The drought is over: Lexington wins first state basketball title in 24 years

Posted 3/2/24

Lexington dominated Byrnes to secure the 2024 5A boys basketball state title and end a 24-year drought.

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The drought is over: Lexington wins first state basketball title in 24 years


Lexington’s 24-year streak without a basketball championship is over. 

The Wildcats secured the 2024 5A boys basketball state title and left no doubts about it, dominating Byrnes en route to a 67-48 win. 

“These kids worked hard,” head coach Elliott Pope said. “These kids bought into what we were trying to get done, and they executed it for a really high-intensity ball game. So I'm extremely proud right now.”

The Wildcats received major contributions from the team’s big three, Cam Scott, Jaxon Prunty and Kaleb Evans. Prunty led the team with 23 points, Scott added 21 points and 12 rebounds and Evans had 12 points.

For Scott and Prunty, this was their last career high school basketball game. The seniors went out on a high note, bringing the state championship trophy back to Lexington for the first time since 2000. 

Scott, the school’s most decorated player, was a five-year varsity player and became Lexington’s all-time scoring leader on both the boys and girls sides earlier this season. The 2024 5A Player of the Year had one thing left he wanted to achieve in his Wildcat career, and now he’s done it.  

“This was the goal since 2019,” Scott said. “This is the one goal that I had on my checklist, and I'm proud to say that I can check it off.”

As the time ticked away in the game, the energy amongst the Lexington players increased. The realization of their accomplishment hit everyone at different times, but the emotions of the moment were on full display with minutes left in the game.

“About three minutes left in the game, I'm not going to lie to you,” Scott said. “You could tell on the bench, the energy that we just had. Nobody was letting that slip away.” 

Scott and his starter teammates got some early rest and provided the bench unit some court time in the biggest game of the year. While the younger guys closed it out, the seniors embraced, including Scott and Prunty.

“I can't even put words into it right now. It hasn't really sunk in yet that I just won a state championship," Prunty said. “That was our last game with each other, but we've been playing for so long with each other. But that, that just means a lot. I love that dude.”

When the clock hit zeros, the bench cleared, and the entire Lexington roster was on the court jumping up and down with joy. 

“I'm just excited man. We worked for this all year,” Evans said. 

Lexington took control of the contest at the end of the first quarter, and would not relinquish the lead the rest of the game. 

Byrnes actually led for most of the opening period. Scott gave his team the lead in the final 20 seconds when he converted the first and-one of the game for the Wildcats. 

“We had to get stops,” Evans said. “The offense, it took care of itself.” 

Lexington started the second quarter on an 8-0 run, pushing its lead to nine. The Wildcats were soon up double-digits after back-to-back scoring possessions in the closing minutes. 

Coulter Bell got things going after splashing the ball through the net while fighting contact and earning a four-point play. Montrell Byrd got the ball on the next possession and laid it in to increase the gap to 10. 

The Rebels were able to chip away at the lead some in the final 90 seconds and cut the deficit to seven at halftime. 

Scott caught fire in the third quarter, scoring 12 of his 21 points. Lexington extended the lead in this period, holding a 46-32 advantage heading to the fourth.

Byrnes, desperate for some stops, resorted to a full-court press to start the fourth quarter. This strategy failed, and after trading blows for a bit, the Wildcats’ lead grew to 20. 

With the game well in hand, Scott scored his final Wildcat points, slamming home a fast break, causing the crowd to go berserk. 

The next possession, Scott attempted another flush but was fouled hard by Will Fowler, leading to some late-game dramatics. Scott and Fowler exchanged some unkind words and had to be separated. 

Fowler was the only pulse for the Rebels, scoring 26 points. He was much more productive early in the game, scoring 20 of the team’s 22 first-half points.

The win concludes a historic season for Lexington. The Wildcats went 27-2 this year, including a second consecutive 8-0 undefeated region record. 

Next season’s Lexington squad will look very different from this championship team. The Wildcats are losing eight seniors, but Pope said he’s looking forward for the grind to repeat. 

“I'm proud of our seniors, proud of what this team was able to accomplish, and just super excited for the work that we're going to have to put in to get back.”

For the eight players who won’t come back, they begin their next phase of life. Pope said he hopes the lessons they learned on this stage stay with them forever. 

“If this is the pinnacle of your life as a young man, as a father, as a husband, then you might want to rethink things,” Pope said. “Keep working, keep striving. Things that we learned, things that you did during the season, carry those over to wherever you're going to go in life but make sure to always want to achieve more.”

Lexington basketball, Cam Scott, Jaxon Prunty, Kaleb Evans Elliott Pope, SCHSL Playoffs, Byrnes basketball


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