Lee County’s Jaysyn Brown puts up a shot against Hardaway on Tuesday night in Leesburg. (email@example.com)
LEESBURG — They saw it coming.
The coach, the players and Jaysyn Brown all they saw it coming.
No, not the tremendous turnaround in the Lee County boys basketball program (although they also probably saw that coming, too).
The kids at Lee were talking abut Brown’s clutch 3-pointer with 18 seconds left on Tuesday that help lift Lee to a 51-49 win against Hardaway in a huge Region 1-AAAAA game at Lee County, where every player and coach believed Brown could hit the big shot.
They all saw it coming.
“I saw it all the way,’’ said Brown, who didn’t have a point at halftime but finished with 11 and the biggest shot of the night when his 3-pointer broke a 46-46 tie. “I’ve got confidence in my shot. Coach always tells me if I’ve got the shot to take it, and I’m very confident when I take it.’’
They’re building confidence every night at Lee, where the Trojans hadn’t won a region game in more than five years — but are now 5-5 in Region 1-AAAAA and in shape to take the fourth seed into the region tournament with Tuesday’s win against Hardaway (6-4).
“That’s the shot we wanted,’’ first-year Lee County coach Kirven Davis said after the win. “He was struggling earlier in the game but (he came through with that shot). That’s his shot and we have a lot of confidence in him making that shot.’’
The comeback could ignite Lee as the Trojans head for the region tournament next week.
“This game was big,’’ said Reggie Breedlove, who had a monster game, dropping in 21 points and putting the lid on Hardaway with a pair of free throws with 5.9 seconds left that built the lead to 51-46, Hardaway hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer. But it didn’t matter.
"He (Breedlove) has been Mr. Clutch for us hitting big free throws,'' Davis said.
Breedlove said he wasn't nervous abot the free throws, but admitted Brown's shot had him on his feet.
"Yeah, I was pretty excited, pretty happy,'' Breedlove said. "I was jumping up and down. That's my boy. I knew he could hit that shot. He's a senior, and it's senior time.''
It's Lee County time, too.
Davis said his kids have learned how to come back.
"We've had a couple of these before and that helped,'' he said. "They don't quit.''
LEE GIRLS FALL:
LEESBURG — Lee County’s Lady Trojans gave first-place Hardaway all it wanted Tuesday before falling to the Lady Hawks, 41-34, on Tuesday.
Katherine McConnell hit four treys and finished with 14 points, and Kayla Cooper led Lee with nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as Lee was playing without one of its top players. Maggie O’Connor, who is out with a concussion.
The Lady Trojans led 12-11 after the first quarter and were still ahead, 22-21, with 3:30 left in the third, but Hardaway went on a 10-0 run to end the quarter with a 31-22 lead, thanks to four fast breaks.
Lee cut the lead to six points (36-30) on Alexis Hickson’s jumper with 56 seconds left in the game but Hardaway put the game away with free throws.
Hardaway, which is tied for first in Region 1-AAAAA, with an 8-2 record, was led by Shamayne Bennett, who scored 15 points, including 10 on fast breaks baskets. Lee County is now 3-6 in the region and plays Mitchell County in a non-region game at Lee on Friday.