Must-see matchups

Posted On: 03/31/21 8:55 AM

The Road to Rupp comes to it’s conclusion this weekend. We’re down to 16 teams remaining and the tournament tips off on Wednesday morning. Here’s a quick rundown and prediction for all 4 games on Thursday.

Muhlenberg County vs. Highlands:

The Basics: The Mustangs are 19-1 and have quietly rattled off 16 wins in a row. Highlands survived the 9th region gauntlet and are 26-4 this season and winners of 17 in a row. Someone’s streak ends on Thursday.

Muhlenberg Players to Watch: Third region player of the year  Nash Divine Nash Divine 6'0" | PG Muhlenberg County | 2021 State KY is the leader of the team while  Trey Lovell Trey Lovell 5'11" | PG Muhlenberg County | 2022 State KY  shares the backcourt with Divine. Cole Vincent also chips in double figure scoring every night out.

Highlands Players to Watch: They have 4 players averaging double figures on the season but  Sam Vinson Sam Vinson 6'3" | CG Highlands | 2021 State KY is their MVP. The 9th region player of the year is headed to NKU but would like to make a deep run at Rupp first.  Luke Muller Luke Muller 6'6" | SG Highlands | 2021 State KY is a sharpshooter on the wing while William Herald and Zachary Barth also average double figures.

 

Bullitt East vs McCracken County:

The BasicsThe Chargers surprised many when they won the 6th region after an up and down regular season but they are peaking at the right time. The Mustangs are basically a dynasty in the first region at this point. Since the school opened, they seem to have won every region crown.

Bullitt East Players to Watch: The leading scorer and rebounder on the roster is Junior  Tucker Blanford Tucker Blanford 6'6" | PF Bullitt East | 2022 State KY . His older brother, Will Blanford, is second on the team in scoring Collin Powell and Camron Brogan also kick in on the offensive end for Coach Couch’s team.

McCracken Players to Watch: Senior point guard  Noah Dumas Noah Dumas 5'10" | PG McCracken County | 2021 State KY has been the stabilizing force for Coach Brower’s squad all season but  Ian Hart Ian Hart 6'7" | PF McCracken County | 2022 State KY has emerged this year.  Ian McCune Ian McCune 6'3" | SF McCracken County | 2021 State KY and Brant Brower are solid contributors who are averaging double figures on the season.

 

Boyle County vs Paintsville:

The Basics: Paintsville won the 15th in overtime with a tip-in at the buzzer while Boyle avenged a district title loss by taking the regional title on Lincoln County’s home floor.

Boyle County Players to Watch: Boyle boasts a balanced attack as Luke Shepperson, Jagger Gillis, Hagan Webb Hagan Webb 6'2" | SF Boyle County | 2022 State KY and Owen Barnes Owen Barnes 6'3" | SG Boyle County | 2023 KY all score 8.5 points per game or more but the best of the bunch is Junior  Luke Imfeld Luke Imfeld 6'1" | SG Boyle County | 2022 State KY . Luke averages almost 19 points per game and does a little bit of everything for the Rebels.

Paintsville Players to Watch: Junior  Colby Fugate Colby Fugate 6'3" | SF Paintsville | 2022 State KY is the engine behind the Tigers offense. His younger brother Connor Fugate is also a double figure scorer. Braxton Tharp is another player to keep an eye on for the 15th region champs.

 

Knox Central vs Ashland Blazer:

The Basics: Two high powered offenses, Ashland won the 16th in OT to get back to Rupp Arena after their perfect season ended abruptly when Covid cancelled the state tournament last year. Knox also returns after winning the 13th in 2020.

Knox Central Players to Watch:  Jevonte Turner Jevonte Turner 6'2" | CG Knox Central | 2021 State KY  is one of the top available players in Kentucky and could see a huge stock boost depending on how things go for the Panthers at Rupp. Freshman Gavin Chadwell was the regional tournament MVP and could be a difference maker for Knox at state.

Ashland Players to Watch: The Tomcats are loaded with scoring but  Colin Porter Colin Porter 5'10" | PG Ashland | 2023 State KY  gets most of the headlines.  Cole Villers Cole Villers 6'2" | SG Ashland Blazer | 2022 State KY is the leading scorer at 23 points per game and  Ethan Sellars Ethan Sellars 6'1" | SG Ashland Blazer | 2022 State KY kicks in 14 per contest. Senior  Sean Marcum Sean Marcum 6'8" | C Ashland Blazer | 2021 State KY will matchup against Chadwell down low and hopes to give a post presence to Ashland for the weekend.

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