8th Region Week 8 Review - Collins Stays at #1

  1. ColonelMike's Avatar
    Week 8 gave us a little more insight into how this season will play out…

    Simon Kenton beat Grant County by 17 in a District 32 game. Grant hasn’t played Walton-Verona yet, but they are going to have to make up some ground against one of those two if this team – winners of fourteen games already – is to make the region tourney.

    Walton-Verona beat #14 (per the Bluegrasspreps poll) Campbell County, 54-48, the best win for an 8th region team versus a team from another region this week.

    Oldham County slammed North Oldham by 15 in a rivalry matchup in District 29.

    Spencer County finally got that elusive win against one of the region’s top 5, edging South Oldham by 4.

    Henry County had no problems with Eminence in another rivalry game, 70-31.

    This week, the top 5 remain the same, but eight of the seventeen 8th Region teams shift positions in the week with the most changes so far this season:

    1 – Collins (16-4, 6-1 region 8) Last week: #1 – The Collins Titans remain in the number one spot after two victories last week against Boyle County and Anderson County. The Titans have now won three in a row and 7 of their last 8 games as they seem to have picked up steam here in mid-season.

    Dayvion McKnight shone last week, scoring 24 against Boyle and following that up with 10 points and 12 boards against Anderson. Marcellus Vail was the leading scorer against Anderson tallying 19.

    Collins shot only seven free throws in the win – hitting six – but only McKnight and Vail went to the stripe.

    Against Anderson, Collins got a breakthrough performance from Darrian Crittendon – who averages just 4.3 per game – who scored 13, his first double-digit scoring night since scoring 11 against Center Point (Birmingham, AL) on 12/29/18 in the Sonic Slam Christmas Tournament in Tennessee.

    The runner-ups in the King of the Bluegrass Tournament have an impressive resume, and will go as far as McKnight and Vail can take them. This week: 1/22 at Woodford County 1/26 vs Bullitt East

    2 – Simon Kenton (14-4, 6-0 region 8) Last week: #2 – The Pioneers are the only remaining team in the 8th Region that is undefeated against region foes. The Pioneers won two of those games last week, having little trouble dispatching two district 32 rivals,
    defeating Williamstown, 80-41 and Grant County, 96-79.

    The Pioneers are riding a three-game winning streak and boast wins over South Oldham, Lafayette, Highlands, Grant County, and Walton-Verona.

    This week: 1/22 vs. Boone County 1/25 at Frederick Douglas

    3 – Walton-Verona (15-3, 10-1 region 8) Last week: #3 – The Bearcats are the owners of the longest current winning streak in the 8th region, riding a 6-game streak. They’ve also fared very well against 8th region competition, compiling a 10-1 mark.

    The scary part for the other 8th region teams is that – for the second year in a row – W-V has suffered an injury to a key player, in this case, Trey Bonne. Bonne, a state champion track star at Walton-Verona, is a versatile guard who gives the Bearcats a threat they don’t consistently have without him. While others have benefitted during Bonne’s absence, as some other players get key experience, Walton is notably a better team with him in there and they’re hoping he comes back soon.

    Last week, Walton won three games in impressive fashion, defeating a formidable Gallatin County team, 47-32, in the 8th Region All-A tournament, then knocking off a young Spencer team by 20, 65-45, before taking down the 14th ranked team in the state, Campbell County, 54-48.

    Next up for the Bearcats is the state All-A tournament at Eastern KY University on 1/24. Speaking for all of Region 8 to the Bearcats: GOOD LUCK! Represent the 8th Region with class, poise, and effort.

    4 – Oldham County (13-6, 5-2 region 8) Last week: #4 – The Colonels seem to have shaken off some of that inconsistency that plagued them early in the season as they have won four straight and 6 of their last 7. This past week, they clinched the #1 seed in the District 29 tournament by beating North Oldham, 60-45, completing a 3-0 sweep against their district rivals.

    The Colonels wrapped up the week, with a 75-51 win over North Bullitt.

