When Dre Boyd is at his best, so is Warren Central.
Behind a game-high 28 points on 12-of-23 shooting from the field, Boyd and the Dragons played at a high level and executed from start to finish en route to an 84-62 win over Allen County-Scottsville on Monday night in the Kentucky 2A Sectional Tournament on Tim Riley Court.
“I was proud of the way they responded,” Warren Central coach Will Unseld said. “We’ve been in some really good games. We’ve lost four games by a total of 10 points to some really good basketball teams – two of ‘em true road games. I’m tickled with where we’re at cause I see how much better we’re gonna get.”
Warren Central (8-4 overall) led 24-12 after the opening quarter, 41-26 at halftime and remained in control throughout the second half to come out on top and snap a two-game skid.
“It’s just big,” Boyd said. “After the losses on the road, we were just like, ‘We’ve gotta get back home and get on a row because it’s time for District (14) play and the games that are important.’ So, we just got back and made sure we did that. It’s just good to come back and get a win and hope we can keep it going.”
While Boyd led the way, Tayton Smith finished with 14 points and Kamden Lawrence tallied 12 to round out the Dragons’ stat sheet.
Jax Cooper carried the Patriots (7-6) with 13 points.
Warren Central started fast and jumped out to a 6-0 lead after a Kobe Brents 3-pointer at the 6:50 mark of the first quarter. Allen County-Scottsville got within 7-4 at the 5:56 mark, but Boyd went on an individual 9-0 run to put the Dragons up 19-6 with 2:51 left in period.
“We’ve been preaching to him about being more aggressive,” Unseld said of Boyd. “He’s been too unselfish. He’s been passing way too much – more than we want him to – so we’re trying to put it on his shoulders that, ‘You’ve gotta be our guy.’ When he’s going, everybody else is getting wide-open shots.”
Mason Shirley’s basket cut the Patriots’ deficit to 21-12, but the Dragons scored the final five points of the frame – highlighted by a Lawrence 3 – to lead 24-12 after eight minutes of action.
A score inside by Boyd at the 5:52 mark of the second made it 30-16, but Cooper’s and-one brought Allen County-Scottsville within nine at 33-22 at the 3:04 mark.
Warren Central went up 38-22 after Boyd knocked down a 3 with 1:28 left in the half, and Tresor Nishimwe beat the buzzer with a triple from the left corner to send the Dragons into the break leading 41-26.
“That’s the best thing about it – any night we don’t know who it’s gonna be until they start getting going,” Boyd said of the Dragons’ balanced attack. “Some nights it could be multiple people, some nights it could be one person that carries everybody. It’s just good to have that versatility.”
ACS scored the first four points of the third quarter, but Boyd and Central continued to execute. After Boyd scored at the 5:20 mark to make it 45-30, Tegra Muleka knocked down a 3 and Boyd followed up with an and-one to give the Dragons a 55-34 lead with 3:07 left in the period.
Smith’s 3 extended Warren Central’s advantage to 74-52 with just over four minutes remaining – and the Dragons were able to cruise from there and into the next round of the tournament.
Warren Central will face the Franklin-Simpson/Hart County winner at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Section 2 final at FSHS.
“Last year, we got knocked out by Allen County, so it’s just good to come back and get ‘em back,” Boyd said. “Playing in the tournament and making it further, we get to play other teams that we could see later on in the year. It’s just better competition to see teams that we might have to play later in the season when it matters.”
ACSHS – 12 14 14 22 — 62
WCHS – 24 17 19 24 — 84
ACS: Jax Cooper 13, Michael Smith 12, Mason Shirley 10, Owen Stamper 10, Jake Bow 5, Tyler Ford 5, Trace McIntyre 5, Wyatt Coffee 2.
WC: Dre Boyd 28, Tayton Smith 14, Kamden Lawrence 12, Tegra Muleka 8, Jaiden Lawrence 5, Tresor Nishimwe 5, Antonio Barbee 4, Kobe Brents 3, Herman Gaines 3, Geovonni Floyd 2.