Sometimes it hard to deny the heart of a champion.
Seventh-seed and defending champion Carlisle County mounted a major comeback to send No. 2 Mayfield home packing 57-53 in their boys All A Classic First Region Tournament semifinal game Tuesday at Paducah Tilghman's Otis Dinning Gym.
The Comets trailed 39-30 with 3:13 left in the third quarter but used a 19-5 run to overtake the Cardinals.
"It's unbelievable," Carlisle County's Ethan Weatherspoon said. "Nobody thought we could do this. But I believed in our team, and it happened."
Carlisle County (7-10) advances to Friday's second semifinal game at Otis Dinning Gym at 7:45 p.m., where it will await the winner of tonight's quarterfinal game between No. 3 Murray and No. 6 Fulton County game that starts at 7:45 p.m.
Today's All A Classic First Region Tournament will start with No. 4 Hickman County facing No 5 Ballard Memorial at 6 p.m. That winner will go up against top-seeded St. Mary at 6 p.m. Friday at Otis Dinning Gym.
Trey Carrico got the run going for Carlisle County with 3:13 left in the third, and when Noah Norsworthy sank his 3-pointer with 4:56 left in the game, the Comets had taken a 49-43 lead.
"We may be the defending champs, but it's a whole new cast of characters here," Carlisle County coach Brian O'Neill said. "We have one starter back in Ethan Weatherspoon. Trey Carrico and Chase French played for us a little last year, but it's basically all new guys. We've had so many ups and downs this year and ended the first semester 1-8 and weren't playing very good. We weren't doing the job on the defensive end. We went back to work over Christmas break to get back to the basics, and we told guys we're going to have to hold teams to 55 or below to win. We held them to 53 and our goal was 55 so the guys are starting to come around."
Mayfield (6-10) cut it to 55-53 with 23 seconds left in the game. But after turnovers by both teams, the Cardinals were forced to foul, and Norsworthy hit two free throws with 12.4 seconds left to make it the final.
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Carlisle County 12 23 39 57
Mayfield 17 28 40 53
CARLISLE COUNTY - Carrico 6, Crider 9, Kellett 6, Morefield 4, Weatherspoon 17, Norsworthy 11, Fench 2, Patterson 2.
Field goals 13. 3-pointers 3 (Crider 2, Norsworthy). Free throws 22/33. Record 7-10.
MAYFIELD - Bacon 11, Ballard 6, Felts 6, Kennemore 6, Love 24, Tyler, Guhy, Bright.
Field goals 19/43. 3-pointers 2/9 (Felts 2). Free throws 13/21. Record 7-10.
Girls: Mayfield 69, Community Christian 46 - What started as a trickle turned into a deluge of offense for fourth-seeded Mayfield in their All A Classic First Region Tournament quarterfinal game Tuesday night against No. 5 Community Chrisitan at Paducah Tilghman's Otis Dinning Gym.
By the time the game was over, the Lady Cardinals sailed to a 69-46 victory.
"The thing that made me play so hard is I'm a senior, and this could be my last time playing in the All A Classic," Mayfield's Kaitlyn Isbell said. "I really want to go out with a bang and try to get the All A state title."
Mayfield (3-10) moves on to the semifinals Thursday night at 7:45 and will play against No. 2 seed St. Mary at Otis Dinning Gym.
St. Mary has beaten Mayfield the two times the teams played this season, 65-48 on Jan. 4 at Mayfield and 53-49 on Jan. 16 at St. Mary.
"They beat us pretty good at home and in our last game there, we actually led most of the game," Mayfield coach Misty Lawson said. "But with about a minute to go, they started putting pressure on us, we couldn't handle it and started committing turnovers and they scored off them. But we were without Reanna Olive in that game and she's a key factor for us. She does so much for us on the floor, and we definitely missed her. We missed her tonight, too, but not as much as we missed her against St. Mary.
CCA (7-7) led 7-6 with 4:01 left in the first quarter, but Mayfield took off on a 12-6 run and took an 18-11 advantage at the end of it on Kyeisha Daniel's jumper that came with 7.1 seconds left.
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Community Christian 11 18 31 46
Mayfield 18 39 55 69
COMMUNITY CHRISTIAN â “ Carter 14, Clinard 4, Dejarnatt 3, Hunt 2, Meadows 2, Peyton 6, Rudy 15.
Field goals 10/29. 3-pointers 2/6 (Rudy 2). Free throws 20/30. Record 7-7.
MAYFIELD - Daniel 4, Dickerson, Gutherie 4, Isbell 24, Kendrick 15, Looper 18, Olive 2, Womack 2.
Field goals 20/46. 3-pointers 4/6 (Looper 2, Isbell, Kendrick). Free throws 17/23. Record 3-10.
Girls: Ballard Memorial 55, Carlisle County 34 - Defense got No. 3-seed Ballard Memorial going in its All A Classic First Region game against No. 6 Carlisle County.
The Lady Bombers held Carlisle County without a field goal in the first 6:08 of the game thanks to forcing four turnovers and a blocked shot and used that momentum to roll to a 55-34 win.
"We've been working on our box-and-one and just really trying to break it down on defense to win the game," Ballard Memorial's Hailey Houston said.
Ballard Memorial (6-9) advances to the first semifinal Thursday night at 6, where it will meet top-seeded Murray, a 66-14 winner over Hickman County in its quarterfinal game Monday.
Ballard Memorial hasn't beaten the Lady Tigers in the two games they've played. Murray won the first one 66-44 on Dec. 11 in the City of Metropolis Tournament and then again 72-34 at home on Jan. 9.
"We've played them twice already, so we know what they've got and they know what we've got," Ballard Memorial coach Kayla Vance said. "It's going to come down to who wants it more."
Thanks to the early pressure on defense, the Lady Bombers raced out to a 15-1 lead with 2:10 to go in the first quarter on Leah Shelley's score from the post.
Carlisle (5-8) netted its first field goal of the game on the next possession and cut it to 15-3 on Courtney Case's layup with 1:52 left.
Shelby Rolling's back-door cut with 45.7 seconds left gave Ballard Memorial the 17-3 lead that it ended the first quarter with.
The Lady Bombers started the second with a 9-5 run and with 5:25 to go before halftime took a 26-8 advantage on Hailey Houston's bucket. Her score with 20.2 seconds to go in the second gave Ballard Memorial its 31-15 halftime lead.
Carlisle County 3 15 24 34
Ballard Memorial 17 31 45 55
CARLISLE COUNTY- Courtney Case 13, Holly Edging 6, Makena Edging 1, Garrett, Hicks, Hooper, Morris, Rudd, Laken Sams 11, K. Thomas, Melanie Thomas 3.
Field goals 10/32. 3-pointers3/9 (Case 3). Free throws 5/15. Rebounds 19. Record 5-8.
BALLARD MEMORIAL - MacKenzie Blackford 8, Abbi Denton 8, Hailey Houston 21, Shelby Rollings 2, Leah Shelley 14, Ashleigh Tyson 2, Buchanon, Burns, Newton, Pegram, Walker, Young.
Field goals 17/33. 3-pointers 3/12 (Shelley, Blackford, Houston). Free throws 12/16. Rebounds 30. Record 6-9.
Call James D. Horne, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661 or follow @bigdog_jamesd on Twitter.