Owensboro 3rd Region Champions/State Preview
Owensboro Red Devils (23-7)
Coach: Rod Drake
Sweet 16 Appearances: 44
State Titles: 5 (Last in 2015)
It had been 4 years since the Owensboro basketball program advanced past the first round of district. There wasn’t a player one this roster that had seen a regional tournament game. They were coming off a season in which they were heavy favorites to advance to state and graduated a strong core from that team. Coming into the season, there was a lot of uncertainty of how this team would perform. Everyone on the roster would have larger roles than a year ago. How would they perform?
Through the first few weeks of the season, you could see the potential was there. Coach Rod Drake put together an absolute gauntlet of a schedule. He wanted this team to be battle tested for a long tournament run. Four of their first five games came against Union County, Central Hardin, Warren Central and Christian County. Sure, they took some lumps, but they were learning how to win. They nearly completed a massive second half comeback in the OIT against Hopkinsville. They followed that up with a dominating 14 point win over Madisonville. After taking some lumps against Bowling Green and Bullitt East, they returned home as a different team.
In the second half of the season, you could easily argue Owensboro is a top 10 team in the state. They have gone 16-1 in 2019, with their only loss coming against Madisonville. During that stretch, they scored wins against Indiana powerhouse, Evansville Bosse, Bowling Green and a running clock win against Hopkinsville. The young Devils grew up fast. They did so with a suffocating defense that translates into one of the best transition games in the state. They finished the year undefeated in third region play at 17-0. Top that off with a win in the third region championship game, where their leader and star player Darrion Wimsatt was lost with a shoulder injury in the first half. With their backs against the wall, the Devils rallied again and found a way to beat a very good, senior laden, Breckenridge County team.
Darrion Wimsatt has led the Devils all season. He puts up 20 points per game and is as smooth as they come. He can shoot it from the outside or he can get to the rim, almost at will. In transition, he’s one of the best in the state. While he suffered a shoulder injury in the regional title game, he should be able to go this week.
Freshman Gavin Wimsatt is a 6-4 banger, who gets better every time he steps on the floor. He has great body control and does a great job around the basket. Defensively, he brings a lot of versatility. He can guard nearly any spot on the floor, which is very impressive for his size.
Amari Robinson Wales has really made a name for himself over the past month of the season. The Sophomore has upped his average to 10 points per game, but is capable of scoring 20 on any given night. His ball handling skills are fantastic for a sophomore. Much like Darrion Wimsatt, he can shoot the jumper or take you off the dribble.
Depth has made Owensboro the powerhouse that they are. Guys like Jaiden Greathouse, Aireon Phillips, Isaac Humphrey , Adante Greer and defensive specialist Monte Owsley have all played key roles for Owensboro through their impressive run. Greathouse has been a spark plug off the bench, scoring 9 points and pulling 6 boards per game. Phillips came out of no where to score 19 points after Darrion Wimsatt went down with injury in the regional championship. Adante Greer can shoot it from anywhere on the floor and brings a special kind of energy off the bench. Big man Isaac Humphrey plays his role very well and is capable of creating mis-matches inside against smaller teams.
PREDICTION: The Devils will roll in the opening round, with or without Wimsatt. If they can get him back for the quarterfinal round, they will give Trinity everything they want. IF they Devils were to pull the upset(which they are very capable of doing)…..lookout.