It took Bowling Green a while to get untracked Friday night. When the Purples got going, though, they couldn't be stopped as they took down Calloway County 65-57 in the quarterfinals of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys' State Tournament.
In setting a school record for victories, Bowling Green (30-5) reached the semifinals for the second year in a row. The ninth-rated Purples will take on Boyle County in Saturday's semis.
"They're the reason," Coach D.G. Sherrill said at the post-game press conference, nodding to players Tucker Sine, Malik Carothers and Terry Taylor. "They make my job so much easier because they play with a lot of heart, they play well together. To do this back-to-back, there's not words to descibe it."
Sine led the winners with 16 points. Taylor had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Carothers totaled 12 points and five assists. And Deangelo Wilson came off the bench to add 10 points.
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No. 10 Calloway County (30-4) was paced by Skyler Hunter with 17 points and eight rebounds. Connor Wagner and Parker Adams scored 15 points each.
If Calloway County was feeling any fatigue from Thursday's double-overtime win over Knott County Central, it didn't show early on.
The Lakers bolted to a 17-5 lead late in the first quarter, getting a pair of three-pointers by Hunter and another by Adams.
Bowling Green reeled off the next 10 points to pull to within 17-15, but Hunter responded with another three-pointer.
Calloway's lead was 28-21 at halftime, Hunter and Wagner leading the way with nine points each.
But Bowling Green used a 12-0 run, spanning the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth, to take control 48-30. Sine sparked the rally with a pair of three-pointers, and Carothers converted a three-point play.
Sherrill reminded his players that the Lakers were coming off a double overtime contest and encouraged them to keep pushing the pace.
"(Calloway) got out to a great start and they're really well coached," Sherrill said. "They really played hard.
"I thought we got to their legs late in the fourth quarter. We made a little bit of a run and got a lead finally. ... We feel very fortunate. We beat a heck of a basketball team tonight."
The Purples pushed the margin to nine, 58-49.
But Calloway County made one final push, pulling to within 61-57 when Wagner drained a three-pointer with 17 seconds left.
That was as close as the Lakers would come, though.
Bowling Green shot 22 of 38 (57.9 percent) from the field, while Calloway went 20 of 48 (41.7 percent). The Lakers dropped in nine three-pointers, though, to Bowling Green's three. At the free-throw line, Bowling Green went 18 of 25, Calloway 8 of 12.
"I kept telling our guys 'they played a double-overtime game last night. Let's understand that. Let's keep pushing.' Even when we were down, keep running, keep attacking and hopefully we can eventually get to their legs."