By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
LEXINGTON — After starting the weekend with five straight wins, a pair of Tri-County middle school teams came one win away from facing off against each other for the 7th grade state championship Sunday.
Whitley County Middle School lost a 45-42 heartbreaker to Meece Middle School after leading in the forth quarter, while Knox Middle School fell to eventual champion Southern Pulaski 46-35.
Whitley County started the day with a 31-26 win over Middlesboro to advance to the elite eight, followed by a 48-39 win over C.A.L. to send them to the final four.
Knox Middle School had to get past Scott County, which they did in the form of a 55-51 win, and Bluegrass Middle to earn the right to face Southern Pulaski.
Despite the losses, both coaches said they were extremely proud of their teams for the way they played over the weekend.
“To come up here and finish 6-1 and make it to the final four is a pretty big deal,” Whitley County coach Michael Petrey said. “When you look at a 64-team tournament and we’re able to do what we did, you have to be proud of these kids.
“As far as I know, no basketball team at Whitley County has ever done anything like this, so that puts it in perspective,” he added.
“My kids played hard and that’s all I asked them to do,” Knox County coach Brad Marsee said. “I knew what we were up against in a team like Southern that hasn’t lost a game in quite a while. You just come in and give it everything and that’s what our kids did."