PIKEVILLE - Maybe Shane Hall and his Johnson Central teammates just wanted it more. Hall, a 2014 Mr. Basketball candidate, stepped up big Monday night, leading Johnson Central past East Ridge 65-45 in the 15th Region Tournament title game at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
Hall scored 34 points and grabbed nine rebounds in front of a crowd that included Indiana University head coach Tom Crean. The Johnson Central sophomore was 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. Indiana and several other NCAA Division I programs are keeping close tabs on Hall, a Floyd County native. Hall was named the 15th Region Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Johnson Central owned a lead over East Ridge at the end of every quarter. The Eagles led 32-21 at halftime and 50-33 at the end of the third quarter.
Faring well offensively, Johnson Central shot 46.8 percent (22-of-47) from the field. The Eagles were 3-of-10 beyond the arc. Johnson Central excelled from the free-throw line, shooting 81.8 percent (18-of-22).
The Golden Eagles had two scorers reach double figures. Dalton Adkins drained two-of-two three-point field goal attempts and shot 71.4 percent from the floor en route to 16 points.
Truman Salyer (five points, three rebounds), Chad Collins (four points, two rebounds), Slade McPeek (three points, four rebounds), Braxton Blair (two points, two rebounds) and Kyle Gullett (one point) also scored for the Eagles.
Adkins, Blair and Matt Gallagher joined Hall on the All-15th Region Tournament Team.
East Ridge, a team that enjoyed a late-season under under the direction of first-year head coach Preston LeMaster, completed the season 19-13.
Johnson Central head coach Tommy McKenzie captured his first region championship as a coach. McKenzie led Johnson Central to a region title as a palyer in 2000. Johnson Central (25-10) will play the 5th Region champion in the opening round of the Boys’ Sweet 16 state tournament at Rupp Arena on Thursday, March 15 at 8 p.m.