8th Region Week 11 Review - Chaos to the End

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    8th Region Week 11 Review – Chaos to the End

    As the result of a crazy week that actually seemed to clear a few things up (a little), the rankings are going to see their biggest upheaval of the season this week.

    #1 remains #1, but a whopping 12 of 17 teams moved at least one spot this week, with Simon Kenton and Carroll County each making the biggest moves as each tumbled three spots. The rankings could yet turn out to be as bogus as a $3 bill, but they should serve as fodder for plenty of debate. (Just remember, reasonable people can disagree!) I can’t tell you how long I debated this week’s standings. So many arguments can be made for various teams.

    I got some input from a few retired coaches and some of the Pegasus commentators to help me out this week.

    The one thing I feel certain about: There is AT LEAST seven teams that could get hot come tourney time and win it all. There’s the usual suspects: Walton-Verona, Oldham County, Collins, Simon Kenton, South Oldham, Gallatin County, plus a young up-and-coming Spencer County squad.

    But – although they are definitely dark horses – a hot-shooting Grant County squad can’t be ignored. And North Oldham, under first year coach David Levitch, seems to be jelling at the right time, riding a four-game winning streak into the final week of the regular season. Likewise, Anderson County can never be completely counted out in the tournaments; riding a four-game winning streak of their own, the Bearcats just might be hitting their stride at the right time. All three face formidable first round elimination games in their respective districts: Grant County vs. Walton-Verona, North Oldham vs. defending region 8 champ Oldham County, and Anderson County against a strong Spencer County squad. But brush aside those three teams as being non-factors at your own risk…At the least, these three could all be spoilers.

    Now, on to this week’s ranking of the boys’ 8th region, as of 2/10/19. Remember, this ranking is meant to reflect where I think the teams are as of today, not where I think they will necessarily finish.

    1 – Walton-Verona (20-6, 12-1 region 8) Last week: #1– The Bearcats will have to settle for a tougher road to the region tournament than they might have expected. A loss to Simon Kenton earlier this year leaves them as the #2 seed, meaning they will have to face a Grant County team in the elimination round semi-final of the district. Though they’ve beaten the Braves twice now by double figures – 16 and 17 points - Grant County’s overall team shooting ability makes them a dangerous foe, particularly if Walton-Verona, which at times hasn’t had the most prolific of offenses – has an off-night shooting.

    Last week, the Bearcats pretty much took care of business. The beat Lloyd Memorial and Grant County handily, by scores of 76-54 and 68-51, respectively, but then suffered a surprise loss to a good Madison Central team, 43-38. Player of the Year candidate Dieonte Miles had 37 points and 10 rebounds in the Lloyd Memorial win, his first double-double since 1/8/19, when he had 18 points and 12 rebounds against Williamstown.

    The Madison Central result was not expected by most. Though the Indians are undoubtedly better than their 14-12 record, the 11th region squad wasn’t really predicted to take down the 8th Region’s All-A champs. But they did, and likely provided several teams with a blueprint for winning against a powerful W-V team.

    The Bearcats were one of the first two teams to reach twenty wins on the season last week, and their 12-1 record against region teams is tops in region 8. Though they lost their most recent game, W-V goes into the final week of the season with a ton of momentum; they’ve won 11 of their last 14 games.

    This week:

    2/12 at South Oldham in a rematch of last year’s 8th region first round, when South upended the heavily-favored Bearcats en route to the finals, where they lost to Oldham County 2/14 – vs. Carroll County, one of the surprise teams in the 8th region this year.

    2 – Collins (19-8, 7-1 region 8) – last week: #4 – Didn’t really think Collins was going to continue their freefall down the rankings as Collins moves up two this week. The Titans won both of their games last week, defeating Oldham County in Buckner, in a rematch of last year’s Oldham-Collins first-round game in the 8th Region, won by Oldham. Collins claimed a 64-57 victory, bursting out to an 18 point lead, only to see Oldham claw back to within 2 points before succumbing to a 7 point loss. It was the first-ever win for Collins at Oldham County, though Oldham still holds an 8-3 advantage in a budding rivalry between the traditional power (Oldham) and the “young gun” (Collins) that has produced some super-exciting games. Add in the fact that these two schools have combined with South Oldham to dominate the region titles over the past 8-10 years, and you have some tremendous basketball being played.

