High School Basketball

They flew ‘under the radar’ but bring one of the best records to Sweet Sixteen

Warren Central senior Skyelar Potter grabbed a rebound during the Dragons’ win over Bowling Green in 4th Region finals Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Warren Central senior Skyelar Potter grabbed a rebound during the Dragons’ win over Bowling Green in 4th Region finals Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Bowling Green Daily News

The 101st Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen basketball state tournament tips Wednesday at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

Below is a team profile for the Warren Central Dragons, who will meet Southwestern in the first round at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

WARREN CENTRAL

Region: 4th

Record: 29-5

Enrollment: 928 (467 boys)

Coach’s résumé

William Unseld, who played for the University of South Carolina and is a cousin of former NBA star Wes Unseld, is 166-62 in seven seasons as a head coach. He was an assistant at Warren Central, his alma mater, before taking the reins there in the 2011-12 season.

Probable starters

1) Micale Mee, 6-3, Sr., 10.1 ppg

2) Tayshaun Bibb, 6-2, Jr., 6.8 ppg

3) Jordan Cousin, 6-7, Sr., 15.1 ppg

4) Jamale Barber, 5-8, Jr., 4.2 ppg

5) Skyelar Potter, 6-4, Sr, 23.0 ppg

How they got here

Warren Central ended Bowling Green’s four-year reign atop the 4th Region after taking down the Purples, 65-53, in the finals. That result occurred 11 days after Bowling Green came away with a 67-65 decision in the 14th District championship.

Unseld earned his first Sweet Sixteen berth as a head coach in 2013, and went to the tournament five times as an assistant coach.

“It never gets old,” Unseld said. “This one is gonna mean a little bit more. ... We hadn’t been in a while.”

Bowling Green was the defending champion but lost from that team the core pieces that helped it inch closer and closer to a title in its four straight trip to Rupp.

“I’ve been on both ends of it where you have a special group come through,” Unseld said. “ ... Sometimes you just can’t help that.”

The Dragons finished one win short of 30 against a schedule that featured several region finalists (Bowling Green, Jeffersontown, LaRue County, Mercer County) and some fellow Sweet Sixteen qualifiers in Apollo and Oldham County. Those last two results — a 57-56 win over the Eagles and a 71-39 loss to the Colonels — aged well for the Dragons.

“A lot of people didn’t know about us,” Unseld said. “We kind of went under the radar this year, but I think people will like what they see when we get up there.”

Player to watch

Jordan Cousin scored 48 of the Dragons’ points in their district-title loss to Bowling Green. He had 24 to go along with 12 rebounds in the region finals.

He’s a late-bloomer who will have to go to junior college before suiting up for a bigger school; Unseld traveled a similar path and can see Cousin blowing up at the next level.

“He’s talented,” Unseld said. “He didn’t quite hit the books like he was supposed to his first two years but he’s matured and he’s done that. He’s got a lot of Division I schools all over him.”

Charge!

Potter, a Wright State signee, “should definitely be first-team All-State,” said Unseld, who went on to call him the Dragons’ most unselfish player.

“He’s taken more than 50 charges this year,” Unseld said. “The single-season record was 30 and he’s taken over 50. He had four fouls (in the region finals), and all four came from trying to take charges. That’s the type of kid he is.”

Sweet history

This is Warren Central’s 14th trip to the Sweet Sixteen. The Dragons won their only state title in 2004.

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

Chris Ware | Herald-Leader staff
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