Magoffin nets first-ever Sweet 16 win on tourney’s opening day

Published 4:55 pm Thursday, March 21, 2024

By John Henson

Contributing Sports Writer


After watching his team rally from halftime deficits three times in the postseason before even getting to Rupp Arena and the state tournament, Magoffin County coach Scott Castle wasn’t especially concerned when his Hornets found themselves down 25-19 at the break.

“We’ve been a second half team most of the year,” Castle said after Magoffin rallied for a 54-47 in the opening game of the Sweet Sixteen on Wednesday afternoon. “We wanted to speed up the game.”

That’s just what they did as Magoffin pulled within three going into the fourth period and took control with a 14-2 run that extended into the last quarter. Perry hit only three of 13 shots while Magoffin connected on six of nine in the fourth quarter as the Hornetts outscored Perry 19-9.

“It was a terrible first half, but what a second half effort,” Castle said. “It was a total team effort.”

“I attribute a lot of that to the press,:” Perry Central coach Shannon Hoskins said,. “We were taking shots we weren’t taking early and not getting the all inside to Carter (Castle) like we did the first half. I felt we had a good hold on the game until late in the third quarter.”

Castle scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half as he tied Trayton Woods for the team lead in scoring.

Senior guard Aden Barnett paced the 22-13 Hornets with 24 points. Walker Russell and Zane Whitaker added 14 and 13 points, respectively, as the three Hornets accounted for all but three points. Magoffin reserves played only three minutes total in the game as three starters played the entire 32 minutes.

The Commodores ended the season at 22-14 in what Hoskins described as a “rollercoaster year.” The preseason favorite, Perry opened the year at 7-1 but stood at 7-7 on Jan. 2 and lost their most experienced player when Rydge Beverly left the team.

“We started real well, then struggled for a while, then got hot at the right time. This is a great bunch of guys, and I couldn’t be more proud,” Hoskins said. “You always want to be able to end your season at Rupp Arena.

Magoffin County, making its first state tournament appearance in school history, will play the Great Crossing on Friday in the quarterfinals.


Lyon County 45, Ashland Blazer 43

Senior forward Brady Shoulders hit two free throws with 3.7 seconds left to help the Lyons complete a comeback against the 16th Region champs.

Shoulders scored 17 points and Kentucky Mr. Basketball Travis Perry added 16 to lead the 33-3 Lyons, champions of the 2nd Region.

Braxton Jennings scored 16 points and Asher Adkins added 11 to lead the 23-11 Tomcats.

The Lyons will face Adair County in the quarterfinals.


Adair County 72, Marshall County 55

With 62 percent (28 of 45) shooting for the game, Adair County rolled past 1st Region champ Marshall County. Adair blew the game open by hitting 13 of 17 shots in the third quarter (77 percent) to outscore Marshall 30-20.

Isaiah Cochran was one of five in double figures for the 28-7 Indians with 16 points. Dawson Gilbert tossed in 12, followed by Connor Loy and Lane Grant with 11 each and Brayton Coomer with 10.

Alex Staples led the 25-7 Marshals with 13 points. Matthew Langhi and Logan Parker added 12 and 11 points, respectively.


Great Crossing 62, Spencer County 48

The tournament favorite making its first Sweet Sixteen appearance fought off an upset bid by Spencer County after the game was tied heading into the final period. Great Crossing, the 11th Region champs, outscored the Bears 18-4 in the fourth quarter to pull away for the win.

Malachi Moreno, one of the state’s top players, finished with 24 points and 19 rebounds to lead the 35-1 Warhawks. Jeremiah Godfrey added 11 points.

Camden Cox scored 15 points and Luke Ehhardt added 11 for the 8th Region champions.