Last season: 22-8 (lost to Lexington Catholic in 11th Region championship game)
Coach: Tommy Johnson (second year)
1. Deandre Dishman: 6-6, 210 senior forward whose seven rebounds a night were tops on the team in 2014-15. Said Johnson: “Deandre in practice, he looks like a grown man out there right now. The way he handles the ball, he can do whatever he wants to out there. Between him and (Andre Davis), their athleticism and quickness really stick out. ... He handles it a lot better than what people probably give him credit for so he’ll do a little bit more ball handling for us this year than he has in the past.”
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2. Andre Davis: 6-0, 180 senior guard who led Station in scoring at 14.9 points a game last year. Said Johnson: “He’s pretty crafty. (He and Deandre) both catch onto stuff really quickly. Not too many high school kids are able to make adjustments within the game within themselves, and that’s one of the things that those two can do. They play the game within the game.”
3. Timothy Dunn: 6-3, 190 senior shooting guard. Dunn averaged 7.2 points for the Defenders and shot a team-best 47.6 percent from behind the three-point line last season. “He can shoot it, put it on the floor and is a good on-the-ball defender,” Johnson said.
Others to watch: Terrance Clayton-Murphy, a 6-2, 170-pound sophomore guard; Braeden Warren, a 6-6, 210-pound junior center/forward; Kenyon McKee, a 6-2, 180-pound sophomore guard. None of three logged minutes last season according to KHSAA statistics.
Games you gotta see: The Defenders go to early-title favorite Taylor County on Jan. 29 for a tough test in the latter half of the season. They’ll be a favorite in the Woodford County Invitational when they open with Eastern in that tournament on Dec. 21. They start with Kentucky Country Day in the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic on Dec. 26.
Fast facts: Bryan Station hasn’t won the 11th Region since 1989, when it advanced all the way to the Sweet Sixteen semifinals. The Defenders, led by present-day Tates Creek Coach Mike Allen, fell to state-runner up Wayne County.
‘Icing on the cake’: “My core group of guys I have, they’ve been in that big-game situation. They know what it feels like and what kind of practice you got to have in order to be competitive in this region. That helps tremendously. For the program, winning and developing good young men is something I’ll always want to do while I’m over here. Winning is icing on the cake. We do have a little bit of a bad taste in our mouth because we didn’t pull it out. Hopefully we’ll be able to put something together that’s close to that.”
Regular season: “Regular-season records in this region mean absolutely nothing when you get into the regional tournament. Looking at the other side of the district, with Lafayette and all those guys — those guys are going to beat the heck out of each other every night. Same with our district. If you’re lucky enough to make it to the region it doesn’t matter what your record is. Everybody’s zero-zero.”
Style of play: “We want to make you play fast and play a lot of people. We want to constantly have the game going up-tempo from start to finish. ... I feel like at all times we have five guys on the floor who can attack the basket from anywhere. Probably 95 percent of our opponents last season played a zone (because of our spacing mindset). (Our zone offense) is one of the things we’re really working on this year.”