The Dunbar Bulldogs have made a statement this season — They are the first team in 15 years to go undefeated in the 43rd district — home to 4 of this year’s top 25 teams in the state. The last time Paul Laurence Dunbar had a 20 win season was 2008 and this year they’ve finished the regular season 24-6. Dunbar faced arguably one of the toughest schedules in the state, playing a very strong Louisville Trinity, Central, and Taylor County, home of a top Mr. Basketball contender — Quentin Goodin.
Dunbar fell to Trinity at the popular King of the Bluegrass tournament, but played like they had something to prove at the Traditional Bank Holiday tournament and beat the Shamrocks by 11. They took home a huge win against Louisville Central and were only edged by one versus Taylor County. In their district they are totally undefeated and they face 11th region heavyweights such as Lexington Catholic and Lafayette. When asked who their toughest competition had been this season, Assistant Coach Jon Moore says LexCath lives among that list, who they’ve beaten twice in very close games.
Dunbar is led by three seniors – Jordan Lewis, Justin Kelley, and Darius Williams, a Mr. Basketball candidate.
Coach Moore says that Jordan is what makes the team go, he doesn’t “wow” you with scoring numbers, though he’s had 20+pt performances, it’s that he does so much everywhere else. Jordan is chalking up 5-6 huge assists per night and 6-7 rebounds. Moore also says, “He gets more deflections than any kid I’ve ever coached.”
Justin Kelley, a 2-time all-state soccer player, usually draws the most important defensive assignment – he gets to guard the other team’s best player. According to Moore, “Justin is quietly shooting around 50% from 3 point territory, gets 5-6 rebounds per game, and is the glue and leader in the locker room.”
Their last senior, but definitely not their least, Darius Williams, is a Mr. Basketball candidate. Moore claims that Darius has really accepted his role on the team this season. He became a top rebounder, and is always someone you can go to for a bucket. Darius’ overall offensive numbers are lower than past seasons, but his efficiency has increased, which has made him a better player.
When asked about the future of Bulldog basketball, it sounds like they are near the top and ready to stay – returning 2 starters: their leading rebounder, Dontell Brown, and Taveion Hollingsworth, their leading scorer with 22PPG and a current career total of 1452; Taveion is currently on pace to beat Dunbar’s scoring record of 2192 career points, held by Darnell Burton. Coach Moore adds that Jared Gadd and Tre Homer have had great JV seasons and have produced off the bench for their varsity this year.
The Dunbar squad will have a post-season battle but are up for the task. If they make it out of the tough-as-nails 43rd District, they will then go to war in the 11th Region, facing potential opponents like Scott County and Henry Clay. The good news? Dunbar already knows what it’s like to get a W from those two – as they’ve beat them both in regular season play. You can expect to keep hearing about Dunbar Basketball as March draws closer, and according to Coach Moore, “I think our kids know what time it is.”
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