Boys’ Sweet 16 | Warren Central seeking to end top-ranked Scott County’s season
LEXINGTON, Ky.— Warren Central continues to take huge strides towards capturing its first state title since 2004 and second overall in school history, and the Dragons are just one win away from being back in the state title game for the first time in 13 years.
But the Dragons—who advanced to the semifinals of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys Sweet Sixteen® Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2007 with a 74-57 victory over Pikeville on Friday afternoon—will face their biggest challenge of the season yet when they square off against 11th Region champion and top-ranked Scott County on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. (ET).
The Cardinals (36-1) are yet to lose to a Kentucky school this season, and Scott County took care of business in its first two games of the state tournament.
Coach Billy Hicks’ squad pulled out a thrilling 54-53 victory over Louisville Trinity on Wednesday afternoon as a 3-pointer by Cooper Robb with 5.8 seconds left in regulation kept Scott County’s remarkable season afloat. The Cardinals then held off a feisty Corbin team in the quarterfinals, building up a 20-point lead in the quarterfinals on the way to a 73-62 win over the Redhounds.
Scott County is led by 6-6 junior forward Michael Moreno, who pours in 20.4 points and grabs 10.9 rebounds per night for the Cardinals. Moreno is a three-star prospect that already holds offers from Bradley, Eastern Kentucky and Iowa, according to 247 Sports.
Diablo Stewart and Robb tally 11.9 and 13.9 points per game, respectively, for Scott County, who averages the second-highest offensive output in the state with 78.4 points per outing.
It’s certainly no secret that the Cardinals can fill up the stat sheet, but Warren Central is a team that is firing on all cylinders as the Dragons were faced with little resistance in their first two games of the tournament. Central rolled over Southwestern 68-44 in the first round before using a fast start to coast to a 74-57 victory over Pikeville on Friday afternoon—the win over the Panthers breaking the school record for most wins in a single season.
Warren Central (31-5) is led by the one-two punch of seniors Jordan Cousin and Skyelar Potter, who have combined for 78 of the Dragons’ 142 points in the state tournament. The Dragons have also seen great play from its other starters: Micale Mee (10.1 PPG), Tayshaun Bibb (6.8 PPG) and Jamale Barber (4.2 PPG).
Senior Kemal Esmic provides a spark off the bench for the Dragons, who utilize Esmic for both his defensive and offensive abilities. Esmic scored eight points off the pine in the win over Pikeville on Friday.
Tip-off between Scot County and Warren Central is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (ET) at Rupp Arena. STBNTV.com will have an audio broadcast of the game, with Joe Brunk doing play-by-play and Miles Schroader providing color commentary. Nathan Yazdani will have courtside interviews and follow our Twitter page (@SportingTimes) for live in-game updates and game story.