    When you score 60 points or more, your odds of winning increase dramatically, but Oldham seems to have taken this to an entirely new level. Over the last five years, Oldham County has been the most successful 8th Region teams when scoring 60 points or more. This year alone, Oldham County is 12-1 when scoring 60 or more points. Over the last 10 games, Oldham has reached the 60 point mark seven times – they won each of those seven games, while losing the other three.

    Matthew Teague is starting to become a force for the Colonels, as the senior is taking a leadership role on the floor for coach Coy Zerhusen. Cole Mesker, known as a three point threat but awfully quiet in December, has suddenly found the range in dramatic fashion, and sophomore guard Sam Campbell is giving Oldham a definite lift off the bench. As a result, Zerhusen is beginning to have the depth that he needs to run the pressure defense the Oldham offense is predicated on.

    This week: 1/22 – vs. PRP 1/25 – at Shelby County 1/26 vs. Tates Creek

    5 – South Oldham (14-5, 5-3 region 8) Last week: #5 – South Oldham remains at number 5 despite a rough week in which they dropped a game to a young up-and-coming Spencer County team, 83-79. Seth Johnson had 29 for South and Luke Morrison 17 for the Dragons.

    Since beating Collins, South has now dropped decisions to both Oldham County and Spencer County. Yet the Dragons are actually not playing bad. Certainly, they are not shooting bad: The Dragons hit 49% from the floor against Spencer and 61.4% against Oldham. Against Spencer, they hit 16 of 34 threes (47.1%) and against Oldham they hit 14 of 23 from three point range for 60.9%. Combined, they hit 21 of 26 free throws in the two games.

    But the Dragons gave up 83 points to both teams in narrow losses. The South defense will have to improve if they wish to return to the region final.

    This week: 1/25 – North Oldham 1/28 – at Carroll County 1/29 – Christian Academy of Louisville

    6 – Spencer County (10-9, 3-3 region 8) Last week: #8 – The Bears are one of our big movers this week, as they finally got that elusive win over a top five team, topping South Oldham, 83-79. The Bears also lost to Walton-Verona last week, 65-45, but Spencer is showing that they can play with just about anyone.

    In fact, of the Bears’ nine losses, seven have come by 9 points or less. That includes a loss to Oldham County (by 7 points), Taylor County (14-4) by just 6, #3-ranked Ballard by 9 points, Madison Central by just 3 points, and Bullitt East by 7. The other two losses by 9 or less included Franklin County by 3 and South Miami (FL) by 7.

    It’s a young team in Taylorsville, and a team that simply isn’t very deep at all. Coach Burns is simply going to have to find some more scoring threats in order to ensure getting out of the district. Against Walton-Verona, the Bears hit only 26.3% of their shots and only 4 players scored. Jacob Seawright led Spencer in that game with 19 points, but got little help from the rest of the team.

    The lack of depth makes Spencer one of the more vulnerable teams among the top half of Region 8 to foul trouble and injuries.

    This week: 1/22 – vs. Anderson County (district 30 seeding game) 1/25 – vs. Gallatin County in what just might be the Game of the Week in the 8th region, a battle between two somewhat similar teams.

    7 – Grant County (14-6, 4-4 region 8) Last weeik: #7 – Grant played one game last week, tallying an impressive 79 points, but losing by 17 to Simon Kenton, 96-79.

    Grant continues to be an offensive machine on a par with other high-scoring region 8 teams like South Oldham, but the Braves are struggling on the defensive end of the court, and as long as they cannot correct this, they will be a dark horse to make the region as they’ll have to beat either Simon Kenton or Walton-Verona to get there.

    Grant scored 60 or more points in 8 of their last 11 games, but went just 5-3 in those games, including two games where the Braves tallied 79 points.

    Four Braves hit double figures against SK, led by Luke Dawalt’s 24. Jack Epperson had 15, Jonas Alger had 12, and Aaron Hurley 11. The Braves shot 48.3% from the field, including 12 of 24 (50%!) beyond the arc.

    This week: 1/21 vs. Owen County 1/24 at Dixie Heights

    8 – Gallatin County (12-5, 6-4 region 8) Last week: #6 – Gallatin falls two spots this week, after falling to Walton-Verona, 47-32, in the 8th region all-A classic.

