Freshman Ben Johnson leads Lex Cath in Upset of LCA


Posted On: 02/11/18 1:49 PM

Lexington Catholic pulled off a bit of a surprise win over Lexington Christian on Friday night. Ben Johnson and Keegan Bailey were both lights out from deep to help the Knights get the road win in front of a hostile LCA crowd. As impressive as the win was, they suffered a big loss when Senior captain Zan Payne tore his patella tendon and his season ended suddenly with only a couple of seconds left in regulation. Here’s what I took away from the game.

1. Ultimately, this game only helped Lafayette. With LCA’s loss, Lafayette clinched the top seed in next week’s 43rd district tournament. Lex Cath and LCA will do battle again in the 2 vs 3 game and Lafayette will wait for the winner of Tates Creek vs Dunbar. So Lafayette clinched top seed while taking a 25 point beatdown at the hands of Trinity on Friday night.

2. Kyle Rode could get to the rim at will against the Knights. Rode finished with 25 points for the Eagles and was allowed to get into the middle of the Catholic defense over and over on simple right handed drives down the lane. Most of the offense was created by Rode’s drive and kicks. It will be interesting to see if Coach Salsman changes his defensive philosophy before next week’s rematch.

3. The loss of Zan Payne is crippling for Lexington Catholic. Any time a team loses a senior captain averaging 21 points and 9 rebounds a game, they are not easily replaced. Catholic could opt to go small and try to run and press all game. Or they could try to insert Brice Scott into the lineup and hope he can produce a fraction of the production that they were getting out of Payne. The Lex Cath coaching staff has some decisions to make and only 2 regular season games left to experiment.

4. If the Knights shoot over 50% from 3 again, they’ll be hard to beat in district. Lexington Catholic went 14-25 from 3 for the game on Friday. Ben Johnson was 7-9 and Keegan Bailey was 6-9. If the backcourt continues to make shots at that high of a clip, this Knights team will have a chance to win the district and make a run at the region. You cannot count on shooting over 50% from 3 every night, but if they can hover around 42% or more from outside the arc, they’ll be a tough out in next week’s rematch with LCA.

5. LCA has only lost twice in 2018 and both were to Lex Cath. The Eagles lost to the Knights on January 2nd. Then they rattled off 13 straight wins including the All A State Championship before Fridays loss. I will maintain that LCA has the best chance of any 11th region team to knock off Scott County on the way to Rupp. But if Coach Valentine and his team can’t figure out how to beat Lexington Catholic, none of that matters.