March, 14,2018- Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY
Game 1 Recap Estill County falls to Corbin in the school’s first ever trip to the Sweet 16.
Estill County dream season of playing in the Boys State Tournament become a reality today as the Engineers took the court of Rupp Arena for the first time in school history. Estill is representing the 14th Region as the Region Champion. Covering the Engineers throughout the post season, I am well aware how much the basketball team means to the residents of Estill County.
Estill County come into the season with one goal, making it to Rupp Arena. Every game since Early December, Estill County has broke the huddle with the saying “Rupp Arena”. Rupp Arena was the dream of not just the student athletes, but the entire county of Irvine. When Estill County defeated 14th Region nemesis Knott County Central last week the team has experienced the reality of being Region Champs. Estill County was escorted from Perry County to Estill County 2 hours away with an entourage of local Police and fire trucks following the Engineers 14th Region Victory. The team is the inspiration of the county and has captured the hearts of Basketball fans across the commonwealth. People root for an underdog and the magic of realizing your ultimate dream will not be soon forgotten in the town of Irvine, KY. The team has received a great welcome home from the citizens of Irvine, appearing in several pep rallies at the school and visiting residents at a local nursing home, where many of the student athletes have relatives living, but are unable to attend the ball games due to their medical conditions.
Estill County entered tonight’s contest with a 26 and 7 record overall and Champions of the 14th Region. Estill County is taking on a solid Corbin Red Hound team from the 13th Region. Corbin entered tonight’s contest with a 25 and 7 record overall and is slightly favored in the game. Corbin would be a daunting challenge for any one as the team regularly competes against some of the best teams in the Mountains. Knox County, Clay County, South Laurel, and Harlan County are all opponents of the Corbin Red hounds competing in the always competitive 13th Region. Estill is a team that plays with heart, but the size and athleticism of the Red hounds are expected to cause matchup problems for the Engineers.
Corbin gets the tip and scores on the first possession as #10 Chase Sanders connects with a corner 3 point- basket. Estill is playing nervous on the opening possession and Corbin forces a turnover scoring 2 pts in transition. Corbin leads 5-0 with 7:10 remaining in the first quarter. Estill County responds with a 4-0 run and the Engineers start to get over the initial anxiety. Estill County relies on 14th Region Player of the year #22 Caleb Bonny to settle down the team, Bonny is also expected to carry the scoring load of the game if Estill County is to win the game. Corbin relies on #21 Andrew Taylor to carry the scoring production. At the end of the first quarter Corbin leads 15- 10 over Estill County.
Corbin continues to press the Engineers in the second quarter, forcing early turnovers leading to baskets in transaction. Corbin #15 Chandler Stewart steals the ball and scores 2 pts on the layup, is fouled and makes the free throw. Corbin grows the lead to eight points 18-10 with 5:58 remaining in the second quarter. Estill County responds with a 10- 0 run over the next four minutes and twenty- five seconds. Estill County fans are ecstatic, with the band playing and fans on their feet. Estill County leads 20- 18 with 1:50 remaining in the half. Caleb Bonny puts the team on his back, makes several 3 Pt baskets and is the leader on the court. Estill County is playing like a team that expects to win the game, not just happy to be at the Sweet 16. Corbin is now taking Estill County serious as the team calls a time out, trying to get the Red Hounds to respond. Corbin Responds with a 5-0 run, retaking the lead 23-20 with 1:10 remaining in the half. Estill County crashes the boards on the next offensive possession as #34 Lane Doty grabs an offensive rebound on the Bonny miss. Doty scores 2 pts on the put back attempt and is fouled on the shot. Doty makes the free throw and the game is tied @23 with 51 seconds remaining in the first half. The score remains tied @ 23 as the team’s head to the locker room.
