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Tygers welcome hoops royalty

12:00 AM, Dec. 18, 2012 EST

Keon Johnson celebrates with his teammates after scoring a 1,000 points Saturday night against Sandusky at Mansfield Senior High School. / Daniel Melograna/News Journal


Keon Johnson became just the seventh member of Mansfield Senior's 1,000-point club over the weekend. He joined Dapreis Owens (1,478), Ahmed Kent (1,278), Sean Tucker (1,253), George Swank (1,185), Marquis Sykes (1,151) and Ken McCally (1,027).

"When you think of all the great players, it's humbling," Johnson said after scoring 21 points in Saturday's 84-26 win over Sandusky.

Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey, who was at Pete Henry Gym on Saturday to see his future point guard reach the milestone, didn't need a crash course in Senior High history.

Kelsey is well aware of Mansfield Senior's place in Ohio high school basketball.

"This is a tradition-rich program," Kelsey said. "For Keon to be one of only seven players in school history to score 1,000 points really says something."

Kelsey's uncle, Jim Stoll, was the head coach at Cincinnati Purcell Marian when the Cavaliers beat Mansfield Senior in the 1985 AAA state championship game.

"I was at that game," the 37-year-old Kelsey said. "Mansfield Senior had a great team. I remember Ahmed Kent and Bubba Toddie and Tyrone Buck."

An undersized point guard, Kelsey played at Wyoming and Xavier. So what does he think of his recruit?

"I love his toughness," Kelsey said. "The first time I actually saw him ... he did everything. He was selling tickets and selling hot dogs. He just took over the game all by himself."

What does Johnson need to improve on before arriving in Rock Hill, S.C. next fall?

"He needs to continue to become more vocal," Kelsey said. "He's a quiet leadership guy, a lead-by-example guy."

Kelsey helped tutor Chris Paul when he was an assistant at Wake Forest in the early 2000s.

"I coached one of the best points guard on planet Earth in Chris Paul and one of Chris's greatest stength was his floor presence and his ability to communicate on the floor and be an extension of the coaching staff.

To be an elite point guard (Johnson's) floor generalship needs to continue to improve."

Rolling out the red carpet: High school heavyweight Dayton Dunbar will make its way to Pete Henry Gym for a rare tripleheader starting at 5 p.m. The freshmen, junior varsity and varsity teams all will be in action.

The Wolverines won the Division II state championship last March, knocking off Elida 54-52 on a last-second layup by Andre Yates.

The state crown was Dunbar's fourth since 2006 and fifth overall. The Wolverines have advanced to the Final Four eight times and won state titles in 1987, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2012.

"They are a historic program," Senior High coach J.T. Reese said. "They're going to bring the swag. They are a state powerhouse.

"But at the same time, they're coming to our gym. We're going to prepare for them just as we would prepare for anyone else."

The Wolverines ran their winning streak to 33 games with last week's 69-47 win over Dayton Meadowdale. Only two starters return from last year, sophomore A.J. Harris and 6-foot-7 senior Damarion Geter.

The 5-9 Harris is one of the most sought-after recruits in Ohio's Class of 2015 and already has an offer from the University of Dayton.

He is averaging about 17 points a game.

"They have got some talent," Reese said. "We'll see what we can do against them."

Senior High athletic director said Laurie Romano expects a big crowd Friday night. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students.

"That price is for all three games," Romano said.

"We had a tripleheader at Toledo Scott earlier in the year and it went very well. We have the auxiliary gym where the teams can warm up, so we're thinking about shortening the warm-up period for the junior varsity game to 10 minutes just to keep things moving."




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