OLIVE HILL Elliott County carried two large boxes Tuesday.

The contents: the boys and girls 16th Region All “A” basketball championship trophies. The Lions didn’t take anything home, but they still have a chance. They overwhelmed Rose Hill Christian, 81-28, with a running clock at West Carter’s John “Hop” Brown Court.

“We usually just come in as a team, work on what we need to,” said Elliott County sophomore guard Cam Adams, who led everyone with 23 points. “(Tuesday) we really tried to attack the rim more so than just shoot the ball.”

Elliott County coach Greg Adkins talked about his team’s style. He wasn’t surprised Adams led the scoring.

“We wanted to do things we talk about in practice every day,” Adkins said. “Cam’s capable any night we step out on the floor. I thought our guys did an excellent job getting the ball inside the paint and coming back to him.”

Adams led a trio of double-figure Lions. Nathaniel Buckner had 12 points, and Nathan Sturgill added 11.

The 53-point loss was Rose Hill’s second largest this season. Boyd County defeated the Royals, 109-54, on Dec. 20 in Summit. Royals coach Charlie Wilcoxen said it was “a little bit” difficult to keep his team engaged Tuesday.

“It’s kind of tougher because it’s like, ‘Well, we’re getting beat this bad; might as well try to stop the bleeding at some point, waiting for it to be over,” Wilcoxen said. “Once you get to a certain spread, that game’s pretty much set in stone.”

Wilcoxen was encouraged by senior guard Chase Pennington, who led the Royals with 11 points.

“He’s seeing the ball go in,” Wilcoxen said. “He’s driving; he shot the ball from 3 a lot better … I know he’s been struggling lately there.”

The Rolling Stones’ 1981 hit “Start Me Up” blared from the public address system at halftime. Elliott County’s (9-2) offense, however, commenced way earlier.

The Lions’ Taylor Whitley converted a three-point play just six seconds in. Rose Hill’s Chase Pennington countered with a bucket. Nathaniel Buckner knocked down a layup, and the Royals’ Collin Willburn tied things at 5-5 when he drilled a 3 from the left corner with 6:51 to go in the first.

At which point, Elliott County emphatically ended any thoughts of upsets.

By the time Rose Hill (1-14) scored again on Willburn’s jumper with 1:03 left, Elliott County had scored 20 straight. The Lions forced the running clock the second half thanks to their 47-12 lead.

Elliott County is scheduled to meet Raceland in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Thursday. The Lions squeaked past the Rams, 66-62, on Dec. 6 behind Taylor Whitley’s 17 points, Gatlin Griffith’s 16 and Adams’ 14.

“(Kyle) Broughton was out when we played them,” Adkins said. “They’re going to be a different team with him out there. He can put the ball in the basket.”

The Elliott County girls are in the semifinals. Tuesday’s game vs. Rose Hill was canceled because of COVID issues at Rose Hill. The Lions are scheduled to meet Raceland at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

ROSE HILL    7    5    7    9    —    28

ELLIOTT CO.    27    20    19    15    —    81

Rose Hill Christian (28) — L. Pennington 6, C. Pennington 11, Willburn 8, Hensley 3. 3-Pt. FG: 6 (C. Pennington 3, Willburn 2, Hensley). FT: 2-2. Fouls: 8. Fouled out: None.

Elliott Co. (81) — Craft 2, Fannin 8, E. Griffith 7, G. Griffith 7, Adams 23, Whitley 9, Holbrook 2, Sturgill 11, Buckner 12. 3-Pt. FG: 7 (Adams 5, Fannin 2). FT: 8-10. Fouls: 10. Fouled out: None.

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