PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) -- In a 15th Region Tournament that everyone called "wipe open," the Johnson Central Golden Eagles prevailed, making it the first team in school history to make back-to-back appearances to the Sweet 16.
"We set school history here at Johnson Central. That says a lot about the kids we have, the coaches and our system," says Johnson Central head coach Tommy McKenzie.
"It means a lot because we just made school history," says Johnson Central junior forward Shane Hall, who was crowned 15th Region Tournament MVP. "We're the first team to go back-to-back and I really like my teammates a lot."
Mackenzie says his team played a difficult 2012-13 schedule, and weathered the storm.
"We put our team through the gauntlet this year. We played such a tough schedule," says McKenzie. "We've played five or six teams that have already punched their ticket to the Sweet 16. We knew we were battle-tested. It was just a matter of us going through with what we started at the beginning of the year."
Returning the core of their team from last season that made the trip to Rupp, the Golden Eagles are a year older, with more experience under their belt.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," says Golden Eagles guard Dalton Adkins. "Some people don't even get the opportunity to go once. We just wanna get down there and win some games and have fun."
The road to Rupp was a long and bumpy one for Johnson Central, but these Golden Eagles are hoping the ride isn't over just yet.