    Collins won in large part to a 29-21 edge on the glass, along with another sterling performance by their talented guard duo of Marcellus Vail and Dayvion McKnight. Vail scored 16 for the victors, with Tyson Turner tossing in 12. Turner might have actually been the most valuable player for Collins this night; his elusiveness and ballhandling skills usually ended with him in the lane, and either shooting or passing off to a teammate for an easy layup. Dayvion McKnight, Collins’ primary Player of the Year candidate, had yet another double-double, with 10 points and 14 rebounds.

    Collins kept the momentum up by wrapping up the week with an 81-73 victory over a solid Colts team from the 6th Region.

    Collins has already shown that they are one of the elite in the 8th; they have won 7 of 8 games against 8th region teams, losing only to the high-scoring South Oldham Dragons in Shelbyville. As for the district tournament, the Titans went undefeated in seeding play and will open the district against county rival Shelby County.

    This week: 2/12 at North Oldham. This has been a good game ever since the two schools linked up shortly after Collins was opened. Looking for another good one this year. 2/15 vs. Christian Academy of Louisville.

    3 – Gallatin County (20-5, 14-4 region 8) last week: #5 – The number three ranking was where things started to get really difficult this week. Every team I got set to put as the #3 team, I talked myself out of it. There were flaws in each candidate that will have to be overcome in the tournament. Either a team’s defense was suspect, or they didn’t have the size to compete with the teams with huge front lines or they didn't have enough depth or they didn’t shoot well enough or they didn’t shoot free throws like a champion will. You get the idea. In my mind, I kept hearing the word “BUT….” .

    Of course, in the end, it's all about the matchups. A team could enter the region tourney better than 6 of the other 7 teams...but if they draw that seventh team, it could be a short trip.

    In the end, I simply could not ignore Gallatin’s resume. Jon Jones has the Wildcats playing at a high level now – right when you want to be paying well. Gallatin is the only other team besides Walton-Verona to already have reached the twenty-win mark in the region – their third consecutive season with 20 or more wins - and their record of 14-4 against 8th region foes is impressive – especially since some of those 14 wins are over teams such as South Oldham and Simon Kenton, both on the road.

    Gallatin long ago clinched the #1 seed in the 31st district tournament, and will face the winner of the play-in game between Owen County and Eminence. It’s hard to envision a scenario in which Gallatin fails to make the region tournament at the Roy L Winchester arena in New Castle.

    Nobody is hotter than Gallatin at this point, the Wildcats have won 8 in a row, the longest current winning streak in the region. Last week, the Wildcats played three games, all of which they were heavily favored in, but they took care of business and easily dispatched Trimble County, 63-48, Eminence, 88-42, and Owen County, 92-57.

    Along the three games, four different players reached double figures in at least one game as Gallatin – a strong shooting team – spread the wealth around, making them extremely tough to defend.

    Wyatt Bowman exploded for 30 points and 7 rebounds against Trimble…Troy Coomer had a double-doubles against Eminence (17 points / 10 rebounds) Teammate Jarin Rassman had an even more incredible night, scoring 10 points, grabbing 19 rebounds(!!!), and dishing out 10 assists for a rare triple-double.

    Against Owen, Coomer again led the way in scoring 34 points, and Rassman had a “mere” double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Bowman tossed in 21 in the rout.

    Gallatin offensively is really coming together as a unit. I watched them defeat South Oldham just prior to the current winning streak and was impressed by the half-court offense. The ball rarely touched the floor, and the “touch passes” were so fast Gallatin’s ability to reverse the ball was frequently successful in creating gaps in the defense. As a result, during their current 8 game winning streak, the Wildcats are averaging 78 ppg.
    This is nothing like the Wildcat team I saw earlier in the season.

    This week, the Wildcats will be favored in four games, meaning that they could enter the district 31 tournament on a 12-game winning streak:

    2/11 at Trimble County 2/12 vs. Lloyd Memorial 2/14 vs. Anderson County 2/15 vs. Shelby County

    4 – Oldham County (16-11, 7-3 region 8) Last week: #3 – The Colonels drop a spot this week as they dropped back to back games last week. It’s hard to tell how much to move Oldham down, though, as they probably have the most difficult schedule in the region – which is saying a lot, because most of the region dramatically upgraded their schedules this year, if they weren’t already strong.

