An overall balanced attack – led by three players in double figures – and a big fourth quarter led the Warren Central boys’ basketball team to 68-59 win over Owensboro on Tuesday night at Warren Central High School.
The Dragons only led 47-45 after three quarters but opened the fourth with a quick 7-0 run to go up 54-47 before building a 15-point advantage later in the period to pull away from the defending Region 3 champion Red Devils and improve to 2-0 on the season.
“I’d play that game every day of the year – every day of the year – because it’s gonna get you ready for the tournament,” Warren Central coach Will Unseld said. “The difference between last year and this year when they tied up was you never saw body language change. They was like, ‘All right, let’s go.’ That’s what happened.”
Tayton Smith made seven 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 21 points for Warren Central, while Dre Boyd scored 17 points and Geovonni Floyd tallied 11. Tegra Muleka scored eight points, and Antonio Barbee added seven to round out the Dragons’ balanced stat sheet.
“It was good because I’m just here to help my team win and do whatever I need to do to help them get the win and make it back to Rupp (Arena),” Smith said of his big outing. “One I hit the first couple I just kept shooting because I knew I was hot and I could help my team out.”
Gavin Wimsatt led Owensboro (2-1) with a game-high 26 points.
Warren Central held a tight 6-4 lead at the 4:29 mark of the first quarter and was up 11-10 with 1:48 left in the period. The Dragons ended the frame with a 6-0 run – courtesy of back-to-back threes from Floyd and Muleka – to lead 17-10 after one.
The Dragons built a double-digit advantage of 25-15 at the 3:55 mark of the second before Boyd knocked down two straight triples to make it 31-19 before Central took a 31-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“That’s what we work on most and emphasize most is defense,” Boyd said. “We know we’re gonna score points, we’ve got a lot of people that can score points on any night, so we just make sure we focus on defense and rebounding.”
Tresor Nishimwe’s pull-up jumper put the Dragons up 41-34 at the 3:18 mark of the third, but Owensboro assembled a 7-0 run to tie it at 41-41. Muleka ended the Red Devils’ spurt with a 3, and Warren Central was soon up 47-45 entering the fourth.
“It was a test ‘cause they were really physical and battled with us at first, and then we just had to step our game up and do what we could do and then just score,” Smith said.
The Dragons’ 7-0 run – followed shortly after by Smith’s seventh deep ball – made it 62-51 with 4:28 remaining. Central was up 64-54 with 2:38 left and held off Owensboro from there to remain unbeaten – even with last year’s leading scorer Kobe Brents still sidelined with an injury.
“It’s good ‘cause it gives us another option,” Boyd said of how Smith has been playing. “Now teams, instead of wanting to focus on me and Kobe, Tay’s our leading scorer right now, so really it’s focus on him. We’ve got a lot of options, and him stepping up like he is just gives us another really good option.”
WCHS returns to action Saturday against Henderson County in the Barren Hoops Classic. Tipoff is slated for Noon at Trojan Gym.
“I’m happy with what we’re doing right now,” Unseld said. “That’s a heckuva win for us early in the year – and that’s without having Kobe out there. You talk about a 1,000-point high-school scorer and our leading scorer, so I’m tickled with what the guys are doing right now.
“Sky is the limit for us.”
OHS – 10 11 24 14 — 59
WCHS – 17 14 16 21 — 68
OHS: Gavin Wimsatt 26, Jaiden Greathouse 14, Amari Wales 12, Kenyatta Carbon 7.
WCHS: Tayton Smith 21, Dre Boyd 17, Geovonni Floyd 11, Tegra Muleka 8, Antonio Barbee 7, Tresor Nishimwe 2, Kamden Lawrence 1, Jessie Wright 1.