After falling in the First Region Championship game to Murray last season, the McCracken County Mustangs have had one goal, make it back to Rupp Arena.
The Mustangs (29-5) accomplished that goal, defeating Mayfield in the regional championship and securing their spot in Lexington. Their round one game of the UK HealthCare Boys’ Sweet 16 will be against Elizabethtown (23-9) on Wednesday, March 15 at 1:30 p.m. eastern, 12:30 p.m. central time.
After the Lady Mustangs made it to the championship game of Girls’ Sweet 16, the Mustangs have some big shoes to follow.
“Our guys really support our girls and our girls really support our guys and so do the coaching staffs,” McCracken County head coach Dustin Roberts said. “So watching them go that far and how well they played up there gives our guys the thought process that we can go up there and do something special too.”
The Mustangs started off their season on a 14-0 win streak before the Marshall County Marshals spoiled the fun in early January.
Despite the successful season thus far, it was a rocky one for the Mustangs as injuries plagued the team at different points throughout the year. Only three players played all 34 games, those players being Jack Bradley, Jack McCune and Carson Purvis.
“We had an injury riddled season, very rarely did we have our full group, but we have a tough group of kids and battled through a very tough schedule,” Roberts said.
McCune has led the Mustangs all season with 616 total points for an average of 18.1ppg. He also leads in rebounds grabbed at 250 total for 7.4rpg. Two others athletes have contributed in averaging double digits on the year including Purvis at 11ppg and Ian Hart at 12ppg.
Hart was one star that what sidelined due to an injury for approximately 12 games.
McCracken has taken pride in their defense since their beginning.
“Since we’ve opened the school we’ve hung our hat on the defensive end,” Roberts said. “We have a group of seniors that have been through the grind with us for four years and they know what’s expected of them and that’s one of the things that we harp on.”
The Mustangs allow their opponents to score 48.6ppg which is the sixth best defense in the state. Elizabeth averages 66.5ppg and also allows their opponents just 54.9ppg. McCracken averages 61.2ppg, so both offenses will have their work cur out for them.
Only time will tell who will advance, but McCracken County fans won’t have to wait long as the Mustangs are the third game of the action packed weekend. If the Mustangs beat Elizabethtown they would advance to take on the winner of Jeffersontown and Woodford County on Friday, March 17 at 10 a.m. central time.
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