\Boyd County came out sizzling on Senior Night but had to work overtime for a victory.
After shooting 90 percent in the opening quarter Thursday, the Lions faced a four-point deficit in the final two minutes of regulation before turning back East Carter 64-60 at Boyd County Middle School.
“A Brandon Baker team is not going to quit,” Boyd County coach Randy Anderson said. “They are going to keep coming. They are going to keep making adjustments, and find a place to make a run. They did it.”
The Raiders, playing without two key starters due to injuries, trailed by as much as 13 points in the first half. But they refused to fold up despite Boyd County’s fast start.
Quinn Huddle connected on three of East Carter’s six second-half pointers to make it nip-and-tuck down the stretch.
Junior guard Cole Brammer and reserve Donovan Roe hit back-to-back treys to put the Raiders up 54-50 with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
While pleased with his team’s comeback, Baker was hoping for just a little more in East Carter’s final game of the regular season.
“What’s so frustrating is we battled to get a win, and couldn’t finish it,” Baker said.
Boyd County scored the last four points of regulation. After Roe’s 3-pointer, the Lions quickly countered as Brandon Taylor worked free for a layup.
“Defensively, we let them get loose there,” Baker said. “We got a little passive. An easy basket gives them an adrenaline shot.”
Boyd County senior Austin Hunt made two free throws with 36 seconds left to tie it, but the senior missed a turnaround jumper from the lane in the closing seconds.
The Lions had the upper hand in overtime, however, scoring eight of the first nine points for a 62-55 advantage. East Carter couldn’t get closer than five the rest of the way.
“In times past, we would have gotten tentative with the game on the line,” Anderson said. “We didn’t do that tonight. Another thing, the kids were coachable. They executed late.”
As a result, Boyd County won for the ninth time in 10 games to push its record to 19-10.
As much as anything, Anderson was happy for his senior group.
“I can’t explain how great they guys have been as leaders,” he said. “What they’ve done in our locker room has been amazing in really bonding this group.”
Boyd County honored its seven seniors before tipoff. Five of them started and accounted for all but one basket in the Lions’ opening surge.
Hunt scored 10 first-half points without missing a shot and finished with 20 to lead the team. Taylor scored 14 and Todd Stacy 10.
The Lions, who play at home again tonight against South Point, shot 54 percent from the field and outrebounded the smaller Raiders 32-26.
East Carter sophomore Connor Greene also scored 20, his third consecutive game with at least 20 points.
“He’s a gamer,” Baker said. “Connor has a good feel offensively and knows how to get off his shot.”
Bradley Marsh added 13 points, Brammer 12 and Huddle 10 for the Raiders (11-17). Brammer wore a protective mask after breaking his nose recently.
“Cole played more minutes than I wanted,” Baker said. “It was a very courageous effort, a credit to his toughness.”
ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2671.