LEXINGTON – The 2017-18 high school basketball season is one the Warren Central boys’ basketball team won’t soon forget about.
From winning a school-record 31 games to capturing the Region 4 championship and earning a trip to the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen at Rupp Arena, the Dragons’ many accomplishments this year will forever follow them.
“Just proud of our team,” Warren Central coach William Unseld said Saturday. “We had a heckuva year; 31-6. I couldn’t be any more proud of a group of kids than I am right now.”
Warren Central’s season came to an end on Saturday night in a 75-46 loss to Scott County – the top ranked team in Kentucky – in the Sweet Sixteen semifinals. It didn’t end the way the Dragons had hoped, but what they were able to do throughout the year definitely doesn’t go unnoticed.
After losing a 67-65 heartbreaker to Bowling Green in the District 14 championship back on Feb. 23, Warren Central could’ve easily given up. Instead, the team turned its play up a notch, earned its revenge against their archrival in the region title game, and not only made it to Lexington, but won two games to be one of the final four teams standing.
“It’s like I told them, ‘You got farther than anyone expected you to,’” Unseld said. “Not only did they take themselves on a ride, but they took the whole community on a ride. We’ve had unbelievable support. That’s the special part about ‘em.”
Warren Central encountered many doubters this year, mostly because of its first-round exit in last season’s district tournament with a shocking loss to Greenwood.
That unexpected defeat on Feb. 22 added much more motivation for the Dragons in 2017-18 – especially for seniors Skyelar Potter, Jordan Cousin, Micale Mee and Kemal Esmic – and they kept that on their minds throughout the entire season.
“We went out first round of districts last year and we had a good little team,” Potter said. “We were supposed to make it further than we did. To come back with a team that fought harder than last year’s, it’s just great.”
“It was great,” Mee said. “It was great to be able to come back with guys that we knew were gonna work harder than last year and get here.”
In his final high school game, Potter – a Wright State signee – scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Cousin finished with 17 and five. Mee and Esmic may have had quiet nights, but they played significant roles throughout their careers in Dragon colors.
Because of the special campaign Warren Central had, Unseld can only be proud of his squad.
“We ended it here on Saturday at Rupp Arena, and I’m proud of my guys,” said Unseld. “They’re hurt, I’m hurting, but at the same time also proud because no one thought they would be here right now. Nobody thought we’d be 31-6. I’m proud of the guys.”