GAME 3: BOWLING GREEN VS. ELLIOTT COUNTY, 6:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY
Coach: D.G. Sherrill.
Location: Bowling Green.
Litkenhous Rating: 94.4 (No. 8 in state).
Sweet 16 trips: 14th (8-13).
Last trip to State: 2015 (lost to Owensboro 74-58 in final).
What to look for: Many consider Bowling Green — state finalists a year ago — to be one of the favorites in this year’s Sweet 16, losing only to Fern Creek and Ballard in the King of the Bluegrass. The last loss — to Ballard — came on Dec. 21. Since then, the Purples have won 24 straight. Bowling Green has plenty of balance and plenty of athletes. The Purples love to press and push the pace. Against Elliott County, the Purples will try to work use their size advantage and work through their bigger post players. “We have to utilize our size,” said coach D.G. Sherrill.
Key player: In their first game, the Purples will be without Kyran Jones, who is serving the second of a two-game suspension after a scuffle in the regional semifinals. Jones, Terry Taylor and Thomas Booker are being recruited by several mid-major NCAA Division I schools. Perry Ayers is being looked at by NAIA and NCAA Division II schools. Booker, who transferred from Nashville this season, missed 14 games due to a broken hand but is back and healthy.
Coach-speak: “We try to play 9-10 guys a night,” said Sherrill. “We try to play fast and use our athletes.” Sherrill said sometimes what happens in other Sweet 16 games will have more to do what your success than you might think and open up the floodgates for a long run.
2-Deangelo Wilson, 5-10, Jr., 11.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg
12-Jarius Key, 6-5, So., 4.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg
21-Terry Taylor, 6-6, Jr., 15.3 ppg, 11.9 rpg
23-Thomas Booker, 6-3, Sr., 12.2 ppg, 4,8 rpg
25-Perry Ayers, 6-3, Sr., 7.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg
#13-Kyran Jones, 6-6, Jr., 12.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg
# Serving a suspension but will start if Purples advance.
5-Eli Thurman, 6-0, So., 2.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg
14-Tre Jones, 5-10, So., 2.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg
15-Collin Jackson, 6-1, Jr., 2.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg
Coach: Greg Adkins.
Location: Sandy Hook.
Litkenhous Rating: 78.6.
Sweet 16 trips: Fifth (3-4).
Last trip to State: 2015 (lost to Bowling Green 86-44 in first round).
What to look for: Elliott County went through a stretch in late January, when they lost six out of seven. The season turned around after a 76-41 win at East Carter. The Lions haven’t lost since. Elliott County usually plays 9-10 players and love to push the pace. “We do a lot of rotating,” said coach Greg Adkins. “We try to scramble as much as possible. But that didn’t do us too much good against Bowling Green last year.” In last year’s first round, the Purples thumped Elliott County 86-44. Adkins said he knows his team has their hands full. “I think they (Bowling Green) are fantastic. They’re athletic and quick.”
Key player: The Lions top scorer is one of the state’s best freshman in 6-foot-1 Korbin Spencer, who is averaging 17.7 points. “He’s an outstanding freshman basketball player,” Adkins said. “He just plays so hard.” Spencer is shooting 50.1 of his shots
Coach-speak: For the Lions, Adkins said there are two keys for them to be able to play with the favored Purples. “We have to get back on defense and we have to rebound,” he said.
3-Chase Porter, 6-1, Jr., 15.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg
12-Korbin Spencer, 6-1, Fr., 17.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg
23-Landon Griffith, 5-6, Sr., 10.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg
24-Reece Griffith, 5-6, Sr., 7.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg
40-Collin Howell, 6-5, Sr., 9.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg
20-Tanner Dickerson, 5-7, Fr., 1.2 ppg, 0.7 rpg
22-Gage Evans, 5-9, Fr., 2.1 ppg, 0.8 rpg
32-Alex Robinson, 6-4, Sr., 4.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
25-Kobi Whitley, 5-11, Sr., 2.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg
31-Austin Porter, 5-9, Fr., 1.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg