Scott County defeated Trinity, 54-53, on a go-ahead three-pointer late in the first round of the 101st Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen basketball state tournament Wednesday in Rupp Arena.
Cooper Robb, a senior who’s signed with Charlotte, hit a triple from the corner with 5.8 seconds left to answer a pair of go-ahead free throws by Trinity’s Justin Powell, a sophomore who hit two charity shots with 20 seconds left.
“Ah shoot, guys. Gosh, what a basketball game,” Scott County Coach Billy Hicks said in the postgame press conference. “I don’t know if we’ve ever had one we had to just grind out like that. Every play was big.”
Michael Moreno, a junior, led Scott County with 24 points and nine rebounds. He had all seven of the Cardinals’ first-quarter points and 15 points in the first half.
Robb scored nine of his 12 points in the second half as Scott County found its offensive rhythm following a dreadful first half of shooting.
“We actually drew it up for Mike cause he was hot all game,” Robb said of his winning bucket. “He was hitting all day inside. We drew it up for him but he wasn’t open so Diablo (Stewart) hit it to Bryce (Long) and I just stepped back out and he kicked it out to me. I let it go and it felt good.”
The Cardinals opened up with a 5-0 lead but were outscored 13-2 to finish the first quarter. They shot 6-for-19 in the first 16 minutes and were outrebounded 23-9 heading into the locker room.
Trinity finished with a 37-21 edge on the glass.
“I’ve never had a team that got out-rebounded, in 38 years of coaching, as (badly) as we did in the first half,” Hicks said. “They killed us on the boards in the first half.”
Scott County trailed for most of the game after Trinity took an 8-6 lead with 2:50 left in the opening period. Glenn Covington gave Scott County its first second-half lead, 44-43, with 3:58 remaining in the last quarter.
Powell hit a go-ahead triple with 2:56 left and Jamil Hardaway extended Trinity’s lead to 49-46 on a layup 40 seconds later. David Johnson, a junior, hit two free throws to make it 51-48 before Covington hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 51 with 23 seconds left.
Lorenzo Williams with 20 seconds left fouled Powell before Trinity inbounded the ball. He hit both free throws, but Robb answered with the biggest shot of his career.
Johnson, a junior who’s a top-50 recruit nationally, nearly had a triple-double for Trinity. He finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Jay Scrubb was the Shamrocks’ leading scorer in his final high school game, tallying 16 points and eight rebounds.
Scrubb got off a shot in the lane that would have won it for Trinity but it went off glass. Trinity Coach Mike Szabo thought there might have been contact on the play but noted that he wouldn’t have expected a call in that moment.
“All the way to the end I thought we were in good control of the game,” Szabo said. “We just made a couple mistakes down the stretch. Even on the last play I thought Jay got a good look. We got what we wanted out of it.”
Boys’ Sweet Sixteen
When: Wednesday through Sunday
Where: Rupp Arena
At stake: Boys’ state high school basketball championship