Scott County senior Trent Gilbert can really shoot it.
He showed that Thursday night.
Gilbert scored 30 points — including 18 in the first 10 minutes — and made some clutch free throws down the stretch to help SCHS beat Lexington Catholic, 62-49, in the opening round of the 11th Region Tournament at the Frankfort Convention Center.
“I saw the first go in so I was like, ‘The rest of them can go,’” Gilbert said. “I’ve been putting up a lot of shots in practice, after practice, trying to get prepared for the region.”
The 6-foot-1 Mr. Basketball finalist scored 18 of the first 21 points — including the first 15 — for the Cardinals (30-3), helping them jump out to a 26-10 lead midway through the second quarter. He didn’t get many looks after that as he saw exclusively double-teams, but he did make 15-of-16 free throws — including 7 of 8 in the closing minutes of the game.
“That was huge, Trent coming out and getting hot right off the bat,” Scott County coach Billy Hicks said of Gilbert, who shot 6 of 9 from the field and added eight rebounds. “We were able to get control of the game.”
After beating Lexington Catholic by double digits for the second time in three weeks, Scott County will take on defending state champion Madison Central (22-10) in the semifinals Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Madison Central beat Franklin County 75-72 in the first game Thursday night.
“They’re a big, strong basketball team. They’re very well-coached,” said Hicks, whose top-five team had a state-best 21-game winning streak snapped after a 68-65 loss to Henry Clay in the district finals. “That’s typical of the 11th Region: You have to be ready to play every night out.”
Senior Teddy Ware made 5-of-10 3-pointers and scored 17 points for the Cardinals, who shot 51.4 percent. He picked up the scoring slack once Gilbert starting seeing multiple defenders.
“I thought Teddy Ware hit some big shots when we had to have them there,” Hicks said. “He’s capable of doing that."
Junior Tanner Johnson scored 16 points and 6-foot-7 senior Robert Dence and junior Michael Talbott added 12 points apiece for the Knights (19-12), who shot just 34.7 percent. Dence also grabbed nine rebounds.
Scott County led by double digits for most of the game, but Lexington Catholic did get within six late in the game.
Johnson hit a pair of technical free throws to make it 55-49 with under three minutes to go, but the Knights didn’t score again after that. Gilbert, a 91-percent free-throw shooter, sealed it at the line, making 7 of 8 in the final 2:30 for the final margin.
“We had them down 12 to 16 points the whole game and they were in a position to cut it to three or four — that tells you how tough those kids are,” Hicks said. “I thought Catholic came in ready to play tonight.”
SCOTT CO. (62) — Trent Gilbert 30, Raekwon Long 8, Teddy Ware 17, Matt Murray 2, Tony Martini 5.
LEXINGTON CATHOLIC (49) — Michael Talbott 12, Donovan Morris 3, J.J. Ogbugu 2, Robert Dence 12, Tanner Johnson 16, Reese Ryan 4.