DRAFFENVILLE – Tenth Region champion Scott County provides a formidable obstacle for Marshal County as the Marshals return to the Sweet Sixteen for the second year in a row.
Coach Billy Hicks’ Cardinals are 31-4 and have spent most of the season ranked third by the Louisville Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings of state high school teams.
They defeated Woodford County 78-43 to with their region championship.
Sophomore shooting guard Trent Gilbert paced the Cardinals’ win over Woodford, hitting seven of eight shots, including five of six from three-point range. He totaled 21 points.
Tamron Manning added 14 points and 12 rebounds. Manning is the team’s second-leading scorer at 15.5 points per game, just behind Isaiah Ivey, who averages 16.4. Gilbert is a close third in the Cardinals’ all-guard scoring trio, hitting at a 14.6 clip.
Like Marshall County, the Cardinals have won 10 straight games as they head into Thursday’s encounter at Rupp Arena. The two teams will square off in the opening game of the evening session at 6:30 p.m. EDT.
The Cardinals’ four losses included two in a 1-2 start to the season. They fell in their season opener 85-76 to Louisville Ballard on Nov. 29 and to Trinity, the top-rated team in the state, 90-77 on Dec. 8.
Their next loss came to Prestonwood Christian Academy of Plano, Texas, in the Beach Ball Classic at Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Dec. 28.
The fourth loss came at home at the hands of Lexington Henry Clay, 63-59 on Feb. 3. That ended a 14-game winning streak.
The same night, the 32-2 Marshals lost at First Region rival Graves County, 63-60, ending a 12-game winning streak.
Their first loss came after the opened with 10 consecutive victories, to host Montgomery County 70-59 on Dec. 29 in the Gateway Holiday Classic tournament.
The Marshals are led by junior Chase Clark, who averages 14 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Senior point guard Cole Nelson is close behind at 13.4 points and 4.4 rebounds. Chase York chips in 10.9 points and sophomore Austin Rentfrow, the team’s top rebounder at 5.8 per game, is just under the 10-point mark with 9.2 ppg.