    On Tuesday, Oldham fell at home to Collins, one of the top 2 teams in the region. After a disastrous second quarter that put the Colonels in a deep hole, Oldham County began coming back from an 18 point deficit in the second half. They managed to pull to within 2 points in the fourth, but couldn’t get over the hump, and fell, 64-57.

    Oldham shuffled their lineup a bit, switching out two starters, and that undoubtedly helped cause the slow start, but coach Coy Zerhusen’s willingness to get quality experience for his players really paid off last year, when Oldham was able to go deep on their bench, even in the post-season, when benches tend to get “shorter”.

    Oldham then had the unenviable task of traveling to Covington, KY to face the defending state champion Covington Catholic Colonels – the team that knocked Oldham out of the Sweet 16 last year in the semi-finals.

    I didn’t see this game – wish I could have – but understand the first half was pretty back-and-forth, but that the CovCath Colonels took the lead in the second and held off Oldham, who they never could quite shake. In the end, the final score was CovCath 57, Oldham County 46.

    Oldham’s record doesn’t stand out like Walton’s, Collins’, and SK’s, but Oldham has played a brutal schedule, which makes assessing this team so hard. Most of their losses have been against top-tier teams, including Walton-Verona (ranked at the time) by 6, #6 Covington Catholic, #13-ranked Campbell County (top-ranked in region 10), Collins, #1-ranked Scott County, George Rogers Clark, #15 Beechwood, and #5 Waggener. But at the same time, Oldham has defeated Butler (pre-season #1 ranked in region 6), Central Hardin (ranked in the top 20 at the time of the game), Taylor County, and 8th Region powers Gallatin County, Simon Kenton, South Oldham, and Spencer County.

    It’s clear that, despite Oldham’s losses to out-of-region ranked teams, that the Colonels are one of the elites in Region 8. The question was: where did they belong?

    I settled on #4. This is still a potent Oldham County defense that Coy Zerhusen orchestrates, and this team has some talent – although probably only two all-region candidates – and they have length. They get their hands on passes, disrupting team’s passing lanes to the point that I’ve seen some teams become tentative and make mental mistakes. Offensively, this team is not as potent as last year’s Final Four squad, but they have nights when they are very good.

    With wins over Trimble County, South Oldham, and North Oldham under their belt, Oldham will be the #1 seed in the 29th District tournament and will face #4 seed North Oldham.

    This week: 2/12 at Bardstown 2/15 vs. Boyle County

    5 – Simon Kenton (16-8, 6-2 region 8) Last week: #2 – SK got the “bluegrasspreps” 8th region ranking curse, apparently.

    First, it was Collins who tumbled, dropping 3 of 6 games during a stretch while ranked #1. Then SK took over the top spot, and the Pioneers haven’t been the same since.

    SK is trying to end a four game losing streak, the second-longest in the region. Last week, #13 ranked Campbell County beat the Pioneers, 80-66. SK followed that with a 72-54 loss to unranked Scott High, who is probably a little better than their 15-10 record shows.
    Against Campbell, the Pioneers rained in 10 threes, with Jeremy Davis (21 points) hitting seven. Kelly Niece tossed in 16 points – a tad below his 23.6 ppg average – and Logan Schwartz had 12. But SK was beaten on the boards, 30-19, and that stat pretty much tells the tale.

    Stats were not available for the Scott High game.

    The Pioneers, however, are beginning to post up some elite team states. They are the #3 team in the state in three point shooting, hitting 40.9% of their shots.

    SK shouldn’t have much trouble getting into the region tournament. They’ve clinched the #1 seed in the 32nd district, and will face Williamstown in the elimination round, where they’ll be heavy favorites.

    This week, Simon Kenton will try to get back on the winning track heading into the tournaments, as they face Covington Catholic on 2/12 and wrap up their regular season on 2/14 at Holmes.

    6 – Spencer County (17-10, 7-3 region 8) Last week: #7 – The Bears hold the second longest winning streak in the region, having won five straight, and 8 of their last 9.
    Last week, the Bears pretty much took care of business in three games they were expected to win, as they defeated Shelby County, 64-54, Collegiate, 88-55, and Henry County, 84-73. Only stats from the Shelby game were available, but they were no surprise: Spencer County can be a devastatingly good shooting team.

