High School Basketball

Elliott Co. beats Shelby Valley 75-69

Elliott County's sweet obsession this entire basketball season has been to play Saturday night in the Sweet Sixteen championship game under the bright lights in Rupp Arena.

The Lions' quest is still alive after they beat mountain rival Shelby Valley 75-69 in the quarterfinals of the National City Boys' Sweet Sixteen in front of 20,707 fans Friday night.

Elliott County (32-2) will face Holmes (34-2) in Saturday morning's semifinals with the winner getting a shot at the state title Saturday night.

The Lions had all five starters score in double figures against Shelby Valley.

The Faulkner twins had a big night.

Ethan had 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists, and Evan had 13 points, 11 assists and four rebounds.

Jonathan Ferguson had 16 points. Timmy Knipp had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Knipp added 11 points.

Shelby Valley dealt the Lions their only in-state defeat when they beat them 55-52 in the All "A" semifinals last month. But Ethan Faulkner said beating the Wildcats in the state tournament "was never about revenge.

"We set a goal at the beginning of the year to be playing Saturday night in Rupp.

"It didn't matter who we played. That was our goal. Now we're one game away."

Junior point guard Elisha Justice led Shelby Valley with 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists. He had a tough shooting night, though. He was 9-for-28 from the field, including 3-for-12 on threes.

Tyler Newsome had 14 points off the bench. Ashley Hatfield had 11 points, but he also had a rough shooting night (3-for-16).

Despite their problems finding the basket, Shelby Valley put up a great fight.

Elliott County never trailed in the first half, and was on top 33-25 midway through the third quarter.

But Shelby Valley wiped out that deficit, using a 17-5 run to take a 42-38 lead.

Elliott County responded to the pressure, however. It answered with a 20-6 run to open a 58-48 lead with less than five minutes left.

But it still wasn't over.

A Shelby Valley rally was helped by an intentional foul call against Ethan Faulkner when he made hard contact with Elisha Justice.

Justice hit a free throw, then added a three-pointer, and it was suddenly a close game again.

But Ferguson swung the momentum back to Elliott County with a three-pointer from the corner.

Elliott County led 71-67 when Justice missed a leaninig layup with 27 seconds left.

"If we hit that layup there it would've been a nail-biter at the end," Shelby Valley Coach Jason Booher said.

"But Elisha played his heart out and so did the rest of the team.

"Elliott County hit some big shots tonight. That's what good teams do."

The Lions sealed the victory by hitting 10 of 16 free throws in the last 1:38.

Chris Knipp had a few hiccups at the line, missing seven of 10. When he did hit a free throw late in the game, his teammates kidded him about hitting one when the pressure was off. Everybody had a laugh.

It was a more somber finish for Shelby Valley, which had its 24-game winning streak snapped.

"I appreciate my guys' effort throughout the course of this year," Booher said.

"It was a great game tonight. I hate to see one of these mountain teams lose, especially with it being us, but some nights you just don't hit your shots."

For the second night in a row, the 15th and 16th region teams played in front of more than 20,000 people in Rupp.

The total attendance for the tournament through Friday night — 98,655 — is the highest since 1993 when the tournament drew 99,228 through six sessions.

Elliott Co. (75)

NAME mi fg-a 3-pt ft-a rb a pf tp

Et. Faulkner 31 3-7 1-1 13-14 8 6 4 20

Ev. Faulkner 32 4-10 0-2 5-6 11 4 4 13

C. Knipp 28 3-7 2-4 3-10 3 0 4 11

Ferguson 32 4-14 3-10 5-5 5 0 3 16

Morgan 3 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 1 0

T. Knipp 30 5-9 2-4 3-5 10 0 3 15

Flannery 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Ison 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Team 7

Totals 160 19-48 8-22 29-40 44 10 19 75

Shelby Valley (69)

NAME mi fg-a 3-pt ft-a rb a pf tp

Justice 32 9-28 3-12 4-5 7 4 3 25

Lucas 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Bryant 24 2-7 0-1 3-6 10 0 5 7

Hatfield 20 3-16 2-6 3-3 3 1 4 11

Ta.Newsome 23 2-5 0-0 2-2 15 3 4 6

Varney 8 2-3 0-0 0-2 2 2 5 4

Adams 9 0-1 0-0 0-0 2 0 2 0

Ty. Newsome 23 5-8 3-5 1-1 1 1 3 14

Tackett 20 1-5 0-0 0-2 2 1 4 2

Team 1

Totals 160 24-73 8-24 13-21 43 12 30 69

Elliott Co. 16 13 21 25—75

Shelby Valley 11 11 24 23—69

Field-goal shooting: Elliott Co. 39.6, Shelby Valley 32.9. Free-throw shooting: Elliott Co. 72.5, Shelby Valley 61.9. Technicals: none. Turnovers: Elliott Co. 13 (Et. Faulkner 7, C. Knipp 3, Ev. Faulkner 1, Ferguson 1, T. Knipp 1), Shelby Valley 9 (Bryant 6, Justice 2, Ta. Newsome 1). Blocked shots: Elliott Co. 4 (T. Knipp 4), Shelby Valley 2 (Bryant 1, Ty. Newsome 1). Steals: Elliott Co. 2 (Morgan 1, T. Knipp 1), Shelby Valley 6 (Justice 1, Bryant 1, Hatfield 1, Varney 1, Ty. Newsome 1, Tackett 1). Officials: Kevin Driver, Tim O’Hara, Mark Howell. Attendance: 20,707.Records: Elliott Co. 32-2, Shelby Valley 31-5.

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