High School Sports

2019 Sweet Sixteen: These teams will play for a boys’ basketball state championship

Photo slideshow: Scott County defeats Henry Clay to claim 11th Region boys’ title

Scott County defeated Henry Clay 58-38 to claim the 11th Region title at McBrayer Arena in Richmond.
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Scott County defeated Henry Clay 58-38 to claim the 11th Region title at McBrayer Arena in Richmond.

The 102nd Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen state basketball tournament gets underway Wednesday at Rupp Arena in downtown Lexington.

The 11th Region was the first to decide its champion on Friday. Thirteen region finals were played on Saturday. Only the two ends of the state — the 1st Region and the 16th Region — are left to be decided.

Below you’ll find brief recaps and/or facts about the 14 completed championships as well as previews of the other remaining region finals.

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1ST REGION (Sunday at CFSB Center)

Mayfield 56, McCracken County 44: The Cardinals made the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1992 by knocking off last year’s region champ.

2ND REGION (Saturday at Madisonville)

Madisonville 81, University Heights Academy 68: The Maroons qualified for their first Sweet Sixteen since 2001 and ended the prep career of KyKy Tandy, a UHA standout who’s signed with Xavier University. Tandy ended his high school career with 3,363 points, the second-most in 2nd Region history and what would be eighth-most in the KHSAA record book.

3RD REGION (Saturday at Owensboro Sportscenter)

Owensboro 63, Breckinridge County 57 (OT): The Red Devils are going to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2015 — when they won their fourth title — and for the 44th time, growing their own state record.

4TH REGION (Saturday at E.A. Diddle Arena)

Warren Central 56, Bowling Green 52: The Dragons avenged back-to-back losses to the Purples and defended their 4th Region title. “It took us a while to find our rhythm and find our peace with each other as far as ‘I know where he’s gonna be, I know where he’s gonna be,’” Warren Central Coach William Unseld told reporters on site. “It’s great. I knew it was gonna take us a while. I told ’em I wasn’t worried about our record. I don’t care about the record. We’re 20-12 now but we get to go to Rupp Arena.”

5TH REGION (Saturday at Hart County)

John Hardin 62, Taylor County 61: Alex Matthews (16), Aaron Scott (13) and Jachai Walker (13) all finished in double-figure scoring for the Bulldogs, who became the first team since Clay County in 1989 to reach the Sweet Sixteen without a defeat. John Hardin improved to 35-0, tied for the fourth-most wins by a region champion coming into the big dance, matching Apollo (1978) and Central City (1954).

6TH REGION (Saturday at Valley)

Butler 52, Bullitt East 48: Butler last made the Sweet Sixteen in 2010.

7TH REGION (Saturday at Valley)

Trinity 59, Ballard 37: The Shamrocks repeated as region champ, bringing to end one of the state’s more unusual patterns: these two had traded 7th Region titles each year beginning in 2012 when the Shamrocks took it on their way to the school’s first state title. Kolton Rice scored 25 points to lead Trinity.

8TH REGION (Saturday at Henry County)

Walton-Verona 60, Oldham County 51: The Bearcats won their their seventh straight game and claimed their first Sweet Sixteen trip since 1942, when their program was only Walton. Garrett Jones (16), Xavier signee Dieonte Miles (15) and Kam Pardee (12) all ended in double-digit scoring for the Bearcats, who were in the region final for the first time in 33 years.

9TH REGION (Saturday at BB&T Arena)

Covington Catholic 64, Beechwood 47: The Colonels defeated Beechwood for the first time this season after dropping two earlier games to the Tigers. CovCath, last year’s state champion, will rematch with Scott County — whom it defeated in last year’s state title game — in the first round. Bellarmine University commit Nick Thelen scored 22 points on 9-for-9 shooting and had seven rebounds to lead CovCath.

10TH REGION (Saturday at Mason County)

Campbell County 61, Clark County 49: The Camels repeated as region champs after recovering from an eight-point halftime deficit. Reid Jolly had 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead Campbell County.

11TH REGION (Friday at McBrayer Arena)

Scott County 58, Henry Clay 38: Mr. Basketball finalist Michael Moreno had 13 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks to lead Scott County to its third straight 11th Region title. The Cardinals, the top-ranked team in the state, eliminated the state’s No. 9 team (Madison Central), No. 10 team (Frankfort) and No. 2 team (Henry Clay) to make it back to the Sweet Sixteen, in which they’ve been eliminated by the eventual state champion each of the last two seasons.

12TH REGION (Saturday at Lincoln County)

Lincoln County 63, Danville 45: Less than a day after surviving a five-overtime bout with Wayne County in the semifinals, the Patriots shot a blistering 57.1 percent from the floor to cruise in the final. Lincoln County will play in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2008. Jaxon Smith and Blake Smith led the Patriots with 15 points apiece.

13TH REGION (Saturday at Corbin Arena)

Knox Central vs. North Laurel: Knox Central won a region title for the first time since 1970 and its fifth overall. The Panthers improved to 30-4, reaching 30 wins for the first time in their history.

14TH REGION (Saturday at Powell County)

Perry County Central 53, Hazard 48: The Commodores won their second region title in the last three years by defeating the Hazard for the fourth time this season.

15TH REGION (Saturday at East Kentucky Expo Center)

Johnson Central 66, Pikeville 61: Isaiah May had 19 points and eight rebounds while Jacob Rice added 15 points and eight assists to lead the Golden Eagles to their first region title since 2015, which capped a streak of four straight.

16TH REGION (Sunday at Johnson Arena)

Ashland Blazer 59, Boyd County 43: Blazer last made the Sweet Sixteen in 2002, and ended that streak by defeating the Lions, last year’s region champs and against whom they’d dropped back-to-back meetings, including a two-point overtime loss in the 64th District championship.

Josh Moore is in his first year covering the University of Kentucky football team and in his fifth year reporting for the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he’s been employed since 2009. Moore, a Martin County native, graduated from UK with a B.A. in Integrated Strategic Communication and English in 2013. He’s a huge fan of the NBA, Power Rangers and country music.