The big news in the Seventh Region this week was Waggener’s 80-74 win over Ballard on Tuesday night, its first victory in 71 tries against the Bruins. Ballard Coach Chris Renner attended Waggener and had previously coached at Waggener, while Waggener Coach Bryan O’Neill attended Ballard and had both played for and coached with Coach Renner. It was a fun, competitive game between two well-coached teams.
There was plenty of other action in the Seventh Region this week. Central beat Male 84-73 in a classic old school Seventh Region match-up Friday night. Trinity continued to show why it is the top team in the Region with impressive wins over 3 quality teams. Three teams remain unbeaten (Trinity, St. X and Walden). Every team in the Seventh Region has won at least once.
What does all that mean in terms of this week’s rankings? Trinity remains no. 1, obviously. Beyond that, St. X jumps up to no. 2 in light of its wins over Central and Waggener. Waggener, conquerors of both Ballard and Central, checks in at no. 3, while Central earns the no. 4 spot based on its win against Male. That drops Ballard to no. 5 and Male to no. 6, both of which seem low, but it is early and these things tend to work themselves out over the course of the season.
And where do the 6-0 Walden Wolverines fit in? They present a rankings challenge, as they have yet to play any other Seventh Region team, and they have only played one team that has played any other Seventh Region team. Since Portland Christian beat Frankfort Christian by 28 versus Walden beating them by 20, I have left the Wolverines in the same spot as last week. But again, these things will work themselves out as the season unfolds.
1. Trinity Shamrocks (5-0)
Trinity flexed its muscles and showed this week why it is so highly regarded. The week started with a 76-44 win over the Collins Titans, one of the top teams from the 8th Region. The Shamrocks followed that with a 81-55 win over the Seneca Redhawks, a fellow member of the 7th Region, and ended the week by beating the Fern Creek Tigers from the 6th Region 64-51. David Johnson is playing extremely well, and is getting solid support from Stan Turnier, Kolton Rice, and Jamil Hardaway. The Shamrocks play just once this week, traveling to Bardstown Tuesday night before they start preparing for the King of the Bluegrass tournament the following week.
2. St. Xavier Tigers (4-0)
The Tigers move up in the rankings this week, as they remained undefeated with three good wins. St. X beat the Central Yellowjackets 60-51 on Tuesday, and then followed that up with a 64-58 win over the Waggener Wildcats. St. X finished the week by beating Newport Central Catholic 93-69. James Taylor has stepped up from a point production standpoint, and is getting solid support from Sebian Dillard and Nicholas Mosley. Next up for the Tigers are games with Seneca and Christian Academy this week.
3. Waggener Wildcats (5-1)
Almost 50 years of frustration ended Tuesday night when Waggener beat Ballard 80-74, the first ever Waggener win over Ballard. J. J. Kalakon hit a 3 to break a 70-70 tie and Waggener hit some clutch shots, including some crucial free throws, down the stretch to pull away from the Bruins for the win. The euphoria from that historic win was somewhat short-lived, however, as Waggener lost 64-58 to St. X Friday night. The Wildcats have a pair of home games this week, facing Atherton and Southern.
4. Central Yellowjackets (1-2)
The Yellowjackets’ first win of the season was a good one, beating the Male Bulldogs 84-73 Friday night. Four Yellowjackets scored in double figures, led by Eric Rice with 26 and Devin Perry with 22. Through its first three games, Rice and fellow senior Josh Watkins lead Central in scoring at 17.7 ppg each. Perry also is averaging in double figures at 12.3 ppg. Central has a home game against Manual on Thursday before heading to Pikeville to participate in the Pikeville Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
5. Male Bulldogs (3-1)
Still playing without Howard Fleming, Male beat North Oldham 61-43 on Tuesday before facing Central in an old school Seventh Region match-up Friday night. Male was behind from the start, and trailed by 21 going into the fourth quarter. They fought back valiantly in the fourth quarter and cut the deficit to 5 with a couple minutes to go, but the margin proved to be too much and the Bulldogs fell to the Yellowjackets 84-73. So far, Tyren Moore is shouldering a lot of the scoring responsibility for Male. The Bulldogs have an interesting upcoming week, with games against Sixth Region heavyweights Fern Creek and Butler sandwiched around a game against the Collegiate Titans.
6. Ballard Bruins (2-2)
While Ballard’s 80-74 loss to Waggener was historic since it was the first time that it had ever happened, it would be a mistake to jump to any conclusions because of it. As is common in the early part of the season, it was a close loss to a good team. The Bruins bounced back with a 78-76 win over North Oldham on Saturday, although the narrow margin in that game may concern some Bruin fans. Ballard continues to play without Alex Holley, who was still wearing a boot at the Waggener game, and looks like a team still getting used to playing with each other. The Bruins have two home games this week, hosting Christian Academy on Tuesday and Lexington Henry Clay on Friday.
