The Lions of Boyd County are making their first trip to Rupp Arena since 2000, a statement that sounds surreal given their success isn't the 1980's and especially in the 90's. The path was anything but easy, though. The Lions point guard, Blake Stewart, missed the semifinal game due to illness, but managed to play, and play well in the championship contest, although showing obvious signs of fatigue and sickness. In addition, he suffered a rolled ankle in the fourth quarter of the championship before returning to the game to handle the ball in the most crucial minutes. If that wasn't enough, Boyd County's Reese Robinson injured his shoulder in the semifinal and missed the championship contest. Through all of this, the Lions remained solid and steady in their play behind the play of 5 other players lead by Gunner Short, the eventual regional MVP. The biggest margin of victory in the region was 6, in the championship game against Ashland. In a matchup reminiscent of the late 90's Boyd and Ashland squared off for the 5th time this season. The Lions and Tomcats were the best two teams in the region from the beginning of the season to the last game. The region tournament, however, was a slate of close games from the first round to the championship. A 9 point victory by the Tomacts was the largest margin of victory, but that, even, was an overtime contest against Raceland. The Lions have been consistent all year, but they face a tough foe in the first round with 6th Region Champion Fern Creek. With wins over Trinity and Cov Catholic on their resume this season, the Lions will definitely have their hands full. The future for Boyd, Ashland and several other teams looks bright for the 16th region with several young players making strong contributions this year, most notably Villers from Ashland and Stewart from Boyd County. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a resurgence for the region in becoming more competitive statewide. The Lions play Fern Creek at 1:30 on Thursday.