What We Learned: Day 1 of the Sweet Sixteen

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Kentucky

Posted On: 03/14/18 11:43 PM

Wednesday at Rupp Arena had 2 unbelievable games, one tight battle between mountain teams and one blowout. Here are my five biggest takeaways from the day’s action.

1. Corbin won without much from Andrew Taylor. And that is a very good thing for the Hounds. The 3rd leading scorer all time in Kentucky history, Taylor is a walking bucket. Until today. Andrew had only 15 points on 6/13 shooting from the field and was only 3-6 from the free throw line. Chandler Stewart led Corbin with 16 points and Chase Sanders added 10 points and 11 rebounds. As a team, the Hounds only shot 38.5% from the field and 3-14 from 3. If they’re going to upset Trinity on Friday, they will need to torch the nets.

2. Trinity vs Scott County lived up to it’s lofty expectations. While the game was not particularly pretty, it was close throughout and featured heroics from Cooper Robb (video courtesy of Evan Dennison):

Scott County’s Lorenzo Williams appeared to get away with a fairly obvious foul on the last Trinity possession. The battle between Trinity and Scott County resembled a heavyweight prize fight with big play after big play. Michael Moreno had a monster game for the victorious Cardinals with 24 points and 9 rebounds while Jayden Scrubb ended his high school career with a team high 16 points and 8 rebounds.

3. Warren Central is a threat to win it all. The Dragons have been up and down a bit over the course of the season. Against Southwestern, Skyelar Potter was dynamic. Potter scored 23 points and pulled down 8 rebounds on the way to a 68-44 win. Coach Unseld’s team will next take on Pikeville in what is a winnable game for them before tackling the mammoth task of beating either Corbin or Scott County in a potential Final 4 game.

4. John Hardin’s lack of depth finally caught up to them. Mr Basketball finalist Mickey Pearson fouled out in the first overtime. Malik Wright fouled out in the second overtime. Without it’s two best players, John Hardin finally fell to a Pikeville team that battled back and won a game in which they were big underdogs. It took a big 3 from Senior Wyatt Battaille to get to overtime in the first place:

Senior guard Evan Rhodes hit 3 free throws to send the game to Triple OT and then the Panthers held on to score the upset over John Hardin. Up next, Pikeville will have another steep task as they take on Warren Central on Friday afternoon.

5. If the rest of the tournament is like Wednesday, it could go down as the best Sweet Sixteen ever. Three of the four games Wednesday were super competitive. Two went down to the wire, including only the fourth Triple OT game in KHSAA State Tournament history. Thursday’s games offer more compelling match-ups and opportunities for huge upsets by Apollo or Boyd County. The tournament is off to a great start and with as much talent as is left in the field, there is potential for a historic Sweet Sixteen.