Bryan Woomer, overshadowed by his taller, more publicized Lexington Catholic teammates during the regular season, was the headline performer in the Knights' 62-50 victory over Paul Laurence Dunbar in the 43rd District semifinals Wednesday night.
The 5-foot-10 senior guard, who was averaging six points coming into the tournament, had 17 points, seven assists and three steals to spark the Knights to their third win over Dunbar this season.
No. 12 Lexington Catholic will play Lafayette in Friday night's finals. Both teams will advance to next week's 11th Region tournament.
Dunbar's strategy was to contain the Knights' big scorers — 6-9 junior Jack Whitman and 6-5 senior Craig Floyd — and try to keep junior guard Dillon Avare from bombing three-pointers.
The Bulldogs did a decent job carrying out those defensive assignments, but Woomer wound up killing them.
"We assumed some other guys would be the ones that would beat us," Coach Justin Yeary said. "But (Woomer)stepped up for them. They've got good players all over the place, but he was the one who delivered for them tonight."
Lexington Catholic Coach Brandson Salsman wasn't surprised. He considers Woomer one of the best point guards the Knights have ever had. He ranks third in career assists behind Brian Smith and Scott Mendenhall.
"Bryan's a senior so he's been in the trenches and knows all about elimination games," Salsman said. "I'm tickled to death for him that he played his best game of the season right here."
Woomer, who had 11 points in the first half, said he came out "trying to be more aggressive. They were laying off me, playing the pass a little more, and I was trying to take advantage of that."
The Knights, who led 29-18 at halftime, got everything clicking in the second half as they stretched the lead to 19 points.
Whitman finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. Floyd also had 12 points. Patrick Keller contributed 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Avare hit a couple threes and added eight points.
"Once we all start doing our parts, it all comes together pretty well," Woomer said.
Dunbar had no answers for the Knights, whose big bodies made it tough for the Bulldogs' shooters. Mike Smith was the exception. The 5-10 junior guard was 10-for-13 from the field and had 25 points. The other four starters were a combined 5-for-26.
Junior guard William Gary had nine points and 6-6 junior Taylor King had seven points and 13 rebounds.
Lexington Catholic was rated in the top 10 in the pre-season, but Salsman said people undersold his team. He still feels that way, even though the Knights are 23-7 and have a chance to defend their region title.
"I know a lot of people don't think we're very good, but I think we're pretty darn good," Salsman said.
PAUL DUNBAR (17-15) -- Smith 10-13 4-4 25, Gary 3-12 3-4 9, King 2-9 3-8 7, Hurst 0-1 0-0 0, Lewis 0-4 0-0 0, Herrin 2-5 0-0 6, Haga 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 18-45 10-16 50.
LEXINGTON CATHOLILC (20-10) -- Whitman 6-14 0-3 12, Keller 4-6 2-2 11, Floyd 5-7 1-3 12, Avare 3-6 0-0 8, Woomer 6-10 4-4 17, Bennett 0-0 2-2 2, Muncy 0-1 0-0 0, Ryan 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-45 9-1 62.
Paul Dunbar 6 12 9 23—50
Lexington Catholic 12 17 14 19—62
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com