LEXINGTON — Elizabethtown showed why many consider the Panthers as one of the favorites to cut down the nets Saturday night at Rupp Arena after cruising past 14th Region champion Knott Central, 87-59, during first-round action of the KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16 on Wednesday.

Fifth Region Player of the Year Jaquais Franklin was one of five Panther players to score in double figures, finishing with 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the floor while tallying seven rebounds and seven assists. Alandre Murphy scored 15 points while Khia Sherrard added 14 points and Kam Sharrard and Camden Williams each finished with 13 points apiece.

Elizabethtown (20-2) shot 53.8 percent from the floor (35-of-65), and forced the Patriots to turn the ball over 20 times, leading to 34 points for the Panthers.

Josh McGuire led Knott Central with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Colby Napier added 13 points. The Patriots connected on 26-of-49 shot attempts, including a 6-of-15 effort from 3-point range. They were outrebounded, 32-22.

Elizabethtown wasted little time taking control of the game by jumping out to a 25-12 lead in the first quarter. The Panthers knocked down 9-of-17 shot attempts in the period with Franklin scoring 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting during the period. Khia Sherrad added seven points while Kam Sherrard scored four points.

Knott Central was its own worst enemy during the game’s first eight minutes, turning the ball over six times, leading to 11 Elizabethtown points.

Elizabethtown extended its lead to 49-28 at halftime after turning in a 20-of-35 shooting effort in the first half. Franklin poured in 14 points during the first 16 minutes while Khia Sherrard added 10 points. The Patriots connected on 13-of-28 shot attempts but turned the ball over 12 times, leading to 23 points for the Panthers.

Elizabethtown put the game away in the final 32 minutes. The Panthers built a 70-43 lead going into the fourth quarter before cruising to a 28-point win.

KHSAA Boys Sweet 16

At Rupp Arena

First Round

Elizabethtown, Knott Central

Elizabethtown  27 22 21  17 87

Knott Central   12 16 15  16  59

Elizabethtown (87) — Murphy 15, Franklin 25, Kh. Sherrard 16, Ka. Sherrard 13, Williams 11, Moberly 7.

Knott Central (59) — Damron 5, Napier 13, Slone 5, McGuire 21, Shepherd 2, Slone 4, Huff 5, Eversole 4.

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