PIKEVILLE - Preseason favorite Magoffin County is set to take the floor in the opening round of the 15th Region Boys' Basketball Tournament. After finishing runner-up to Johnson Central in the 57th District, Magoffin County will meet 58th District title winner South Floyd in the first round of the regional tournament at the East Kentucky Expo Center on Thursday evening.
Teams from across the state are competing in region tournaments. Champions from each of the state's 16 regions will advance to state tournaments.
Magoffin County will take an 18-11 record into the 15th Region Boys' Basketball Tournament. Prior to falling to Johnson Central in the 57th District championship game, Magoffin County had compiled a three-game winning streak.
Co-15th Region Player of the Year Trenton Russell entered the postseason as the Hornets' leading scorer, averaging 24,.1 points per game. Russell, who was averaging 7.1 rebounds per game for the Hornets through 29 games, combined with teammate Jaren Lovely to score nearly 1,200 points in Magoffin County's latest regular-season. Lovely was averaging 19.4 points per game heading into the 57th District Boys' Basketball Tournament.
Another Magoffin County player, Ryan Mullins, averaged 8.9 points and a team-high 8.4 rebounds per game for the Hornets during the regular-season.
Robbie Russell-coached Magoffin County shot 46.6 percent from the field during the regular-season. The Hornets shot 34.2 percent (138-of-403) from 3-point range.
South Floyd defeated Allen Central 71-62 in the 58th District championship game. The Raiders are under the direction of head coach Justin Holbrook and boast a 20-12 record.
Three South Floyd players average double figures in the scoring column. Heading into the 15th Region Boys' Basketball Tournament, JR Tackett leads South Floyd in scoring with an 18.8 points per game average.
Jacob Collins (15.5 ppg) and Brady Conn (15.4 ppg, 12.9 rpg) also help to lead the Raiders. Conn is among the state's top rebounders.
South Floyd is shooting 45.8 percent from the field. The Raiders tend to rely on long-range shots. South Floyd is shooting 29.7 percent (153-of-515) from beyond the arc.
Area high school hoops fans flocked to the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville for the first round of the 15th Region Boys' Basketball Tournament on Thursday evening. Regional tournament games set for Wednesday were Johnson Central (25-6) vs. Shelby Valley (16-14) and Lawrence County (21-11) vs. Allen Central (14-18).
Familiar foes Pikeville (20-8) and Belfry (14-17) are due to meet in the final opening round game of the 15th Region Boys' Basketball Tournament on Thursday night.
Tip-off for the Magoffin County-South Floyd game is set for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday evening.
Independent Photo || JIM ARNETT
TOURNAMENT WIN: The Magoffin County High School boys' basketball team celebrated their big win against Sheldon Clark last week, when the Hornets came from behind at the end of the fourth quarter to snatch a one-point victory and move on to the district tournament championship game.