LEXINGTON —The theme remains the same for McCracken County — another balanced attack, leads to another win.
Noah Dumas’s and Ian Hart’s 14-point scoring efforts, the Mustangs did enough to power on into Friday’s quarterfinal action of the KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16 after upending Bullitt East, 68-56.
McCracken County saw a double-digit lead get cut down to 51-48 with 5:51 left in the fourth quarter before outscoring the Chargers, 17-5, during g the final five minutes.
Max Blackwell added 13 points in the win, and Ian McCune finished with 10 points as the Mustangs shot 26-of-49 from the floor and 8-of-19 from behind the arc.
Collin Powell led Bullitt East with a game-high 22 points and five rebounds while the Chargers finished with a 19-of-47 shooting effort, including going 6-of-19 from 3-point range.
Dumas’s seven points were enough to allow McCracken County to surge to an early 15-11 advantage in the first quarter. The Mustangs struggled from 3-point range (1-for-5) but hit 7-of-15 shot attempts during the period. Brogan’s four-point scoring effort kept Bullitt East close while the Chargers were able to hit 5-of-9 shot attempts.
McCracken County was holding on to a slim 24-22 lead before going on an 11-0 run to close out the first half. Blackwell connected on consecutive 3-pointers while McCune’s 3-pointer with 43 seconds remaining pushed McCracken County’s lead to, 33-22. Dumas’s jumper at the two-second mark gave the Mustangs a 35-22 lead at halftime.
Bullitt East was scoreless during the final 2:53 of the half while misfiring on 0-for-6 shot attempts. The Chargers were 9-of-21 from the floor while McCracken County finished 15-of-30 in the first half while hitting 5-of-13 shot attempts from 3-point range.
Just when it looked as if the Mustangs were going to pull away, Bullitt East continued to make runs at the Mustangs’ lead. The Chargers went on an 8-0 run to pull to within 39-32 but a 3-pointer by Blackwell extended McCracken County’s lead to 44-32 with 3:49 remaining in the third quarter.
Bullitt East closed out the period with a 10-5 run, and the Chargers only trailed 49-42 entering the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs saw their lead cut to 51-48 with 5:51 remaining in regulation before pulling away to pick up the win.
2021 KHSAA Boys Sweet 16
at Rupp Arena
McCracken County 68, Bullitt East 56
McCracken County 15 20 14 19 68
Bullitt East 11 11 20 14 56
McCracken County (68) — Dumas 14, Tilford 5, Hart 14, Brower 7, McCune 10, Blackwell 13, McCune 5.
Bullitt East (56) — Pruitt 5, Brogan 13, Powell 22, Blanford 4, Blanford 8, Davis 2, Davenport 2.