JACKSON, Ky. (FOX 56) — The Boys Sweet 16 State Basketball Tournament continues Thursday at Rupp Arena.
Every team’s road to Rupp has been a different one. For the Breathitt County Boys Basketball team, the best way to describe their season in one word would be emotional.
First, they overcame historic flooding that destroyed much of the region they call home.
“I think this is something that people in Breathitt County especially are known for,” said Senior Bryce Hoskins. “Just every single time a problem arises, we find a way to get either over it around it, or through it.”
Now, when they take the court against Male at 11 a.m. Thursday, they will be without the man who got them most of the way.
“He gave us extra motivation,” Hoskins described. “We really liked coach King and we loved him.”
BB King left Knott Central after 12 seasons to coach Breathitt County this year.
Sadly, however, he won’t finish the season after he lost his battle with cancer in December.
“He was established at Knott Central, and he kind of had, uh, you could say,” Hoskins said. “I mean, he had his foundation laid down there. He didn’t have to come here. But he told us all that, uh, that he wouldn’t touch another team in the whole region other than, uh, so he said he wanted to, he thought were the ways the only time that was going to make it out of here.”
An experience that has made them more than teammates, it has made them brothers.
“We’ve came in every day and just worked harder and got stronger of everything we’ve got set back by and we’ve just helped each other out as much as we can to get where we are today,” said senior Caden Turner.
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The team is finishing the fight making it all the way to the Sweet 16, but they’re looking for more.
“He just wanted us to do one goal and that was to get to Rupp Arena really,” said Senior Andrew Combs.
“He said the season would be a failure if we didn’t win region,” Senior Luke Bellamy added.
The last year has taught the boys a lot.
“The harder you work the more you can succeed in life,” Bellamy explained.
“Time flies, don’t take anything for granted,” said Turner.
But they’re also serving as a role model for their community.
“They’re just a special group and I think what they’ve done with winning this region in basketball is showing a lot of even the older people in our community that, hey, you know, these guys are young, but, you know, they’re going to do whatever they can to be successful and I think people appreciate that,” said Interim Head Coach Kyle Moore.
Thousands of supporters are expected at Rupp Arena Thursday, with many of them making the trip last night.
FOX 56 will have full coverage later this week both on air and online.