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South Oldham has seen Owen County forward Carson Williams’ talent firsthand.
The Rebels’ sophomore forward scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds when the teams met Feb. 15 in Crestwood, an 82-70 Dragons win.
South will try for another win against Williams and his teammates at 8 p.m. Thursday when the Dragons (19-4) meet Owen County (18-9) in the first round of the Region 8 tournament at Henry County.
Collins, which beat South 60-42 in December, lies in wait for a semifinal matchup, but the Dragons first have to take care of Owen.
“They’re an opponent that, if you don’t show up and play, can beat anyone in this region,” South coach Steve Simpson said. “…People say, ‘How are you going to beat Collins?’ I tell them, ‘Well, by beating Owen…’ People are looking past that and that’s something we can’t afford to do.”
Williams has drawn interest from Alabama, Tennessee, Notre Dame and others, according to Rivals.com. He stands 6-foot-6, weighs about 230 pounds and averages 24 points and 14 rebounds per game.
Williams’ post presence presents a problem for a South team whose best attribute is its guard play. Senior forward Drew Horsey, who’s come off the Dragon bench the last several weeks, will likely be matched up with Williams, Simpson said.
“It is a challenge for us against teams like that,” Simpson said.
South goes into this tournament coming off the disappointment of a 74-67 loss to Oldham County in the District 29 title game Friday night.
But one year ago South lost the district championship game against OC only to come back a week later and beat the Colonels in the Region 8 title game.
Dragon seniors like Jonathan Blair, Michael Griffin and Kyle Young were on that team, which rebounded from district disappointment to clinch the school’s first Sweet 16 berth.
This year’s South squad has played under the motto “New Team, Same Dream.” The Dragons are capable of winning the region and making it back to Lexington this year, Simpson said.
“This bunch of seniors are winners,” Simpson said. “They’re not going to go down without a fight.”