The first week of Seventh Region action produced as many questions as answers. What should we make of Ballard’s one-sided loss to Scott County? How should Male, Seneca and Waggener be ranked vis-à-vis one another? And just how good are the undefeated Walden Wolverines?
The upcoming week may again produce more questions than answers. But one question that will be answered is this: can the Waggener Wildcats gain their first ever win against the Ballard Bruins? We will see Tuesday night.
1. Trinity Shamrocks (2-0)
David Johnson and Stan Turnier each had 19 points as the Shamrocks opened the season with a 75-55 victory over Bullitt East. Trinity hit 10 out of 15 3-point shots in that one, with Johnson going 3 of 4 and Turnier 5 of 6. Trinity followed that game up with a 57-54 win over Centerville (OH). Kolton Rice led Trinity with 17 points against Centerville. The Shamrocks have three challenging games this week: a home game against Collins and away games against Seneca and Fern Creek.
2. Ballard Bruins (1-1)
The Bruins wasted no time jumping into tough competition, and it did so without its top interior player, Alexander Holley, who is dealing with a foot injury. The Bruins opened the season with a 83-76 overtime victory over 2-time defending Sixth Region champion Fern Creek, with new Bruin Walter Johnson led Ballard with 22 points. Ballard then travelled to Scott County, where the Cardinals looked like the no. 1 team in the state in beating Ballard 85-57. Walter Johnson again led the Bruins, scoring 17 against Scott County. Ballard has two road games this week, playing at Waggener and North Oldham.
3. Male Bulldogs (2-0)
The Bulldogs opened the season with two games in less than 24 hours 200 miles apart. On Friday night, Male beat long-time rival Manual 68-62. On Saturday afternoon, 200 miles from Louisville at the Marshall County Hoopfest, Male beat the Murray Tigers 69-62. Tyren Moore had a big game against Murray, scoring 33 points and being named Most Valuable Player for the game. The Bulldogs play North Oldham and Central this week.
4. Seneca Redhawks (1-1)
The Redhawks fought hard but fell to a good Butler Bear team 65-64 in their opener. Butler hit a free throw with about 5 seconds left to open a 4-point lead, which made Seneca’s 3-pointer in the last second exciting but not enough to make a difference. The Redhawks played without Richard Ninamou for most of the 4th quarter due to leg cramps. Seneca rebounded from that loss with a 61-52 win over a good Pleasure Ridge Park team. Seneca’s tough early season schedule continues with games this week against Fern Creek, Trinity, and Kentucky Country Day.
5. Waggener Wildcats (3-0)
The Wildcats had a good week, starting with a 79-62 win over Central. A good indication of Waggener’s balance is that 5 Wildcats scored in double figures in that game, and J. J. Kalakon was not one of them. Kalakon, plus 3 others, scored in double figures in a 77-74 win over the Valley Vikings. Waggener concluded the week with a 79-57 win against North Bullitt. This week, the Wildcats have a big home game against the Ballard Bruins on Tuesday before playing St. X on Friday and Lexington Lafayette on Saturday.
6. Central Yellowjackets (0-1)
Central opened the season against the Waggener Wildcats, falling to the Wildcats 79-62. Three Yellowjackets scored in double figures, led by Josh Watkins and his 22 points (he also led the team with 6 rebounds). Devin Perry and Eric Rice each contributed 12 points. Central faces St. X and Male in the upcoming week.
7. St. Xavier Tigers (1-0)
The Tigers also played only one game this week, opening the season with a 58-37 win over the Atherton Rebels. St. X led by only 4 at the half, but pulled away in the second half. James Taylor led the Tigers with 18 points, while Nicholas Mosley added 12 and Sebian Dillard contributed 10. The upcoming week should be an interesting one for the Tigers, with games against Seventh Region foes Central and Waggener before playing Newport Central Catholic in the South End Shootout at Iroquois.
8. DuPont Manual Crimsons (1-1)
With Eli Roberts leading the way with 22 points and 7 rebounds, Manual went on the road and beat the Eastern Eagles 63-58 to start the season. Friday night, the Crimsons came up short against rival Male, losing 68-52. Manual plays three teams from the Sixth Region this week, facing PRP, Iroquois, and North Bullitt.
9. Eastern Eagles (0-2)
The Eagles dropped two close games this week, starting with a 63-58 loss to Manual. Jacob Robinson scored 19 points in that one. On Saturday, Eastern lost to Frankfort 50-48 on a last second tip-in. Eastern continues with some interesting match-ups this week, playing Jeffersontown on Wednesday, Henry Clay on Friday, and John Hardin on Saturday.
