The Knights had upset on their mind, but it wasnâ€™t meant to be as a layup rolled in and out, sending them to a 58-57 loss at the hands of Lexington.
With North Lincoln ahead at the half, late in the third quarter, the Yellow Jackets used half-court traps to force the Knights into numerous turnovers, get the visitors out of the rhythm they had established earlier in the contest and put themselves in good position entering the fourth quarter.
Down by one point, inside a minute left, the Knights held for the last shot.
After a layup-attempt was knocked out of bounds, with eight seconds left, North Lincoln executed a lob play to perfection but a layup rolled out with four seconds on the clock.
Frantically, the Knights tried to foul, but time ran outâ€¦ in the game and on their season.
â€œLike our season, we were one roll away. It was a play that has worked numerous times. It just didnâ€™t work that time,â€ North Lincoln head coach David Johnson said. â€œThe ball just didnâ€™t roll our way, literally and figuratively, thatâ€™s exactly what happened,â€ he added.
Senior Alex Loftin, playing in the final game of his prep career, paced the Knights with 22 points, while fellow seniors Kyle Baker and Kenny Bethea had 12 and 10 respectively. Reid Ketner was a force on the boards.
â€œI talked to all of them, individually, yesterday before practice and to each one I pointed out things they needed to work on and they did everything I asked,â€ Johnson said. â€œThey left the floor completely exhausted because they gave it everything they had,â€ he added.
Nine different Yellow Jackets scored led by 15 points apiece from Micah Mabe and Bryant Burns.
Despite the loss and a season where he saw his team lose 11 games by five points or less, Johnson was proud of his teamâ€™s effort and performance.
â€œWe came out with a lot of intensity. I could not have asked more out of the guys tonight. They did everything I asked from them and a little bit more, but it just didnâ€™t roll our way at the end,â€ he said. â€œThey played with their head up the whole year. No matter how it went, they never gave up and as a coach, that makes you very proud,â€ he added.
by John Mark Brooks