    The Wildcats are simply beating the teams they should beat, and losing to the others. Their best victory this season was against Carroll County (9-8), who they’ve beaten three times now. Yes, they have come close – losing by 2 to Collins and by 1 to Oldham County – but eventually you have to start pulling out some of those games to merit staying up in the rankings.

    That said, Gallatin County, coached by the “Dean of 8th Region Coaches”, Jon Jones, will be one of the toughest “outs” in the post-season. Already sitting at 5-0 in District 31 seeding games, the Wildcats appear likely to clinch the #1 seed shortly. That would almost certainly place them in the semi-finals of the district against one of the two lowest-ranked teams in the region – either Owen County or Eminence, making them a heavy favorite to make another appearance in New Castle in March.

    A smallish team, Gallatin depeds upon good shooting to make up for its rebounding deficiencies, and against Walton-Verona, the shooting just didn’t come around as Gallatin hit just 26.3% of their shots, including 3 of 12 beyond the arc. Even normally dependable Troy Coomer struggled, hitting just 2 of 12 shots, although he was 6 of 6 at the line, contributing 10 points total. But against the much bigger Bearcats, the Wildcats managed just 20 rebounds.

    Gallatin County has an extraordinarily busy week this week: 1/22 vs. Henry County 1/23 vs. Williamstown 1/25 at Spencer County (perhaps the game of the week in the 8th), and 1/26 vs. Lloyd Memorial.

    9 – Anderson County (9-9, 3-3 region 8) Last week: #11 – Sometimes it’s more about what the other teams are doing than what you’re doing. That’s the case this week for Anderson; the Bearcats had a so-so week, defeating North Oldham, 53-49, and losing to Collins, 58-41.

    To date, the Cats only victory over a team with a winning record was against Lewis County (11-9).

    Anderson has had some chances to make a statement, but lost to each of the four top-tier teams on their schedule so far, Walton-Verona, Grant County, Collins, and Johnson Central.

    This week, the Cats have an opportunity to break out of the rut as they face off against district rival Spencer County. A win over the Bears would give the Lawrenceburg faithful hope that this Anderson squad won’t find itself on the outside looking in come regional tournament time.

    This week: 1/22 vs. Spencer County 1/26 vs. Powell County

    10 – North Oldham (9-13, 1-7 region 8) Last week: #9 – The Mustangs drop a spot this week after going 1-2 last week.

    Poor shooting plagued the Mustangs in their first two games, losses to Anderson County (53-49) and to Oldham County (60-45). In both, North shot under 37% from the field. At the end of the day, it’s all about making the basketball go through the hoop…

    Against Anderson, the Mustangs got a big performance from their 8th grade point guard, Dallas Roberts, who tallied 22 points. Tyler Higdon had another double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 boards. Against Oldham, William Hare led the Mustangs with 10 points – the only player to reach double figures against the Colonels. Besides the shooting woes, North was hammered on the glass, grabbing only 16 rebounds in the game.

    North turned their fortunes around a bit at the end of the week, taking out their frustrations against Henry County, 85-64, with Luke Berry leading the way with 28 points.

    Berry has started to come on as a scorer for North Oldham, and he’s making a difference. North began the season knowing Grant Adelson could score, and Dallas Roberts showed a prolific shooting stroke. But Roberts – an 8th grader – is prone to the ups and downs someone that young – especially that young, and playing point – is subject to. Tyler Higdon and William Hare both showed some ability to score, but consistent scoring output was elusive.

    Enter Luke Barry. In the last six games, Barry has led the Mustangs in scoring three times, and North has won all three games. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe Barry was simply the missing link North needed to start getting over the humps in some of their games.

    This week:
    1/25 at South Oldham (BIG rivalry game!) 1/26 vs. Moore

    11 – Carroll County (9-8, 7-4 region 8) Last week: #10 – Carroll falls one slot this week after a 1-1 week during which they defeated Owen County, 61-39 in a district seeding game, only to then lose to Iroquois.

    It was just yesterday, it seems, that I was declaring Carroll to be an “up-and-comer”. Unfortunately for the Panthers, that came about the time they lost their leading scorer, Wyatt Supplee, who averages 23.2 ppg, to injury.

