Warren Central Dragons advance to KHSAA Sweet 16 Final Four

The Dragons defeated Ashland Blazer 64-48 to advance in the KHSAA Boys' Sweet 16 Tournament
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 2:43 PM CDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WBKO) - In one of their toughest test yet, the Warren Central Dragons took the win Friday afternoon with a 64-48 win over the Ashland Blazer Tomcats in the KHSAA Sweet 16 quarterfinals.

“We didn’t panic, didn’t panic, just made plays, got the ball around the rim late, made free throws, they’ve been here before, they know what it takes,” head coach Will Unseld said. “They [Ashland Blazer] made a run and cut it to 10 and we responded again. It’s just having a veteran group that’s won a lot of basketball games.”

Chappelle Whitney lead the way with another double double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Omari glover followed with 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting. And Kade Unseld had 13 points on 4-7 shooting and 5 rebounds.

Rheyce Deboard led Ashland Blazer with 21 points and 4 assists on 8-11 shooting.

The Tomcats came out, knowing they would have to hit their shots to be able to win this game. And they played like it in the first half. They were able to matchup shot for shot and keep in arms length of the Dragons. They even held the lead for 31 seconds after Zander Carter gave them a 9-8 lead after hitting a three pointer.

The Dragons struggled shooting from deep range for the whole game but where they lacked in outside shooting, their length and athleticism made up for it. Central took a 18-13 lead after the first quarter.

In the second, Ashland Blazer made it known they weren’t going away. Their ability to hit the long range shot kept them a lot closer than most would anticipate but when it mattered most the Dragon’s would make a shot in the paint to keep them ahead. A three point play by Omari Glover gave the Dragons a seven point, 34-27 lead, heading into halftime.

The long arms and quick strides threw the Tomcats off in the second half, the Dragons were able to lock in defensively and create multiple turnovers that lead to easy transition baskets. A huge block by Whitney halfway through the quarter lead to an easy layup for Marr Walkup, and you could sense the momentum being shifted 100% towards Warren Central.

Central used the 4th quarter to drain the clock and make the buckets count, taking a 12 point lead with three minutes left in the game.

The dragons outrebounded the Tomcats 26 to 17 and had 11 steals to Ashland’s 4. In the free throw battle, Warren Central shot 13-17 while holding Ashland Blazer to just 5-6. WC shot 56% from the field while AB shot 45%.

Warren Central went on to win 64-48 and advance to Saturday morning’s semifinal game against the Woodford County Yellow Jackets.

Tip-off is set for tomorrow at 10 a.m. CT.