Estill County opens the second half with a scoring possession as Lane Doty scores one point on the free throw attempt. Estill County leads 24- 23 with 7:44 remaining in the 3rd quarter. The lead would be Estill County’s only lead of the quarter as Corbin scores on the next possession, retaking a one -point lead 25-24. Corbin starts to build on the lead as #15 Chandler Stewart connects with consecutive free throws. Stewarts impressive play continues as he connects with a three- point basket with 5:19 remaining in the quarter. Corbin leads Estill County 34-26. Estill County is not going away without a fight and once again the Engineers cut the lead with a 5-0 run. 3:45 remains Corbin 34- Estill County 31. Corbin scores the next 4 points and once again the Red hounds have a seven- point lead 38-31 with 2:09 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Estill County responds with a 3-0 run to finish the quarter as Caleb Bonny scores 2 pts on the layup in transition, is fouled on the shot. At the end of the third quarter Corbin leads 38-34 over Estill County.
In the final quarter Estill County continues to compete as the Engineers keep it close for the first part of the fourth quarter. The Estill County Engineers are a gritty team and has faced good teams with a large deficit before. Just last week the Engineers overcome a 9- point deficet against Cordia in the 4th Quarter, forcing overtime and ultimately won the game, putting the Engineers in the 14th Region Championship game. With 4:32 remaining in the game Estill trails 42-40. The point would be the last point of the night of the night for the Engineers and Corbin finishes the game with an 8-0 run. Corbin defeats Estill County 50-40 advancing to the quarter finals against the winner of the next game between The Trinity Shamrocks and the Scott County Cardinals.
Estill County’s magical season is now over. Estill County drops on the season with a record of 26- 8 overall. The Engineer’s began the season with the goal of making it to Rupp Arena, that dream become a reality for the people of Estill County. This is a season Estill County players, coaches and fans will never forget. Congrats on a wonderful season to the Estill County Engineers, you achieved your quest of capturing the Regional Championship and taking the team to Rupp Arena. It has been a privilege covering your team, as the team competed with heart, dignity, and believed in yourself to achieve the impossible.
Corbin advances to the Quarter Finals of the Sweet 16 taking on perineal favorite the Scott County Cardinals. Scott County defeats Trinity on a last second 3 pt shot, advancing with a one- point victory 54-53. Corbin improves on the season with an overall record of 26 and 7. This has been my first time covering Corbin this year, and I’m really impressed with the Corbin program. The Team is a mountain team and is similar to Estill County in terms of competing with heart and dignity. The Road to the semi finals of the Sweet 16 will be a difficult one, facing the #1 team in the State Scott County Cardinals who enter the matchup with only one loss on the season and an overall record of 35 wins and only one loss.
Stats- provided by KHSAA
Corbin Red Hounds 50
- #10 Chase Sanders 10 points, 11 rebounds, 1 foul, 4 assists, 2 turnovers, palying 31 minutes.
- #15 Chandler Stewart 16 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, playing 28 minutes.
- #21 Andrew Taylor 15 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 turnovers, 5 steals, 4 fouls, playing 29 minutes.
- #32 Matthew Taylor 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 foul, playing 26 minutes.
- #04 Cameron Maguet 1 point, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 2 steals, 4 fouls, playing 25 minutes.
- #24 Ethan Wine 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 foul, playing 10 minutes.
- Total Rebounds 29, 16 defensive, 13 offensive.
- Free throws 7-12
- Field Goal % game 20-52 shooting 38.5 %
Estill County Engineers 40
- #40 Andrew Doty 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, 2 fouls, playing 31 minutes
- #34 Lane Doty 6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks, playing 11 minutes.
- #04 Joe Benton 6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 8 turnovers, 2 fouls, playing 29 minutes.
- #05 Kevin Richardson 7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 3 steals, 4 fouls, playing 32 minutes.
- #22 Caleb Bonny 14 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 turnovers, 1 block, 2 fouls, playing 32 minutes.
- Total Rebounds 23, 1 offensive, 22 defensive.
- Free throws 8-12
- Field Goal % game 14-27 shooting 51.9%