By John Lachmann
MAYSVILLE, Ky. – As expected, senior forward Nick Jackson played a key role both offensively and defensively for Scott.
But it was junior forward Kameron Crim and senior guard Kevin Jehn who came off the bench to provide pivotal ancillary scoring in the Eagles’ 62-59 win over Augusta in a Region 10 quarterfinal at Mason County Fieldhouse on Tuesday.
“We’re not a one-man show,” Carr said. “Obviously Nick is our leader, kids rally around him, but if we can get the other parts of our team performing like Crim and Jehn – and I thought (junior guard Josh) Castleman played well until he picked up his fouls in the first half – we’re a pretty dynamic team.”
Jackson averaged 16.6 points and 7.1 rebounds through the district tournament, and he finished with a team-best 17 points and 14 boards.
Crim and Jehn were scoring less than 10 points per game combined entering this game. Crim tallied 14 points and eight rebounds and Jehn notched 13 points.
“It made me very happy,” Crim said. “I feel like I’ve been down the whole season, and to come back at this point of the year really makes me proud.”
Both hit a pair of critical free throws in the final minute to help put the game away.
“Crim is huge, he’s just a big player for us and when he gets intensity going it’s hard to stop him,” Jackson said. “And then Kevvy’s a big-moment player. When we have a big moment, Kevvy steps up.”
After the Panthers ran off six straight points early in the second quarter, Jackson drained a pair of free throws and Jehn hit a field goal to give Scott a 21-17 lead which it never relinquished.
But the Eagles never led by more than 10, and Augusta pulled within two several times in the second half.
Jackson scored six second-quarter points, giving him a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first half alone as Scott took an eight-point lead into the break.
Panthers junior guard Brent Bach hit a pair of free throws to open the third quarter, and after a steal he converted a three-point play to make it 36-33 just 35 seconds into the second half.
Eagles senior guard Josh Felts knocked down one free throw at the other end, and senior guard/forward Tanner Kelsch answered with a basket to cut the lead to two.
Crim connected on a shot, and after both teams failed to score for over two minutes, a Jehn field goal gave Scott a six-point lead, 41-35.
Senior center Cody Staggs drained two foul shots for Augusta, and Jehn netted another field goal 40 seconds later. Kelsch cut the lead to four again with the only basket of the final three minutes of the period.
Freshman forward Camryn Snapp’s bucket for the Panthers trimmed their deficit to two just 33 seconds into the final stanza, and Scott coach Brad Carr called a time out.
Out of the stoppage, Felts knocked down his only 3-pointer of the game to make it 46-41. But Augusta again answered with baskets by Bach and Kelsch, sandwiching a Crim free throw.
A pair of Jackson field goals and one by Castleman were countered by four Kelsch free throws, and Scott had the ball with three minutes left, leading 53-49.
Crim scored in the lane, and Jackson stole the ball at center court and went in for a dunk to extend the Eagles’ lead to eight.
“You know how when Augusta hits threes and they get all hyped?” Crim said. “Basically that’s what that was for us.”
The Panthers had a couple of chances to trim the lead at the foul line, but Bach made just 2-of-4 before busting up the middle for a layup with 59.8 seconds left to make it 57-53.
Crim was fouled along the sideline and hit both free throws with 47.2 seconds remaining, and Bach grabbed his own rebound off a miss and stuck it back with 35 seconds to play.
Leading by four, Jehn was unable to convert the front end of a 1-and-1, and after Bach missed from NBA range, Jehn was given the opportunity to redeem himself when he was fouled again with 16.4 seconds left. He made both foul shots to give Scott a 61-55 lead.
Bach drew a foul and hit one free throw, and Jackson was hacked and knocked down 1-of-2 at the charity stripe with eight seconds left in the game.
Kelsch threw in a trey with 0.7 seconds to play, and Snapp fought for the inbound pass but threw up a desperation 15-footer as time expired.
The Eagles committed just seven turnovers in a game that was less up-tempo than most expected. Augusta averaged 73 points entering Tuesday, and Scott had scored 63 points per game.
“We actually wanted more of an up-tempo (game) to be honest with you,” Carr said. “They kind of didn’t play into our hands. We wanted to get it up and down, kind of press, but it’s a situation where fortunately for us, we have a small lineup, we can play fast, we have a bigger lineup, we can play slow. And I thought our advantage tonight was pounding the ball inside, that’s why we played Crim a little bit more than some of the other kids.”
Scott will play Harrison