By Kayla Moore
Folks, we have day one of the KHSAA Boy’s Sweet 16 in the books. At noon, the Buckhorn Wildcats met the Murray Tigers for what started off as a close game; Buckhorn came out fighting in the 1st Quarter – ending at only a deficit of 1 point to Murray’s 16. The Wildcats were flat in Quarter 2, only scoring 3 points to Murray’s 17. Buckhorn couldn’t seem to get shots to fall and things to go in their favor – mix that with a good night for Murray, and it inevitably sent this tournament’s Cinderella home long before Midnight. Despite Josh Crank’s best efforts (16 points, 6 rebounds), he could not lead the team on to round 2. Murray’s Preston English was firing on all cylinders last night, dropping 21 points, and Ethan Clark pulled down an impressive 10 rebounds. Ultimately, Murray bested Buckhorn 62-35 and the Tigers move on to Friday.
Game two was Louisville Trinity and Newport Central Catholic. NewCath came out flat in the 1st Quarter, only scoring 7 to Trinity’s 11 points but came alive both offensively and defensively on the back of Bellarmine commit Ben Weyer, who lit up their stat line like Christmas morning. Weyer sank 19 points, pulled 13 rebounds, swatted 4 shots, and even recorded 4 assists. NewCath held Trinity scoreless for the entire 2nd Quarter, and partly through the 3rd, in which they scored only 7 points. Trinity was well on their way to recording the lowest Sweet 16 score since 1948, but Kolton Rice hit a last second three to save them from that fate. Trinity, who normally plays aggressive in the lane, let Weyer dictate their game, and they fell to the Thoroughbreds 48-33. Newport Catholic faces the Murray Tigers at 12PM EST on Friday.
Last night’s third match featured Elliott County and Bowling Green, both tough competitors in their respective regions. Though we saw an impressive outing from Elliott County’s Chase Porter (28pts, 6 rebs) — the Lions did not have an answer for the Purples and Terry Taylor — who had 23 points and 14 rebounds. Elliott County fought the good fight, forcing 11 turnovers from Bowling Green, but could not convert those into scoring opportunities. The Purples had three kids score in the double digits, carrying them to a victory over the Lions 75-59. Bowling Green advances to Friday.
Game four was the coup de grace, a round 1 game that felt like a championship – Mercer Co vs. Paul Laurence Dunbar. It featured the night’s most lead changes (7) and had the house on their feet in the final seconds. Dunbar gained an early 1st Quarter lead of 15-9 but Mercer County showed up for battle, outscoring Dunbar in both 2nd and 3rd Quarters; in the end, however, Taveion Hollingsworth locked in and led the Bulldogs onward to victory, scoring yesterday’s high of 32 points. Dunbar’s regular season schedule was tough – last night proved that they were more battle-tested and knew how to close out a tough win against a highly skilled competitor. The Bulldogs of Dunbar face the Purples of Bowling Green Friday at 1:30PM EST.
Get out to a game, you won’t regret it. See you at Rupp.
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