Scott County 11th Region Champions State Tournament Preview
Throughout the season the Scott County Cardinals were labeled as the team to beat not only in the 11th Region but in the entire state of Kentucky. The Cardinals began the season on a tear blowing past any team in their way. The first big test came when Scott County traveled to Myrtle Beach to play in the prestigious Beach Ball Classic. While in South Carolina the Cardinals suffered their first loss of the season, a 1 point loss to Westchester, California out of Los Angeles, a top 10 team in the country at the time. Perhaps their biggest loss at the time was that of senior Mr. Basketball candidate Michael Moreno. Michael suffered a broken foot in a quarterfinal win for the Cardinals and most people thought the end of the run for the Cardinals was near.
After the loss of Moreno the Cardinals ripped off an impressive 15 game winning streak once they returned to the bluegrass state. Scott County entered the final regular season game looking to go undefeated against in state competition with arguably the hardest schedule in Kentucky. Unfortunately, for the Cardinals Paul Laurence Dunbar ended the in state streak and gave these Cardinals their first in state regular season loss since December of 2016! The Cardinals entered postseason play as the 1 seed in the 42nd District and finally got big man Michael Moreno back. In the district championship against a top 5 Henry Clay team the Cardinals fell in a close game in which the Blue Devils seemed to finally crack the Scott County code they had struggled with for so long.
The road got no easier for the Cardinals entering the always tough 11th Region tournament. As a district runner up, Scott County had to travel to Madison Central to begin regional tournament play. The same Madison Central team who had a 13 point 4th quarter lead on the Cardinals earlier in the season they let slip away. Most people around the state of Kentucky viewed this game as the best 1st round Regional tournament matchup anywhere! The Cardinals managed to get by the Indians and Moreno looked to finally have returned to form in his best game since returning from injury. Next up Scott County had to take on a talented Frankfort team who many had picked as a sleeper in the 11th Region tournament. The Panthers had been at the top of the region all season and came in with a top 10 state ranking. Frankfort led by 6 at the half and the game was tied with 2:30 left but as they always do the Cardinals found a way to win and advance to the 11th Region Final for a rematch with Henry Clay. After a back and forth 1st period that ended in a 14-14 tie the Scott County defense clamped down and the rout was on. The Cardinals claimed their 3rd straight 11th region championship with a 20 point win over Henry Clay.
The Cardinals enter the state tournament with a 32-3 record and a state #1 ranking. The first game will be a rematch of last year's state championship game with Covington Catholic. All year these Cardinals have answered the bell in good times and bad. I truly believe this is the year this Cardinals group wins the last one and cuts down the nets in Rupp Arena.
Guard - Diablo Stewart - 15.1 ppg
Guard - Glenn Covington - 13.7 ppg
Guard - Bryce Long - 10.8 ppg
Forward - Michael Moreno - 15.1 ppg 8.6 rpg
PREDICTION: Scott County over Trinity in the State Championship