Henry Clay basketball great James Lee was honored in a pre-game ceremony, but that positive karma wasn't enough to help the host Blue Devils end a five-year losing streak to Scott County.
After leading through most of three quarters, No. 10 Henry Clay fell apart down the stretch and No. 11 Scott County rolled to a 71-56 victory, its 15th in a row over its district rival.
"It's lovely; it's great," Isaiah Ivey said of the Cardinals' dominance over Henry Clay.
Ivey had a lot to do with it. The smooth-shooting junior lefty led Scott County with 21 points.
Tamron Manning was also a big contributor, to the surprise of Coach Billy Hicks.
Manning was sick the last few days, and the 6-foot-4 junior obviously wasn't himself in the early going Friday night. He didn't take a shot in the first half.
But when the Cards needed him, Manning delivered. He had 15 points, including 9-for-10 on free throws, in the last 11 minutes.
"I was amazed, really, that he was able to play," Hicks said. "But he's a leader. He finally got in the flow there in the second half and came on down the stretch for us."
Tanner Shotwell contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds to the Scott County cause.
Lee's presence might have given Henry Clay some energy early. The Devils led by as many as 11 points in the first half as they took advantage of 17 Scott County turnovers.
Henry Clay was still in control late in the third quarter with a 43-33 lead.
That's when Lee left the gym after doing some radio commentary.
Coincidentally, the Devils' momentum left with him.
Scott County went on a 28-8 run to take a 61-51 lead.
"It was our defense," Ivey said. "Our full-court pressure is what won it for us."
Henry Clay also got a bad break when 6-6 senior Daniel Kiesling went down with an ankle injury midway through the third quarter.
"That made a difference," Hicks said. "That was a big factor."
But Henry Clay Coach Daniel Brown didn't use that as an excuse.
"Turnovers and free throws," he said. "When we needed to take care of the ball and make free throws, I was disappointed our guys didn't step up to the challenge."
Henry Clay had 20 turnovers and missed 15 of 35 free throws.
Kendrick Prewitt led the Devils with 16 points, 12 of them coming at the foul line.
Brandon Nichols had 15 points, and Wes Kimball added nine points and seven assists.
Scott County's victory secured the Cards the top seed in the 42nd District tournament.
■ Among those on hand to see Lee honored were former UK Coach Joe B. Hall and UK teammate Jack Givens, Lee's high school rival at Bryan Station.
SCOTT COUNTY (18-4) — Manning 3-7 9-10 15, Ivey 7-19 6-7 21, Shotwell 5-6 0-0 10, Richardson 1-6 1-2 4, Harris 4-7 0-0 8, Gilbert 2-5 4-4 8, Relford 1-2 2-2 4, Cunningham 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 23-54 23-27 71.
HENRY CLAY (16-7) — Kiesling 1-2 0-0 2, Kimball 4-8 1-4 9, Nichols 4-14 5-8 15, Prewitt 2-12 12-17 16, Stewart 4-5 1-4 9, Green 1-4 1-2 3, Grundy 1-1 0-0 2, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-47 20-35 56.
Scott County 14 12 15 30—71
Henry Clay 15 16 14 11—56