Madison Central coach Allen Feldhaus was disappointed with the decision making of his players in the final minutes against Scott County on Tuesday in Richmond.
A turnover, then an ill-advised three-point attempt allowed the Cardinals to erase a six-point deficit and pull even at 83-83.
"We've just got to be smarter," Feldhaus said. "We've got too much experience to be that sloppy at the end of the game."
The Indians got the ball back one last time.
And they made the most of that opportunity.
Kenyatta Hardge's lay-up at the buzzer gave Central a dramatic 85-83 win in the season opener against a long-time nemesis. Kole Brown had 25 points and Will Hardin had a double-double (20 points, 11 rebounds) as the Indians snapped a 12-game losing streak to Scott County.
Central's last win in the rivalry was in the championship game of the 2006 11th Region Tournament.
"I couldn't tell you the last time we beat them," Feldhaus said with a laugh.
Central got the ball back after a jump ball was called with about nine seconds left in regulation. Browne drove into the lane and bounced a pass to Hardge, who laid it in uncontested.
It was Hardge's only basket of the game.
"We executed the last play perfectly," Feldhaus said. "We just wanted to make dang sure that we took the last shot. Kole did a great job penetrating and Kenyatta was wide open."
Central had a 10-point lead (47-37) at halftime, despite battling foul trouble. The Indians, however, never could put away the Cardinals. Scott County got within two (76-74) late in the fourth quarter, but Taishon Chenault came up with back-to-back baskets.
The game featured 45 fouls and 60 free throws. Central was 23-of-29 from the line, while the Cardinals missed 14 free throws (17-of-31).
Braeden Ray, Hardge and Hardin all finished with four fouls.
"We've got enough depth that we can handle (that kind of foul trouble)," Feldhaus said. "The last couple of years we couldn't have done that."
Hardin averaged only about four points a game last season in limited action. The junior was in the starting line-up on Tuesday and made a big impact. He had 16 points in the first half on 5-of-7 shooting.
"His offense was good, but his defense was better," Feldhaus said of Hardin. "Elias Richardson is their best player and he shut him down."
Richardson finished with just nine points.
Micha Glenn had a team-best 22 points for Scott County. Isaiah Haynes had 20 points. That duo combined to hit seven three-pointers.
"They hit some shots. They banked some in. They hits shots with hands in their face," Feldhaus said of Scott County. :What frustrated me more was they scored off their special play. We just didn't communicate."
Scott County shot. 51.9 percent from the field, including 10-of-19 from three-point range.
Central shot 52 percent from the field and was 8-of-17 from three-point range.
Ray finished with 16 points. Jaylen Davis had 12 points. Chenault had eight points. Trey Skaggs had two points, six rebounds and six assists. Hardge had two points.
"We will take it," Feldhaus said.
Central is set to return to action Thursday at Madison Southern.