    Against Shelby, the Bears hit 51.2% of their shots from the floor, and 16 of 20 (80%) at the line. They didn’t fare nearly as well beyond the arc (4 of 16 for 25%), but they didn’t need the added points in the end. Jake Whitlock led Spencer with 16 points, Jacob Seawright contributed 15 points, and Sam Conley had 14 points / 9 rebounds.

    Spencer County wraps up their regular season this week with a 2/12 road game at Bethlehem, and a season finale at home against Bullitt Central on 2/15.

    7 - South Oldham (18-8, 7-4 region 8) Last week: #6 – The Dragons, winners of the region in 3 of the last 6 seasons, and runners-up last year, slip one spot this week after falling in their only game last week to Central Hardin from the Fifth Region. Central Hardin – ranked for much of the first half of the year – is a solid team with a 17-7 record, but South needed a bounceback win after dropping two straight heartbreaker games – a four point loss to Gallatin County at home and a stunning 3 point double overtime loss to North Bullitt, a team that sits at 7-21 on the season.

    Instead, the Dragons fell for the third straight time – and the second straight overtime game – 74-72.

    South lost despite hitting 51.0% from the floor, 45.8% from beyond the arc, and 9 of 10 (90%) at the line. Luke Morrison again led South in scoring, with 23 points and 9 rebounds; point guard Seth Johnson had 22 points and 11 boards.

    Morrison, averaging 25.9 ppg, leads the region in scoring. Morrison’s individual numbers continue to boggle the mind. He’s leading the region (and #5 in KY) at 25.9 ppg. He’s hitting an incredible 55.2% of his three point attempts, and 79.8% of his free throws, where he’s 87 of 109. In addition, he averages 5.4 rebounds.

    The frustrating thing for South is that the three straight losses came by a total of just nine points.

    Their 8 losses have all come when the Dragons have scored 61 points or more. In fact, five losses have come when South scored 75 points or more.

    Unfortunately, the Dragons' defense isn't keeping pace with the offense.

    South is one of the top teams in the state when it comes to shooting and scoring. The Dragons are the top team in the region and state in scoring at 80.9 ppg. They are #6 in the state, hitting 51.4% from the field overall, #2 in the state, hitting 42.6% of their three point attempts, and #3 in the state, hitting 76.9% of their free throws.

    In the region, South is #1 in free throw and three point shooting, and #2 in overall field goal shooting.

    This week, the Dragons host Walton-Verona on Tuesday, 2/12, before wrapping up their regular season 2/14 at Henry County.

    The Dragons will face Trimble County in the #2 vs. #3 seed game of the 29th district on February 20th.

    8 – North Oldham (13-15, 2-8 region 8) Last week: #9 – The North Oldham Mustangs may be one of the most improved teams in the region as we prepare for the post-season. Given that first year coach David Levitch took over just one week before practice began – and had no off-season to work with the team – you could say he’s worked a minor miracle.

    North’s record isn’t eye-catching, but they’ve honed their skills against a very challenging schedule this year including the likes of #5 Waggener, #7 Ballard, and #14 Male. The Waggener game was a single possession game heading into the final minute….Ballard edged North by just 2 points….and North beat 16-win Jeffersontown. Other powerful foes have included Oldham County, South Oldham, Simon Kenton, and Spencer County. Collins is coming up on the schedule.

    And North beat #17 Frankfort.

    I watched North play Franklin County the other night, and was impressed by the improvement defensively, and offensively when North ran set plays.

    Whether North can upset #1 seed Oldham County in the District 29 tournament is unclear, but this team is definitely moving in the right direction.

    Last week: North defeated Owen County, 67-38, Meade County, 70-48, and Franklin County, 76-49 to extend their winning streak to four.

    Improved shooting has obviously made a big difference. North shot 52.1% against Owen, 59.1% against Meade County, and 47.5% against Franklin County, a game where they also hit 37% of their threes and 71.4% at the line.

    Tyler Higdon led the way against Owen and Franklin, scoring 17 points and 19 points, and grabbing a combined 15 rebounds. Thomas Ashton, moved into the starting lineup, gives the Mustangs essentially two guards who are both point guards and “2” guards. He scored 16 in his first start – against Owen – and tallied 16 again two nights later against Franklin.

