Mason County was missing its best player Thursday night in Rupp Arena, but it probably didn’t much matter against a Taylor County team that seems to be clicking at the right time.
The Cardinals rolled out to a big early lead against the shorthanded Royals and maintained the pressure for a 94-65 victory in the first round of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen.
Mason County didn’t have an answer for Quentin Goodin, who tallied 28 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and helped Taylor County jump out to a 10-2 lead that was never threatened the rest of the night.
Goodin was named the Gatorade state player of the year earlier in the day, but he was passed over for Kentucky’s biggest individual honor — the title of Mr. Basketball — on Tuesday night. Owen County’s Carson Williams won that award.
Just to prove a point.To show everybody that I should have won Mr. Basketball.
Taylor County’s Quentin Goodin, on his 28-point, 12-rebound performance
The 6-foot-4 guard congratulated Williams on the honor, but he acknowledged that he came out Thursday night with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder.
“Just to prove a point,” Goodin said. “To show everybody that I should have won Mr. Basketball.”
Goodin got to the basket at will from the beginning of the game, scoring at the rim and often cleaning up his own misses with offensive rebounds. He was 13-for-27 from the floor and exited midway through the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, Mason County played without leading scorer Antwavon “Pig” Williams, who was suspended for a violation of team rules and did not travel with the team.
Williams averaged 19.9 points per game this season and usually defended the opposing team’s best offensive player. Sophomore guard Leevi Dunaway started in his place, scoring 12 points and adding a game-high four steals. Fellow sophomore Isaiah Garrison led the team with 18 points.
Royals Coach Buddy Biggs said he found out Wednesday afternoon that Williams would not be able to play.
“Obviously, we had to shift some people around,” Biggs said. “Next-man-up philosophy, that’s what we talked about as a team, and I’m very, very proud of our guys. I thought (Dunaway) stepped up and played his butt off.
“All these guys … they went out there and gave it everything they had.”
Biggs, in his first year as Mason County’s head coach, also gave credit to the Cardinals, whose 94 points were the most in a Sweet Sixteen game since Scott County defeated Mercer County 95-47 in 2000.
Taylor County scored 58 points in the paint and had 30 points off 19 Mason County turnovers. The Cardinals led all but 47 seconds of the game.
Next up is a rematch with Doss, which defeated Taylor County, 67-55, on Jan. 9. The Cardinals have won 18 of 19 games since that night.
“We’re definitely a different team,” said Taylor County Coach Rich Gatewood. “But it’s going to be a dogfight.”