The Cordia Lions boys’ basketball team is in its second year under Coach Rodrick Rhodes, and they kicked off their 2012-13 season with a big win over South Floyd Tuesday evening.
The Lions traveled to Morton Combs Athletic Complex in Hindman for what was supposed to be their home opener, though the venue was changed to Knott County Central’s home floor due to work being completed on the surface of Cordia’s gym at Lotts Creek. But despite the change, Cordia had little trouble dispatching of the Raiders, eventually winning the game by a 40-point margin.
Cordia came out of the gates quickly, taking a 24-8 lead after the first quarter, and eventually going into halftime with a 23-point lead at 35-12. Cordia continued to add to the margin in the second half while holding South Floyd’s offense to a total of 24 points in the final two frames. Cordia easily took the 76-36 win, going to 1-0 in the early season.
The Lions were led in scoring by senior guard Zack Owens with 22 points. Center Dondre Warren added a double-double on the evening with 17 points and 16 rebounds.
Cordia finished last season with an 11-18 record, and while an improvement over the previous year, the Lions are still looking for their first winning season since 2009-10 when the team went 14-13.
Coach Rhodes, a former University of Kentucky star and NBA player, is joined on the bench this year by his assistant, Lawrence Thomas, who played his college career at UNLV and Hofstra.
Thomas attended a recent 14th Region media day in Hazard Nov. 13, where he said the Lions’ coaching staff is looking forward to an improved season with several returning players from last year’s team, including Owens, who they expect to be a team leader. They’re also adding some new players who should provide some solid play on the floor.
“We have a few new players who should help us out,” Thomas said during the media day. “They’re trying to get better, we’re trying to get better as coaches, be better as a team, get the chemistry we need to have a great season.”
Cordia will have a tougher test Thursday evening as they travel to Fayette County to take on Lexington Catholic in the Knights’ season opener at 7 p.m.
Cordia will also have several more games of note this season, including a road trip back to Hindman against cross-county rival Knott Central on Dec. 11, and a home game against the Patriots on Jan. 5. The Lions will also take on some Perry County teams this season, first with Buckhorn on Jan. 10, and then ending the regular season against the Perry Central Commodores on Feb. 15.
Stats from Tuesday’s game against South Floyd
Zack Owens: 22 points, 1 assist; Dondre Warren: 17 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks; A.J. Tagaloa: 15 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists; Ajenee Chisolm: 7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals; Marquis Nowell: 5 points; Marcus Nowell: 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals; Robby Rios: 3 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals; Stefon Hill 3 points; Justin Cornett: 5 rebounds; Corey Smith: 2 rebounds; Braxton Tackett: 2 rebounds; Austin Combs: 1 steal.