FRANKFORT — With Franklin County leading Lafayette 80-78 in the closing seconds of their boys' basketball game Tuesday night, Flyers Coach Scott Chalk had a flashback to last season.
He remembered Franklin County's Eric Meyer nailing a three-pointer with eight seconds left to beat the Generals 78-76.
As Lafayette got ready to inbound the ball under its own basket with three seconds left, Chalk turned to one of his assistants and said, "It'd be poetic justice if they hit a three to beat us after what happened last year."
Poetic justice lost out to good defense, however.
Lafayette's Jackson Davis inbounded the ball to Nick Trisko on the block, but the Flyers immediately smothered him, and he could never gain possession. The ball popped loose, and Franklin County grabbed it as time expired.
The 80-78 victory was much appreciated by the Flyers, who had dropped five of their previous six games, including losses to No. 1 Trinity and No. 2 Scott County.
Chalk saw his team lose some of its spirit in that stretch, too, but he thought they bounced back with energy against Lafayette.
"Our effort was so much better," he said. "We played a lot harder tonight and, when we play hard, we're not a bad team. It wasn't a perfect game by any means, but we made some things happen."
Ryan Timmons, Franklin County's point guard — and one of the fastest players in the state — set the tone. The 5-foot-11 junior had 19 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
"Ryan was up to speed, and they didn't have a lot of answers for him," Chalk said. "He made a lot of things happen for other people."
Timmons said the team had a meeting on Sunday, and "we talked about effort and intensity and started changing the way we practice, being more physical and fast-paced. And that helped us."
Fast-paced is an understatement when talking about Timmons, a lightning-quick receiver in football (he has a scholarship offer from UK) and one-man fast break in basketball.
But Timmons didn't have to go it alone.
Casey Tabor had 14 points, including a three-point play that gave the Flyers a 78-76 lead with 90 seconds left.
"A big play that got a lot of excitement going for us," Chalk said.
Meyer, last year's hero, had 11 points, and Logan Woodside had 10. Sophomore Chris Roberts had six points and did a good job defensively on Lafayette's 6-foot-8 Davis.
The second half couldn't have been any closer. There were 16 lead changes.
Lafayette was in it until the last possession. Coach Mike Mendenhall III praised his team's effort, but said "small things ... they got some rebounds and putbacks" were the difference.
"Part of growing up," he said of his senior-less roster.
Charles Sweat-Washington led the Generals with 19 points. Tranard Chester had 17, and Trisko battled for 14 points and 14 rebounds. Davis had 12 points.
Mendenhall said Lafayette now must focus on a big week in the district. It plays Lexington Catholic on Thursday and Lexington Christian on Friday.
LAFAYETTE (9-14) — Trisko 6-15 2-6 14, Sweat-Washington 5-12 9-10 19, Chester 7-10 3-5 17, Blakely 1-5 0-0 2, Davis 4-12 4-8 12, Burlingham 1-2 0-0 3, Wright 1-1 0-0 2, Owsley 1-1 0-0 3, Jeter 0-0 2-2 2, Hughs 1-3 1-2 4. Totals 27-61 21-33 78.
FRANKLIN CO. (13-11) — Timmons 7-9 5-11 19, Woodside 2-7 5-6 10, Roberts 3-4 0-0 6, Rowe 4-5 0-0 9, Meyer 2-4-6 11, Tabor 6-10 2-3 14, Hamilton 4-7 0-0 8, Brown 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 29-49 17-26 80.
Lafayette 15 22 24 17—78
Franklin Co. 21 20 21 18—80