    Meade County was the William Hare show; the senior guard scored 26 points and grabbed 10 boards in the contest.

    This week, North will wrap up the season against tough competition.

    2/12 – vs. Collins 2/15 at Desales

    9 – Grant County (17-11, 5-6 region 8) Last week: 8 – The Braves fall down one spot after a so-so week in which they won two and lost two. Unfortunately for the Braves, they didn’t show that they are closing the gap against the top-level teams as they lost by 20 to Gallatin County, 76-56, and by 17 to Walton-Verona, 68-51.

    Grant bounced back to gain victories over Boone County, 78-61, and Dohn Community (OH), 99-93 in overtime.

    Along the way, Luke Dawalt, the Braves 6-4 junior power forward, scored his 1,000th point. (Congrats, Luke!!!!)

    The Dohn game stats were unavailable, but I did get to see the other three.

    Dawalt had his fingerprints all over the games…. He led the Braves with 14 points against Gallatin, and again against Walton Verona (13 points / 8 rebounds). In the win over Boone County, he got a double-double, scoring 21 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

    One of the team’s best shooters, but also one of the bigger, brawnier players on the Braves’ roster, Grant has a delicate balance to strike with him; they need him to grab rebounds, but his shooting touch is so good, he has to get several good looks every game.

    With a wealth of scoring options – Aaron Hurley, Jack Epperson, Jonas Alger, and Ben Vickers – Grant is a threat to score over 80 points on any given night. The problem remains their defense – they are averaging 70.4 ppg, but giving up 66.4, leaving little margin for error.

    Still, this is a team that could be lethal in a single-elimination tournament. Walton-Verona may be ranked #1 in this ranking, but they will have to get past Grant County in the first round of the 32nd district tournament. It’s not too hard of a stretch to see Grant pulling the upset.

    This week:

    2/11 – vs. Owen County 2/14 vs. Eminence

    #10 - #13 were especially difficult to assess this week.

    10 – Anderson County (13-10, 5-4 region 8) Last week: #11 – Anderson County moves up one spot from last week as the Bearcats show signs of coming to life just in time for the district tournament. With Anderson having defeated Shelby, Carroll, and Henry, the Bearcats moved up a bit to push ahead of that pack.

    The Cats have won four in a row, tied with North Oldham for the second-longest winning streak in the region. Last week, they took care of business with three road games against Carroll County, 57-52, Owen County, 55-34, and Bracken County, 44-38.

    Stats were not available for the Owen or Bracken games, but the Carroll game showed solid shooting (except at the line!). Anderson hit 52.4% from the field and 37.5% from beyond arc – but just 10 of 19 (52.6%!) at the stripe.

    Jagger Gillis came up big in the Carroll game, scoring 21 points. Gillis averages just 6.8 ppg, so perhaps this is a signal of things to come. Anderson – led so far this season by guard Tyler Rice at 11.3 ppg – desperately needs additional scorers to step up, and several candidates could be those players: Brennan Maxberry averages 7.6 ppg, Alex Carpenter (6.8 ppg), Sam Harrod (6.6 ppg), and senior Zarian McKee (6.0 ppg) all are possibilities.

    If nobody steps up, the Bearcats will be hard-pressed to knock off Spencer County in the first round of the 30th district tournament.

    This week:

    2/12 at Eminence 2/14 at Gallatin County 2/15 vs. Franklin County

    11 – Shelby County (8-18, 3-7 region 8) Last week: #12 – Shelby moves up a spot this week, but in part because Carroll County took a tumble.

    Shelby has dropped 10 of their last 13 games, but they’ve begun to show progress, losing many of those games in competitive fashion. The Rockets fell to Spencer County by 10, 11th region power Woodford County by just 3 points, Madison Southern by 7, and Anderson County by a mere 3 points. This may not be the Rockets’ year, but they’re getting there.

    Sometimes it’s all about learning how to develop a winning attitude. Expecting to win. There’s so much rich baseball tradition at Shelby County – Mike Casey, Charles Hurt, Norris Beckley, anyone? – it’s almost shocking to see them falling on hard times.

    Last week, Shelby played two road games, losing in Taylorsville to Spencer County, 64-54, and bouncing back to defeat Henry County in New Castle, 65-56.

