Virtual runners-up

Scott County never got the chance to follow up its fourth consecutive 11th Region title with an appearance in the KHSAA Sweet 16. A Twitter poll last week imagined how that tournament might have gone. SC finished runner-up in the voting.

Scott County High School boys’ basketball and its large delegation of followers flexed their muscles — of the keyboard variety, at least — in a “virtual state tournament” on Twitter last week.

Alas, the end result was another runner-up finish for the Cardinals, who “lost” to Martha Layne Collins High School of Shelbyville in the championship game.

The digital Sweet 16 played out from Wednesday to Saturday under the Bluegrass Scoreboard handle on the well-known social media site.

Voting was open for 24 hours in every round. Numerous shares of each post led to hundreds of voters having their say in the result of each prospective game.

It was yet another activity to help fans besieged by boredom or still reeling from the cancellation of Kentucky’s state hoop tournament for the first time in its 103-year history.

While unscientific, the poll finished with a familiar result on multiple levels.

Although Scott County (19-16) entered the tournament with the lowest winning percentage in the field, it was given a chance to make a surprising run in the tournament for at least two reasons. The Cards’ strong finish included a win over Lexington Catholic, the top-ranked team in the KHSAA computer ranking. That coincided with what many observers thought was a favorable draw for SC.

Scott County was to have made its fourth consecutive appearance in the Sweet 16, the state’s longest active streak. The Cardinals wound up second in each of the previous two seasons, falling to Covington Catholic in the 2018 title game and Trinity in the 2019 final.

Collins, which won a showdown with Male in a first-round battle of co-favorites, held off a furious SC rally to win with 53 percent of the vote. A total of 827 fans participated.

SC similarly surged in the final hours for a 52-48 semifinal win over Ashland Blazer. More than 1,000 people chimed in on that verdict. 

Ashland was the subject of  a Sports Illustrated feature for its undefeated regular season.

In a quarterfinal clash of Cardinals, Scott County breezed past George Rogers Clark, 68-32. That followed a 71-29 rout of Knox Central in the opening game.

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