As the Bowling Green boys’ basketball team celebrated its first region title since 2017 after Wednesday’s 57-49 victory over Greenwood in the Region 4 championship game, it was a culmination of a three-year journey for a group of Purples who were a part of the last three seasons – each year ending with a loss to Warren Central in the title game.

The last three years didn’t end the way Bowling Green wanted, but players and coaches alike agreed the experience of the last three years played a large part in getting to the finish line this year.

“I thought you saw in the fourth quarter when Greenwood made a couple of runs at us,” Bowling Green coach D.G. Sherrill said. “You saw our guys answer.”

With six seniors and Turner Buttry, a two-year starter and part of the junior class, Bowling Green entered the season as the team to beat in the region. They responded by rolling in eight games against region opponents in the regular season and breezed to a pair of wins in the District 14 Tournament.

But Bowling Green faced its biggest test the last three games. Clinton County, Allen County-Scottsville and Greenwood were all within striking distance in the fourth quarter, only to see the Purples pull away late.

“You are not going to (win by large margins) in the postseason,” Sherrill said. “You are going to get everybody’s best shot. We’ve come over here as a team and had a few hiccups along the way, so we had to prove we could win this game. Our guys down the stretch were great.”

Buttry said the team felt motivated by having the bull’s-eye all season as the team to beat.

“All year we heard how we were overrated and we were going to fold when it matters,” Buttry said. “When we hear that stuff, it just keeps us pushing. I think we proved it this year.”

Senior Conner Cooper said the Purples weren’t surprised that the last three games were battles, but they were ready for the challenge.

“We know every time you play in this gym you are going to get a team’s best,” Cooper said. “Just keeping composure and trying to persevere through the runs, (experience) really helped us.”

Cooper and Jordan Dingle were among the players on the roster who brought a little extra to the table – the experience of winning a state football championship in December.

“The football field definitely helped us to keep that mental focus in the game – always knowing the goal in mind,” Cooper said.

And now Bowling Green will take aim at another state basketball championship armed with experience that they hope will lead to a long stay at Rupp Arena next week.

“At the end of the day, it’s just basketball,” senior guard Isaiah Mason said. “When you play these games multiple times, it just feels like a normal game.”{&end}

– Follow prep sports reporter Micheal Compton on Twitter @mcompton428 or visit bgdailynews.com.