RICHMOND — Some people need a caffeine kick to get going in the morning. The Lexington Christian Academy basketball team prefers a three-point jolt.
Sparked by an early flurry of accurate long-range shooting, LCA rolled to a 22-point lead in the first half and went on to beat Louisville Christian 59-43 in the boys' Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic Thursday morning in EKU's McBrayer Arena.
It was LCA's first win in the small-school state tournament since 2005. The Eagles were first-round losers the last five years in a row.
When somebody told LCA Coach Tommy Huston the team had finally gotten the monkey off its back, he said, "It was more like a gorilla.
"I wanted us to win so bad for our kids. They deserved to move on and get the feel of this tournament."
To ward off any sluggishness before Thursday's 8:30 a.m. tip-off, LCA had a 6 a.m. shoot-around at the school.
It must've helped because the Eagles looked wide-awake from the get-go against Louisville Christian. They hit six of their first nine three-pointers, including three by Tyler Harville and two by Taylor Barnette.
"That first one is always the biggest one," said Barnette, who led LCA with 18 points.
Harville had 11 points, all in the first half. Carter Helton added 10 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Helton said memories of losing in the first round the last couple years was motivation. "I didn't want that feeling again," he said.
LCA's hot start was also fueled by good defense, although tough luck also contributed to Louisville Christian's 4-for-20 shooting in the first half.
The Centurions were shut out in the second quarter when they missed nine shots, and trailed 33-11 at halftime.
"We've been a pretty good defensive team all year," Huston said, and noted last week's 55-51 upset of Scott County as an example.
"We held them to 51 when they came in averaging 78.
"But I feel for (Louisville Christian). I know how tough it is to shoot in this gym."
Poor shooting had been the common denominator in LCA's first-round exits the last few years. So when Barnette knocked down his first two three-point shots Thursday morning (putting him over 1,000 points in his career), it was as if Huston had knocked down a big cup of coffee.
"It made me feel awfully good," he said with a smile.
Louisville Christian tried to rally when it scored the first seven points of the second half, but Helton hit a three-pointer to stem the comeback.
Drew Mumford led the Centurions with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Tyler Stocking had 10 points and five rebounds.
Lexington Christian 59Louisville Christian 43
LOUISVILLE CHRISTIAN (8-11) — Mumford 15, Stocking 10, Wilder 2, Talley 3, Hobbs 3, Richter 7, Long 3.
LEXINGTON CHRISTIAN (14-8) — Barnette 18, Helton 10, Harville 11, Staton 4, Nickodem 6, Barjuca 5, Bundy 2, Tesler 3.
Louisville Christian 11 0 14 18—43
Lexington Christian 21 12 14 12—59