RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) They took the hardest route possible to Rupp Arena, but Scott County is going back to the Sweet 16 after smothering Henry Clay 58-38 in the boys’ 11th region championship at McBrayer Arena.
“It’s certainly sweet. It really is,” said Scott County Billy Hicks who will be making his 13th trip to the State Tournament and his 12th as coach of the Cardinals. “They (Henry Clay) really rubbed it in our kids’ faces last Friday night and had a heck of a celebration at our expense. “
Henry Clay beat Scott County 78-71 in the finals of the 42nd district tournament held at Henry Clay High School.
The Cardinals, who were ranked No. 1 most of the season, forced the Blue Devils to shoot just 27% for the game. Tournament MVP Michael Moreno said this matchup one week later was completely different. “We were looking forward to this. We weren’t overlooking anyone, but we wanted this for a really long time. If felt like Friday (the night of the district finals) was forever ago and this feeling is awesome."
After the first quarter ended, the score was tied 14-14, but Scott County allowed the Blue Devils just 24 points the rest of the way.
“We were going to play defense tonight for 32 minutes,” said Hicks. “I could see it in their eyes. We never said a word at the team meal, nobody ever spoke. In the locker room before the game, nobody every spoke. This team was ready to play tonight.”
Moreno led the way with 13 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocks in just 20 minutes on the court. Another senior, Bryce Long, pitched in eleven points with Terrin Hamilton scoring 13.
Scott County is the first 11th region team win three consecutive regional titles since Dunbar did it from 1963-65. The Cardinals are also the first to advance to the Sweet 16 and will play the champion of the 9th region tournament either Beechwood or Covington Catholic.