8th Region Kentucky High School Boys' Basketball Preview (2005-06)

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    8th Region Kentucky High School Boys' Basketball Preview (2005-06)

    No Scott County! No Bullitt East!

    Itís a new-look Eighth Region and the 15 teams still around and newcomer Simon Kenton sure wonít miss the teams that have moved on.

    Bullitt East was the defending regional champion, while Scott County had won the previous year and had 11 titles in school history.

    But as the region moves on thereís another power ready to step into the limelight as Shelby County is expected to be one of the stateís top-10 teams this season.

    The Rockets are favored to win the region, with Carroll County, North Oldham and Simon Kenton right in the mix.

    Hereís a look at each team:

    1. Shelby County (22-7): The Rockets and coach Mike Clark are loaded for a run not only at the regional title but also the Sweet 16 championship.

    Senior A.J. Slaughter, who is a front-runner for Mr. Basketball and has already signed with Western Kentucky University, will be the leader for the Rockets. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 18 points and five assists a game last season and then had a brilliant summer on the All-star circuit.

    The Rocketsí lineup will also be bolstered by the addition of Carroll County transfer Eugene Wade, a 6-foot-8 junior. Wade is a solid defender, who can also score and is one of the top juniors in the state.

    But thatís not all of the talent in Shelbyville.

    Jamarr White is a solid senior point guard and will run the show, while Jeremy Cochran and Isreal Chambers among others will contribute.

    2. Carroll County (18-8): The Panthers were the All ďAĒ Classic regional winners last season and return just one starter.

    But new coach David Miller comes to town and brings his star son, Brett. Miller led Carroll County to the 1972 regional title as the coach and has been an assistant in recent years at Ashland Blazer.

    Millerís son was a star for the Tomcats last season and is now one of the top players in the region. The 6-8 Miller averaged 11 points and nine rebounds as a junior.

    Corey Starks is 6-4 and adds some punch to what many believe will be the best frontcourt in the region. Brent McMahan is also a solid guard, who is eligible to play after transferring from South Oldham.

    3. North Oldham (19-7): Coach Derek Walcott takes over from Dicky Beal and has a lot of talent on the roster with the Mustangs.

    In just its third year as a school, Walcott it the third head coach.

    Walcott has one of the regions top players to work with in Kevin Allen, a 5-foot-11 senior guard who is solid handling the ball and can score.

    Matt Spencer is another solid guard who has started every game since his freshman season, while Tyler Gooch, Alex Buckler and Corwin Spalding are other players Walcott needs to step up this season.

    4. Simon Kenton (9-20): After winning only nine games last season, the Pioneers will enjoy the change into the Eighth Region.

    Mike Hester is one of the top guards in the region and will be a big reason for the jump in the number of wins for the Pioneers. He averaged 15 points last season.

    Guard Seth Blevins, who hit 89 percent from the free-throw line, is also back and will give the Pioneers a potent backcourt.

    Josh Hurd is a 6-7 center and Phil Schambach is another returnee.

    5. South Oldham (23-8): The Dragons won the district title last season but lost four starters, including the two top scorers.

    But veteran coach Steve Simpson has built a solid program and thereís plenty of talent to work with at South Oldham.

    Sean Stiles started at the point guard spot last season and will have to be the leader, while Chris Lee was a key reserve last season and a three-point shooter. Jake and Joe Gamsky will also be key players for the Dragons.

    6. Anderson County (12-15): Dustin Aldridge averaged 18 points a game last season and is one of two starters back in the lineup for the Bearcats.

    Daniel Dury is solid forward and returns, while Logan Young and Jason Coulter both averaged six points a game while logging plenty of minutes a year ago.

    7. Gallatin County (13-14): Coach Jon Jones has a bevy of young talent and will be one of the top smaller schools in the region.

    Senior Justin Davis and junior Josh Giles are the returning starter but will join a bunch of youngsters on the roster. Cody Perkins, David Henson, Scott Brown and Taylor Jones are among the top sophomores in the region.

