LEXINGTON — Sam Vinson and the Highlands Bluebirds didn’t waste any time putting Muhlenberg County away during an 88-60 blowout win in Thursday’s first-round action of the 2021 KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16.

The senior guard scored a game-high 31 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the floor, which included a thunderous dunk in the fourth quarter, and a 6-for-7 effort from 3-point range. Luke Muller followed with 21 points and eight rebounds along with a 3-for-4 effort from behind the arc while the Bluebirds hit 30-of-48 shot attempts from the floor, including a red-hot 12-of-18 effort from 3-point territory.

The Mustangs (19-2) came into the game riding a 16-game win streak along with being ranked third in the state in scoring defense (43.5) but Kevin Listerman’s Bluebirds (27-4) were able to surpass 43 points in the first half.

Nash Devine led Muhlenberg County with 21 points while the Mustangs hit 24-of-60 from the floor and only 8-of-25 from behind the arc. The Mustangs turned the ball over 16 times and were outrebounded, 35-28.

Highlands came out red-hot in the first quarter, jumping out to a 7-0 lead while building a 27-13 advantage behind13 first-quarter points by Vinson. He scored 13 points while Highlands hit 10-of-16 shot attempts from the floor.

Vinson added 11 more points in the second quarter and finished with 24 points in the first half. Highlands hit 15-of-27 shot attempts and increased its lead to a commanding 46-30 at halftime.

The Bluebirds were on fire from 3-point range, hitting 7-of-11 from behind the arc while Muhlenberg County hit 12-of-29 shot attempts with Nash Devine leading the way with 15 points.

Highlands put the game away in the third quarter, outscoring the Mustangs, 25-12. The Bluebirds took a 71-42 lead into the fourth quarter after Vinson added five more points.

2021 KHSAA Boys’ State Tournament

At Rupp Arena

Highlands 88, Muhlenberg County 60

Muhlenberg County 15 15 12 18 60

Highlands                26 20 25 17 88

Muhlenberg County (60) — Rose 2, Lovell 2, Divine 21, Vincent 5, McCoy 7, Loman 4, Jernigan 2, Summers 3, Ray 2, Carver 12.

Highlands (88) — Vinson 31, Barth 9, Muller 21, Harris 11, Herald 8, Read 4, Benke 2, Cody 2.

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