    Noah Gordon led the Rockets against Spencer, with 18 points and 6 rebounds. But Shelby hit just 35.7% of their shots and was a dismal 7 of 12 at the stripe.

    If Shelby can get more games where Gordon, Taurius Robinson, and Cameron Armstrong all get going in the same game, the Rockets could surprise.

    This week: 2/13 vs. DeSales 2/15 at Gallatin County

    12 – Henry County (10-15, 7-8) Last week: #13 – Henry nudges up a spot this week as Carroll free-falls to #13.

    The Wildcats won one and lost two last week. The win was significant, as far as the rankings go, as Henry County defeated Carroll County, 68-59. The two, who split two regular season games, will face each other in the first round of the 31st district tournament, with the winner guaranteed a spot in the 8th region tourney. Henry would love to win the rubber match, so they could play in the regional tournament on their home court.

    The Cats followed the big win with two losses, though. They fell to Shelby County, 65-56, in a game that was expected to be pretty close and was. They ended the week with an 84-73 loss to Spencer County, in a game that should have given the Wildcats some confidence as most expected Spencer to win that one handily.

    Sophomore Trevor Hardin continues to establish himself as a solid all-region candidate. He scored 28 points and grabbed 18 rebounds against Carroll County while hitting 12 of 18 field goals. (He averages 18.9 ppg and 8.6 rebounds, while hitting 56.9% of his shots). Ethan Lankford tossed in 15.

    Stats for the other two games were not available.

    Henry wraps up the season at Ludlow on 2/11, followed by home games against Trimble County on 2/12 and South Oldham on 2/14.

    13 – Carroll County (11-11, 9-7 region 8) Last week: #10 – Carroll had a rough week last week, dropping two of three games. Worse, both losses were to teams ranked below them, resulting in the Panthers dropping three slots in our rankings.

    On February 5th, Carroll dropped a 57-52 decision to Anderson County. On the positive side, Carroll County was very competitive. But the Bearcats, who are having a bit of a resurgence here late in the season, jumped past Carroll in the poll. They were only one spot behind them before the game.

    Carroll was done in by last year’s “bugaboo” – shooting – as they hit just 32.7% of their shots. Wyatt Supplee, however, continues to play strong, having just come back from an injury. His 23 points – right at his average – led the team in the loss. Keishaun Mumphrey had 14.

    The Panthers then faced district foe Henry County, a team that they had defeated by 10 in early December. But the Wildcats turned the tables on Carroll, earning a nine point victory. Like Anderson, Henry was sitting below Carroll in the polls, but the win vaulted them over the Panthers.

    Carroll again shot less than 40% from the field, dooming them in a game that was winnable. Supplee again led the way with 19 points; David Duncan had 14 points and 8 rebounds.

    The Panthers ended the week on a positive note, defeating Williamstown, but by the narrowest of margins at 67-64. Stats were unavailable on this game at this time.

    Carroll County has been fortunate to get Supplee back from the injury and have him perform at such a high level; now they need to get back their “mojo” from the first of the season, when they opened the year with a 7-4 record. Henry County awaits in the first (elimination) round of the 31st district tournament; Carroll will have to have their “A” game ready or they’ll go home early.

    This week:

    2/12 vs Collegiate 2/14 at Walton – Verona

    14 – Trimble County (12-12, 7-9 region 8) Last week: #14 – The Raiders hold their ground at #12 this week after a 1-1 week last week.

    Trimble’s actually on a bit of a roll, having won 6 of their last 8 games. Last week, they started off with a loss to red-hot Gallatin County, 63-48, shooting just 34.8% in their upset bid. But they turned things around at the end of the week, whipping Owen County, 73-59.

    Trimble County boasts one of the region’s greatest secrets. Junior guard Reece Webster is simply having an outstanding year, but much of the region is unlikely to know who he is as the Raiders will be heavy underdogs in the first round (elimination round) of the 29th district tournament when they face South Oldham, a matchup that doesn’t favor their style of play.

    Junior guard Reece Webster is averaging 18.2 ppg for the Raiders. He has led the team in scoring in each of the last ten games, averaging 20.9 ppg in that span.

