Hornets Prepare for First-Ever All A -- Magoffin hopes to avenge loss to Pikeville Thursday

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PIKEVILLE – It’s not exactly March Madness, but it’s a chance to play for a state tournament.

Magoffin County will play a familiar foe Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. when it battles Pikeville in the quarterfinal round of the 15th Region All A Tournament at the East Kentucky Expo Center.

The Hornets, now 8-6, are coming off of a 71-52 win over Morgan County Saturday night and hope to avenge a 76-69 loss to Pikeville on Dec. 16 in Salyersville.

“We didn’t play very well against them (Pikeville),” said Magoffin County coach Neil West. “Pikeville is certainly a good team with many weapons, and we feel we’ll have our hands full containing them again.”

Pikeville is 10-4 on the season and has the second-best winning record in the region behind Sheldon Clark. The Panthers defeated Paintsville, 72-56, Saturday night in the opening round of the tournament. Senior Will Branham and junior Ethan Rowe, both guards, scored 26 and 22 points, respectively, in the outing.

Brahman and Rowe combined for 45 points in the win over Magoffin County earlier in the season. Branham had a game-high 30 points and shot 11 of 18 from the field.

“We’ll have to do a better job containing Pikeville,” said West. The Panthers had four players hit for double figures in the win over Magoffin. “Our kids will have to play sound defense and continue to shoot the ball better.”

West is excited about his school’s first appearance in the All A. Magoffin County has never won a regional championship in boys’ basketball.

“We’ve been close many times,” West continued. “This is an opportunity for us to play for a regional championship and a berth into a state tournament. I don’t think we’ll need to motivate our kids to come out and play.”