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Now the regular season has finished, we are ready for district and region tournaments. In the preseason, Graves County was a top the rankings. They have moved a little up and down, but finish they season at the top. The season played out as expected as the top teams proved their worth. Now they must take care of business in the district tournaments so they can meet each other at Murray State’s CSB Center.
The prize for the region 1 winner at Rupp in the Sweet Sixteen, most likely Bowling Green…ugh. Gotta hate that draw, (McCracken lost the BG by 32 points in the regular season and Murray lost 67-15). However, whoever takes Region 1 has the opportunity to play David vs Goliath and shock the state just like Region 1 Calloway Co did to Knott County Central 2 years ago.

1. Graves County Eagles
Overall record: 23-7
Preseason Rank: 1
District: 3
Key Contributors: Chris Vogt (16.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg) Ryan Mathis (Out for Season), Jordyn Noranjo (11.0 ppg)

Graves County was the preseason favorite heading into the season in Region 1, and they did not disappoint. They only lost two games in Region 1 (McCracken Co. and Paducah Tilghman). They also played one of the tougher out of region schedules in the region as well. What has really been amazing is the play of the Eagles since losing their backcourt leader Ryan Mathis for the season. They have dominated their opponents to a tune of an average of 25+ points. That includes big wins over Mayfield and Region 2 contender UHA. Graves County is ranked #19 in the BGP Top 20 Rankings.
Graves should have no problems winning their district and pushing into the region tournament. There are only 3 teams in the region that have a chance of pulling the upset, Paducah, McCracken, and Marshall. However, it is very hard to get around big man Region 1 POY Chris Vogt as he pretty much shuts down any inside game, so teams have to beat them shooting from the outside. McCracken has the best shooters of those three, but Paducah Tilghman has the better talent. Both teams would need to be on top of their game to win.

2. McCracken County Mustangs
Overall record: 22-8
Preseason Rank: 2
District: 2
Key Contributors: Cameron Cartwright (10.4 ppg), Nathan Stonecipher (10 ppg), William Sivills (13.2 ppg)

McCracken County has the most balanced attack in Region 1. They can shoot from anywhere on the floor and have hit more 3 pointers (203) than any other team in Region 1, and if they are hot, they are very difficult to beat because they are a very good defense team as well. The Mustangs have a legitimate 6 players who can score, and they are very patient on the offensive side.
The Mustangs one of the teams that has defeated Graves this season. But since the end of Jan, the Mustangs have struggled against good teams, although they did play well against Hopkinsville. In the end, the McCracken has a very good chance of advancing to the Sweet 16 if they shoot well at Murray State. The game plan will be to keep the score low and create good shot opportunities on the offensive side of the floor.

3. Paducah Tilghman – Blue Tornado
Overall record: 18-9
Preseason Rank: 4
District: 2
Key Contributors: Jerome Reed (15.1 ppg/6.3 rpg), Rodriguez Thomas (14.3 ppg/), Joe Workman (11.6 ppg)

The Blue Tornado have had an up and down season if their was one. They won 7 out of their 8 first games with Reed, Rodriguez, and Workman forming a three headed monster with Workman averaging close to 20 ppg. Then Mr. Hyde showed up and they lost 7 of their next 9. The three headed monster disappeared. They finished the season on a tear winning 9 of 10 including McCracken, Marshall, and Graves Co.
So here lies the problem, which Tornado team shows up in the region, Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde? They finished the season strong and are probably playing as good as anyone not named Graves so far. They have more talent on their team than anyone else, yet their will to win as a team is what is concerning. In the games that PT lost this season, teams got out to a lead and held on. They don’t seem to play well from behind, however, they play very well if they can get a lead and they do a good job holding on to it. If Tilghman can play a whole game with their whole heart, they have a great chance of going to Rupp.

4. Marshall County Marshalls
Overall record: 17-8
Preseason Rank: 3
District: 4
Key Contributors: Dylan Walters (12 ppg), Aaron Reed (12 ppg)

The Marshalls looked great to start the year moving as high as 2nd in the region rankings. They were clicking on all cylinders throughout December and into January. Then they seemed to plateau. The Marshalls lost big to Graves, then McCracken, then Tilghman, and then Graves again although much closer. Walters and Reeds scoring dropped significantly in that time period and Marshall Co just didn’t look the same.
If the Marshalls are going to make it to Rupp, they will need to go back to the playing at a higher level. They will need to slow the game down and rely on solid fundamentals to keep them close and hope they can steal a game or two in region play. They are capable but they are young. They cannot afford to allow teams to run and gun, if they do, they will not be able to keep up. They lost every game this season when the opponent scored more than 60 points. If they don’t win the region this year, they will be a top team again next season.

5. Mayfield – Cardinals
Overall record: 20-9
Preseason Rank: 5
District: 3
Key Contributors: Carson Guthrie (15 ppg), Conner Guthrie (15 ppg), Anton Lumson (13.6 ppg),

Mayfield is another team that is well balanced and have multiple players who can score. The Guthrie brothers are only sophomores and have led this team well. They defeated Paducah Tilghman and University Heights this season, and played McCracken and Marshall very close. However Graves dominated them the only time they played.
The Cardinals have a solid team, and I believe that this is the team that could pull an upset in the Region tournament. I do not think they have a chance at winning the region, not this year (look out 2019).

