BARBOURVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Determined to find success.
"We came up short last year obviously, we are just working harder," said senior guard Dane Imel. "We've got everyone in the gym getting shots up. Its just grind season really."
This season is the final year for a special group at Knox Central.
"This group is super successful since they've been in third grade," said Knox Central head coach Tony Patterson. "In my mind, this group has changed the culture at Knox Central."
"We've been a family since 7th grade," said senior guard Dalton Elliott. "In 7th, 8th grade we have been to the state championship. We are just really bonded and know how to play with each other."
"There are five seniors, we've been with each other for so long, I've known these boys since elementary school," said senior center Jacob Lindsey. "This is for real our last ride, we know that we have to make this year count, we have no other chance after this year."
The Panthers played a fast pace game last year, but this season, Coach Patterson says to expect things to slow down at times.
"Offensively we are going to be more patient," said Patterson. "Be more disciplined, because you know as well as I do when you get into Tournament play, the scores go from the 70s to 50s and each possession, you have to cherish it."
Knox Central fell short of their region title hopes last season, but this season, the Panthers want to make it count.
"The main goal, make it to Rupp," said senior guard Jaylen Adams. "But first we've got to go through Region and everything, last year we fell short of that, this year we just need to come in and work harder and make the goal come true."
"We're going to bring it home, 49 years is too long for us," said senior guard/forward Nick Martin. "We're going to get it done this year."
"That region championship, we all want it, we're grinding for it, we all just want it so bad," said Elliott.
"They had that mindset of win. They are champions," said Patterson. "They are going to be successful when they get out of high school and college. They are going to be great men some day. We are going to build on that, each and every day at practice and every game that we play."
The road to Rupp Arena is never easy, but coach Patterson's answer for finding success is rather simple.
"Hey listen, success isn't given, it is taken," said Patterson. "Some of the most successful people in the world are there for a reason, they wanted it bad enough. If you want something bad enough in life, you are going to find a way to get it, we've just got to find that way."
The Knox Central Panthers enter the 2018 season ranked No. 2 in the boys' Alice Lloyd College Mountain Top 10.