15th Region Tournament Preview

  1. #1
    by 15th Region is offline Premium Member
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    District Tournament Recap:
    We were able to correctly predict 7 of the 8 regional tournament teams with 3 of the 4 districts being perfect predictions on winners and runner-up’s (missed the 59th District winner – see district tournament article). Let’s see how the district tournaments played out in the 15th Region.

    57th - The 57th District was packed each night at Paintsville High School as in the first game JC’s defense dominated Sheldon Clark despite the hot early start by the Cardinals (early 4 point play by Bradley Dalton). Game 2 would see Paintsville shoot a terrible percentage from the field, but play solid defense against a very good Magoffin County team. The Hornets would control the entire game from tip to finish and were led by Sophomore Forward Ryan Mullins who had 14 points and 20 rebounds. Overall there were no surprises in the district semifinals and would set up the third meeting between JC and Magoffin (split during regular season). The game was back and forth until midway through the final quarter when Mason Blair broke a tie with a 3FG. JC would go on to win by seven despite a heroic performance from Trenton Russell (26 points / 12 rebounds) as he hit Steph Curry like shots against multiple defenders. Johnson Central would win its 18th District crown (most 57th Titles ever) and Magoffin would return to the regional tournament for the first time since 2007. Winner and runner-up was correctly predicted here.

    58th – Prestonsburg and Betsy Layne would prove no problem for South Floyd and Allen Central respectfully despite close games during the regular season. This would set up a repeat championship from last year between the Raiders of South Floyd and Rebels of Allen Central, but unlike last year, this time Allen Central would have home court advantage. The game was close but South Floyd would put it away late with FT’s winning by 10 and holding off numerous comeback attempts from Seth Hall and Allen Central. The back to back titles for South Floyd and back to back appearances in the regional by Allen Central and South Floyd make the decade of dominance by Betsy Layne and Prestonsburg seem like an eternity ago. Winner and runner-up was correctly predicted here.

    59th – Not much to say in the first game as Pikeville hammered Piarist as expected. Game two would be a classic as East Ridge would hold off Shelby Valley to knock them out of post season play by 3 (Hunter Swindall missed a 3FG as time expired). The District championship would go to East Ridge as, like in the Shelby Valley game, they were able to control tempo and limit opponent possessions. The style of play East Ridge Head Coach Randy McCoy has brought to the Warriors suits them very well and always gives them a chance to win. We missed the outcome of the East Ridge / Shelby Valley game and subsequent district Championship.

    60th – The first game in the 60th was a 10 point win by Lawrence County over Phelps. Seems head scratching for such a mismatch, but LC Junior Star Timmy Dalton did not play due to undisclosed disciplinary actions. He would return for the District Championship with a force (more on that in a minute). The second game in the 60th might have been the best opening round game in the state. A three overtime affair between Belfry and Pike Central almost went to a 4th OT. Belfry missed a shot and the officials could not agree on who the ball went out on late in the 3rd OT. A jump ball was called and Belfry was given the possession with 1.7s to play. The Pirates were able to get a wide open layup under the goal to win the game as the horn sounded. Pike Central had their chances as they had the last possession and last shot in regulation, overtime, and double overtime. It just wasn’t their night. The district championship was Bulldog coronation as they were up by 30 points most of the second half despite a decent game from Belfry. Timmy Dalton returned with an SC worthy dunk over contact (see other threads). Winner and runner-up was correctly predicted here.

    15th Region Tournament Preview

    Tournament Location: East Kentucky EXPO Center (Pikeville, KY)
    Defending Champion: Johnson Central (4x running)

    Session 1 Wednesday 2 March 2016:
    East Ridge (59th Winner) vs. Allen Central (58th Runner-up) – 6:30 PM
    Johnson Central (57th Winner) vs. Belfry (60th Runner-up) – 8:00 PM

    Session 2 Thursday 3 March 2016:
    South Floyd (58th Winner) vs. Magoffin County (57th Runner-up) – 6:30 PM
    Lawrence County (60th Winner) vs. Pikeville (59th Runner-up) – 8:00 PM