10. Christian Academy of Louisville Centurions (1-0)
The Bryce Hibbard era at Christian Academy got off to a successful start with a 56-55 win over the Atherton Rebels. I don’t know any details about that game, but starting the season with a win is a good first step. The Centurions have three games this week, facing Shelby County, KCD, and DeSales.
11. Shawnee Golden Eagles (2-1)
First-year Head Coach Dionte Mucker has the Golden Eagles off to a good start, playing at an up-tempo pace and going 2-1 this first week of the season. Shawnee’s two wins were against Evangel Christian (81-37) and Portland Christian (95-63). Sandwiched between those wins was a 73-69 loss to the Brown Bears in what I suspect was an entertaining game. An away game at Moore and a home game against Atherton are on the Golden Eagles’ schedule this week.
12. Louisville Collegiate Titans (2-1)
After losing 95-59 to South Oldham in their season opener, the Titans notched wins over Whitefield Academy (60-46) and Fort Knox (65-46). As expected, Chez Moore has led Collegiate offensively, while junior Joey Leachman, a transfer from St. X, has been a valuable addition for the Titans. Collegiate plays Fairdale and Bullitt Central this week.
13. Kentucky Country Day Bearcats (2-2)
KCD had a busy week, playing 4 games in a 6-day span. Junior Anthony O’Neal showed some impressive range in hitting 8 3-pointers on his way to a 32-point night in KCD’s 77-71 win over the Brown Bears to start the season and give Coach Anthony Mathis a win in his first game as the Bearcats’ Head Coach. KCD then hit the road and fell to Spencer County 81-62. The Bearcats bounced back and hit the century mark for the first time since the 2013-14 season with a 101-79 win over Beth Haven. KCD finished the week with a 74-56 loss to Western. The Bearcats stay busy this week with 3 games, with home games against Whitefield Academy and Seneca sandwiched around an away game at CAL.
14. St. Francis Wyverns (1-1)
St. Francis dropped their opener to Louisville Holy Cross 68-44 but rebounded with a hard-fought 67-64 win over the Brown Bears for Coach Shavar Cowherd’s first win as a varsity coach. The Wyverns have an impressive number of players for a school its size. This week, St. Francis is on the road for a Friday night game at Fleming County. The Wyverns beat Fleming County last year 67-63.
15. Brown Bears (2-2)
Brown may be my favorite team to watch this season. The trio of Jai’Rus Bibb, Josiah Bibb, and Kobi Hess give the Bears one of the quickest backcourts in the Commonwealth. That quickness was not enough to produce victories in Browns first 2 games, a 77-71 loss to Kentucky Country Day and a 67-64 loss to St. Francis. But then Brown earned a nice 73-69 win over Shawnee and dominated Eminence in a 81-42 win. Jai”Rus leads the Bears offensively at 19.5 ppg, but cousin Josiah is not far behind at 18.8 ppg. Brown will be on the road this week, with away games at Valley and Whitefield Academy.
16. Atherton Rebels (0-3)
Atherton opened the season with a close loss to CAL 56-55. The Rebels then hung with St. X for a half, trailing only 25-21 at halftime, but St. X pulled away in the second half to win 58-37. The Rebels closed the week with a 48-40 loss to Iroquois. Atherton has 2 road games this week, playing at Jeffersontown and at Shawnee.
17. Portland Christian Eagles (1-1)
Quincy Dye started his senior year with 27 points and 9 rebounds in Portland Christian’s 88-60 win over Frankfort Christian. The Eagles then hosted Shawnee on Saturday night, with Shawnee prevailing 95-63. The Eagles play just once this week, a Monday night home game against Evangel Christian.
18. Walden Wolverines (3-0)
Break up the Wolverines! Walden won all three of the games it played this week, opening the season with a 74-73 victory over Maysville St. Patrick before easily besting the Silver Grove Big Trains 73-46 and ending the week with a 90-78 win over Heritage Academy. We are only one week into the season and the Wolverines already have exceeded their win total from last year. Walden faces Burgin, Frankfort Christian, and Covington Latin this week.
To update, Trinity won the first of its "three challenging games this week" by beating Collins 76-44 at home.
Yep. I was at that game. Trinity led throughout, although the margin was smaller for most of the game (for example, Trinity led 28-21 at halftime). I thought Trinity looked good but has the potential to play better.