White Knoll girls, Lexington boys win close region openers
Wildcat Gymnasium was the scene Tuesday for a pair of Region 5-5A varsity basketball nail-baiters.
It started with the girls' contest between Lexington and White Knoll. Trailing as many as 10 points, the Lady Timberwolves scored the final 10 points of the game to stun the Lady Wildcats 44-43.
Jasmine Jenkins scored 25 points, including a twisting layup with 11 seconds left to put White Knoll (9-6, 1-0) on top. Bria Singleton had 9 points, including a critical 3-pointer during the game-ending run.
Alexis Sexton led the Lady Wildcats with 12 points and Lindsey Garner added 11 (8-8, 0-1).
In the 2nd varsity contest, the Lexington boys rallied from an 8-point halftime deficit and held off White Knoll 43-42. It was the 9th straight region win for the defending Region 5-5A champions.
After trailing 15-8 after 1 quarter, the Timberwolves outscored the Wildcats 20-5 in the 2nd quarter. Jajuan Jennings' 3-pointer at the buzzer sent an excited White Knoll and head coach and former Lexington standout Devin Liferidge into the lockerroom up 28-20.
First-year forward Aiden Daniels dominated the 2nd half for Lexington. He outscored White Knoll 17-14 in the 2nd half and had 13 points in the 3rd quarter to put the Wildcats up 36-32.
Daniels added a couple of baskets down the stretch in finishing with a game-high 25 points. White Knoll (12-6, 0-1) managed to cut the lead to 1 with 5 seconds left following consecutive baskets by Jalen Ray, who finished with 14 points.
A quick, long inbounds pass downcourt to Daniel enabled Lexington (11-7, 1-0) run out the clock.
"We just kept fighting," first-year Lexington head coach Elliott Pope said. "That's something that we need to do better. It's something that we need to recognize as players and coaching staffs that we have these situational moments that we've got to be able to execute. That's kudos to those kids.
"But we've got to also remember that we've got a lot of guys who are so hard on themselves. There's a lot of 1st time varsity experience for a lot of guys. We don't have a major returner coming back us. You've got (point guard) Cam Scott, an 8th grader. You've got Aiden Daniels, a kid whose never played organized basketball before and it's a really big -step forward for us to handle the pressure situation and come out on top."
Lexington returns to action Jan. 21 at Dutch Fork. White Knoll plays host to Chapin on Friday.