The process of chasing tickets and getting a place to stay after the afternoon game Thursday in the Kentucky State Boys Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. is ongoing all over Martin County this week after the Cardinals edged favored Pikeville for a seat at the big table in the 15th regional tourney finals last week.
The Cards with big Trey James won the 15th Region in 2020 but did not get to play in Rupp because of the Covid epidemic. Before that, it had been a long dry spell for the Cards who hadn’t won the 15th since 1983 when the then Sheldon Clark Cardinals blazed their way with big Jimmy Dale Turner, John C. Kirk, Ed Slone, Bryan Maynard, Teddy Duncan, Danny Harmon and others.
Going further back, Inez High School won the state championship in 1941 and 1954 so the town and entire county knows what the state tourney fever is all about. Hard to have classes, signs in every store and good lucks all over the place just part of the fever.
BTW, my granddaughter Marlee Grayson is a freshman cheerleader for the Cardinals this year.
When I was a teenager, the principal at Inez High would play state tournament games on the loudspeaker whether we were in it or not…March in Kentucky means basketball and Martin County is all in for their basketball…
Good luck to the Cards whether they win the first game or not, you’ve already made Martin county proud and the rest of us, too… state tourney fever is catching!
We looked at all the stories and, having watched the game on Gearhart Media on Channel 92 with Foothills Cable myself, chose this nice little account by longtime sports writer Teddy Painter who lives in Inez and publishes ‘Mountain Top Sports’ online about sports in the region and beyond…
15TH REGION TOURNAMENT: Cardinals rally past Panthers to claim crown
Martin County turned late Pikeville turnovers into clutch free throws down the stretch and the Cardinals captured the boys’ 15th Region tournament championship, edging the Panthers, 55-53, at the Appalachian Wireless Arena on Monday night.
Martin County, now 24-10, will finally get to play at Rupp Arena. The Cardinals won the region title in 2020, but the tournament was cancelled because of COVID.
Luke Hale finished with a game-high 28 points and Jacob Sturgill added 12.
The Panthers, who saw their season end at 22-8, was led by Rylee Samons and Eli Johnson with 13 points each. Josh Hughes chipped in nine.
Samons, a senior, took a potential game-winning three-point shot as time expired. It rimmed out.
Martin County will play Frederick Douglass on March 17.
(15th Region championship)
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
PV (22-8)……12 13 16 12 – 53
MC (24-10)…14 10 15 16 – 55
Pikeville (53) – Rylee Samons 2(2) 3-4 13; Eli Johnson 2(2) 3-4 13; Heath Jarrell 2 0-0 4; Josh Hughes 3(1) 0-0 9; Charlie Fitzer 6 0-2 12; and Ian Onskt 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16(5) 6-10 53.
Martin County (55) – Dray Duff 1(1) 1-2 6; Luke Hale 4(3) 11-15 28; Brayden McKenzie 1(2) 1-4 9; Jacob Sturgill 3(2) 0-0 12. Totals: 9(8) 13-21 55.
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