Saturday, March 13, 1999

Scott County nears Ky. boys title




The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON, Ky. — Scott County's dreams of a state title repeat are alive going into the final day of the Sweet Sixteen.

        The Cardinals' heavyweight slugfest with Madison Central turned into a runaway when Central star Marquis Estill went down with a knee injury, and the Cardinals advanced to the state semifinals with an 80-67 win Friday.

        Rick Jones had 26 points and A.W. Hamilton added 20 on a near-perfect shooting performance. The Cardinals opened the second half with a 12-2 run and coasted from there. They will face Paducah Tilghman, which beat Pleasure Ridge Park on a late basket by Chris Wilson, in this morning's first semifinal.

        The other semifinal will pit Henderson County, a double overtime winner over Muhlenberg North, vs. Ballard, which pulled away from undersized Pikeville in the second half of their quarterfinal.

        The winners meet in the state championship game at 8 p.m. tonight.

        The Cardinals (35-1) are looking to repeat as state champions for the first time since Fairdale turned the trick in 1990-91.

        A crowd of 23,965, the second-largest in tournament history, showed up for the battle between state powerhouses and were rewarded with a first half that featured 11 lead changes and a 33-32 Scott County lead at the break.

        But Estill left the game with just over 2:30 left in the second quarter after feeling a pop in his left knee and didn't return from the locker room for the start of the third quarter.

       



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