Three-point barrage lifts Warren Central past Glasgow, 68-63
In the game of basketball teams live and die by the three-point shot, and on Thursday night the Warren Central Dragons lived it up from downtown.
Warren Central junior Jamale Barber scored 16 points by netting 5-of-6 shots from long range, and the Dragons made 13-of-23 on 3-pointers as a team to hang on for a 68-63 victory over Glasgow in the first round of the Fourth Region Tournament at E.A. Diddle Arena on Thursday night.
“Jamale can make shots,” Warren Central head coach William Unseld said. “We’ve been telling him all year to shoot the ball, and he’s finally buying into that because it helps us. He just has to shoot the ball so people will guard him. He can really shoot it. They’re starting to see that the floor will space out for us and give us a little bit more driving range.”
The Dragons (27-5) built their lead up to as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter before Glasgow cut it to 62-59 on a driving layup by Nik Sorrell with 1:51 left. But just six days after faltering down the stretch and losing a late lead and the game to Bowling Green in the 14th District Championship Game, the Dragons were able to finish the job this time around.
“They hung in there,” Unseld said. “We made a couple of mistakes late trying to rush the ball out-of-bounds, and we took a couple of drives late that we shouldn’t have. But overall I was proud of the way we finished the game and closed it out.”
Senior standout and Wright State commit Skyelar Potter recorded a double-double for the Dragons in the win, scoring a game-high 18 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Tayshawn Bibb also finished with 11 points and seven rebounds for Central.
Warren Central led 27-20 at the end of a fast-paced first quarter, and the Dragons connected on seven 3-pointers in the opening stanza—Barber hitting three consecutive trifectas at one point during the period.
Glasgow (22-9) was able to whittle the deficit down to 32-30 after a three-point play by Jaden Franklin at the 5:53 mark of the second quarter, but the Dragons responded with a 6-0 run.
A three-pointer by Potter gave Central a 38-30 lead with 3:58 to go before halftime. However the Dragons would be held scoreless the remainder of the half while Glasgow had baskets by Franklin and Dalvin Smith to make the score 38-34 at the intermission.
A basket by Smith gave Glasgow a 39-38 lead early in the third quarter before a free throw by Tayshawn Bibb and a 3-pointer by Potter propelled the Dragons back in front. The Scotties cut it to 44-42 with a three-point play by Jaden Franklin, but Central ended the frame on a 5-0 run to take a 49-42 lead into the fourth quarter—Glasgow’s Smith leaving the game for good with an ankle injury at the 1:22 mark.
Potter opened up with the first five points of the fourth to extend the Dragons’ lead out to 12, and Central held a 59-46 advantage after Kemal Esmic got a 3-pointer to rattle in with 5:26 left on the clock.
The next few minutes felt like déjà vu for Warren Central as the Scotties came roaring back to give themselves a chance to win.
Central took a 62-53 lead after Micale Mee netted a free throw with 3:06 left in regulation. The Scotties responded with a bucket by Tayshawn Bradley, and a steal-and-score by senior Peyton Mills cut the Dragons’ lead to five before Sorrell scored a layup to make it 62-59 with 1:51 to go.
Potter tallied a free throw, and Glasgow turned it over on the ensuing possession. Jordan Cousin then stepped up to the line and made two free throws to give Central a 65-59 lead with 1:07 remaining.
The Scotties were never able to make it a one-possession game again, and Warren Central escaped with the win by getting defensive stops and keeping Glasgow off the three-point line in the final minute.
The Scotties outshot the Dragons by netting 25-of-50 attempts from the field for 50 percent, but Central’s three-point barrage was ultimately what did Glasgow in. Glasgow head coach James Willett says that the Dragons’ hot shooting performance from outside was not due to his guys straying from the gameplan.
“Our gameplan was to help off of certain players, and those players stepped up and made big shots—especially Barber,” Willett said. “He did a heck of a job of making jumpers on us. We gave those to him, and credit to him. He did an excellent job making shots. I felt like our guys executed the gameplan the best we could and hung in there, gave ourselves a chance.”
Even though it was not the end result he or his team wanted, Willett was still proud of the turnaround his team had: a 22-win season and 15th District title after winning just four games last season.
“I don’t have the research or stats in front of me but I doubt there are too many teams out there in the state of Kentucky that can look at the win differential from last season to this season the way we can and really look at something like we accomplished: Going from four wins to 22 this year and a district championship in what is really a tough and competitive district as well.”
Brents and Sorrell paced a balanced Glasgow attack with 15 points apiece while Franklin poured in 14. Mills finished with 13 for the Scotties.
Warren Central will now shift its focus to the semifinals game against Russell County on Monday night at 8 p.m. The Lakers advanced with a 53-38 victory over Franklin-Simpson in the first game on Thursday night.
Going forward Unseld wants his team to not go out and put too much pressure on themselves—something that he felt they did in the Bowling Green game but refrained from doing so against Glasgow on Thursday night.
“We talked about it after the Bowling Green game because some of our guys felt pressure on them to win that game,” Unseld said. “There isn’t no pressure; just go out and play. I just want them to go out and have fun, and they did that (Thursday night). I was proud of them.”