Boys’ Sweet 16| Warren Central-Southwestern preview
LEXINGTON, Ky.—After a five-year hiatus, Warren Central is finally back to Rupp Arena.
The Dragons suffered a heart-breaking 67-65 defeat to Bowling Green in the 14th District Championship Game, only to avenge that loss just 11 days later with a 65-53 victory over the Purples to claim the Fourth Region crown and punch their ticket to the state tournament for the first time since 2013.
“It’s huge for our program,” Warren Central head coach William Unseld said. “I think people had written our program off. Just shows that we aren’t going away without a fight. This senior class has been special. Their work ethic has trickled down to our younger kids.”
Warren Central (29-5) has benefitted greatly from the senior trio of Jordan Cousin, Micale Mee and Skyelar Potter.
Potter—a Wright State commit and Kentucky Mr. Basketball candidate—leads the team with a double-double of 23 points and 12.1 rebounds per night. Mee adds 10.2 points per night for the Dragons while Cousin averages 15.1 points and 7.1 rebounds.
The Dragons will now square off against 12th Region champion Southwestern (Somerset) in the first round of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys Sweet Sixteen® Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena on Wednesday night. The Warriors are coming off a 48-46 upset win over Mercer County last Tuesday night.
“They have a really good team,” Unseld said. “Have played well the last month of the season. They have one of the better scoring guards in the state in Hunter Stevens. They also are a really good rebounding team.”
Southwestern (18-14) is led by the 5-10 senior Stevens with 24.9 points per night. He especially excels from three-point range, ranked 14th in the state by netting 81-of-165 attempts from long range for a blazing 49.1 percent. Stevens is also ranked ninth in the state in free-throw percentage, finding the mark on 180-of-211 attempts at the charity stripe for 85.3 percent.
Fellow senior Jonathon Gallagher provides a nice inside presence to complement Stevens. At 6-3 and 215 pounds, Gallagher averages 12.8 points and seven rebounds per game for the Warriors.
Tip-off between Warren Central and Southwestern is slated for 5:30 p.m. CST Wednesday at Rupp Arena in Lexington. Joe Brunk, Miles Schroader, and Nathan Yazdani will have an audio broadcast of the game at STBNTV.com.