Rowan County vs. Daviess County
Winner plays Game 6 winner at 6:30 p.m. Friday
ROWAN COUNTY VIKINGS
Region: 15 | Record: 27-5 | Enrollment: 840
Shawn Thacker, a graduate of Allen Central and Morehead State, is 51-34 in three seasons at Rowan. In 12 years overall, he is 212-138. Thacker coached Somerset to eight consecutive All "A" regional titles, finishing as All "A" state runner-up twice.
Corey Hunter6-7 Sr. 7.8 ppg
D.J. Townsend5-10 Jr. 14.4 ppg
Adam Wing6-4 Jr. 13.9 ppg
Jason Egan6-2 Jr. 8.6 ppg
Darrell Cross5-8 Sr. 9.9 ppg
Rowan prides itself on defense, giving up 48.7 points a game. In the region finals, Rowan held Ashland — averaging nearly 78 points — to 58. Rowan also has been a good rebounding team, according to Thacker. Start with Adam Wing, who averages 8.3 boards. "We've been pretty good defensively all year, and it's something we've gotten better at," Thacker said. "We have some versatility in how we do it. ... We have multiple ways to do it. We rebound the ball pretty well, too. Adam Wing's a great rebounder. We're kind of long around the basket, so we've had a lot of success in one-and-done." Having played a half-court style out of necessity the past two seasons, the Vikings are at ease in that mode but have added up-tempo spurts as well.
One for all
Thacker says team chemistry has made for a tightly knit team. Wing, a quarterback who is a potential Mr. Football candidate next season, plays much the same role with this team. "He's a great leader and when you watch him play, like a coach on the floor," Thacker said. "Somebody made the comment that they didn't know how he could get anything done on the floor because he's always telling everybody else where to go."
Player to watch
Point guard D.J. Townsend (14.4 ppg, 4.4 assists) has "been very difficult to double and make him give up the basketball, and Daviess County is going to try to do that," Thacker said. "They're a pressure basketball team, and they like to get after you. And the one thing we've learned with D.J. is kind of 'get out of his way and let him handle it on his own.' He's shooting the ball extremely well from the field, and his assist totals have increased as the year's went on."
Rowan County has made four previous trips to the Sweet Sixteen, the first in 1987 and the last in 2005. The Vikings have never made it past the first round.
DAVIESS COUNTY PANTHERS
Region: 3 | Record: 26-4 | Enrollment: 1,620
Caleb Smith, a 1998 graduate of Bowling Green High who went on to Brescia University, is 46-34 in three seasons at Daviess County.
Paul Wilkerson5-10 Jr. 5.0 ppg
Christian Belcher6-2 Sr. 12.3 ppg
Tyler Lashbrook6-3 Sr. 12.1 ppg
Will Stevenson6-31/2Sr. 9.8 ppg
John Allen6-4 Sr. 10.8 ppg
Smith plays 10 players, with wholesale five-for-five changes. "We try to get after it as much as we can on the defensive end," he said. "Of course, when you do that, it takes a lot of energy. So we're a pretty deep team, and I've got confidence in all 10 of the guys I play to put them in any situation." Obviously, that makes for a fast tempo, and the Panthers try to wear down opponents. "Our advantage is our depth. So, teams that play six and seven guys, usually in the fourth quarter we can wear them out," Smith said. "That's something we rely on because we're not very athletic, we're not very big, our guys aren't going to scare you. ... We've got to rely on us just being scrappy, playing physical and wearing you down."
Daviess' three-guard lineup features seniors Tyler Lashbrook (12.1 ppg) and Christian Belcher (12.3 ppg). The lone non-senior starter is point guard Paul Wilkerson (5.0 ppg). "He drives the team," Smith said. "He does a great job of getting the ball to the people who need the ball in every situation. He's done great at taking care of the ball against pressure. He's been beat up pretty good this year, but he's pretty relentless."
Player to watch
John Allen, a 6-4, 225-pound senior, contributes more than his 10.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. "The games that he's come up big, we've done well," Smith said. Although undersized in the post, "He's going to give us everything that we need to win the game. His main contribution is doing the dirty work underneath the goal, being physical with the other teams' big guys. We've got good guards ... but when John's on, that makes us a whole lot tougher."
Daviess County has made seven trips to the state tournament, most recently in 2003. The Panthers were runners-up to St. Xavier in 1958.