Regional review, Wednesday 3/2
News and notes from day 1 of the boys 12th Region Tournament at Lincoln County:
- Southwestern defeated Rockcastle County 63-54; Mercer County defeated Lincoln County 73-66 in overtime. Southwestern (15-16) plays Mercer (22-8) in Monday’s 6 p.m. semifinal.
- The battle between the only two teams in the field with losing records turned into a compelling game as Rockcastle threw everything it had at Southwestern before the Warriors prevailed. Southwestern opened a 25-12 lead early in the second quarter and led 31-20 at halftime, but Rockcastle rallied to tie the game at 46-all with 6:10 remaining. The Rockets, who played well above their 7-23 record, had one shot to take the lead with the score tied at 48-all before the Warriors scored six straight points, beginning with a layup by Justin Epperson that put them in front to stay with 4:22 to play.
- Freshman Justin Edwards led Southwestern with 22 points, followed by Cody Epperson with 18. Josh McKinney scored 17 points for Rockcastle, and Cody Noe added 14.
- The nightcap ended in stunning fashion as Mercer charged past Lincoln late in the fourth quarter and in overtime to send the host Patriots packing. Lincoln was trying to protect a seemingly comfortable lead for the final 4 1/2 minutes, but the Titans took advantage of every mistake the Patriots made.
- Lincoln led 59-50 with about 2 1/2 minutes to play, but the Titans outscored the Patriots 22-7 the rest of the way — 9-1 in the remainder of regulation and 13-6 in overtime. Mercer’s Aaron Lee tied the game at 60-all with a shot from the right block with about 10 seconds left in regulation, and both teams missed shots before time expired. The Titans opened overtime with a basket by Clay Cinnamon and a 3-pointer by Matthew Honchel to take a 65-60 lead, and Lincoln never recovered.
- Honchel led all scorers with 25 points for Mercer, including seven in overtime, and Cinnamon and Lee scored 18 points each. Luke Hill led Lincoln with 20 points, and Zack Hill scored 17 before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
- The first round continues Thursday night as Pulaski County (25-6) plays East Jessamine (22-7) at 6 p.m. and Danville (19-9) faces Wayne County (27-4) at 7:30 p.m. Both games match two teams that did not face each other in the regular season.