    But Webster needs someone else on the Trimble roster to step up and take some of the pressure off him. Perhaps the big center, Logan Schwartz, who averages 8.9 ppg and 6.6 rebounds – a big, physical center who has a soft touch with the basketball. Regardless, Webster can’t do it alone.

    This week: 2/11 vs. Gallatin County 2/12 at Henry County 2/15 at Lloyd Memorial

    15 – Williamstown (7-20, 2-8 region 8) Last week: #15 – Williamstown also stands pat this week, holding at #15.

    Honestly, the Demons will probably finish at this spot. The team in front of them – Trimble County – has already defeated the Demons by 18. And Williamstown’s remaining games don’t provide an opportunity for a big upset; in fact, all three of their remaining games are not only winnable, but the Demons may be favored in at least one of them. And after winning just two games last year – both by one point – reaching the point to where you are the favorite in a ball game shows just how far this team has come.

    Williamstown went 1-2 last week, losing to Harrison County, 88-75 on 2/5/19, but bouncing back two nights later with a win over Silver Grove, 64-47. They wrapped up the week with a narrow 67-64 loss to Carroll County. A win over Carroll County would have been that next “baby step” upward as the Demons continue to rebuild.

    None of last week’s games’ stats have been posted.

    Coach John Reitz has done a remarkable job this year. His first Demon team two years ago went 17-16 and advanced to the region 8 tournament. It all crashed and burned last season, when graduation and transfers left the cupboard pretty bare, and with limited experience. The Demons won just 2 games – both in the last week of the season and both by just 1 point. This year, Williamstown has taken a giant step forward, winning 7 games (so far) and dropping six games by 10 points or less.

    Last year, every loss was pretty much a blowout – this year, had the Demons been able to flip those games decided by 10 points or less to “W’s”, the team would be entering the final week of the season with a 13-14 record!

    And there’s lots of reasons for optimism for next year. The team has only three seniors, and – although one is #2 scorer Cole Kemper – a lot of the primary contributors will return for next year, including leading scorer Cole Kighlinger, and #3 scorer Bryant Henson. Leading rebounder Joel McCain is just a freshman.

    There’s a real youth movement in Williamstown, and Coach Reitz knows they’ll be playing like seniors a year or two before they are seniors, thanks to all the varsity experience they got last year and this year, battling rough odds.

    This week, Williamstown has three winnable games….sweep this week, and the Demons finish the year with 10 wins:

    2/11 – vs. Bellevue 2/12 – at Owen County 2/15 – vs. Menifee County

    16 – Owen County (3-21, 2-13 region 8) Last week: #16 – Owen County’s Devin Duvall has coached some of the best teams to grace an 8th region floor. But he knows that talent in high school comes in cycles, and right now, Owen County is dealing with a downward cycle. Like Williamstown, Owen is a relatively young team, and under Devin Duvall, I have no doubt Owen County will bounce back soon.

    The roster shows just one senior, three juniors, two sophomores, six freshmen, one eighth grader, and one seventh grader. The senior – Isaac Smith – is number two in scoring at 10.4 ppg and number one in rebounding at 9.2, so he will be missed. But the leading scorer – Noah St. Clair (12.3 ppg) – is a sophomore. It’ll just take time.

    Last week, Owen County dropped four games: 67-38 at North Oldham, 55-34 to Anderson County, 92-57 to Gallatin County, and 73-59 to Trimble County.

    Owen actually shot very well in the game against North Oldham, hitting 51.7% of their shots, but North’s defense limited them to just 29 total shots.

    This week:

    2/11 vs. Grant County 2/12 vs. Williamstown 2/14 at Thomas Nelson

    17 – Eminence (3-23, 0-14 region 8) Last week: #17 – The only team that has yet to defeat a fellow 8th Region team, Eminence has had a difficult year. First year coach Patrick Jackson still has a lot of work to do to get the Warriors back to the competitive level they enjoyed in the 70s and 80s.

    Sometimes, you have to make history come alive for the current players. A look back at a history that included guys with names like Mont Sleets, Vance Blades, Keith Blackburn, etc. might energize the current group of Warriors.

    There’s no reason why one of the region's smallest schools can't be successful in basketball - again.

    Last week, the Warriors picked up their third win, edging Beth Haven, 68-66. But they followed with two losses, 88-42 to Gallatin County and 86-59 to Powell County. Stats for the three games were not available.

