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‘Cool Hand’ Cooper saves Scott County

March 14, 2018 FieldsColumn

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BY MIKE FIELDS

Just call him “Cool Hand” Cooper.

Cooper Robb

Scott County senior guard Cooper Robb nailed a three-pointer from the left corner with :09 left to give his Cardinals a 54-53 lead over Trinity in the first round of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Sweet 16 Wednesday afternoon in Rupp Arena.

Trinity called a timeout with :05.8, then got the ball to senior star Jay Scrubb, who made a a furious drive down the court, drew some contact, then missed an off-balance shove-shot from the left of the free-throw lane.

No whistle, and Scott County survived an epic opening-round game in this 101st state tournament in front of 15,271 fans.

Did Robb sweat those final few seconds as Scrubb scrambled down the floor?

“It seemed like a pretty long time,” he confessed.

Robb wasn’t supposed to get the ball for the decisive shot. It was supposed to go to teammate Michael Moreno, who had 24 points for the Cardinals.

“We drew it up for Michael,” Robb said. “We were talking about who wanted the ball, and I told him, ‘Dude, you’re hot, you take it.’

“But he wasn’t open and I got the ball. It felt good when I let it go. I’m just glad it went in.”

Playing the hero is nothing new to Cool Hand Cooper.

Just nine days earlier he sank two free throws with 10 seconds left to beat Lexington Christian Academy in the 11th Region finals.

“That’s just Cooper,” Scott County Coach Billy Hicks said. “He hates to lose. He’s got that fire burning inside him.

“That’s his personality. He’s just a competitor, and he’s always been like that. My wife had him in the first grade, and at recess even back then he wanted to beat everybody.”

If Robb seems immune to pressure, it’s because he’s used to it. He’s also a standout football and baseball player for Scott County. Talented multi-sport athletes get comfortable in big moments.

But that doesn’t mean Robb, who has signed with UNC Charlotte, didn’t get a thrill from hitting a game-winning shot in Rupp Arena.

“Growing up and watching all the Kentucky players like John Wall and Anthony Davis play here . . . to do that, it’s special even if it’s just the first round of the state.”

Just the first round of the state?

Spoken like a true Cool Hand Cooper.

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