While it suffered a bit from holiday rust, Paul Laurence Dunbar managed to defeat Russellville 76-67 on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic.
Taveion Hollingsworth, a Western Kentucky University signee, finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds in Dunbar’s first game in over a week. The Bulldogs’ last game was Dec. 19, an 88-79 win over Lee (Ala.) in the consolation portion of the King of the Bluegrass tournament. Hollingsworth scored a school-record 47 points in that contest.
Dunbar (7-3) took a 24-12 lead on a first-quarter buzzer-beater by Jared Gadd and maintained a double-digit advantage most of the night against the Panthers, a Class A-size school which plays in the 4th Region. Coach Scott Chalk was pleased with his team’s effort despite some mental sluggishness brought on by a few days away from practice.
“We played hard for sure, we just didn’t do some of the smart things we like to do,” Chalk said of the Bulldogs, who scored 20 points off 18 Russellville turnovers.
Last year’s LexCath tournament was a pivotal juncture for Dunbar, which went on to win the 2016 state championship. Expectations are for it to serve much same purpose this season.
“There’s a lot of good teams in (the field), so it’ll give us some good competition and get us ready for district,” Hollingsworth said.
Dunbar shot effectively as a group inside the arc, connecting on 26 of its 47 shots from two-point territory. The Bulldogs were 3-for-16 beyond the three-point line.
Javea Richardson made six of his nine attempts, finishing with 16 points. Chalk praised his efficiency.
“That’s something we talk about a lot,” Chalk said. “We don’t want anybody that’s a volume shooter.”
He continued with a laugh, “Shooting a lot of shots and not making that many, that’s a waste.”
Pedro Bradshaw, who signed with Belmont, finished with game highs of 32 points and 17 rebounds for Russellville (6-4). He was 12-of-18 from the floor; the rest of the Panthers went 13-for-41.
Bradshaw, likely to contend for Mr. Basketball honors along with Hollingsworth, had never played against the presumed frontrunner for the award during the AAU season or in high school competition.
“Besides film and stuff, I had never seen him play,” Bradshaw said. “So this was good to finally get a chance to even be on the court with him. It was fun, he’s a great player.”
Paul Laurence Dunbar 76, Russellville 67
Russellville (6-4) — Kemp 8, M. Naylor 7, Mason 1, J. Naylor 6, McMurry 4, Jones 5, Kees 4, Bradshaw 32.
Dunbar (7-3) — Richardson 16, Yeast 2, Corio 2, JaQuice Gray 14, Hollingsworth 28, Gadd 10, Ifeacho 4.