Gave 'em a lift

JZ Middleton's second-half play was key to Scott County's comeback bid at East Jessamine on Tuesday night.

Playing its fifth road game in eight nights to start the season, Scott County made a gritty comeback attempt but finally saw the tank run dry in a 64-53 boys' basketball loss Tuesday at East Jessamine.

Trailing by 18 points with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter, SC stormed back with a 28-12 run and cut it to two with 3:30 remaining in the fourth.

There were no additional field goals for the Cardinals, and Zion Thomas' 3-point play ignited the Jaguars' getaway.

Isaiah Haynes scored 13 points for Scott County (1-4), which couldn’t overcome 27 percent shooting in the second half. The Cards came up empty on numerous opportunities at the rim down the stretch,

East Jessamine (3-0) also dominated the glass by a 38-25 margin.

Devin Johnson led the Jaguars with 16 points and three steals. Ben McNew and Thomas each contributed 14 points. Thomas hauled down 11 rebounds. Jeremy Hamilton was the Cards’ leader in the latter category with six.

Elias Richardson and JZ Middleton notched nine points apiece and Micah Glenn produced eight for Scott County, which finally gets a home game Friday against district rival Frederick Douglass.

The Jaguars closed the first half with seven consecutive points to grab a 37-24 lead, then stretched out to their largest advantage of the evening on an elbow jumper from Caleb Smith and a three by Johnson.

Scott County sputtered through seven empty possessions to start the third quarter before Glenn scored all eight of his points in a two-minute span. A pair of tough drives, one resulting in a 3-point play, preceded his 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 3:02 left in the period.

Cam Thompson's trifecta from the left wing was East Jessamine's only answer in that sequence, although a bucket by Thomas maintained the margin at 15.

Middleton further fueled the comeback with a drive and a deep 3-pointer. Andrew Willhite then sank two free throws after a Hamilton steal and brought it down to single digits.

Smith answered with a hoop in the closing seconds to make it 49-39.

Nick Mosby opened the fourth quarter with a deep 3-pointer. McNew later matched it to keep the disparity at 10 with 5:05 to play.

SC still wasn't done. After two Middleton free throws, a blocked shot by Richardson and outlet to Hamilton led to a wide-open three from Haynes.

Grigsby's steal in the open court put Richardson in position for a post-up and three the old-fashioned way, slicing East's lead to a tenuous 54-52.

But it was all Jags after Thomas' timely drive to the hoop. McNew drew a player control foul ahead of a bank shot by Smith.

East Jessamine couldn't take full advantage of its late-game parade to the free throw line, missing three of six, but Scott County's flood of short-range misses returned the favor.

Johnson provided the exclamation point with a fast break layup in the closing seconds.

The Cards never led. Richardson matched an opening basket by Johnson, but the Jags scored the next eight points. Johnson and McNew capped that flourish with threes.

Another 15-4 spurt put East Jessamine in front 25-12 after the opening possession of the second quarter. McNew's 3-point play started the commotion.

Collin McElfresh closed the opening period with a 3-pointer, and Johnson got the second stanza rolling with a steal and layup.

Mosby's three was the centerpiece of a modest rally as SC clawed within six. Haynes and Grigsby each delivered a pair of baskets.

Another theft and transition two by Johnson triggered the Jaguars' finishing kick to the half.

McNew's offensive rebound and kick-out to Will Hatter for an uncontested three was a backbreaker, as was a Thomas layup after three more offensive rebounds on East's final possession before the horn.

SC got into the win column Monday at Great Crossing after losses at Madison Central, Henry Clay and Mason County last week. Two of those defeats were by a single bucket.

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