Southwestern advances at Boys Sweet Sixteen
The key word in winning ugly is winning, as the Southwestern boys would be happy to attest to after they won the first Boys Sweet Sixteen game in school history today, beating Hopkinsville 52-41 in a first-round game to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals.
They wiped out a nine-point deficit in the second quarter, had a double-digit lead just past the midpoint of the third quarter, then kept a disorganized Hopkinsville team from mounting a serious threat down the stretch.
Southwestern shot 37 percent from the field with 19 turnovers, but Hopkinsville shot just 28.3 percent and had 25 turnovers.
Justin Epperson came off the bench to lead the Warriors with 18 points, going 6 for 7 from the field and 6 for 6 at the free-throw line. Justin Edwards had 10 points and 12 rebounds and David Kapinga also had 10 points for Southwestern.
Southwestern advances to a noon Friday quarterfinal against Rowan County, which defeated North Laurel 64-46. Rowan returns three key players from the team that reached the state finals last year under former Somerset coach Shawn Thacker, who was once an assistant coach at South Laurel under Steve Wright, who is in his first year as Southwestern’s coach.
Got all that? There’s more. The North Laurel team that Rowan defeated is coached by Brad Sizemore, who played at South Laurel under both Wright, who was the head coach, and Thacker, who was Sizemore’s freshman and AAU coach.
And of course, Sizemore made his debut as a head coach last year at Garrard County, where he led the young Golden Lions to a 10-18 record before getting the chance to return to his hometown of London, where he led North Laurel — a former 12th Region team now in the 13th — to its first regional title in his first season. One key addition to Sizemore’s North Laurel staff was Roscoe Denney, who was the last coach to take Danville to the state tournament 22 years ago and a longtime South Laurel assistant under Wright.