Purples capture seventh straight District 14 title

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Make it seven straight district titles for Bowling Green.

The Purples, who have made winning district championships a consistent theme, added another trophy to their case by defeating rival Warren Central 57-51 in the District 14 Tournament final on Friday night at South Warren High School. 

“We were supposed to do this,” Bowling Green junior guard Isaiah Mason said. “We knew that if we came in and played the way we wanted to play and just stayed together, then we can do as much as we wanted. Staying together was a big part of it. We just all played together and did the job.”

Conner Cooper led BGHS (23-7) with 16 points, while Jaxson Banks and Mason each finished with 13. 

Dre Boyd recorded a double-double of 17 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Dragons (23-7).

Both teams return to action next week in the Region 4 Tournament at Western Kentucky University’s E.A. Diddle Arena. The bracket will be announced after the conclusion of the draw Saturday morning. 

“This is a tough district, so we’re proud of that,” Bowling Green coach Derrick Clubb said of the Purples’ seventh consecutive district title. A lot of good basketball teams. We’re tickled that our school has represented so well in the 14th District. The credit goes to those guys in the jerseys. They came out and battled tonight. 

“This time of year, you want to play well – and I thought tonight we played well.”

The two sides played a competitive opening half.

Bowling Green held an 11-9 lead late in the first quarter, but Tegra Muleka closed it with a layup off an inbounds pass to even the scoreboard at 11-11 after eight minutes of action.

The Dragons led 22-20 towards the end of the second before the Purples scored the final four points of the half – all coming from Cooper – to jump in front 24-22 at the break. 

“Just keeping our composure and not letting us being up get to us,” Cooper said of what the team had to do in order to come out on top. “Just being focused and locked in is always big for us.”

Mason opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 27-22, but Warren Central – and Boyd – scored four straight to quickly get within 27-26 – and Tay Smith’s layup gave the Dragons a 28-27 lead at the 6:11 mark. 

Kobe Brents’ 3 at the 4:35 mark put Central up 33-29, but Mason answered with one of his own to bring Bowling Green within 33-32. Banks then knocked one down to put the Purples up 35-33 just over a minute later.

A layup by Banks, followed by a score from Dorian Morrison, pushed Bowling Green’s lead to 43-35, and it was soon up 43-37 entering the fourth.

“We knew that if we could jump on ‘em we could put ‘em away,” Mason said. “But they’re a good team, so it was a battle every possession. We just knew that if we could jump on ‘em it’d be in our advantage.”

Boyd’s score inside trimmed Warren Central’s deficit to 45-41 with 5:16 remaining, but back-to-back scores by the Purples put them up 50-41.

Geovonni Floyd’s dunk with 1:41 left brought the Dragons within 51-47, and a pair of Muleka free throws made it 53-49 with 35 seconds to go. However, Turner Buttry quickly drove down the court and hit a tough layup to help the Purples seal it. 

“I liked where we were at the end,” Warren Central coach Will Unseld said. “As bad as we played, I couldn’t believe we was still in the basketball game. We stopped guarding when the ball stopped going in – we just went blank on the defensive end. They played well and fought a little harder than we did at times.”

BGHS –    11   13   19   14   —   57

WCHS –   11   11   15   14   —   51

BG – Conner Cooper 16, Isaiah Mason 13, Jaxson Banks 13, Cobi Huddleston 7, Dorian Morrison 6, Turner Buttry 2. 

WC – Dre Boyd 17, Geovonni Floyd 8, Tegra Muleka 8, Tayton Smith 7, Kobe Brents 5, Antonio Barbee 4, Jessie Wright 2. 

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