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The last six unbeaten teams that got beat in the Sweet Sixteen

March 6, 2019 FieldsColumn


Shelby County Coach Tom Creamer and star Charles Hurt celebrated the Rockets beat previously undefeated Apollo in the first round of the 1978 state tournament. (Courier-Journal photo)

BY MIKE FIELDS (March 6, 2019)

Since Brewers was crowned Boys’ Sweet Sixteen champion with a 36-0 record in 1948, six teams have entered the state tournament undefeated, but none have left holding the big trophy.

This year another unbeaten team will give it a try. John Hardin, out of the 5th Region, is 35-0. The Bulldogs will face 10th Region champ Campbell County in the first round of the 102nd Sweet Sixteen Wednesday night in Rupp Arena.

Here’s how the previous six undefeated teams fared in the state tournament:

1989 – Clay County (33-0), led by Russ Farmer, lost to Marshall County 64-60 in the first round. Dax Myhand and Dan Hall sparked the Marshals past Bobby Keith’s Tigers.

1982 – Mason County (30-0), coached by Allen Feldhaus Sr., beat Middlesboro 71-63 in the first round, then fell to Virgie and star Todd May 68-63 in the quarterfinals in front of a then-world record high school crowd of 21,342. It was Mason County’s first loss since it fell to Simon Kenton in the 1981 state title game.

1978 – Apollo (35-0), coached by Wayne Chapman, lost to Shelby County 62-55 in the first round. The Rockets, paced by Charles Hurt, went on to the win the state title. Going into the tournament, Apollo was No. 1 in the Associated Press poll, and Shelby County was No. 1 in the Litratings.

1962 – Allen County (30-0) bounced Henry County 73-54 in the first round and led St. Xavier at halftime in the quarterfinals. But star Mike Silliman rallied St. X to a 47-35 victory, and the Tigers went on to win the state title.

1954 – Central City (35-0), coached by Delmas Gish, lost to Inez 72-57 in the first round. Inez, led by Billy Ray Cassady, went on to win the state championship.

1953 – Clay County (34-0), coached by J.W. “Spider” Thurman, thumped Georgetown in the opening round, but lost to eventual champ Lafayette 77-63 in the quarterfinals. Vernon Hatton and Bill Florence paced Ralph Carlisle’s Generals.


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