PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT)- While the Johnson Central Golden Eagles enjoy their many trips to the district and regional tournament finals they are sick of being the groomsmen and not the groom.
"Our expectation is a regional championship. We've been there seven or eight straight times. I hope we can get back there and go to state this time," said Senior Jacob Rice.
"Well we want to win the regional championship this year and not just come in second place for the third, fourth time in a row now," said Senior Gabe Ferrell.
With the personnel, the team is returning the golden eagles think this could be the year.
"We're excited. We have four starters returning from last year. We had a big loss in Dalton Collins our center last year but hopefully, we can fulfill his role a little bit and try to match the intensity he brought to the game but I'm excited. We have our two leading scorers back," said Senior, Jacob Rice.
But coach Tommy McKenzie felt the team was too confident.
"We had a great summer. We got to the regional final last year. Won the district last year. I just kind of felt that arrogant arrogance about us. I always feel like that's a dangerous place to go," said McKenzie.
So coach scheduled Wesley Christian for the golden eagles in the 15th Region Preseason Challenge.
"I wanted them to humble us just a little bit. But, you know our kids. They're just so resilient. They never let us down they are always in a game. A fight. They don't care what the other team, what it says across the other team's chest," said McKenzie.
Despite being massive underdogs, JC forced double overtime falling by five points. While sophomores Isaiah may and Cory Vanhoose impressed alongside the two seniors Coach McKenzie says the team still has a little way to go.
"We want to be playing our best basketball and peaking right around the district tournament in going in on March and traditionally we've been able to do that here. So we don't want this game to be the highlight of our season. We will find things From this game to get better at every single day in Practice and just hopefully playing our best by the end of the year," said Mckenzie.
The Johnson Central Golden Eagles open up the season ranked No. 4 in the boys' Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10.