The Bullitt East Chargers have charged into the final four of the 94th PNC/KHSAA Boys Sweet Sixteen.
After winning its first-ever state tournament game Thursday night, Bullitt East shook off stubborn Marshall County 71-62 in Friday night's final quarterfinal game in Rupp Arena.
Bullitt East will play Rowan County in Saturday morning's second semifinal.
"It's a great feeling," Chargers senior guard Hayden Sweat said. "(Saturday) is the last day of basketball in the state of Kentucky. We're going to try to keep having fun."
Bullitt East had trouble putting away Marshall County. The Marshals, like the crazy lady in Fatal Attraction, kept bobbing back to life.
But as it did Thursday night, Bullitt East finally sealed its victory with clutch foul shooting down the stretch. It made 16 of 20 free throws in the last 4:22.
Sweat, one of the best foul shooters in the state, hit 11 of 12 in the closing minutes and finished with 20 points.
Corey Washburn, who had 26 points against Bardstown in the first round, came up big again. The 6-foot-7 senior had 21 points — 17 in the second half — and seven rebounds.
Derek Willis, a long-armed 6-8 sophomore, made his presence felt inside with 13 points, 11 rebounds, five blocked shots and probably a dozen altered attempts.
Bullitt East Coach Troy Barr singled out the defensive effort of Rusty Troutman on Marshals star Stephen Atkinson, the 1st Region player of the year. Atkinson had four points on 2-for-10 shooting before fouling out.
"(Troutman) frustrated him and shut him down," Barr said. "He deserves a lot of credit for that."
Even though Marshall County shot poorly — it finished 22-for-71 (31 percent) — its defense and offensive rebounding kept it alive.
The Marshals cut a 13-point deficit to 43-40 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, and missed a three-pointer that would've tied it.
Bullitt East then went on a 15-2 blitz that gave it a 58-42 lead with four minutes left.
But the Marshals still weren't done. They scrapped back to within 66-61 with more than a minute left.
That was the end of the comeback, however, as Sweat hit four straight free throws to seal the Chargers' school-record 30th victory.
"The feeling is indescribable," Washburn said.
Marshall County, in the state tournament for the first time since 1995, showed lots of fight against heavily favored Bullitt East.
Cole Nelson led the Marshals with 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Blake Clark and Chase York had 11 points apiece.
Coach Gus Gillespie said his team had to shoot well to beat the Chargers, and they never could find the basket consistently. They were 8-for-31 from three-point range.
"Still, as bad as we shot, we were a shot or two away from maybe taking the lead," he said. "As poor as we played offensively, that showed how hard we played defensively."