Love & basketball
The tenth-ranked Tanner boys stormed back from an early double-digit deficit in a game with five ties and 11 lead changes, dispatching Lexington 76-69 behind a 27-point, clutch free-throw shooting effort by senior guard Desmond Love.
Love, the only returning starter for the young but talented defending state champions, went 6-of-8 from the charity stripe and knocked down three 3-pointers.
His standout performance, along with 15 points from JonJon Fletcher and 10 from Deshun Freeman, helped negate Lexington’s relentless style of play on both ends of the court.
Tanner used a 25-10 run to erase a 10-point deficit in the first half and led by five at halftime. But in the third quarter, Lexington used hot shooting from behind the arc to take a six-point lead heading into the final period.
Tanner opened the fourth with a 6-0 run book-ended by a long jumper from Love and a Fletcher scoop layup to tie the game at 55.
The key play in the game came with less than two minutes left as Fletcher converted a shot in the paint to tie the game at 68, while also drawing Lane Adams’ fourth foul.
Off his own missed free throw, Fletcher found Deshun Freeman under the basket to give Tanner the lead for good at 70-68. Freeman then calmly sank two free throws to push the lead to four,
In the final minute, Love hit two more from the line and Blake Whitt went 3-of-4 at the charity stripe as the Golden Bears were forced to foul to regain possession. But when they did get the ball back, their 3-point shots came up short.
Adams led Lexington (20-10) with 18 points, and Logan Allen added 15.
Sydney Houston, Kelsey Houston, Smith and Brown each earned All-Area honors for the regular season.
Love, Fletcher, Blake Whitt and Ty Mayberry were named to the boys’ All-Area team.