High School Basketball

Boys: Floreal is top dog in thumping

A week ago Paul Laurence Dunbar was rated the 11th-best boys' basketball team in the state, then went to Lexington Catholic and got blown away 70-43.

The lopsided loss didn't get the Bulldogs down, not even after they dropped out of the top 25 this week.

Instead, they decided to refocus and re-energize, and they showed it by whipping No. 18 Lafayette 77-61 on Wednesday night.

E.J. Floreal, a 6-foot-5 senior, led Dunbar with 24 points and nine rebounds. He said the Bulldogs' embarrassing showing against Lexington Catholic was "definitely a wake-up call.

"I thought we'd go in there and out-run them and run through them, but instead they whupped us. We were shocked we lost that bad.

"We learned that we had to pay attention in practice and to the game plan, instead of doing our own thing and thinking we know more than Coach."

Dunbar Coach Scott Chalk was glad to hear that.

"I thought we were a little better focused going into this game," he said with a smile. "And we match up well (with Lafayette).

"We also shot the ball better, which helps you to be positive, and our defense was a lot more solid."

Dunbar, which beat the Generals 68-54 in early December, was in control of the rematch from the start.

The hosts led by seven after the first quarter and extended the margin to 13 before taking a 35-26 halftime lead.

Lafayette, plagued by foul trouble, never could make a sustained run in the second half.

Jackson Davis, the Generals' 6-8 junior who's usually a double-double guy, sat out most of the third quarter with three fouls. He finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Tranard Chester and Charles Sweatt-Washington also had foul trouble most of the game, limiting their effectiveness for Lafayette.

Lance Blakley led the Generals with 14 points.

Dunbar shared the ball well. It had 17 assists, including six by Will Gary and four by Eric Trigg.

Mike Smith, the Bulldogs' feisty 5-10 point guard, had 18 points. Trigg had 13.

Gary and Troy Black chipped in with seven apiece, and 6-7 Taylor King contributed six points, four blocks, and three rebounds.

Floreal, who moved to Lexington this summer when his dad Edrick was hired as track coach at the University of Kentucky, set the tone for the night with his energized play in the first half.

"The coaches are pushing me to be more aggressive, telling me I can score on anyone in the city," he said. "I just gotta get that through my head."


LAFAYETTE (11-8) Davis 11, Sweatt-Washington 12, Chester 10, Robinson 10, Blakley 14, Trisko 4.

PAUL DUNBAR (13-7) Floreal 24, Smith 18, Trigg 13, Lewis 2, Gary 7, Black 7, King 6.

Lafayette 10 16 23 12—61

Paul Dunbar 17 18 25 17—77

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