Warren Central, Bowling Green advance to 14th District Championship
The rankings couldn’t have predicted the outcome of last night’s events better. KSR’s top-ranked team in the state, the Warren Central Dragons, took out the Greenwood Gators in blowout fashion. The doubleheader also featured the 12th-ranked team in the state and 2nd in the district, the Bowling Green Purples, which claimed victory over the South Warren Spartans — for the third time this season.
As expected, Warren Central asserted its dominance over Greenwood, which is hosting the 14th District tournament this year. The Dragons have been leading the pack in KSR’s Top 25 state rankings for six consecutive weeks now, so it came to nobody’s surprise that they outscored the Gators by 31 points in a 76-45 win to advance to the district championship this Friday.
All things considered, Greenwood played well and they played together. Freshman guard Chaze Huff held his own against the vet Dragons and was a big contributor for the Gators along with Luke Stansbury and sophomore Asher Pettus. The future is bright for this young Greenwood team.
Pressure, Pressure and more Pressure
Chappelle Whitney led the Dragons with 26 points while Damarion Walkup followed with 12 and Izayiah Villafuerte with 10. However, the top team in the state doesn’t just earn that title because of what they do offensively. It’s also how the play defensively. All night, Warren Central forced Greenwood mistakes and turnovers. The Dragons just knew where to be on the court and how to break down Greenwood’s offense.
After closing the third quarter with a 36-point lead, the Dragons pulled their starters and let their second team get minutes. It was evident to everyone in the crowd that this Warren Central team was playing loosely, but most notably, was having fun. When stakes are high and there seem to be so many eyes on you, it can be easy for teams to fold under pressure, but this mature Warren Central team doesn’t seem to let the buzz affect the way they play. The Dragons will be back in action on Friday to face the Bowling Green Purples in the district championship.
Purples Claim Victory
Bowling Green and South Warren played a more exciting 32 minutes of basketball than the one before them. But, the game ultimately belonged to the Purples, controlling the pace for the last three quarters in a 65-50 victory over the Spartans.
Bowling Green played cohesively on both sides of the ball, but their offensive efforts shined through. Junior forward Mason Ritter put up 26 points with MJ Wardlow adding 14 and Braylon Banks contributing 10. Ritter has consistently been a solid rim protector and someone who can usually score when he’s in the paint. Bowling Green has integrated him so flawlessly into their offense and he took total advantage of his role, scoring 40% of the Purples’ total points on Tuesday night.
South Warren junior guard Drew Hudson went all out in the Spartans’ final game of the season, scoring 18. Sophomore Bryce Button followed right behind with 12 of his own. The Spartans took control of the pace in the first quarter, but they couldn’t keep that grasp for long as the Purples offense acclimated accordingly for the remainder of the game.
This Friday’s championship game will feature two of the top teams in the state, more eager than ever to claim the championship title in one of the toughest districts in the state. Both teams have a reliable offense, but what they do on the defensive end will ultimately decide who gets the ‘ship and likely the #1 seed in the region.
An exciting night of hoops will take place at Greenwood High School on Friday to conclude the District 14 tournament. No. 1 Warren Central and No. 12 Bowling Green will tipoff at 6:00 p.m. EST.