After Montgomery County last week won the 10th Region title for only the second time in school history, Coach Happy Osborne said Indians' fans had "lost their minds" they were so giddy.
They brought their delirium to Rupp Arena on Thursday and wore out their lungs cheering Montgomery County to a 71-63 victory over Warren Central in the first round of the 96th KHSAA Sweet Sixteen.
Indians' star Omar Prewitt could probably be elected mayor of Mount Sterling after his 29-point, 11-rebound effort. The 6-foot-6 senior, who has signed with William & Mary, surely gave his Mr. Basketball candidacy a boost. He was 4-for-6 from three-point range, battled on the boards and blocked four shots.
"The difference in Omar is he's a lot tougher kid now," Osborne said. "He's come a long way. He's taken a lot of verbal abuse from his coach and become more and more of a warrior."
Montgomery County's team had to have a warrior mentality in the second half against Warren Central.
Full coverage: 2013 Sweet Sixteen Day 2
The Indians' 10-point halftime lead evaporated as Warren Central, led by Byron Carver's 14 points in six minutes, rallied to within 51-50 going to the fourth quarter.
"It was a credit to our kids that we were able to withstand that third quarter barrage," Osborne said. "It felt like a landslide."
Warren Central edged ahead twice in the fourth quarter, the last time at 54-53 with six minutes left.
That's when Montgomery County, led by Bryan Wallace, took over. Wallace, a 6-foot junior, had eight points in a 15-2 run and finished the day with 17 points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Prewitt wasn't surprised by the Indians' late knockout punch. "That's what we've been doing all year," he said. "Our press really gets to teams late. They just wear down."
Osborne also singled out the play of senior Tyler Jones, who had four points, six rebounds and five assists.
"I root for my point guard; I love my point guard," Osborne said of Jones. "He keeps his cool, and he did a great job handling the pressure all night long."
Chase Hall, a 6-3 sophomore who was under the weather, contributed nine points and five rebounds.
"He gutted it out," Osborne said. "He was weak but kept throwing Gatorades down. He deserves credit for playing with that kind of courage."
Warren Central Coach William Unseld noted that his team missed shots, especially three-pointers, that it usually makes.
"We got the shots we wanted," he said. "(Nay) Walker was 1-for-7 on threes and he hadn't done that all year. We were 3-for-14 on threes, and if we played again I'd let them take the same shots. You're gonna have off nights."
Carver, a 6-3 junior, had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Dragons. Chris Porter-Bunton, a 6-4 junior, had 18 points and seven rebounds. Junior point guard Rondell Green had eight points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
"(Montgomery County's) seniors really played well," Unseld said. "I had three juniors that really played well, and I'm looking forward to making a run with them next year."