The game stayed close throughout with Vee Sanford and Ge-Lawn Guyn basically trading buckets. Guyn, who scored a game-high 31 points, helped the Cardinals build a lead late in the fourth quarter, but turnovers gave the Knights a chance.
With 10 seconds remaining, and Lexington Catholic trailing by one, the Knights cleared out for Sanford. As he drove on Guyn, one of the state's best defenders, he couldn't get a look, but found sophomore Taylor Martin cutting to the basket. The 6-foot-3 guard went up for a 5-footer and was fouled with 3.8 seconds remaining.
Martin buried both free throws, giving Lexington Catholic a 68-67 lead. On the ensuing inbounds Chad Jackson turned it over, giving the Knights their second consecutive Region championship.
Vee Sanford, PG/SG, Lexington Catholic – Although he didn't shoot it great from the field (11-for-29), Sanford certainly left his print on the game. He showcased his go-to floater, attacked the rim and helped force turnovers late in the game when Catholic was trailing. Sanford was aggressive all game, and when it mattered most he found an open teammate, which lead to the winning free throws. The 6-foot-3 guard went for 26 points in the game.
Ge-Lawn Guyn, SG, Scott County – This 6-foot-2 guard did everything he could for the Cardinals. Guyn attacked the rim harder than we've seen this year, but also mixed in a trio of three-pointers on five attempts. Defensively, there aren't many guys in the state that can match his intensity, length and foot speed. When the fourth quarter hit, he switched over to Sanford and did a terrific job defending him, especially down the stretch. For the game he was 12-for-22 and scored a game-high 31 points.
Dakotah Euton, PF, Scott County – Offensively, especially early on, Euton struggled. His first three shots were blocked inside and he finished just 3-for-14 from the field, so he opted to affect the game another way – rebounding. Euton corralled 15 boards and did score a few big baskets on his way to 13 points in the loss.
Chad Jackson, SG, Scott County – The 6-foot-3 guard is at his best when he attacks the rim and uses his athletic ability. Over the course of the year he's gotten much better at running the point for S.C., but he's much more effective playing a slashing roll. He has, however, become a talented passer and against Lexington Catholic he worked the glass for rebounds. He went for 16 points and nine rebounds in the loss.
Taylor Peurach, PF, Lexington Catholic – From the get to, Peurach, a 6-foot-7 junior, let it be known that it would be tough to score inside. On Scott County's first three possessions he recorded blocks and finished with at least eight on the game. The southpaw also scored three buckets inside, one of an impressive left jump hook.
Jaylen Beckham, PG, Lexington Catholic – In a high level basketball game, this freshman played more like a seasoned veteran. He still made a few mistakes in the open court, but Beckham had his immense talent on display. The 6-foot lead guard has a strong handle, is capable of athletic finishes at the rim and has impressive court vision. The play of the day came early in the second quarter, when Beckham went up for a two-handed tip dunk off a miss. He went for 10 points in the win.
The Cardinals were without their senior standout Richie Phares. The 6-foot-7 power forward was has a handful of Division-I schools trailing him was diagnosed with a torn ACL in the Regional semi-finals.
Scott County has two freshman with bright futures. Tamron Manning, who was strapped for much of the game with foul trouble, and Isaiah Ivey, a 6-foot-2 guard are both future Division-I prospects.
"Beckham is the best prospect on the floor." -- One college coach said mid-way through the second floor.