No basketball team wants to wobble its way into the post-season. Everybody wants to have some semblance of momentum as tournament time approaches.
Bryan Station might have gathered a little bit of steam by beating Paul Dunbar 73-58 Wednesday night, its 15th consecutive win over the Bulldogs in the last five years.
For the 17th-ranked Defenders, it was a needed boost after they had lost four of their previous nine games and dropped out of the top 10.
Coach Champ Ligon said his team's rhythm and routine were disrupted by the snowstorm and subsequent layoff.
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"We're trying to put the pieces back together," Ligon said. "It's a long season, and you're going to have peaks and valleys, and I'd rather be having a valley in the middle of February than the end of February or into March.
"Hopefully, we're back on our game and we'll go into tournament time playing well."
No. 25 Dunbar suffered its sixth loss in its last 10 games, leaving Coach Carl "Redd" Hutchinson puzzled. He said his Bulldogs have struggled since mid-January.
"It's been all downhill from there," he said. "I don't know what the problem is. I just hope these guys can get it together because these seniors deserve a lot."
Bryan Station looked better prepared for next week's district tournaments.
The Defenders got off to a fast start — they led 18-6 after one quarter — and finished strong, too. They used a 10-0 run in the closing minutes to put Dunbar away.
Charles Ashford led the way with 23 points, 18 coming in the second half. He also had 11 rebounds and five assists.
"I think we're back on track," the 6-foot-2 senior said.
"We'd been struggling lately. I think we were a little tired and run down, but we're getting our legs back, and we're ready for the district."
Cameron Richardson had 14 points for Bryan Station.Montell Morones added 10 points, and Jeremiah Mabson had 11 rebounds.
Dunbar was led by senior Nick Hudson's 23 points. He was the only starter to score in the first half.
Eighth-grader Larry Morton came off the bench to get 12 points and six rebounds. Sophomore reserve Lamont Johnson had 10 points.
Tyler Rogers, a 6-foot-7 senior who's had a bad ankle, contributed six points and 13 rebounds. Bryce With, a 6-7 junior, suffered a high ankle sprain early in the second quarter and didn't return.
Dunbar shot 37 percent from the field and missed 13 of 27 free throws.
The Bulldogs close the regular season Thursday night against McCreary Central. They'll host Tates Creek in the opening game of the 43rd District Monday night.
Bryan Station hosts defending state champ Mason County on Friday. It plays host to Henry Clay in the 42nd District semifinals on Tuesday.
bryan station 73, paul dunbar 58
PAUL DUNBAR (13-7) — Hudson 7-14 6-10 23, Waldrop 0-2 0-0 0, Clay 0-3 0-0 0, With 0-2 0-0 0, Rogers 2-6 2-6 6, Morton 4-7 4-7 12, Lanter 2-8 0-0 5, Johnson 4-10 2-4 10, Hendren 1-1 0-0 2, Coyle 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-54 14-27 58.
BRYAN STATION (19-6) — Ashford 8-17 6-8 23, Richardson 6-11 0-0 14, Morones 3-7 3-3 10, Mabson 2-7 0-0 4, Adams 1-4 0-4 2, Smothers 3-6 0-0 6, Fain 4-6 0-0 9, Ball 0-1 0-0 0, Blackburn 1-1 0-0 2, Waide 0-0 3-4 3, Baffour 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-61 12-19 73.
Paul Dunbar 6 17 18 17—58
Bryan Station 18 13 24 18—73