Elliott County entered tonight’s matchup with a 26-3 record with a starting lineup that features just one player that measured 6’2. The Lions clawed their way to Lexington after two overtime wins in the 16th Regional tournament games to advance.
The Collins Titans took a different path to Rupp Arena. After starting the season 15-3, it lost three starters and took a four game losing streak into tournament play. After losing to Anderson County in the district championship, Collins won three 8th Region tournament games by a grand total of eight points. The Titans entered tonight’s game with a 23-12 record.
Collins came out of the gate with a deliberate game plan and dominated the boards. Elliot County’s star guard Korbin Spencer started slow but heated up later to lead a valiant comeback by the Lions.
Collins led for 19 minutes before Elliott County took the lead in the 3rd quarter. The Lions turned the tide in the game by a disruptive press defense that transitioned to a half court zone that all but dared Collins to shoot from the outside.
The game went back and forth and was tied at 50-50 with :57 remaining in the 4th quarter. Collins attempted to salt the clock for the last shot but Elliott’s Chase Porter stole the ball in the front court and drove the length of the court for a layup with :20 remaining that put the Lions up 52-50. Collins’ Dominique Turner was subsequently fouled, hit both free throws and the game eventually went to overtime tied 52-52.
Collins’ Charles Cochran started the extra period off with an old fashioned 3-point play that gave the Titans a 55-52 advantage. Elliott’s star guard Korbin Spencer fouled out with 2:17 remaining in overtime. The super-sophomore finished with 19 points and 8 boards. Collins’s freshman guard Davion McKnight made two free throws to extend the Titans lead to 57-52.
Collins dominated the extra period. Nick Fort’s layup with one second on the clock in gave the Titans a 65-57 victory over the short-handed Lions. Charlie Cochran led the winners with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Elliott County was paced by Chase Porter’s 21 points.