The Wayne County Cardinals wrapped the regular season portion of the schedule last Friday night at home, hosting MaxPreps #3 ranked team in the state Lexington Catholic. Wayne County entered with a 17-11 mark on the season and was coming off a disappointing 51-40 loss at Boyle County earlier in the week. The Knights entered with a 26-2 record, riding a nine-game winning streak that included an impressive 73-57 home win over Lincoln County, earlier in the week. The contest marked the 18th meeting all time between the two programs and Lexington Catholic owned a 13-4 series advantage, which included 59-48 home win in 2019, to wrap up the regular season.
Junior Ben Johnson scored a game high 26 points with 5 rebounds, as
Lexington Catholic grabbed control of a close game with a 16-7 third
quarter run and ended the game with a 25-12 surge to claim a 71-53
road win. Johnson was 11 of 18 from the field, which included 4 of 9
from 3-point range, while fellow junior Ryan Russell totaled 18
points with 4 boards. Russell was 7 of 11 from the floor, which
included 3 of 5 from 3-point range and 1 of 2 from the free throw
line, as the winners improved to 27-2 on the season.
"We need to find a country songwriter to write a song of the third
quarter blues, as this was another game that we played really well in
the first half but the third quarter was tough. They really turned
up their pressure and we didn't have an answer for it. Lexington
Catholic chases the basketball on defense and back-tips as well as
anyone in the state and their length really bothered us. Their
pressure and the way they play is as good as anyone in the state.
For two and a half quarters we played really good basketball against
one of the top teams in the state but the game is 32 minutes and four
quarters long," said Cards head coach Rodney Woods.
Senior Jackson Smith totaled 11 points and Jack Gohmann tallied 8
points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists, as seven different Lexington
Catholic players marked the scoring margin.
Wayne County, which dropped their third straight to end the regular
season at 17-12, placed three players in double digits led by the 23
points and 4 assists of Thomas Spencer. The senior was 9 of 14 from
the floor with a 3-pointer and connected on 4 of 6 from the free
throw line. Bryson Tucker made 4 of 5 field goal attempts, which
included 3 of 4 from 3-point range and tallied on 1 of 2 free throws
to post 12 points with 4 rebounds, while Kameron Gehring added 10
points, 4 assists, 3 boards and 3 steals, as the senior trio
accounted for 45 of the team's 53 points.
Mason Burchett added two triples to net 6 points and Brody Weaver
contributed 2 points, as just five Cards scored in the matchup.
Thomas Spencer and Ben Johnson both led their respective teams in
the early going, as Spencer totaled 8 points to counter the 7 points
of Johnson, as the Knights claimed an 18-16 first quarter lead.
Wayne County answered with one of their better overall quarters of
the season, as Spencer added another 7 points in the second stanza
and Bryson Tucker nailed 3 threes in the half, as the Cards used an
18-12 run to claim a 34-30 halftime advantage.
Lexington Catholic never flinched and responded right back in the
third frame with a 16-7 run of their own to retake the lead at 46-41
after 24-minutes of play.
The Knights continued the run in the fourth quarter and used the 13
points of Ben Johnson down the stretch to end the game with a 25-12
surge to cruise to a 71-53 win.
The Eleventh Region favorites, which enjoyed a 25-22 rebounding
edge, shot 29 of 47 overall for 62 percent and that included a 7 of
17 mark from 3-point range for 41 percent. The winners converted on
6 of 10 free throw attempts for 60 percent and totaled 12 assists
with 9 steals against 9 turnovers.
Wayne County countered with 20 of 42 shooting overall for 48 percent
and that included an 8 of 16 clip from behind the 3-point line for 50
percent. The squad tallied on 5 of 10 free throw attempts for 50
percent and tallied 11 assists with 6 steals against 14 turnovers.
The game marked the final home game of Cardinal seniors Kameron
Gehring, Reese Sexton, Thomas Spencer, Bryson Tucker, Chandler Humble
and Austin Bell, as Bell missed all season with an injury but dressed
and received the ceremonial senior sendoff.
"Those guys are all great kids and unbelievable students, as I think
all five have like a 3.45 GPA or higher. These guys have battled
thru injuries and such, hopefully we can keep working and make sure
we do all we can to match our goals to finish this out the right
way," said Woods.
The Cards now have a week to prepare, as they are assured a berth in
the 12th Region Tournament at Pulaski County High School Gym and now
wait the winner of Tuesday's game with McCreary Central and 48th
District Tournament host Southwestern.
The championship game will be Friday night at 7 pm at Warrior Gym
and details on the matchup will appear in next week's edition of The
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