The pace was to their liking, Newport making Lyon County visibly frustrated with a 18-17 lead halfway through the second quarter.
The Lyons were the highest scoring team in the state coming in, averaging just under 84 points per game.
Newport had them where they wanted, displaying why they were one of the best defensive teams in the state allowing 50 points per contest.
But with an explosive offense and Newport’s inability to knock down perimeter shots, Lyon County answered with a 9-2 run to end the half, turned it into double-digits in the second half and ran away with a 61-46 victory over the Wildcats in the UK Healthcare Boys’ Basketball Sweet 16 State Tournament opening round.
“Was real pleased with the guys fight and what they’ve done. A lot of people counted us to not even get here in the first place. The success was a lot of fun, it wasn’t fun getting beat. A lot of wins, a lot of success, have a lot of fun and then the balloon explodes,” Wildcats coach Rod Snapp said.
It puts an end to a magical season for Newport, ending at 28-7 as this could very well be the first of some more visits to Lexington in the future to come. Newport’s lone senior is Marquez Miller, a vital piece to the program over the last four years.
But everyone else is set to return, starting with freshman Taylen Kinney and James Turner, sophomores DaShawn Anderson and Noah Silverton and junior Jabari Covington.
Newport couldn’t find much rhythm in the contest, finishing 17-of-53 from the contest from the field and 6-of-24 from three.
“They made us uncomfortable. They were physical. They made us think out of our scheme a little bit and take a couple shots that we normally don’t take,” Snapp said.
After building a 20-19 lead, Lyon County answered with a 13-0 run spanning from the second into the third quarter, Miller’s layup with 3:55 left in the third ending a near seven-minute scoring drought for the Wildcats. Trailing by double-digits, the Wildcats had to start pushing the tempo, trapping more and it played into the Lyons favor.
Newport was able to get within eight before the end of the third, but Lyon County took a 40-30 lead into the fourth, never letting the lead get below double-digits from there.
A lot of the buzz surrounding the game was not Newport’s first trip to the tournament since 2010, but Lyons’ Travis Perry needing 21 points entering the contest to break the all-time KHSAA scoring record set by “King” Kelly Coleman and his 4,337 points. Perry broke the record on a free throw in the fourth quarter with 3:48 to play in the game, the Lyons calling a timeout so he can be congratulated by his team.
“He (Coleman) didn’t have a 3-point line. It’s never been about the scoring record, it’s been about going out and playing basketball. Scoring points is fun, but winning games is a lot more fun and that’s the thing I’m most proud of today,” Perry said.
Perry is a junior and his total now sits at 4,340 points with however many games the Lyons have left this season and then an entire senior year to set the mark that may not be touched for quite some time.
Alongside Perry, Jack Reddick had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Brady Shoulders with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Lyon County outrebounded Newport 40-26 and held a 14-7 edge in second chance points.
Miller had 17 to lead the Wildcats for the last time, getting to end his career on the Rupp Arena floor.
“No one expected us to be here or win this many games. It was great that we made it here and hope these guys do it again,” Miller said.
Kinney added 11 for Newport, Covington with seven points and five rebounds.
NEWPORT — 11-9-10-16 — 46
LYON COUNTY — 13-13-14-21 — 61
Newport (46) — Miller 17, Kinney 11, Covington 7, Anderson 6, Turner 3, Lowe 2
Lyon Co. (61) — Perry 23, Reddick 17, Shoulders 12, Kirk 5, Nelson 2, Downing 2