GAME 5: DOSS VS. LAWRENCE COUNTY, NOON THURSDAY
Coach: Tony Williams.
Litkenhous Rating: 92.3 (No. 14 in state).
Sweet 16 trips: Sixth. (6-5).
Last trip to State: 2015 (lost to Covington Catholic 61-48 in the quarterfinals).
What to look for: This Dragons team is not your conventional repeat regional champion making its way back to Lexington. Doss lost 10 players from last year’s team, forcing Williams to rely on transfers to make the Dragons competitive this season. Swingman Kenyi Bryant, who transferred in from Cincinnati, forward Kel’Shawn Knight-Goff, who played last year at Christian Academy of Indiana, and point guard Jaylon Hall, a holdover from last year’s squad, form the big three to power the Dragons’ success as the team has won 18 of 20 games since the start of January.
Key player: Not only is Bryant the team’s leading scorer, he’s also making nearly 60 percent of his field goals and 40 percent of the three-point attempts. The 6-4 senior is also heating up from the perimeter as he’s made 13 of his 47 threes in his last four games.
Coach-speak: Williams on his team’s chances this week at Rupp: “As long as people keep saying we can’t win, I will be very confident. The moment people start projecting us to possibly win, that’s when I start to get a little bit nervous.”
2-Stephon Franklin, 6-1, So., 5.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg
5- Kenyi Bryant, 6-4, Sr., 15.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg
11- Jaylon Hall, 6-4, Jr., 10.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg
3- Laron Hargrove, 6-1, Sr., 6.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg
13- Kel’Shawn Knight-Goff, 6-5, Sr., 13.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg
10- Nick Anderson, 5-10, Sr., 6.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg
25- Shawn’Kel Knight-Goff, 6-3, Fr., 1.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg
14- Terez Traynor, 6-3, So., 3.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg
0- Cameron Maddox, 6-3, Jr., 9.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Coach: Travis York.
Litkenhous Rating: 83.8.
Sweet 16 trips: First.
What to look for: While the Bulldogs are new to the state tournament, they bring a veteran crew as the school has started the same lineup for the past four years, said York, a 1999 graduate. The Bulldogs love to play up-tempo as they average a state-best 80 points a game, and York said his style borrows some from such fast-paced attacks of former Loyola Marymount coach Paul Westhead and current Marshall coach Dan Dantoni. Any of the starters are a threat as they all average more than 9.8 points per game this season and all have scored at least 1,000 points for their careers.
Key player: While older brother Robert is the team’s all-time leading scorer, junior Timmy Dalton leads the team with an 18.7 average and shoots 55 percent from the field. The 6-3 younger Dalton is also the team’s second leading rebounder, pulling down six a game (Robert, a 6-2 senior, leads the team with 7.5 rpg). Timmy Dalton is just 97 points behind his brother (2,018 to 1,921) and could break the 2,000-point mark this week if Lawrence County makes a run.
Coach-speak: “Just knowing this is the best shot we’ve ever had, I think that put a lot of pressure on the boys,” said York, referring to the team trying to win the school’s first-ever regional title in their last chance as a team. “But they stepped up to that pressure… Now that that goal’s over with, I think now we can play more relaxed. I think we may play some of our best basketball now.”
2-Austin Chaffins, 5-11, Sr., 15.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg
1- Robert Dalton, 6-2, Sr., 17.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg
10- Timmy Dalton, 6-3, Jr., 18.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg
3- Grant Kiser, 6-3, Sr., 9.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg
23- Brandon Richardson, 6-2, Sr., 13.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg
5- Shawn Moore, 6-3, Jr., 1.9 ppg, 1.2 rpg
22- Tanner Black, 6-2, Sr., 1.1 ppg, 0.5 rpg
44- Josh Ratliff, 6-6, Sr., 1.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg
11- Alex Gilliam, 5-7, So., 0.5 ppg, 0.4 rpg