7. Seneca Redhawks (2-3)
Seneca lost two games this week, but the opponents in those games were highly regarded Fern Creek (71-63) and Trinity (81-55). The Redhawks also won a game this week, beating Kentucky Country Day 65-48. As expected, Carl Parker and Richard Ninamou are leading the way for Seneca on the offensive end. The Redhawks play two more good teams this week with games against St. X and Doss. The schedule starts to get easier after this week.
8. DuPont Manual Crimsons (3-2)
After falling to Pleasure Ridge Park 64-36, Manual regrouped and won two close games, beating Iroquois 58-55 and North Bullitt 60-58 (in overtime). Through its first three games, Eli Roberts was leading the Crimsons at 15.7 ppg. Manual plays Southern and Central this week.
9. Christian Academy of Louisville Centurions (3-1)
Christian Academy is off to a great start, already halfway to last season’s win total just two weeks into the season. CAL won its third straight game to start the season with a 67-57 win over KCD earlier in the week. CAL then suffered its first loss of the season on Friday night, falling to DeSales 73-61. The Centurions face Ballard and St. X this week.
10. Louisville Collegiate Titans (3-2)
Collegiate started the week with an impressive 60-53 win over Fairdale. The Titans then got out to a 20-8 lead over Bullitt Central before falling to the Cougars 76-53. As expected, Chez Moore is leading the Titans at 19.7 ppg through the Titans’ first three games, with Joey Leachman contributing 13.7 ppg and Trevor Holbrook adding 10 ppg. This week Collegiate has a home game against Brown and then goes on the road for games at Male and Nelson County.
11. Eastern Eagles (1-4)
Eastern picked up a nice 64-48 win over Jeffersontown this week, with sophomore Makhi White leading the way with 17 points. Unfortunately, the Eagles then dropped their next two games, losing to Henry Clay (66-51) and John Hardin (65-32). Jacob Robinson leads Eastern in scoring, averaging 15 ppg through the Eagles’ first three games. Eastern stays at home this week, facing KCD on Tuesday and Lincoln County on Friday.
12. Kentucky Country Day Bearcats (3-4)
The Bearcats went 1-2 this week, beating Whitefield Academy 82-67 while losing to Christian Academy (67-57) and Seneca (65-48). Michael Collis was averaging 16.8 ppg through the Bearcats’ first five games. KCD plays three more games this week, with a home game against Moore sandwiched between away games at Eastern and St. Francis.
13. Atherton Rebels (1-4)
Atherton got into the win column Friday night with a 65-57 victory over the Shawnee Golden Eagles. Earlier in the week, the Rebels had fallen to Jeffersontown 69-44. Atherton will be busy this week with three games, a Monday night contest with Waggener, a Thursday game against Fairdale, and a Friday night contest against the Moore Mustangs.
14. Shawnee Golden Eagles (2-3)
The Golden Eagles dropped both of its games this week, losing to Moore 65-46 and to Atherton 65-57. Games against St. Francis and Beth Haven are on the schedule for Shawnee this week.
15. St. Francis Wyverns (1-2)
St. Francis played just once this week, traveling to the Sixteenth Region and falling to the Fleming County Panthers 53-48. The Wyverns have two home games this week, playing Shawnee on Wednesday and KCD on Friday.
16. Brown Bears (2-4)
Brown dropped both of its games this week, first to the Valley Vikings (79-56) and then to the Whitefield Academy Wildcats (59-54). The Bears continue to be led by the Bibb cousins, with Jai’rus at 20 ppg and Josiah at 17.8 ppg. Brown plays just once this week, a Monday night contest against Collegiate.
17. Portland Christian Eagles (2-1)
The Eagles played just once this week, easily defeating Evangel Christian 92-63. Through three games, Portland Christian is averaging an impressive 81 ppg, led by senior Quincy Dye’s 22.7 ppg (plus 12 rpg). Dye is getting offensive support from sophomores Alex Steen (18,7 ppg, including 31 points against Evangel Christian) and Mason Skees (15 ppg), plus senior Michael Meredith (13.7 ppg). Portland Christian hosts Frankfort Christian on Tuesday before going to Western Kentucky for the weekend, playing Community Christian of Paducah on Friday and Christian Fellowship in Marshall County on Saturday.
18. Walden Wolverines (6-0)
Walden ran its unbeaten streak to start the season to 6 with wins over Burgin (63-60), Frankfort Christian (84-64), and Covington Latin (61-35). Walden has not posted any statistics, so I can’t relay any scoring averages, but I have seen the Wolverines play. Junior Isaiah Cargill is a point guard with a fast motor, and the Wolverines have more players who can contribute than in recent years. It certainly looks like it will be an exciting year for Walden (in fact, it already has been). The Wolverines play at Evangel Christian on Tuesday before hosting Butler County on Saturday.