In the most lopsided Sweet Sixteen game in four years, Bowling Green buried Elliott County 86-44 Thursday in the first round of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys' State Tournament.
Not since eventual champion Christian County rolled to an 83-40 win over Shelby Valley in the first round of the 2011 tourney had Rupp Arena seen a boys' tournament game as one-sided as this.
"I'm really proud of my guys this evening," Purples Coach D.G. Sherrill said. "We played a very unfamiliar opponent and watched them on film. We knew how hard they played, how aggressive their guards were, and they had a couple guys that could really shoot it. We had to focus on trying to prepare for a team that we hadn't seen and didn't have the chance to get a lot of information on."
A team Bowling Green would dominate in every phase.
"We outrebounded them by almost double, by 19; that was a big key," Sherrill said. "We were aggressive, got to the free-throw line. I just thought that our guys came tonight with a look in their eyes, trying to win a basketball game."
Ninth-rated Bowling Green (29-5) thus advances to Friday's quarterfinals. The Purples made it to the semifinals last year.
Kyran Jones came off the bench to lead Bowling Green with 20 points and eight rebounds. Tucker Sine had 18 points and eight boards. Terry Taylor added a dozen points.
Chase Porter totaled 15 points and five rebounds for No. 16 Elliott County (22-8). Korbin Spencer added 11.
Bowling Green was the most athletic team the Lions faced "by three-fold," Elliott Coach Greg Adkins said. "Their speed and quickness is something.
"In Eastern Kentucky we see good athletes and we have several in the region. Tonight we've seen a team full of great athletes."
Bowling Green scored the first eight points of the game and was off and running.
A second-quarter 9-0 stretch helped the Purples to a 43-19 halftime lead.
Bowling Green outshot Elliott in the first half 60.9 percent (14 of 23) to 30 percent (nine of 30). From three-point range, Bowling Green was three of four (75 percent) to Elliott's one of 10 (10 percent), and from the foul line it was Purples 12 of 14 (85.7 percent), Lions 0-for-2.
It was more of the same in the second half.
When Sine hit a three-pointer with 5:57 left in the fourth quarter, it put Bowling Green up by 35 and sent the game to a running clock.
"Being up here for my third year as a high schooler, it puts us at somewhat of an advantage," Sine said. "I've been here before and played in this type of atmosphere."
While the Purples made 31 of 56 shots (55.4 percent), Elliott County finished 17 of 58 (29.3 percent). Both made five three-pointers, although Bowling Green needed only seven attempts and Elliott County took 23. The Purples outrebounded the Lions 44-25.
"I think they did exactly what we thought they were going to do," Adkins said. "It's just a different level of speed, a different level of quickness and strength."