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TOPIC: Bulldogs in Sweet 16
OUR VIEW: Program has come a long way
When the John Hardin High School boys' basketball team rolled to the 5th Region championship Saturday night at Hart County High School, it accomplished something most teams in the region have failed to do in the last decade: Defend the region title.
The Bulldogs open state tournament play at storied Rupp Arena in Lexington this afternoon against Fleming County from the 16th Region. No school since North Hardin in 2002-2003 has earned back-to-back championships from the 5th Region.
The Bulldogs have been the cream of the crop in the region this season, winning 28 of 31 games entering today's play. They started the season as the team to beat and certainly didn't disappoint, rolling to 17th District and 5th Region crowns.
Head coach Mark Wells and his staff have pushed all the right buttons in getting a talented team to play up to its capabilities, virtually from the start of the season and into the Sweet 16.
And give the student-athletes at John Hardin credit as well. Instead of basking in their successes of a year ago, they were motivated to make it back to Rupp Arena.
Wells and the Bulldogs quickly established themselves as a program to be reckoned with each year in the region with three region titles in the last eight years.
Over the last two seasons, the Bulldogs have won 39 of their last 43 games and once again are among the final 16 teams left bouncing the ball in boys' high school basketball in Kentucky. It has been another outstanding season on the area basketball front with three other schools reaching region finals.
John Hardin and North Hardin made it an all-Hardin County final in the 5th Region, while the LaRue County Lady Hawks capped an outstanding season with a defeat in the 5th Region girls' tournament earlier this week.
The Meade County Lady Wave made a big postseason push as well and reached the championship game of the 3rd Region Tournament, falling to Owensboro Catholic in the final.
Locally, there's much to take pride in on the hardwood, in the classroom and a variety of other student endeavors.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.