15 of 30 free throws.
Male Coach Tom Crews, whose Bulldogs have played several of the state's top teams, thinks Scott County "is the best potentially.
"They're quick, strong and long, and they have numerous weapons."
MALE (7-7) — Horne 17, Hayes 11, Duncan 2, Pillischafske 12, Glenn 4, Moore 6, Logan 2.
SCOTT CO. (9-5) — Flannery 23, Euton 15, Guyn 14, Manning 2, Jackson 13, Shotwell 2.
Male 17 13 12 12—54
Scott Co. 10 23 11 25—69
Clark County 63, LCA 45: After beating Shelby County 52-49 Friday night on Vinny Zollo's buzzer-beating three-pointer, the Cardinals had enough left in the tank to get by host LCA.
Clark County led 41-27 in the third quarter before the Eagles, sparked by a pair of three-pointers by Taylor Barnette, went on a 10-0 run to make it a four-point margin.
But the Cards answered emphatically, running off 14 consecutive points to pull away to stay.
Zollo had 19 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead the winners. Corey Rogers had 16 points and Robbie Stenzel added 12.
Coach Scott Humphrey said his team's defense was "terrible" during the holidays, so that's been what he's been stressing lately.
"We played three games this week, and we've given up 49, 45 and 45 points. So we're seeing good progress there."
Barnette had 18 points and five rebounds, and Branden Burdette had 16 points and five rebounds, for LCA.
Humphrey acknowledged the Eagles missed Evans, who averages 20 points and 12 rebounds.
"I think the world of that Evans kid," he said. "They made the right move (holding him out). Their goal is on the All "A" coming up. But their other kids played really hard."
CLARK CO. (13-4) — Zollo 19, Rogers 16, Stenzel 12, Daniel 10, Purvis 6.
LEXINGTON CHRISTIAN (7-6) — Burdette 16, Barnette 18, Gullett 2, Stephans 5, Bundy 1, Nickodem 3.
Clark Co. 17 17 9 20—63
Lexington Christian 11 10 16 8—45