    Session 3 Saturday 5 March 2016:
    Semi Final 1 – 7:00 PM
    Semi Final 2 – 8:30 PM

    Session 4 Monday 7 March 2016:
    Championship – 7:30 PM (Winner will play Region 6 Champion)

    Overall Team Rankings Entering the Tournament (Record):
    1 – Lawrence County (26-4)
    2 – Johnson Central (18-12)
    3 – Magoffin County (21-8)
    4 – South Floyd (17-12)
    5 – East Ridge (21-11)
    6 – Pikeville (17-15)
    7 – Belfry (12-17)
    8 – Allen Central (17-15)

    Match-Up #1 (East Ridge [22-11: 17-8 in Region] vs. Allen Central [17-15: 12-10 in Region])

    Previous Match-Up’s:

    These two teams know each other very well as the Warriors and Rebels met three times during the regular season. In the first meeting, Allen Central came away with a win in the Hi Tech Signs and Graphix Holiday Classic at Prestonsburg High School by a final of 44-39. In that game, East Ridge put one player in double figures as Matt Miller scored 13 points while Allen Central saw Seth Hall score 18 and Cameron Blevins drop in 10. The second meeting between the two came during the opening round of the 15th Region All-A Classic at the Pikeville EXPO. East Ridge advanced by a final of 55-44 powered by three players scoring in double figures [Matt Miller (14), Michael Conn (11), and Chris Bevins (10)]. Allen Central was again led by Seth Hall with 15 while Brett Sammons chipped in with 12. The rubber match of the regular season was played at East Ridge and went to Allen Central 55-54. Cameron Blevins had 19 and Seth Hall had 10 for the Rebels while Justin Potter (19), Michael Conn (12) and Trey Little (10) each reached double figures for East Ridge. The final regular season meeting went back and forth the entire 4th Quarter with East Ridge missing several chances to win the game late.

    The Game:
    East Ridge likes to keep the game in the high 40’s or low 50’s, controlling pace and limiting opponent possessions. The problem with this is so does Allen Central. Both teams are very deliberate and very patient on offense, play solid half-court defense but have shown the ability to press when needed and have strong backcourt leadership to lean on. Look for this game to be a controlled chess match between two very good coaches. One possession here or there could make the difference, but the bigger EXPO floor will make it hard to come from behind for either team (seeing as both can spread you out and run clock when they have the lead). East Ridge has the edge in experience at the EXPO 4 to 1 advancing all the way to the All-A finals before falling to Shelby Valley in the championship. This experience wins out in the meeting between the two.

    Regional Titles:
    East Ridge – 2004
    Allen Central - 1994

    Players to Watch:
    East Ridge – Trey Little 6’0’’ Sr. Guard (9.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg) Matt Miller 6’3’’ Jr. Foward (10.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg) Michael Conn 6’0’’ Jr. Guard (9.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg)
    Allen Central – Seth Hall 6’0’’ Sr. Guard (15.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg) Cameron Blevins 5’11’’ Sr. Guard (11.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg)


    East Ridge 57 Allen Central 54

    Match-Up #2 (Johnson Central [18-12: 11-6 in Region] vs. Belfry [12-17: 8-11 in Region])

    Previous Match-Up:

    When the Golden Eagles visited Pond Creek on January 8th, the fans were treated to a record breaking performance. Johnson Central would win the game 92-73, but the story was Golden Eagle standout Mason Blair. In the first quarter, Blair scored 30 points and had 2 assists as Johnson Central led 39-9 after 8 minutes of play. Belfry did everything they could to stop him (box and 1, triangle and 2 with the two on Blair, zone and man) and called 4 timeouts in an effort to slow him down, but it was not enough. Blair’s performance was the 3rd most points ever scored in a quarter in the history of the Kentucky Boys’ basketball per the KHSAA record book. It was an amazing performance to watch. He would go on to score 36 in the first half and 43 in the game before sitting the 4th Quarter. It’s hard to take much away from a game that was decided so early, but Belfry never gave up and would go on to win every other quarter and actually cut the lead to 10 at one point. It should also be noted that in this game Belfry was without big man Cole Bentley (gone to football combine in Texas) and combo guard Cam Catron (football visit). The Pirates played with heart despite Blair’s onslaught and fought all the way to the end. In the game Belfry put 4 players in double figures led by Garrett Fannin (23 points), Devin Wellman (22 points), Jaret James (14 points) and Koleston Blankenship (12 points) while JC was led by Mason Blair (43 points), Cole Crace (16 points) and Tyler Pack (13 points / 10 rebounds).

