The Lions of Elliott County put up a fight this time around, but Terry Taylor and Bowling Green proved too much for the 16th Region champions yet again Wednesday night.
Taylor had 23 points, 14 rebounds and four assists to lead the Purples to a 75-59 victory over Elliott County in the first round of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen.
Last year, Bowling Green defeated the Lions by 42 points in the first round of the state tournament.
“I really couldn’t be more proud of the way our kids came out,” said Elliott County Coach Greg Adkins. “I thought we fought hard for 32 minutes. I thought we did so many good things that — against most teams — would have won a basketball game. Bowling Green is really, really good.”
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The Purples have several talented players, but Taylor often takes the lead.
The 6-foot-6 junior had his way against the smaller Lions and pulled down his 10th rebound to secure a double-double with four minutes left in the third quarter. His and-one finish with 6:25 left gave the Purples a 58-43 lead over an Elliott County team that stayed within striking distance for much of the game.
He’s a nightmare, for us and probably anybody who is going to have to go up against him. I thought he was a monster tonight.
Elliott County Coach Greg Adkins on Bowling Green’s Terry Taylor
“He has great instincts for the ball,” said Bowling Green Coach D.G. Sherrill. “Terry knew tonight that he had to be special, offensively and defensively. This is his third state tournament, and he’s flipped a little switch through the postseason and has been really solid for us the past few weeks.”
Taylor was a bit player on Bowling Green’s state semifinal team two years ago and was one of the Purples’ top performers on last season’s squad that made it all the way to the finals.
This season, Taylor has averaged 15.3 points and 11.9 points per game — leading the team in both categories — and attracted interest from several colleges, including Murray State and Western Kentucky.
Adkins said he enjoyed watching Taylor on film while preparing for Wednesday’s game. It wasn’t as much fun on the floor.
“He’s a nightmare, for us and probably anybody who is going to have to go up against him,” he said. “I thought he was a monster tonight. I think he’s fantastic.”
Bowling Green outrebounded Elliott County, 37-19, despite missing 6-6 junior Kyran Jones, who averages a double-double but was sidelined for this game while finishing out a two-game suspension stemming from a skirmish in the regional finals.
Lions junior Chase Porter kept his team close, scoring 28 points on 13-for-19 shooting, but it wasn’t nearly enough against the Purples, who will get even stronger next time out.
Jones returns to the Bowling Green starting lineup Friday.
“He’s a big part of what we do,” Sherrill said. “He’s also a really good defender. A 6-6 kid that can defend and is probably one of our best athletes in the open floor. So, obviously, it’ll give us a shot in the arm.”