Medical Leader│Photo by TEDDY PAYNTER

Panthers headed back to Rupp: Pikeville’s back-to-back titles first since 1952-53

PIKEVILLE – Pikeville hit clutch free throws in the final two minutes, including eight-of-eight from MVP Wyatt Battaile, to trip up Johnson Central, 52-45, to claim its 11th regional crown in the championship game played at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center.

Johnson Central, making its record seventh straight trip to the title game, was held to just 45 points after scorching the nets for 93 in a semifinal-round win over Belfry.

Battaile led all scorers for Pikeville (24-9) with 23 points. Kyle Watkins added 12 as Pikeville won back-to-back titles for the first time since 1952-53.

Isaiah May led the Golden Eagles, who finished 19-15, with 14 points, Jacob Rice had 12 while Gabe Ferrel added 10, all coming in the second half.

 “Wyatt is the best player in the region hands down,” Pikeville head coach Elisha Justice said. “When the game is on the line we want the basketball in his hands.”

Pikeville will face John Hardin in the Boys’ Sweet 16 on March 14. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.

 

At Pikeville

(15th Championship)

SCORE BY QUARTERS:

PK (24-9)….....................................................................10  10  14  18 – 52

JC (19-15).....................................................................….8  10  12  15 – 45

Scoring:

Pikeville (52) – Kyle Watkins 2(2) 2-5 12; Wyatt Battaile 7 9-10 23; Connor Roberts 1 0-0 2; Cade Byers 3 1-1 7; and Evan Rhodes 1(1) 3-5 8. Totals: 14(3) 15-21 52.

Johnson Central (45) – Isaiah May 4 6-6 14; Jacob Rice 5 2-2 12; Cory VanHoose 1 2-2 4; Dalton Collins 1 1-2 3; Gabe Ferrel 0(3) 1-2 10; and Bryson Hackeny 0 2-2 2. Totals: 11(3) 14-17 45.