    The Game:
    This game will be much different than the first as no one expects another 30 point quarter from a single player. Belfry is a different team compared to when the two met earlier in the season and will have Bentley and Catron available. Look for the Pirates to run their offense from inside out, using Bentley as a pivot piece that creates 3FG looks in the corners and on the wings for Blankenship and Fannin (through screens of course). Johnson Central will apply pressure in form of multiple full court looks and try to establish Tyler Pack early and often. The Golden Eagles want to play fast and will get up and down the floor in an attempt to push tempo.

    The matchup down low between Bentley and Pack should be a great one as both are double double machines. The matchup on the perimeter between Blair and Fannin could be explosive as both are big time scorers that have quick releases on the 3FG. The matchup between Blankenship and Crace will highlight two extremely gifted athletes. The point of all these matchup’s is that these two teams are more evenly matched than one might think. The difference will be if Belfry can handle the pressure defense JC will bring and depth the Golden Eagles have (going 10 deep consistently). If Belfry can limit their turnovers against the press and get scoring from the perimeter then you could see an upset, if not then the game will favor JC. It will be interesting to see what tempo wins out early on the big EXPO floor.

    Regional Titles:
    Johnson Central – 1972, 1975, 1984, 2000, 2006, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
    Belfry – 1990, 1991, 1992

    Players to watch:
    Johnson Central – Mason Blair 6’0’’ Jr. Guard (21.0 ppg 3.3 rbg) Cole Crace 6’0’’ Jr. Guard (13.9 ppg 4.3 rpg) Tyler Pack 6’5’’ Sr. Center (8.3 ppg 8.4 rpg)
    Belfry – Garrett Fannin 5’11’’ Sr. Guard (18.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg) Cole Bentley 6’5’’ Jr. Center (9.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg) Koleston Blankenship 6’0’’ Soph. Guard (10.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg)

    Johnson Central 75 Belfry 67

    Match-Up #3 (South Floyd [17-12: 13-8 in Region] vs. Magoffin County [21-8: 19-4 in Region])

    Previous Match-Up:
    These two faced off twice during the regular season in a home-and-home affair with Magoffin County sweeping the series. In the first game, the Hornets won at home 67-56 led by Trenton Russell with 25 points and 12 rebounds (Brady Whitaker had 17 on 5 made 3FG and Jaren Lovely had 12). For the Raiders, Andrew Tackett had 26 points and Poppa Trammell had 8 points 8 rebounds 6 blocks. Most of the game was played in a 6 point window until Magoffin finally pulled away late on key FT’s. The second game was played at South Floyd and again saw Magoffin County come out on top by a final of 66-59. Trenton Russell backed up the first game for the Hornets, scoring 23 and grabbing 9 rebounds. Magoffin PG Jaren Lovely had 17 points and big man Jacob Isaac (now out for the season – ACL/meniscus) had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Andrew Tackett 24 and 3 rebounds, Poppa Trammell 9 points 8 rebounds, 4 blocks for the Raiders. This game was not up and down as much as the first but still very close all the way through (tied in the 4th). Had South Floyd not gotten crushed on the boards, the outcome might have been different.

