QUICK HITTER STORY/Warren Central completes ‘the mission,’ claims KHSAA state championship with 64-60 victory over George Rogers Clark


LEXINGTON — For the No. 1-ranked Warren Central High School boys basketball team, everything was going according to script.

The Dragons were quicker to the basket in the KHSAA Sweet Sixteen championship game, quicker than their opponent, George Rogers Clark High School.

The Dragons found ways to get junior WCHS swingman Kade Unseld the ball, and Unseld often found ways to get it in the basket.

The Dragons withstood one George Rogers Clark threat after another, until the game’s final moments, after Unseld had put Warren Central ahead by four points, on two free throws with 8.1 seconds left in the game.

Yes, the Dragons did it.

They completed “the mission at hand,” as veteran WCHS boys basketball coach William Unseld put it, in evaluating his team on the second evening of first-round play at Rupp Arena.

The mission is complete.

The No. 1-ranked Dragons, atop the polls since the Christmas/New Year’s holiday season, made it happen against a terrific George Rogers Clark High School squad, the same team Warren Central played in last year’s KHSAA Sweet Sixteen title tilt.

The difference, of course, is that this time the Dragons did it.

Senior forward Chappelle Whitney, who lifted the Dragons to a workmanlike 64-56 victory over Woodford County in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon, was named the tournament’s MVP. Whitney had his moments in the championship game, too, finishing with 10 points, eight rebounds and three assists.

The Dragons actually finished the season with a 36-1 record, winning their final 27 consecutive games to close out the campaign. George Rogers Clark finished 30-6 overall, and the Dragons were able to avenge last year’s hard-fought, 43-42 loss to the Cardinals in the KHSAA Sweet Sixteen championship game.

“What a great game … We got a lead, and they made some runs at us, which we expected,” Warren Central coach William Unseld said. “We left their shooters open, two or three times, and that hurt us … I’m just proud of these (Warren Central) kids, they way they hung in there, kept playing.

“We rode Chappelle a lot this year. Coming out of the half, it was Kade (Unseld). At the beginning of the game, it was (WCHS guard/forward) Damarion Walkup. They were zoning us, picking us up at half-court with the double team, and we tried to get the ball to the middle of the court, to Chappelle or Omari Glover.

“George Rogers Clark has the heart of a champion. They’ve been to what, four state tournaments in a row? They won it, last year … We told our kids this was going to be a fight to the finish.”

It was.

Chappelle Whitney, the Sweet Sixteen’s MVP and the KHSAA 4th Region Player of the Year, was joined on the all-tournament team by fellow senior Damarion Walkup and Kade Unseld, the Dragons’ junior sharpshooter.

Kade Unseld went 6-for-10 from the field, including a 3-for-6 showing from the 3-point line, and finished with 17 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Football/basketball star Omari Glover had an amazing conclusion to his Warren Central athletics career. The senior wide receiver/defensive back/forward/guard did it all for the Dragons, and in his final appearance in a WCHS uniform, he was on top of his game.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Glover hit seven of nine shots from the field, while finishing the game with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. Damarion Walkup, the Dragons’ 6-foot-4 defensive dynamo, had the hot hand early in the game, and he tallied 17 points to go with three rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

George Rogers Clark, which finished its season 30-6, got back in the game several times with clutch 3-point shooting and led the Cardinals with a game-high 23 points, six rebounds and six assists.

I’ve had some major issues with my computer, and the internet at Rupp Arena when it closes down the last two nights, but I’ll have comprehensive coverage of the Dragons’ dramatic state championship from my hotel on Sunday morning.

Thanks to all of you in Bowling Green who have followed KHSAA athletics the past 2.5 years on jimmashek.com. I’ve had a blast. And spring sports are just beginning!!