Southwestern reaches Boys Sweet Sixteen semifinals
Southwestern became the first 12th Region boys team to reach the Boys Sweet Sixteen semifinals since 2009 when the Warriors defeated Rowan County 67-57 in a quarterfinal today in Lexington.
The Warriors outscored the Vikings 22-12 in the fourth quarter to win a game that matched Southwestern coach Steve Wright against former assistant Shawn Thacker, who worked under Wright at South Laurel before becoming the head coach at Somerset. They advanced to a 10 a.m. Saturday semifinal against No. 1 Trinity. (Click here for the box score and here for the play-by-play.)
Southwestern sealed its win by hitting 20 of 24 free throws in the second half after missing five of 13 in the first. David Kapinga, who scored a team-high 18 points, went 7 for 10 and Cody Epperson went 7 for 8 at the foul line.
The Warriors trailed 47-45 with 5:41 to play before scoring 13 unanswered points in just less than 4 minutes, including nine at the free-throw line.
Justin Edwards had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Epperson scored 13 points for Southwestern. Kapinga also had seven assists. D.J. Townsend led Rowan with 19 points.
Southwestern is the first 12th Region team to reach the state tournament semis since West Jessamine made its run to the final four in 2009 and the first Pulaski County school to do so since Pulaski County won the championship in 1986.
The Warriors will face No. 1 Trinity, which defeated George Rogers Clark 62-39 on Friday without starters James Quick and Darryl Hicks, who were suspended for a violation of team rules but are expected to play Saturday.
Also in the semifinals is Oldham County and its coach, former Lincoln County assistant Jason Holland. Holland has taken the Colonels to the tournament for the second straight year, and they will play Scott County today for the other spot in Saturday night’s title game.