    The Game:

    This could possibly be the best first round game of the tournament. Magoffin has every piece you need to win. The scorer in Trenton Russell. The athletic point guard in Jaren Lovely. The spot up corner shooter to spread the defense in Brady Whitaker. The athletic bigs that have stepped in for injured Jacob Isaac in Dalton Peters and Ryan Mullins (who had 14 points and 20 rebounds in the first round of districts). These pieces are countered by South Floyd. They have the scorer and go to guy in PG Andrew Tackett. The athletic big in Poppa Trammell (who can also shoot the deep ball well). The athletic big who rebounds and plays defense in Brady Conn. The guard to stretch the floor in Jacob Collins. Expect this game to be played within a very tight window with the big guns Tackett and Russell leading their teams. Neither team will press much if any on the EXPO floor but both will run off misses when available. Magoffin rebounds very well from the guard position and will attack the rim. South Floyd has a great backcourt and good post play. In games such as this its usually an unknown role player who steps up and makes the difference as the stars cancel each other out. I wonder who that player will be in this game?

    Regional Titles:
    South Floyd – 2001
    Magoffin County - None

    Players to watch:
    South Floyd – Andrew Tackett 6’1’’ Sr. Point Guard (18.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Poppa Trammell 6’4’’ Sr. Forward (13.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Jacob Collins 6’1’’ Soph. Guard (12.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg)
    Magoffin County – Trenton Russell 6’3’’ Jr. Forward (22.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg), Jaren Lovely 6’0’’ Jr. Point Guard (17.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg)

    Magoffin County 62 South Floyd 58

    Match-Up #4 (Lawrence County [26-4: 13-0 in Region] vs. Pikeville [17-15: 15-9 in Region])

    Previous Match-Up:
    These two teams did not play during the regular season. There last meeting was 13 February 2015 (last season) and Pikeville came away with a 79-75 victory at home. Wyatt Battaile had 26 points and 4 rebounds for Pikeville in the game as just a freshman. Lawrence County was without Robert Dalton in the game (wrist injury at the time) as was led by Austin Chaffin (19 points), Brandon Richardson (18 points), Timmy Dalton (17 points) and Grant Kiser (15 points). Pikeville was able to out rebound Lawrence County by 19 in the game. Although the season is different, Lawrence County returns the same roster and Pikeville almost does as well (Big man Zach Huffman graduated last season and Ryder Johnson quit earlier this season). Take what you will from this matchup going into regionals this year.

    The Game:
    Lawrence County is extremely talented and likes to play fast. They will press on occasion, but rely more on their superior athleticism and man-to-man defense for stops. Look for Lawrence to get out and go when the opportunities present themselves as they have weapons all over the floor and can shoot from deep. Pikeville will most likely play a controlled game and look to get the ball inside and establish early foul trouble on the Bulldogs. They have shown they can shoot the ball extremely well as evident by the 97 point outburst against Johnson Central and 60%+ shooting. Can Pikeville control the tempo and keep the game in 50’s? Will Lawrence County impose their will and bury Pikeville early with the fast tempo? Look for this game to be close early with the Bulldogs pulling away late. If Pikeville is to pull the upset, they will need major contributions from their bench and big’s. If they can get to LC’s bench they may have a shot.

    Regional Titles:
    Lawrence County – None (to include when they were in the 16th Region)
    Pikeville – 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1974, 1999

    Players to Watch:
    Lawrence County – Timmy Dalton 6’2’’ Jr. Forward (18.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Robert Dalton 6’1’’ Sr. Guard (18.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg), Austin Chaffin 6’0’’ Sr. Point Guard (15.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg), Brandon Richardson 6’0’’ Sr. Guard (13.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
    Pikeville – Wyatt Battaile 6’4’’ Soph. Forward (17.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg), Blaine May 6’0’’ Sr. Guard (11.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg)

    Lawrence County 82 Pikeville 69

    Semi Final 1 Prediction:
    Johnson Central 60 East Ridge 53 (Battle of tempo here)
    Semi Final 2 Prediction: Lawrence County 65 Magoffin County 62 (This game will be a war)

    Championship Prediction: Johnson Central 77 Lawrence County 76 (Going with the upset as bench depth wins out late)

    Agree or Disagree? Feel free to respond and discuss!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 15

    Great job 15th, as usual!

