High School Basketball

Bulldogs barrel over Manual

Hazard's football team made history a few weeks ago when Tyler Olinger quarterbacked the Bulldogs to the state finals for the first time.

Josh Whitaker wants to play the same role in leading Hazard's basketball team to glory this season.

Whitaker showed he's got a lot of quarterback in him in the Bulldogs' 71-50 victory over Manual in the quarterfinals of the Republic Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic Saturday.

The 6-foot junior point guard had 23 points, seven assists, five steals and three rebounds as the No. 10 Bulldogs handily beat No. 7 Manual

"I guide the team and make all the calls, just like Tyler did," Whitaker said.

"My job is to distribute the ball, get everybody involved, look for my spots when I can get open shots, and just make everybody around me better."

Whitaker is surrounded by talented teammates.

Robert Warren was 8-for-8 from the field and hit both of his free throws in scoring 18 points against Manual.

Michael Campbell, a star on the football team, had eight points and 10 rebounds. Justin Jones added eight points and aggressive defense. Cory Martin hit a couple threes and had eight points and six assists.

Hazard Coach Allan Holland saw a lot of positives in his team's performance.

"We brought a lot of energy, played hard, our key guys stepped up and played well and so did our bench," he said.

"We played pretty good defense, too, and were pretty good on the boards."

Manual's athleticism and perimeter shooting worried Holland, but his Bulldogs' size and strength won out.

Hazard took advantage of its inside game and got a lot of point-blank shots. It shot 67 percent for the game, and was a sharp 16-for-18 from the foul line.

Manual was led by Jacob Jenkins' 13 points, but the senior star was still showing the effects of a foot injury.

Whitaker should be comfortable holding the Hazard reins. As a sophomore he helped the Bulldogs win 31 games and reach the Sweet Sixteen quarterfinals.

"We have the same team back, so our goal is to go even farther," Whitaker said.

Beating Manual in relatively easy fashion will give the Bulldogs a confidence boost, and also clue the rest of Kentucky that Hazard is for real.

"We want people to say we're just as good as other top 10 teams in the state," Whitaker said. "We proved we can contend with them, so we should make a run at a state championship, too."