With a highly regarded junior guard and a preseason Top 20 state ranking, the Taylor County High School boys’ basketball team has high expectations for this season.
In its first appearance on a big stage, the Cardinals didn’t disappoint Friday.
Quentin Goodin scored 29 points and a pair of transfers from Louisville also had big games as Taylor County beat Waggener 84-74 in a first-round game of the Forcht Bank King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic at Fairdale.
The Cardinals — No. 17 in The Courier-Journal’s preseason poll of coaches — improved to 8-0 and advanced to face No. 7 Wayne County (3-2) in Sunday’s 6 p.m. quarterfinal.
“The reason you play in the KOB is to get ready for the postseason,” Taylor County coach Richard Gatewood said. “You have to play in big games. We need challenges like this on the road.”
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Goodin, a junior with scholarship offers from several major NCAA Division I schools, hit 10 of 20 shots and 8 of 10 free throws and added four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Two University of Louisville assistant coaches were among those in the crowd, but the Cardinals have not offered a scholarship.
“We’re trying to win it all, and we didn’t want this one game to stop us from reaching our goal,” Goodin said. “We came out with intensity and the tempo (Waggener) didn’t want to play.”
Sophomore David Sloan added 24 points and senior Brandon Berry pitched in 15 points and eight rebounds for Wayne County. Sloan started his high school career at Moore, where Gatewood used to be the head coach, and Berry transferred from Ballard prior to this season.
“Both of them were definitely pumped,” Gatewood said. “This is something they were looking forward to. Brandon has played in this for years, so he knows about the crowd. … He played big tonight.”
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Waggener (3-4), playing in the KOB for the first time, got 23 points from sophomore De’Von Cooper, who also is drawing interest from U of L. Junior Jaalam Hill added 16 points, including several impressive dunks.
Jacquess Hobbs’ 3-pointer pulled Waggener within 38-35 to start the third quarter, but Taylor County answered with a 21-1 run to take a 59-36 lead and held on from there.
“They did a really good job of turning us over,” said Waggener coach Bryan O’Neill, whose team committed 23 turnovers. “We weren’t taking care of the ball like we’ve been working on, but all credit to them. They took the ball out of our playmakers’ hands.”
Waggener (3-4) – Kirby 11, Jackson 6, Hobbs 9, Hill 16, Hendricks 6, Kratholm 3, Cooper 23.
Taylor County (8-0) – Morgeson 6, Goodin 29, Sloan 24, Berry 15, Webster 2, Oliver 7, Rafferty 1.
3-point goals – Jackson 2, Hobbs 2, Cooper 2; Goodin, Sloan 3, Berry 2.