    8. Oldham County (20-7): Gary Forrest coached the Kentucky All-Stars last summer and now has to return to the Colonels, where heís faced with a major rebuilding job.

    The Colonels have won three of the past five regional titles, but now Forrest has lost four starters and several key reserves from last seasonís team.

    Josh Koebel averaged seven points a game last season and is the top returnee, along with swingman Dave Allen. The rest of the team will consist mainly of sophomores and freshman, a group Forrest is excited about.

    Billy Payne and Jaque Vinson are two promising sophomores.

    9. Grant County (9-20): The Braves could improve more in the win column than any other team in the region. Boston Howe, Roger Blackburn and Bailey Tabor are the three returning starters for the Braves.

    10. Walton-Verona (17-12): Senior Reggie Hensley averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds last season and returns for coach Kyle Bennettís team. Junior Franklin Dougherty is also a solid performer.

    11. Eminence (14-12): The Warriors got back on the good side of a winning record again last season and could do it again this winter.

    Guard Randy Stalker and center Zach Young return for coach Keith Blackburn in hopes for another solid season.

    12. Owen County (8-18): Justin Toole and Aaron Sutherland give the Rebels two experienced guards back in the lineup. Center Jeremy Kermickle gives coach Gran Mefford a nice trio of players to build around.

    13. Spencer County (7-17): It wasnít a great season on or off the court for the Bears last season. There were only seven wins and coach Jacob Barmore was seriously injured in a car accident. He missed a part of the season.

    Sophomore Craig Edwards averaged 15 points a game last season and is a future star in the region for the Bears.

    14. Trimble County (6-20): Thereís not a lot of promise in line for the Raiders, who have an inexperienced team that is also very small.

    Chris Rosenbaum is a 6-1 senior forward and should be the leader.

    15. Williamstown (17-11): Patrick Steele is the lone returning starter for the Demons, who must replace high-scoring Zach Mefford. He was the regional player of the year last season and will be so tough to replace.

    16. Henry County (3-23): Sophomore Ben Roberts leads a young Wildcatsí team that hopes to win more than three games from a year ago.

    Top 15 Players in Region Eight

    1. A.J. Slaughter, Shelby County: Might be Mr. Basketball; he could average 25 points a game but is just as good at passing.

    2. Eugene Wade, Shelby County: A nice 6-foot-8 transfer who is as good as advertised.

    3. Kevin Allen, North Oldham: Solid guard who can shot and penetrate, will be a nice small-college player for somebody.

    4. Brett Miller, Carroll County: At times, was a dominating force in the middle last year while playing in the rugged 16th Region.

    5. Mike Hester, Simon Kenton: Will be one of the regions top point guard; and you donít want to foul the 85-percent free-throw shooter.

    6. Jamarr White, Shelby County: Must run the show for the Rockets, he can dish but can also score if heís asked.

    7. Dustin Aldridge, Anderson County: Averaged 17 points last season and must add to that a bit this season.

    8. Matt Spencer, North Oldham: Heís only 6-feet tall but is solid around the basket.

    9. Justin Davis, Gallatin County: Heís only 5-8 but can slash to the basket and score in the paint against the big boys.

    10. Reggie Hensley, Walton-Verona: Might be the best defender in the region; he is also a load on the boards.

    11. Boston Howe, Grant County: A stellar three-point shooter, also a great name.

    12. Sean Stiles, South Oldham: Was solid at the point on senior-dominated team last season, must score more this winter.

    13. Craig Edwards, Spencer County: One of the rising stars in the region; averaged 13 points a game as a freshman.

    14. Seth Blevins, Simon Kenton: One of the stateís top free-throw shooters, will be a solid backcourt mate for Hester and the Pioneers.

    15. Justin Toole, Owen County: The 6-1 senior will run the show for the Rebels.