Elliott County Takes Mason To the Wire

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Darius Miller rebounded two missed free throws and made two in the final minute as Mason County beat Elliott County 66-62 in the first round of the boys' state tournament in Lexington.

Miller's second rebound was tripped out of his hands into teammate Trevor Setty's for a layup with 21 seconds left before Miller made his two free throws with 7.7 seconds to play. He finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Royals (31-4). Setty scored 19 points Thursday night.

Jonathan Ferguson scored 19 points, including five 3-pointers, for Elliott County (26-4), and Ethan Faulkner added 15.

"We knew if we could keep the game close, we could have a chance to win at the end, but they just made some big shots," said Ferguson, whose team had lost 90-61 at Mason County on Feb. 16.

Mason County will play Paducah Tilghman (28-6), a 77-54 first-round winner Thursday night over Greenwood, in a quarterfinal game Friday.

Mason County shot 50.9 percent from the field (27-of-53) to 38.9 percent (21-of-54) for Elliott County, which hit 29.2 percent (7-of-24) from 3-point range.

The game pitted two of the highest-scoring teams in the state during the regular season - Elliott County was No. 1 in the state at 87.3 points per game and Mason County was 12th at 72.4 - but the Royals didn't run away with the rematch.

Mason County led 35-30 at halftime, thanks to 55.2 percent (16-of-29) first-half shooting, and was ahead 43-41 after three quarters.

But the Lions outscored Mason County 16-7 to start the fourth as their crowd roared to life, to lead 57-50 with 4:17 to play.

The Royals rallied, though, behind Setty and Miller. Setty, who missed some time in the second half due to foul trouble, hit three 3s in the fourth quarter. The last of those, with 1:45 to play, gave Mason County the lead for good, 62-59.

"I about jumped out of my pants I wanted to be in there so bad," Setty said.

Then he and Miller made some big plays down the stretch.

"Good players step up, and it was their night tonight," Elliott County coach Rick Mays said.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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