Mike Allen will never forget his debut as Bryan Station's boys' basketball coach.
In a mad scramble in the closing seconds of overtime, the Defenders' Larry Morton came up with a steal in front of the Lafayette bench and heaved a pass down the floor to Marcus Williams, who sped in for a layup at the buzzer to give Bryan Station a 68-66 victory.
"That was a great high school game for an opening night," said Allen, who played in his share of city showdowns as an all-state player for the Defenders in the late 1980s.
"One thing I liked about our team was that it showed great character. The kids didn't quit, they kept fighting and they stuck to the game plan the whole way."
Bryan Station and Lafayette are both retooled teams from last season, so both were expected to show a lot of rough edges this early. They did, combining for 44 turnovers and anemic shooting.
But both teams also showed lots of potential.
Bryan Station was led by Deon Renfro, a role player as a junior last season. He had 22 points, including a clutch three-pointer in the final minute of regulation, and six rebounds.
Morton, a 6-foot-3 sophomore who sat out last season at Lexington Catholic, had 15 points and six rebounds, and seemed to shake off rust as the night wore on.
Williams, a junior who had 13 points and nine rebounds, was happy to give his new coach his first victory at his old school.
"He's a wonderful coach," Williams said. "He's already taught me a lot. He tells me to keep working hard and playing hard, don't worry about the turnovers, get back on defense and make things happen."
Lafayette showed its grit by battling back from a 12-point deficit.
Jackson Davis, a 6-7 freshman, sparked the rally by scoring 16 of his 22 points in the second half. He also had 11 rebounds.
Sophomore Nick Trisko was a key to the comeback. He had 11 of his 13 points down the stretch, and also finished with 13 rebounds.
Dee Yarbrough contributed 12 points and six rebounds. Tanner Napier, who was tied up in football for most of the pre-season, had 12 points.
"We can get so much better," Coach Greg Coldiron said. "We can take a lot of positives out of this. We just didn't match Bryan Station's intensity tonight, and that's my fault."
The Generals trailed 47-39 late in the third quarter before going on an 11-0 run to edge ahead. Davis had seven points in that surge.
It was a see-saw battle the rest of the way.
After Renfro hit a three to put Bryan Station ahead 62-60, Davis' layup tied it with 23 seconds left.
Morton then misfired on a three at the end of regulation.
The score was 66-66 for the last two minutes until Morton's steal and long pass to Williams for the game-winner.
Just like Allen predicted.
"I told them defense would win the game, and it ended on that," he said.
BRYAN STATION (1-0) — Morton 4-15 4-6 15, Renfro 10-21 1-1 22, Williams 6-10 0-0 13, Roberts 3-4 0-3 7, Waide 1-5 0-0 2, Webb 2-4 1-2 7, Brown 0-3 0-2 0, Mock 1-2 0-0 2, Wells 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-65 8-17 68.
LAFAYETTE (0-1) — Davis 9-10 4-6 22, Trisko 5-10 2-2 13, Napier 3-10 4-4 12, Yarbrough 3-11 6-7 12, Johnson 0-2 2-2 2, Hardin 0-3 0-0 0, Wilkerson 1-3 0-0 1, Chester 0-1 0-0 0, Ross 1-2 1-1 3. Totals 22-61 19-22 66.
Bryan Station 13 20 14 15 6—68
Lafayette 14 9 22 17 4—66