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Sweet 16: Campbell Co. Falls to Johnson Central in Final Seconds

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association/Whitaker Bank Boys Basketball Sweet 16 is underway at Rupp Arena in Lexington. The River City News sports reporter Bryan Burke is in Lexington covering all the action through Sunday's championship game.

Here are recaps from the first round games on Wednesday:

Johnson Central 58, Campbell County 56

In a thriller, Johnson Central turned the tide of the game late with their pressure defense and clutch shooting as they squeaked past Campbell County. 58-56, in the first round of the Boys Sweet 16.

The Camels ran the clock down to under 10 seconds with the score tied at 56, when guard Corey Holbrook lost the ball to Johnson Central's Dalton Adkins who sprinted down the court and slipped it in off of the glass with just under five seconds left. The basket gave the Golden Eagles a two-point lead and guard Deandre Jackson was unable to get off the final shot as time expired.

The first half was won by the Camels, fueled by the inside presence of center, Matt Wilson. The sophomore scored nine first-half points and finished the game with 16. Wilson also dominated the glass, collecting an astounding 21 rebounds.

A twelve-point lead, though, wasn't enough as Johnson Central used their own big front line to block 11 shots and score 32 points in the paint. Johnson Central's tallest player, 6'9'' center, Shane Hall, was somewhat neutralized by Wilson, but that left no one big enough to contend with 6'6'' forward, Kyle Gullet, who had 22 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.

The biggest difference in the game, however, was the full-court pressure that Johnson County applied down the stretch. The Camels' back-court played well with Deandre Jackson scoring on athletic takes to the rim and with Corey Holbrook knocking down late three-pointers, but their turnovers when faced with the full-court press during clutch-time proved devastating. The defense rattled Campbell County, and the guard tandem combined for eight of the team's 14 turnovers.

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Hopkinsville 83, South Oldham 65

Hopkinsville, powered by senior guard Tra Edwards, had no problem moving past South Oldham, 83-65.

Edwards was sensational, finishing with a game-high 30 points and keeping his team in a comfortable lead throughout the game. Edwards showed a nice left hand as he consistently got good looks from that side of the court. Senior point guard, Demarius Henry, got the party started for the Tigers as he nailed three shots from behind the arc in the first quarter to end the period with 12 points and giving his team a 23-15 lead.

Hopkinsville stayed in control as Edwards attacked the rim time and again, racking up South Oldham fouls and scoring from the free-throw line. The Tigers reached the charity stripe 17 times in the first half compared to the Dragons' six attempts.

South Oldham senior guard, Kyle Young, provided a spark of energy and had 10 points by halftime, but his energetic play also led him to foul trouble as he already had three coming out of the locker room at the half.

In the third quarter, Edwards cooled down but was given a lift by senior forward, Quan Poindexter, who finished with 19 points and was active both on the boards and in the passing lanes. When he scored on a break-away dunk off of a steal midway through the fourth quarter, it gave the Tigers a 60-43 lead, and the game was all but over.

Trinity 55, Owensboro 41

Troubled by the immense size of Trinity, Owensboro found scoring nearly impossible, as they fell short 55-41 in the first-round.

Senior center, Ray Spalding, didn't have to do much on the offensive end as he only finished with seven points but his four blocks, three steals and skyscraper presence inside frustrated Owensboro to the tune of 26 percent shooting in the game. Opposing center, Justin Miller, used his wide frame well and found some scoring chances, finishing with 11 points and forcing the 6'10'' Spalding to the bench for stretches with foul trouble, but only point guard Darion Marrow with 13, and sixth-man Jalen Kelly with 12, were able to seriously contribute on the offensive end. It was a bit of a three-man show as the rest of the team combined for only five points.

For the Shamrocks, senior forward Craig Owens was the scoring bright spot as he led his team with a modest 13 points but he was all over the floor, demonstrating a great handle for a larger player and a noticeable effort on the glass. Had Owensboro found one more scoring option, they could have hung in there longer, but despite a reasonable final score, the game was never that close.


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Scott County 77, Fleming County 66

Scott County came out fired up and aggressive which at times hurt their cause, but proved to be the difference as they hustled past Fleming County, 77-66, in their first-round matchup of the Boys' Sweet 16.

The Cardinals, led by the coach with the most wins in Kentucky high-school history, Billy Hicks, showed defensive intensity from the get-go as they played the passing lanes masterfully for early steals, but also racked up 12 first half fouls that allowed Fleming County to hang around the game.

“(Fleming County) is good off the dribble,” Coach Hall explained about the fouls. “We had to change the game. It was beyond frustrating.”

Adding to the early frustrations was Scott County senior guard, Trent Gilbert, who started off cold as he went only 1-6 from three-point range in the first half.

“I didn't feel smooth,” Gilbert admitted to the slow start. “I forced my first few shots.”

Fleming County guard Darion Burns was the bright spot for Panthers in the early going. Burns drove hard to the hoop and ended with 10 points on 4-5 shooting before halftime. His offense dried up, however, in the second half as he only ended with 12 for the game.

Because of Burns' disappearance on the score sheet, coupled with Gilbert heating up when it mattered most, the Cardinals were able to build a double-digit lead that they rarely let slip much at all for the rest of the way. Gilbert ended up leading all scores with 30 points, including going 3-4 from deep in the second half. Also providing a helping hand in the fourth quarter was 7'1'' center Raekwon Smith who made inside shots difficult with his size and finished with a double-double, recording 11 points and 10 rebounds.

In the quarter-final round of games on Friday, Hopkinsville (31-2) will play Trinity (30-5) at Noon and Scott County (33-3) will take on Johnson Central (26-6) at 2pm.

Covington Catholic, champions of the 9th Region, takes on Clay County on Thursday at 8 p.m. Live coverage from Bryan Burke will be available at Twitter, @mojokong