    The Panthers have now lost 4 of their last 6 games after making their move upward.
    The Owen County win – though expected – provided some encouraging news for Panther fans. Three different Panthers reached double figures, led by David Duncan’s 21 (he averages 10.8). Bryce Butcher had 15 (average: 5.1), Keishaun Mumphrey tallied 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Justin Williams had 10 rebounds (he averages 1.8 boards on the season).

    It appears that Coach Crank really challenged his team to step up in Supplee’s absence, and they responded in spades.

    At 4-2 in district 31 seeding play, the Panthers would appear to be well-situated to finish as the #2 or #3 seed, which would put them in the bracket opposite Gallatin County, and give them a real strong shot at making the region tournament.

    This week is big: 1/24 at Henry County (The Panthers are battling Henry for the #2 seed) 1/28 vs. South Oldham

    12 – Shelby County (6-13, 2-5 region 8) Last week: 12 – The Rockets are improving under Eddie Oakley, and the numbers tell the tale: Shelby County has already equaled last year’s victory total (6) with nine games to play, and – although they have some tough opposition in those nine games, including #16 Frankfort, Oldham County, Gallatin County, Woodford County, and Spencer County – they also will face at least four teams with which they should be favored or at least considered competitive.

    A 10-11 win regular season is within reach, and would represent a big step up from last year.
    Likewise, the scoring and scoring defense have improved. After averaging just 51 ppg last year and giving up 62 ppg, the 2018-19 Rockets are averaging 55 ppg and allowing 60 ppg.

    To be honest, the Rockets haven’t pulled any upsets yet. But the improvement is definitely there, and Shelby has the athletes to pull an upset or two before it’s all over.

    Last week, the Rockets dropped two, a 72-64 loss to Franklin County in 2 overtimes, and a 57-50 loss to a 13-win Madison Southern team.

    The culprit this year is simply shooting. The Rockets have lost 5 of their last 6 games, and they shot between 30% and 40% in all six games.

    But there is reason for optimism. Against Franklin, four Rockets reached double figures, encouraging since they had relied on Taurius Robinson and Noah Gordon almost exclusively for offense so far this year. Against the Flyers, Gordon had 14 points, Robinson had a double-double (13 points/10 rebounds), Kaleb Hulker scored 12, and Kaden Dugle added 10.

    Unfortunately, Shelby hit just 11 of 21 free throws, or the outcome might have been different.

    This week: 1/22 at Western Hills 1/25 – vs Oldham County (one of the oldest rivalries in the state)

    13 – Henry County (7-10, 4-4 region 8) Last week: #15 – Henry County’s Wildcats make a major move this week, moving up two spots. The Wildcats won 2 of 3 last week, along the way manufacturing a 3-game winning streak at one point – the first time all season Henry had won two or more in a row.

    The Wildcats dominated their in-county rivals, the Eminence Warriors, 70-31, to start off the week, behind Ethan Lankford’s 21 points. They then stunned Trimble County, 88-61, before seeing the winning streak come to a close with an 85-64 loss to North Oldham.

    Improved offensive production is the key to Henry’s newfound success. Until last week, the Wildcats had struggled to put together consistently strong offensive outings. Now, they’ve gone four straight games scoring 64 points or more, and – not surprisingly – they’ve gone 3-1 during this stretch.

    Before this four game stretch, Henry had scored 60 points or more in only 5 of 13 games.
    The Wildcats are right in the mix for the #2 or #3 seed in District 31, which would put them in the bracket opposite defending champ Gallatin County. This week gives Henry a great opportunity to cement that scenario:

    This week: 1/22 at Gallatin County 1/24 vs Carroll County (pivotal game!) 1/25 vs Williamstown

    14 – Trimble County (7-10, 6-7 region 8) Last week: #13 – The Raiders fall one spot this week after getting pummeled by Henry County last week, 88-61. They righted the ship later in the week against Williamstown, 82-64, but while the loss to Henry County wasn’t really shocking, the margin was.

    Trimble’s challenge was defensive. The Raiders scored 61 points or more in 5 of their last 7 games, but Trimble lost 4 of those games as their opponents had no trouble keeping pace on the scoreboard.