    "On paper it appears that Johnson Central got the best draw, giving them an opportunity to make history by winning a 5th straight 15th region tournament. While the odds on favorite, Lawrence Co., along with Magoffin Co. will definitely be tested in their quest to win a 1st ever region title. In reality looking at this bracket you can make the case that in ever 1st rd game either team ACTUALLY COULD beat the other. And that is why we play the games. After all, it is March and that means anything can happen! Should be a great tournament."

    Game 1:
    East Ridge vs Allen Central:
    In this game it will be hard for either team to show anything different, as they have played three times already! Allen Central has two players that score in double figures consistently while East Ridge has shown they have three players that hits double figures plus throw in Randy McCoy who has coached FOREVER. I will take East Ridge by 4.

    Game 2:
    Johnson Central vs Belfry
    Belfry is VERY athletic! They can be physical as well, but most of all they will have two players back they were missing in the first game at Belfry. Johnson Central has all the experience on their side as they have played in five straight and WON 4 straight region tournaments. Mason Blair usually has to have a big night for JC, and he did that in game 1, don't think Belfry will let him go as high this time. So, that means that one or a couple of other players will need to step up! I still like Johnson Central in this one by 10.

    Game 3:
    South Floyd vs Magoffin Co.
    South Floyd is playing well right now and has a very good guard and big man. They have been to the region and know what to expect. Magoffin Co. is making their first appearance in along time. However, they are locked in and ready to make a run at their first region title ever. Russell is a PLAYER, and if Lovely and the other Hornets come to play they will be a tough out. I like Magoffin Co. by 3.

    Game 4
    Lawrence Co. vs Pikeville
    Lawrence Co. is the favorite, as they should be. They are loaded with talent and want to bring the region championship back to Louisa for the first time ever. They have played a tough schedule to prepare them as well. Pikeville has been up and down all year. They had put together a great streak of wins late in the year, but lost to East Ridge in the district final. If, Pikeville can shoot well they can beat the dawgs. I like Lawrence Co. By 7.

    Semi-Final 1:
    Johnson Central vs East Ridge
    Coach McKenzie is (2-0) vs the Warriors when it comes region time. This will be a battle of tempo. Johnson Central will press and with their depth will wear down East Ridge. Johnson Central by 15.

    Semi-Final 2:
    Lawrence Co. vs Magoffin Co.
    Magoffin Co. will put up a fight. Russell and Lovely can score, but not enough to keep with the Dalton's, Chafins, kiser and Richardson. To many athletes to guard. Lawrence Co. by 9.

    Johnson Central vs Lawrence Co.
    The game that will settle the argument. Who is the best team in the 15th Region?
    Lawrence Co. will have faced a challenging schedule and also a tough road to the finals. They have prepared for this game since the finals of the region last year. The hopes of finally bringing a title home is within their grasp. They are loaded with talent and on a mission!
    One problem, they are playing Johnson Central. The four time defending region champion. Sure, it is a squad that no longer has the names of Hall, Gullett, McPeek, Adkins or Braxton Blair. But, this team is determined to continue that tradition. Johnson Central has a coach that knows how to win the big win (4-1) in championship games. That will go a long way especially in a game of this magnitude. The Eagles will be riding a 14 game region tournament winning streak, along with a 4 game winning streak in the championship game. They too are on a history making trip, as they will be going for an unprecedented 5th straight region title. 3 point specialist Mason Blair, super athletie Cole Crace, big man Tyler Pack, young and talented Jacob Rice and "clutch" Josh Hitchcock along with the five that come off the bench will out last the dawgs and all the talent of the Dalton brothers, Kiser, Chafins and Richardson. In a up and down at "break neck pace", I like Johnson Central by 5! (Ironic 5, because of 5 straight).
    Good Luck to all the teams!!
    Last edited by Big 5; Feb 29, 16 at 08:10 PM.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 15

    Could someone please delete the above post. I meant for it to be posted in the Poll not in the Preview!!!!
    Last edited by Big 5; Feb 29, 16 at 08:57 PM.