BG meets Scott High-Perry Co. Central winner in Saturday's semifinals at 6:30 p.m. (ET)
LEXINGTON – Bowling Green entered Friday’s Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys Sweet Sixteen Tournament quarterfinal matchup with Scott County knowing that it would be a tough battle, but it simply continued to play its style of basketball and had no trouble with the Cardinals, winning 68-53 to advance to the semifinals for the third time in the last four years.
The Purples (34-2) opened the contest with all of the momentum, but allowed Scott County (31-6) to come back with numerous runs throughout the first half. BG sealed the deal by outscoring the Cardinals 18-6 in the fourth quarter.
“That was probably the most complete fourth quarter we’ve played,” BG head coach D.G. Sherrill said. “Scott County really turned the heat up and we had to do a lot of things that we hadn’t done in a while.”
Terry Taylor had himself another big outing, scoring 20 points on a 50 percent shooting mark (9-of-18) and grabbing 14 rebounds while Deangelo Wilson finished with 20 points of his own.
Along with Taylor and Wilson, Zion Harmon added 16 points and four assists.
In its loss, Scott County had four different players score in double figures in Michael Moreno (15), Bryce Long (14) and Cooper Robb and Cooper Watts (10), but it wasn’t enough to get the victory.
Bowling Green will take on the Scott High-Perry County Central winner on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. (ET).
The Purples came out of the gates fired up and ready to go.
At the 5:04 mark of the opening quarter, Bowling Green held an early 5-0 lead, as Scott County was 0-of-5 from the field. Scott began to find a rhythm soon after and outscored BG 16-14 throughout the remainder of the period, but was still down 19-16 after one.
Taylor nailed a three-pointer from the left corner with 34 seconds left, but Robb scored inside just before the horn sounded to keep it a three-point affair entering the second.
With 4:18 remaining in the first half, Harmon connected on a deep ball and increased the Purples’ lead to 26-18 before Scott County scored inside to cut BG’s advantage to 26-20. After two quarters, Bowling Green went into the locker room up 33-27, as Taylor’s three at the buzzer rimmed out.
At the break, Taylor had 11 points and eight rebounds to lead BG while Robb had 10 points to pace Scott County. The Purples went 12-of-27 (44.4 percent) from the field while the Cardinals shot 50 percent (13-of-26).
The second half was one the packed Rupp Arena crowd enjoyed.
Scott County showed it wanted to make a run early, as it was outscoring Bowling Green, 13-9, at the 3:42 mark of the third. The Cardinals went on to score 20 points to the Purples’ 17 in the quarter and trailed by just three at 50-47 entering the fourth after Long splashed a three just before the horn.
“We just stayed focused and kept our heads straight,” Wilson said. “We did everything the coaches said and what they drew up for us and it was really our defensive focus this game.”
Bowling Green didn’t mess around in the final period.
Taylor scored under the goal to begin the fourth and then Harmon made three free-throws to go up 55-49 with 4:32 remaining. The Purples soon made it 61-53 and never allowed Scott County another point, as they recorded their 27th-straight victory.
“It’s very humbling and we’re a little overwhelmed right now,” Sherrill stated. “You get to come up here and represent your district and region and you just take it one game at a time. To be in the Final Four again is pretty humbling.”