Madison Central's boys, who've won 30 of 31 games this basketball season, go into the 11th Region Tournament confident but wary.
The No. 5 Indians play Bryan Station in Wednesday night's opening game in Eastern Kentucky's McBrayer Arena.
Madison Central Coach Allen Feldhaus said there's no chance his team will overlook the Defenders, despite their 12-20 record and 21-point loss to Scott County in the 42nd District finals.
Madison Central remembers how it had to battle to beat Bryan Station last month. Defenders senior star Jaylen Beckham had 30 points, eight rebounds and seven steals in a down-to-the-wire 75-71 loss to the Indians.
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"Bryan Station played the heck out of us," Feldhaus said. "That's good. If you beat somebody by 20 or 25 points, human nature kind of takes over, and your kids might take something for granted.
"I know our kids respect Bryan Station. They know we've got a scary first-round opponent."
Madison Central is fright-worthy, too. Junior guards Dominique Hawkins (19.6 ppg) and Ken-Jah Bosley (13.8 ppg) are one of the best backcourt tandems in the state. And in 6-foot-5 junior Quan Taylor (12.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg), the Indians have an inside presence.
"We know our work is cut out for us," Bryan Station Coach Mike Allen said. "They have a stud in Dominique Hawkins, and they're a very methodical, disciplined team. They're not going to beat themselves."
No. 3 Scott County, which has won 20 of its last 21 games, drew Lafayette as its first-round opponent. Cardinals Coach Billy Hicks said the Generals' 13-18 record doesn't change the fact that "they're probably the most athletic team in the region."
And the biggest.
Lafayette's starting lineup includes 6-foot-8 sophomore Jackson Davis, who leads the team in scoring (13.9) and rebounding; 6-8 junior Nick Trisko, and 6-8 junior Ethan Burlingham. Coming off the bench are 6-7 junior Charles Sweat-Washington and 6-5 freshman Shon Wright.
Scott County is led by seniors Isaiah Ivey (16.8 ppg) and Tamron Manning (15.5), and sophomore Trent Gilbert (14.5), who's shooting 46 percent from three-point range.
"We're not the most athletic team," Hicks said. "But the kids know how to play."
Lexington Catholic, region champions two of the last three years, will play Woodford County in the first round. It should be an interesting matchup inside between the Knights' 6-9 junior, Jack Whitman, and the Yellowjackets' 6-7 senior, Jay Johnson.