ASHLAND Calloway County made sure to leave Ashland on a high note Thursday evening.
The Lakers made the nearly six-hour trip home with a win in the seventh place game at the Ashland Invitational Tournament under their belt, defeating the Teays Valley Christian Lions, 75-70, in a back-and-forth battle.
“This is the best high school basketball tournament that I’ve ever been part of,” Lakers coach Brad Cleaver said of the importance of finishing with a win. “This is a five-star tournament. I would put it up against any tournament in America.”
The first quarter was a tale of two styles. Calloway County got points off great ball movement, set plays, and an all-around more organized style of play.
Meanwhile, Teays Valley was finding points on fast breaks, taking advantage of plays breaking down, and a more chaotic style of play.
The end result of these clashing styles saw Calloway County with a nine-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Lakers tried to throw some haymakers from behind the arc, but had trouble getting them to land.
Calloway County hit just two baskets in the first 4 minutes of the second quarter, both of them 3s.
Teays Valley was unable to take advantage of the Lakers’s misses, bowing to the smothering defensive pressure from Calloway County.
At the end of the first half, Calloway County led 37-23. The leading scorer for both teams was the Lakers’s freshman Eli Finley with 10.
The Lions came out in the third quarter ready to fight.
That’s exactly what they did.
Teays Valley opened up the second half on a 14-0 run to tie the game at 37-37.
A 3 from the Lakers’s Conner Lockhart put an end to the run and Calloway County was able to regroup and retake the lead, but Teays Valley stayed with them this time.
The fourth quarter was an absolute dog fight.
Teays Valley was willing to leave everything on the court to try to take a lead for the first time in the game. They managed to chip away at Calloway County’s lead bit by bit.
With a minute left, Teays Valley tied the contest at 68-68, elevated by the emergence of Richard Fu, who scored all 12 of his points in the fourth quarter.
It came down to some clutch free throws, including three from Jonah Butler, and an ability to shutdown the Lions’s 3-ball that allowed Calloway County to hang on to the win.
“[Teays Valley] has two D-1 players we’re guarding,” coach Cleaver said “We wanted to minimize the 3-ball because those guys are so capable. They’re such a great ball club, but the clock was our friend.”
CALLOWAY CO. 22 15 16 22 — 75
TEAYS VALLEY 13 10 25 22 — 70
Calloway County (75) — Ray 24, Finley 21, Franklin 10, Clinton 6, Hudgin 6, Lockhart 5, Butler 3. 3-Pt. FGs: 6 (Clinton 2, Franklin 2, Lockhart 1, Ray 1). FT: 12-16. Fouls: 16.
Teays Valley (70) — Cary 16, Davis 15, Brow 13, Fu 12, Lin 10, Moles 4. 3-Pt. FGs: 6 (Brow 3, Cary 1, Fu 1). FT: 12-16. Fouls: 14.