    Trimble has a golden opportunity to finish the season strong. The Raiders’ remaining 9 games are a tad more user-friendly than their schedule so far, giving them a chance to go into the district tournament with some momentum.

    Trimble has already clinched the #3 seed in the District 29 tournament and will face South Oldham in round one.

    This week: 1/22 vs. Brown 1/26 at Villa Madonna

    15 – Williamstown (5-15, 2-4 region 8) Last week: 14 – The last few games have been a little tough on the Demons, who’ve now lost 10 straight games, the longest current losing streak in the region. But this is not last year’s version of the Williamstown Demons, that’s for sure.

    Last year’s team won just two games, each by just one point, and both in the final week of the season. This team already has five wins, with 10 games to play.

    Last year’s squad scored a mere 47 ppg, while giving up a whopping 76 points per game; nearly a 30 point average margin of defeat.

    This year’s team hasn’t quite made up that margin, but they’ve narrowed it considerably. The 2018-19 Demons are averaging 55 ppg, while surrendering 68 ppg, cutting last year’s margin by over 50%.

    This year’s Williamstown team has scored over 60 points in five games; last year’s team took the entire season to score over 60 points in six games.

    Coach Reitz knows this year’s team is an extreme longshot for the region tournament, playing in the talent-heavy 32nd district against Simon Kenton, Walton-Verona, and Grant County, but building from a two-win season is a process, and it appears Williamstown is moving in the right direction quickly.

    Last week, Williamstown fell to Simon Kenton, 80-41 and then lost to Trimble County, 88-64. No stats are yet available online.

    This Week: 1/22 vs. Nicholas County 1/23 at Gallatin County 1/25 at Henry County

    16 – Owen County (2-13, 1-9 region 8) Last week: #16 – Owen County played just one game last, dropping a district game against Carroll County, 61-39. Although Owen is barely halfway through their schedule – 13 games remain – the recent scores are concerning. Owen County has lost 7 consecutive games, and during that time, the team is averaging just 39 points per game, with a high of 50 against Trimble County.

    Part of the issue seems to be the lack of a serious outside threat. Owen has hit just 49 threes this year, an average of only slightly over 3 per game. Percentage-wise, Owen’s hitting about 29% of their three attempts.

    Don’t cry too hard for Owen County, though – not just yet. Coach Devin Duvall is a master at developing young talent – and young talent is exactly what he has. 13 of 14 roster players are underclassmen, including 1 eighth grader, 6 freshmen, 3 sophomores, and 3 juniors. When half your team is an eighth grader and freshmen, you have a tall task ahead of you.

    It’s like throwing a freshman team (or even a JV team) into a varsity schedule and expecting them to win. Generally speaking, it isn’t going to happen much, meaning this is a “growth” year.

    If the kids keep their spirits up and focused on the plan, Coach Duvall and company will once again be a force in the region in a year or two.

    Meanwhile, there are a lot more games to be played this year.

    This week: 1/21 at Grant County 1/22 at Eminence

    17 – Eminence (1-15, 0-10 region 8) Last week: #17 – Eminence is holding two of the region’s records so far this year – they just aren’t the records you want to have. The Warriors’ current 11 game losing streak is the longest in the region, and Eminence is the only team that remains winless against region competition. Ouch.

    Shooting is at the core of the problem. The Warriors are hitting just 31% from the field overall, 27% from beyond the arc, and 56% at the line. As a result, Eminence is simply having trouble scoring. In twelve of their sixteen games, the Warriors have scored 42 points or less; four times they have failed to reach 23 points.

    However – much like Owen County – this is a young Eminence squad, with 14 of 18 roster players being underclassmen.

    Last week, Eminence fell to arch-rival Henry County, 70-31 and Lloyd Memorial 77-36. No stats have been posted yet.

    This week, Eminence will be the busiest 8th region team, with four games on tap:

    1/21 at Walden 1/22 vs Owen County 1/24 at Burgin 1/25 at Bethlehem

    So there it is, folks. For your enjoyment and debate. I maintain, however, what I’ve said all along: This region is perhaps more wide open than I’ve ever seen it – and I’ve been following 8th region basketball since 1979.

