The first two games of the 103rd running of the KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen did not do much for fans seeking suspense, but the tournament is still off to a great start with Elizabethtown and Bowling Green securing the first two spots in the quarterfinals.
A small crowd attended each game in a unique format this year due to COVID: rather than the typical two-game sessions, twice a day, the KHSAA completely clears the building between each game for four one-game sessions each day. The new system, plus social-distancing practices, made for the thinnest crowd you’ll ever see, far from the record 21,000+ who filled Rupp to see Richie back in the 1980s.
You can see the turnout in this clip of the player introductions before Bowling Green-University Heights:
It’s time for Bowling Green vs University Heights. pic.twitter.com/hTRiX5dt0F
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) March 31, 2021
A couple other things of note:
— You’ll want to get to know the power forward wearing #12 for Bowling Green because he will be wearing Kentucky blue on the gridiron next fall. Jordan Dingle signed with Kentucky as a three-star tight end and the fourth-ranked player in the state. He will be on campus this summer, but first he has to chase a Sweet Sixteen championship in basketball:
He had four points and seven rebounds in the first-round win.
— Dingle will leave basketball for football when he gets to college, but his Bowling Green teammate, Turner Buttry, has a lot of basketball ahead. Only a junior, Buttry is already committed to Eastern Kentucky where his game could thrive in AW Hamilton’s system. He’s a shooter, and against University Heights he opened the game with two 3-pointers and then threw this one in right before the half:
Here is said buzzer-beater from Turner Buttry. A few feet BEYOND the halfcourt mark.
Bowling Green leads 42-28 at the break. pic.twitter.com/YO7GylPT0F
— Zack Geoghegan (@ZGeogheganKSR) March 31, 2021
Equally impressive, Buttry shoots 95 percent from the free throw line on over 100 attempts this season, although he did miss one of his six tries in Rupp today. Announcer jinx… Troy Howell was bragging on him in the press box.
— For those of you wondering and asking, we are unable to stream any of the games for your viewing pleasure here on KSR. The NFHS Network has exclusive broadcasting rights and it is a subscription service. Click here if that’s something that interests you.
— Here’s a random picture from my phone:
See more photos from the day (photos taken with an actual camera) in our photo gallery from Les Nicholson:
— Current scoreboard check… Ballard leads Madison Central at the half, 32-24.
— Up next, George Rogers Clark and Oldham County will meet in the Day 1 finale. That one tips at 8:00 p.m. once they flip the crowds. Tomorrow’s events look like this:
11:00 a.m.: Muhlenberg County vs. Highlands
2:00 p.m.: Bulliett East vs. McCracken County
5:00 p.m.: Boyle County vs. Paintsville
8:00 p.m.: Knox Central vs. Ashland Blazer
That’s really all I have from today’s trip to Rupp Arena. It was pretty empty, but the basketball was fun and the fans who were in attendance brought their best energy. It will only get better as the week goes on.