Lexington boys blow by Bulldogs

Lexington's Coleman Hayes (right) tips a rebound of his own shot back to the basket over Thomasville's Shakeem Peterson during the first half of their game Tuesday night at Lexington. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

The Lexington boys were hoping that it wasn’t going to be a long week, even though it was only Tuesday.

Making things even more dicey was the fact that key starter Nolan Benson was out with an illness.

The Jackets were coming off a tough 71-68 loss to Central Davidson on Monday, and then found themselves trailing Thomasville 41-30 late in the third period.

But the Jackets reeled off a 17-2 run late in the third quarter and into the fourth to power their way to a 64-52 victory.

“Our guys picked up the intensity in the fourth period,” said Lexington coach Robert Hairston. “But we’ve hit a rough patch. Nolan wasn’t there tonight so it kind of threw us off balance, which meant we were trying to fill in that role.

“And, you know, kids don’t do that so well all the time.”

Maybe it was more of a case of just in time.

The Jackets started their late run with a pair of free throws from Mel Covington, followed by a 3-pointer from Coleman Hayes.

Thomasville managed to take a 42-41 lead on a pair of free throws by Dezmond Wilson, but then Hayes swished another confident 3-pointer to put Lexington up 44-42, and the Jackets never trailed again.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, hurt themselves with mistakes in key points of the game.

“We made too many turnovers,” said Bulldog coach Tony Clark. “We felt pretty good about ourselves in the third quarter, but then we made some bad decisions and Lexington made some big shots.

“This one sort of got away from us,” said Clark. “But overall, I was pleased with the effort.”

Hayes paced the Jackets with 22 points while Covington added 15 and Daniel Reid Bennett added 10.

Latrele Skeen scored 15 points for the Bulldogs while Shakeem Peterson chipped in with 12.

Lexington is now 4-1 in the CCC, 7-10 overall, while Thomasville is 2-2 in the league, 6-9 overall.