    CM

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    ColonelMike's Avatar
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    The sound of crickets chirping is deafening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelMike View Post
    The sound of crickets chirping is deafening.
    Looks pretty spot on to me. Maybe there’s not much debate because things are working themselves out.

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    My thoughts exactly I think it’s spot on. Thanks

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    NEERFAN's Avatar
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    The regional tournament should be exciting. Based off rankings #1 - #6 should be in attendance leaving two spots. #8 Gallatin County and #11 Carroll County appear to be the next highest to round out the eight. Unfortunately the SK/Collins game was PPD, I'm sure many would have liked to see the comparison of those two teams.

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    Do you have dates/locations for the 8th Region district tournaments?

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    29th starts on Feb 18 or 19 at South oldham I believe.

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    30th February 18th @ Spencer County.

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    31st is at Carroll.
    Last edited by True blue (and gold); Jan 22, 19 at 05:56 PM. Reason: Rule 13

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    The 32nd is at Simon Kenton.

    I believe the Regional is at Henry County.

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    ColonelMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buckeye25 View Post
    The 32nd is at Simon Kenton.

    I believe the Regional is at Henry County.
    The boys regional is always at Henry County.

    Ironically, Henry County won the 1962 8th Region crown the last year it was held someone else (at the old Shelbyville HS). They moved the region tourney to the brand-new Henry County gym in 1963....Oldham County won the first two titles, and the tournament has stayed there ever since.

    I say "ironically", because 1962 was Henry County's last regional title. It's like they are cursed by their own gym....

    One year, when Henry renovated the gym and other parts of the building, they considered seriously moving it to another locale; Carroll County was high in the running. Parking was going to be an absolute nightmare in New Castle. But common sense (OK, OK, more like SENTIMENT) won out. Cars were parked practically on highway 55 all the way to Eminence (OK, another exaggeration, but they WERE parked a long way from the gym), and "normalcy" returned the next year.

    Currently, the 8th Region has held its tournament in one location longer than any of the other 15 regions...something that has been a source of pride. Each year the Public Address announcer and the Pegasus Announcers begin each game by telling how many region tournament games have been played consecutively in New Castle.

    And - frankly - if you ask me, it's one of the last great high school basketball venues that can hold a sizeable attendance.

    I hope it never leaves.

    CM

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    NEERFAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelMike View Post
    The boys regional is always at Henry County.

    Ironically, Henry County won the 1962 8th Region crown the last year it was held someone else (at the old Shelbyville HS). They moved the region tourney to the brand-new Henry County gym in 1963....Oldham County won the first two titles, and the tournament has stayed there ever since.

    I say "ironically", because 1962 was Henry County's last regional title. It's like they are cursed by their own gym....

    One year, when Henry renovated the gym and other parts of the building, they considered seriously moving it to another locale; Carroll County was high in the running. Parking was going to be an absolute nightmare in New Castle. But common sense (OK, OK, more like SENTIMENT) won out. Cars were parked practically on highway 55 all the way to Eminence (OK, another exaggeration, but they WERE parked a long way from the gym), and "normalcy" returned the next year.

    Currently, the 8th Region has held its tournament in one location longer than any of the other 15 regions...something that has been a source of pride. Each year the Public Address announcer and the Pegasus Announcers begin each game by telling how many region tournament games have been played consecutively in New Castle.

    And - frankly - if you ask me, it's one of the last great high school basketball venues that can hold a sizeable attendance.

    I hope it never leaves.

    CM
    Nothing like it in Northern Kentucky. The first time I walked into The Roy I fell in love.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEERFAN View Post
    Nothing like it in Northern Kentucky. The first time I walked into The Roy I fell in love.
    Have never been there. Didn't know the history. Plan to check it out this year.
    Last edited by Buckeye25; Jan 22, 19 at 09:24 PM. Reason: Context

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    Fairly certain the semifinals and finals on the weekend this year. Look for even larger crowds, especially on Friday when there are four schools playing.

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    I always say, if you are not there by 4:30, you're probably too late!!

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