6. Calloway County Lakers
Overall record: 19-10
Preseason Rank: 7
District: 4
Key Contributors: Kamden Price (16.9 ppg), Payton Johnson (12.1 ppg)

Calloway won 8 games last year, that’s right 8. The previous year they won the Region and upset KCC at Rupp. Rebuilding years are tough, and when you poke through it feels nice. They blasted through this year winning 19 games with some big wins over Mayfield, Murray twice, and Meade County. They played the upper tier teams close, but could never get over the hump to win the game. I expect more of the same in the district and region tournament. If they can get by Murray in the district, they will have a chance to play the big boys in the region. They will keep the game close, but I don’t think they will pull the upset this year.

7. Murray Tigers
Overall record: 16-12
Preseason Rank: 6
District: 4
Key Contributors: Preston English (24.5 ppg/ 10 rpg), Zach Flener (10.9 ppg)

Murray won last year’s Region 1 tournament and made it to the finals of the All “A” Classic, however this year has been a struggle. Even with the region’s most prolific scorer in Preston English, the Tigers couldn’t pull off the magic they had last year. Losing Samford commit James Boone proved too much to overcome this season. The low point being the 67-15 embarrassment at the hands of Bowling Green. The high points being wins over Mayfield and 2017 All “A” Classic State Champions Paris.
There is a good chance the Tigers won’t make the region tournament. They will have to defeat Calloway County in the first round of district play. Something they were not able to do during the regular season. If they can pull the upset over the Lakers, then they will face Mayfield, a team they have defeated and could salvage their season with another district championship.

8. Carlisle County Comets
Overall record: 12-16
Preseason Rank: 11
District: 1
Key Contributors: Trey Wilson (17.5 ppg), Michael Thomason (11.5 ppg)

The Comets struggled in ending the regular season losing their last four games. They worse game losing to Ballard Memorial. Carlisle should win their district, but I don’t foresee them making any waves at the region tournament.

9. St. Mary Vikings
Overall record: 12-16
Preseason Rank: 13
District: 2
Key Contributors: John MacCauley (20.3 ppg), Aaron Higgins (10.6 ppg)

10. Hickman County Falcons
Overall record: 10-14
Preseason Rank: 12
District: 1
Key Returners: Dalton Jewel (19.3 ppg)

11. Fulton City Bulldogs

Overall record: 12-16
Preseason Rank: 8
District: 1
Key Contributors: Brenden Walker (17 ppg)

12. Fulton County – Pilots
Overall record: 10-17
Preseason Rank: 9
District: 2
Key Contributors: Davis Major (16 ppg), Andreous Smith (13.6 ppg),

13. Ballard Memorial Bombers

Overall record: 7-20
Preseason Rank: 10
District: 3
Key Contributors: Jamarrion Williams (12.2 ppg)

14. Christian Fellowship Eagles

Overall record: 9-16
Key Contributors: Jordan Choate (12.7 ppg), Brice Etheridge (13.1 ppg)

15. Community Christian Warriors
Overall record: 0-24
Preseason Rank: 14
District: 2
Key Contributors: Logan Browning (14.7 ppg), Jonathan Rogers (10 ppg)
Currently has the state’s longest losing streak at 40 games

Top Players this season in Region 1

Chris Vogt, Graves County (7’0” Center) Senior – Region 1 Player of the Year
Vogt had to sit out a good portion of the year with an injury, this unfortunately did not allow him to make a run at the career shots block record for the state. When he did play, he was a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor. Vogt is has committed to Northern Kentucky University. He was far and above the most influential player in the region and also one of the most valuable to his team, especially after Ryan Mathis went down at the end of January.

Preston English, Murray (6’3” Guard) Senior
English is the best scorer in the region and it’s not even close. English was a great outside threat for the Tigers. He can spot up the 3 three or drive to the basket to score. English had 3 games this season where he scored more than 40 points. He is an above average rebounder, especially for his size. He handles the ball well, sees the floor, and makes smart, crisp passes. The Tigers almost solely relied on English offense this season. He would be the Region 1 Player of the Year if it wasn’t for the 7 footer in the next county over.

Jerome Reed, PT (6’6” Forward/Center) Junior

When we talk about pure talent in Region 1, Reed is the first player that comes to mind. He is the leader for the Tornados and took another step forward this year averaging over 16 points per game. When he is on, he seems unstoppable. He is exciting to watch and most likely a future college player. He will be the front runner for the Region 1 Player of the Year next season. He will be a handful and I can see him averaging a double/double as a senior.

Rodriquez Thomas, Paducah Tilghman (6’1” Guard) Sophomore

Thomas made some waves last year as a freshman and hopes were high this year. Thomas delivered on some fronts and showed that growth is still needed. Thomas averages almost 15 points per game this season and has the talent to push that eventually to over 20 per game. He is a great compliment to his teammate Reed. He has as high a ceiling as Reed does, maybe even higher.

Ryan Mathis, Graves County (6’1” Guard) Sophomore
Until Mathis was injured in an accident at the end of January, he was consistently one of the best guards in region 1. He played great defense, led the floor for the top team in the region, and provided offense when needed. He seemed to excel in close games or against high competition. He will not have Vogt next year so we will get to see what he is really made of.

Honorable Mention:
Dylan Walters, Marshall County
Davis Major, Fulton County
Payton Johnson, Calloway County
Kamden Price, Calloway County
Devontae Alexander, Fulton City
Tyce Daniel, McCracken Co.
Carson & Conner Guthrie, Mayfield
John MacCauley, St. Mary