The 2019-20 basketball season brought the return of head coach Dennis Pardue to the sidelines in Elkton, after amassing a 105-56 record from 1998-2004 with three district titles, three All-A Region titles, and a regional runner-up finish in 2002. However, his second stint as the Todd County Central boys’ coach got off to a rocky start, with the Rebels finishing the season 6-22 overall, 2-5 in 13th-District play.
The Rebels opened the season with consecutive victories over Hopkins County Central and Ballard Memorial, but a long losing slide followed. They would drop their next fourteen games, including an 0-6 mark in the Hebrews 12 Coffee Christmas Classic and the Beef O’Brady’s/Danny Annis Memorial Tournament to close out 2019.
Todd County lost its first five outings of the New Year, with the last coming at the hands of Metcalfe County in the opening round of the 4th Region All-A Classic. Seniors Austin Rager and Deonte Toliver combined for 36 points to knock off Friendship Christian, TN 66-47 on January 18, followed by a big district win over Russellville three days later. Sophomore Preston Moore did the damage against the Panthers, pouring in 24 points to fuel the 3-point victory.
After a three-game skid, the Rebels picked up another win over Tennessee competition, going on the road to beat Montgomery Central 47-41. They closed the regular season with just one win in their last five, a double-overtime, 2-point win at Russellville to complete the season sweep of the Panthers.
As the 3rd seed in the district tournament, the Rebels drew Franklin-Simpson. The Wildcats won both regular-season meetings by a combined 37 points, and the postseason result would be similar. Despite 22 points for Toliver in his last game as a Rebel, they would fall 83-63 to bring the season to a close.
The rebuild will begin in earnest in the offseason, with the Rebels losing five players, including three of their top four scorers, to graduation. Toliver led the team with 13 points to go with 2.5 rebounds per game, while hitting 21 3-pointers during his senior campaign. Rager’s 11.6 points per game was second, with his 35 3-point makes and 36.8% shooting behind the arc both tops on the team.
Dominique Morrow just missed double figures with 8.8 ppg, while his 4.2 rebounds per outing were second-most for the Rebels. Kimahri Briggs chipped in 5.3 points per game and Tommy Stuard finished with 2.4 ppg.
A host of juniors will make up the core of next season’s team, led by Moore and post player Amari Andrews. After missing the beginning of his sophomore season through injury, Moore returned to average just over 9 points over 15 games, while leading the Rebels with 5.1 rpg. Andrews chipped in 4 ppg and 2.8 rpg, followed closely by Anthony Johnson with 2.3 and 2.2. Todd County will be hoping for bigger contributions from Logan Burgess and Keanu Galima, while freshman Nate Reding should also help fill the scoring void.