RICHMOND — Allen Feldhaus Jr. is in his 19th season as boys' basketball coach at Madison Central, and it's hard to remember him being so excited about his Indians.
"I love my team," he said after Madison Central ran its record to 6-0 with a business-like 82-71 victory over West Jessamine Friday night.
"This could be one of the best I've had."
The Indians were No. 9 in the state in the pre-season because they seem to have everything needed to make a run at the Sweet Sixteen.
First and foremost, they have a terrific backcourt in juniors Dominique Hawkins and Kenjah Bosley.
Neither one was in top shape Friday night.
Hawkins was sick all day and sat out long stretches of the game. He still had a pretty good stat line: 14 points, six assists and six rebounds.
Bosley, nursing a bad ankle, had only two points. He had been leading the team with a 19-point average.
"In high school basketball, you've got something if you've got two good guards who can score," Feldhaus said. "And I really like that both of them get to the rack and shoot a lot of free throws."
Madison Central has a formidable inside game with 6-foot-5 junior Quan Taylor and 6-6 senior Hunter Allen. They had 18 points and six rebounds apiece against West Jessamine.
The Indians' supporting cast includes John O'Bryan, a three-point threat, Kyle Congleton, Hunter Stocker, Daniel Parke, and Mr. Versatile, George Walker.
"I've never had a full nine-man rotation before," Feldhaus said. "I feel comfortable putting any of them in there."
Hawkins agreed that Madison Central has all the ingredients of an 11th Region contender and state power.
"I think we have it all." he said. "We can go to the post when we need to. Our perimeter guys can shoot or penetrate. I feel we don't have a weakness. Except maybe knock down free throws better."
Feldhaus thinks his team is only going to get better considering it got a late start in the pre-season. Hawkins, Bosley, Allen, Stocker and Walker all played football, and Taylor was still coming back from a summer foot injury.
"I don't think we're in good basketball shape yet," Feldhaus said. "We definitely haven't played as well as we can. If there's one area we need to improve, we can definitely rebound better."
Across the gym, West Jessamine Coach Damon Kelley was feeling good about his Colts. Despite lacking much experience, they've been one of the early surprise teams in the 12th Region.
They came to Richmond sporting a 4-2 record, including an impressive win over Franklin County. Their losses (to McCreary Central and Knott Central) were in the closing seconds.
Will Henderson, who started as a freshman at point guard last season, and Chase Fain, who gained more playing time as his sophomore year progressed, are West Jessamine's only veterans.
Fain had 18 points and seven rebounds against Madison Central. Making big contributions were newcomers to the lineup — Daulton Peters (16 points, six rebounds), Robby Irgang (14 points, five rebounds) and Heath Jackson (10 points).
"My kids play hard, they're unselfish and very coachable," Kelley said. "We came in here against a good team and were in the game for 21/2 quarters before in a little stretch they outmuscled us inside.
"We can learn from this."
WEST JESSAMINE (4-3) — Fain 5-18 7-9 18, Peters 6-14 4 4 16, Irgang 4-7 6-7 14, Henderson 1-4 0-0 3, Ziemann 3-9 0-0 7, Eubanks 1-1 1-2 3, Jackson 3-5 2-3 10. Totals 23-58 21-25 71.
MADISON CENTRAL (6-0) — Hawkins 6-13 2-4 14, Taylor 9-13 0-1 18, Bosley2-6 0-0 4, O'Bryan 3-7 5-6 11, Allen 8-17 1-4 18, Stocker 1-2 2-3 4, Walker 2-2 0-0 4, Congleton 4-7 0-0 8, Parke 0-3 1-2 1. Totals 35-70 11-20 82.
West Jessamine 10 16 18 27—71
Madison Central 17 10 24 31—82