Things are looking brighter for the Tates Creek boys' basketball team after a home-court 59-56 victory over district rival Lafayette Tuesday night.
The Commodores are playing in a well-lit gym for the first time in years after a bunch of light bulbs were replaced in the last few days.
"I've been here seven years, and now I can finally see what's happening," Coach Wayne Breeden joked.
What Breeden saw Tuesday night was enlightening. Tates Creek, which had been pummeled by an average of 24 points in city losses to Henry Clay, Lexington Christian and Bryan Station this season, outfought Lafayette.
"This was a good statement for our season," Breeden said. "It shows that when we play hard, good things can happen. The key tonight was our competitiveness.
"Lafayette forced us into lot of turnovers (32), but we had guys that battled.
"We did a great job playing to our strength, which was going inside and controlling the boards."
And, Breeden added, emphatically, "Jordan Fucci had a man of a game!"
Fucci had 29 points and a career-high 20 rebounds. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound senior was a bruiser in the paint and showed touch at the free-throw line.
"He just decided he was not going to lose tonight," Lafayette Coach Mike Mendenhall III said. "Those rebounds were all effort, and he just wanted it more than we did tonight."
Fucci had almost as many rebounds as Lafayette. Tates Creek won the battle of the boards 47-22.
"We attacked down low a lot, to get the points and hit the boards," Fucci said.
Tates Creek also found its shooting eye at the foul line. The Commodores came into the game hitting only 49 percent of its free throws.
Fucci was hitting only 42 percent (11 of 26), but he cashed 11 of 13 against Lafayette. Tates Creek hit 22 of 30 (73 percent).
"Guess what we've been working on?" Breeden said. "We spent a few days working on our free-throw shooting. We got in here and got back to technique and form, where to put your foot on the nail head and all that."
Fucci's supporting cast included Isaiah Patterson, who had eight points and seven rebounds. Trey Sturdivant and Desmond Duke each had seven points and three assists, and nine rebounds between them.
While Tates Creek had trouble hanging onto the ball, Lafayette couldn't find the basket. The Generals shot 31 percent, including 4-for-20 from three-point range.
T.J. Downey led Lafayette with 16 points. Lucky Jackson had 15 points and seven rebounds. Ross Jenkins, the Generals' big man who was averaging 15 points and seven rebounds, got in foul trouble and finished with two points and three boards.
"We did what we needed to do, forcing all those 32 turnovers, but we couldn't knock down shots and they out-rebounded us by 25," Mendenhall said.
"I think their guys were tired of getting beat."
Tates Creek ended a seven-game losing streak to the Generals.
"I think this might be a turnaround for us," Fucci said.
LAFAYETTE (3-3) -- Jackson 15, Downey 16, Jaelin Jenkins 7, Ross Jenkins 2, Watkins 6, Lane 5, Greenup 2, Carpenter 3.
TATES CREEK (1-4) -- Fucci 29, Sturdivant 7, Patterson 8, Wright 4, Duke 7, Bell 2, Barksdale 2.
Lafayette 12 15 14 15 -- 56
Tates Creek 13 14 16 16 -- 59
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com