J. TODD HOWARD
Round 1 of the KHSAA/Whitaker Bank Sweet 16 is complete and we have had a great first two days of the tournament.
Wednesday, March 6th
Game 1 was the first game of the Sweet 16, tipping off Wednesday at 12pm. It featured Walton-Verona, who hadn’t made an appearance in the Sweet 16 since the 1940s. Walton-Verona brought quite the crowd… and energy. The Bearcats capitalized on Knox Central’s game plan of shutting down Xavier commit Dionte Miles — and had everyone else scoring. The threes were falling rapidly for Walton-Verona in the 3rd Quarter, sealing the blowout over Knox with a final score of 76-54.
Game 2 was your largest loss in the tournament thus far — with 7th Region Goliath Trinity facing the mountain boys of the 15th Region — Johnson Central. Trinity came out strong, holding Johnson Central to only 2 points in the first quarter. While Coach Tommy McKenzie seemed to steady the Golden Eagles’ ship in the second quarter, Louisville commit David Johnson was just too much for Johnson Central to handle, with a final score of 70-28.
Game 3 matched undefeated John Hardin High School with Campbell County. A lot of folks were pulling for JHHS to continue their streak but Campbell County’s Reid Jolly lead the Camels to victory with his 3 point performance. Final score: Campbell County 61, John Hardin 60
Game 4 brought two teams together with the richest Sweet 16 heritage — both Owensboro and Ashland have had more success in the tournament than any school, with Ashland having 6 titles under its belt. Both teams had struggled to get to Rupp in recent years but made for one of the most well-matched games of the day. Ashland bested Owensboro in the end, winning its first Sweet 16 game since 2001. Final score Ashland 58, Owensboro 50.
Thursday, March 7th
Game 5 pitted another Mountain team against a Louisville squad as Perry County Central tried to advance to the Elite Eight against Butler. The game was tight with several lead changes and an Overtime but two last second threes by Butler’s Maurice Tolley sealed the win for the Bears outside of regulation, defeating the Commodores 65-62.
Game 6 brought us a rematch of last year’s Sweet 16 finals, Scott County vs. Covington Catholic. The game seemed to be all Scott County’s, with a lead as large as 19 late in the 4th Quarter. CovCath mounted the largest comeback I have personally witnessed by going on an 18-0 run in the final two minutes. Scott County squeaked by with a late layup to live another day, final score 64-61.
Game 7 Madisonville North-Hopkins topped Lincoln County in their first Sweet 16 victory since 1989 under the stellar performance of Junior Kenny White, who had 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 blocks. Madisonville fans brought the best energy to Rupp I saw all day, helping their squad win 57-49.
Game 8 brought Mayfield up against Warren Central in Mayfield’s first Sweet 16 berth since 1992. Coach Chris Guhy was hoping to extend his final season as a head coach, however, Warren Central had three players in double digit scoring, with Tre Boyd charting a double-double. Final score: 73-55.