New Woodford County boys’ basketball coach Ryan Wilson received a rough welcome in his debut after taking over for Scott Hundley, who resigned in March after six seasons on the sidelines.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, the defending state champion, defeated Woodford County, 81-42, on Monday, the first night of play across the state. Keagan Stromberg, a senior, led the Yellow Jackets with 16 points.
“Regardless of what the scoreboard said, we did quite a bit of good stuff tonight,” Wilson said Monday. “We’ve got a ways to grow.”
Wilson, who was an assistant for four seasons under Hundley, said the transition into head coaching has been smooth. In part because of a lack of overall team height, the Yellow Jackets are looking to get up and down the court more frequently this season.
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The pace didn’t pay dividends against super-quick Dunbar in the scoring column, but Woodford County did attempt two more shots than did the Bulldogs (51-49). Decision-making will improve as the team jells over the course of the season, Wilson said.
“It’s gonna be a process,” Wilson said. “ ... I told our guys, I think every game on our schedule we can win if we play to our abilities and every game on our schedule we could lose if we don’t.”
Paul Laurence Dunbar star Taveion Hollingsworth, who’s signed with Western Kentucky, scored 36 points (15-of-20 shooting) and had seven rebounds for the Bulldogs.
▪ Dontaie Allen, a Pendleton County sophomore, scored 51 points and pulled down 15 rebounds in the Wildcats’ 76-67 loss at Scott on Monday. Allen was 17-of-31 from the field (4-for-9 from long distance). Had Allen made all of his free-throw attempts he would’ve cracked 60 — he was 13-of-22 from the stripe. “He’s special,” Pendleton County Coach Keaton Belcher said in a text message Monday.
▪ Lawrence County senior Timmy Dalton, who became the Bulldogs’ all-time leading scorer in their Sweet Sixteen loss to eventual state runners-up Doss, isn’t done scoring. Dalton dropped a school-record 51 points in the Bulldogs’ 85-65 win over East Carter on Tuesday. That was sandwiched between a 31-point performance Monday at Morgan County and a 39-point outing at Russell on Wednesday. The Mr. Basketball contender is averaging 39 points and 13 rebounds per game for the unbeaten Bulldogs entering Saturday’s home game versus Boyd County.
▪ CJ Frederick, Cole Vonhandorf and Aiden Ruthsatz all reached double-digit scoring in Covington Catholic’s 62-52 win against Lexington Catholic, an early-season matchup between teams expected to contend for their respective regions this season. Frederick led the Colonels (2-0) with 17 points while Vonhandorf, who’s committed to Fairmont State, had 15 points and four steals. Ruthsatz finished with 10 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Luke Johnson led Lexington Catholic (1-1) with 16 points and four assists on the road. The Knights play Conner in the Kentucky Bank Classic, a five-game event at Paris this weekend.
▪ Lafayette versus Cordia is one of the highlights of this year’s Legacy Nissan Classic, which tipped off Thursday with a bout between Madison Southern and Whitley County. The Generals, who opened their season with a 70-69 win at Lincoln County, host Madison Central on Friday before making the trip to North Laurel to take on the Lions on Saturday afternoon.
▪ Kiara Pankins went 13-for-17 for 31 points and had 11 rebounds in the Lafayette girls’ 73-51 win over Tates Creek on Wednesday.
▪ Chase Taylor had 14 points and 11 assists for Clark County in its 76-40 win at Nicholas County, the debut for new coach Josh Cook.
▪ Clay County girls’ sophomore Shelby Phillips broke a school record with eight three-pointers in the Tigers’ season-opening 63-46 loss at Harlan County. University of Kentucky commit Blair Green, a junior, had 17 points for the Black Bears.
▪ Gallatin County’s boys won their season opener for the first time since 2010, defeating Eminence 94-69. Five Wildcats reached double-digit scoring, paced by senior Mason Wilson, who finished with 20.
▪ Washington County also picked up its first win in a season-opener since 2010 when it defeated Model 79-70. Senior D.T. Yocum had 39 points and nine rebounds for the Commanders.
▪ Knott County Central senior Austin Combs matched his career high with 25 points in the Patriots’ 85-37 win at Jenkins on Monday.
▪ Red Bird defeated June Buchanan, 71-57, on Monday for its first win over the fellow Appalachia Christian school since 2004. Austin Napier, a freshman, led the Cardinals with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Ethan Smith also had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.