LEXINGTON — Two of the state’s top teams battled it out in the final session of the Elite Eight round of the 2023 UK Healthcare Boys’ Sweet 16 Tournament on Friday night, March 17 at Rupp Arena. The defending state champions, George Rogers Clark fended off a late comeback attempt from the No. 3 Lyon County Lyons, winning 60-56.

“I’m proud of them,” Lyon County head coach Ryan Perry said.

“Obviously, that locker room is very disappointed. We came up here with full intentions of winning a state championship. We feel like we had the basketball team to do that and, based off that game, I think it shows that we did have the team to do that — we just didn’t get it done down the stretch.”

The newly crowned all-time leading scorer, Travis Perry finished with 19 points, four steals and three assists for Lyon County. The Cardinals defense put the clamp on the Perry-led offense. Perry, who tops the state’s leader board for three-point shooting with 45.4%, finished just 4-for-13 from three-point range and 7-for-19 from the field.

Perry admitted that the Lyons were not prepared for the Cardinals from beyond the arc. GRC, who finished the regular season shooting just over 34% from three-point range shot 12-of-24 in the contest with Reshaun Hampton posting a game-high 4-of-8 while Sam Parrish chipped in 3-of-7. The Cardinals hit eight three-point shots in the half alone. Lyon, which is known for three-point shooting, shot just 7-for-23 for the night.

Hampton’s first three of the night tied the game 6-6 with two minutes left in the first quarter. Lyon answered back with a 7-0 run to take the 13-6 advantage into the second frame.

Jerone Maxwell and Tyleik Maxwell combined for a 5-0 run to make it a two-point game 13-11 just over a minute into the period. Back-to-back baskets from Perry and Bradin Nelson gave the Lyons an 18-13 cushion with just under four minutes left in the half. After a timeout, GRC moved back into long-range shooting with Parrish’s trey knotting the game at 18.

Perry gave Lyon the lead momentarily with one of two free throws, but seconds later, Parrish drained the three that gave the Cardinals the upper hand for the rest of the half. After being down, Lyon managed to get back within three at 27-24, but Parrish answered once again to give the Cardinals a 30-24 margin at the buzzer.

GRC led by as much as eight in the third quarter 45-37 on a layup from Morton. Lyon used the last two minutes to chip away at the lead with a buzzer-beater three from Perry cutting the margin to 50-46.

“It sucks losing on this stage,” Travis Perry said. “It’s always a good season when you end at Rupp. There were a couple of things we could have cleaned up to maybe affect the outcome, but overall, we fought as hard as we could and played for each other.”

An opening 5-0 run from the Lyons, featuring a jumper from Jack Reddick and a three from Perry, gave the Lyons the 51-50 lead with 6:47 to play. Lyon turnovers gave GRC an 8-0 run that the Lyons ultimately never recovered from.

Perry delivered one last three with just 11 seconds left to play to make it 58-56, but fouling to stop the clock sent Parrish to the line for the final 60-56 margin. In the final seconds, the Cardinals’ defense forced a missed three from Perry that was almost tipped back in by both Shoulders and Nelson, but eventually stripped away.

Shoulders and Reddick both finished the night with 14 points, while Nelson added seven for the Lyons.

Parrish topped the charts for GRC with 15. Hampton and Edward added 12, while Morton and Maxwell had 11 and 10 respectively.

The Lyons ended their season 31-6 on their second trip to Rupp Arena.