    Unfortunately, the stats for Eminence stopped being posted some time ago, so there’s not much to report along those lines.

    The Warriors will be underdogs in each of their three remaining regular season games:

    2/12 vs Anderson County 2/14 at Grant County 2/15 at St. Francis

    However, Eminence will definitely be competitive in their first game of the 31st district tournament as they will open against Owen County. The bad news? The winner faces #1 seed Gallatin County, which hasn’t lost to a 31st district rival in 9 games this year.

    That’s all for the rankings…..one of the big questions right now is going to be: “Who is going to win Player of the Year?” Last year, Cobe Penny was practically a cinch from Day 1. This year, we have a lot of strong candidates, and they all have great resumes. Here’s the top five I like (in absolutely no particular order):

    Just as an FYI….this list did not start with stats. I considered the players that I thought were most indispensable to their teams in a myriad of ways. Then I took that list and whittled it down, using stats to assist. As you’ll see, these five players are all extremely important to their teams statistically, as all five are tops on their teams in three statistical categories.

    (Numbers in bold indicate that the player leads his team in this category. I did not compare these guys’ stats against anyone who didn’t average 4 FGA / game. Likewise, I didn’t compare three point percentages with anyone that didn’t average at least 4 three point attempts / game. I only compared their FT% with other players with 60 FTA or more.)

    PPG Reb/Game FG% 3% FT%
    Dieonte Miles, Walton-Verona 14.6 6.6 63.1% 40.9% 58.5%
    Dieonte Miles leads Region 8 in field goal percentage and is #28 in KY

    Dayvion McKnight, Collins 17.4 10.6 49.2% DNQ 77.7%
    Dayvion McKnight is tied for #12 in KY in rebounding

    Luke Morrison, South Oldham 25.9 5.4 59.2% 55.7%9.8%
    Luke Morrison leads region 8 in scoring and is #5 in the state of KY at 25.9 ppg.
    Luke Morrison is #3 in the region in FT% and #42 in the state.
    Luke Morrison is #2 in Kentucky, hitting an average of 3.8 threes / game.
    Luke Morrison is #1 in KY in three point FG% for all players hitting at least 2.4 threes / game.

    Kelly Niece, Simon Kenton 23.6 4.0 51.9% 47.0% 83.8%
    Kelly Niece is #2 in region 8 in scoring and #12 in the state at 23.6 ppg

    Troy Coomer, Gallatin County 17.9 6.6 49.0% 42.2% 88.7%
    Troy Coomer is #1 in Region 8 and #5 in the state in FT%.
    Last edited by ColonelMike; Feb 10, 19 at 11:47 PM.

  2. #2

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    Good analysis. That Henry County vs Spencer County score doesn't really tell the story though. Spencer County was up 27 in the third and Coach Burns pulled the starters for the rest of the game. That game was headed towards a forty point win. Spencer also played without starting sophomore Lucas Hornback due to illness.

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    "Though they’ve beaten the Braves twice now by double figures – 16 and 17 points"

    These two teams have only played each other once this year. Grant led by 3 at the half. In the 3rd, Walton hit some big 3's and Grants shooting went south.
    This should be a fun rematch to watch come district time.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by StixNStones View Post
    "Though they’ve beaten the Braves twice now by double figures – 16 and 17 points"

    These two teams have only played each other once this year. Grant led by 3 at the half. In the 3rd, Walton hit some big 3's and Grants shooting went south.
    This should be a fun rematch to watch come district time.
    I stand corrected. I write up a pretty large write up on tablet, which enables me to do some comparison more easily...I inadvertently looked at another line and goofed up.

    Thanks for the correction.

    I think it very well could be an interesting matchup in the district semis, but Grant will have to score a bucket-load of points - which they are very capable of doing.

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    Trimble’s Logan Schwartz should be Clifford, younger brother of Kaylee. He is 4th in scoring for the Raiders behind Webster, Evan Stevens and Grant Weaver.

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    Good summary, Gallatin Co. is working hard under Coach Jones and any team with 3 men that can give you 30+, is dangerous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelMike View Post
    I stand corrected. I write up a pretty large write up on tablet, which enables me to do some comparison more easily...I inadvertently looked at another line and goofed up.

    Thanks for the correction.

    I think it very well could be an interesting matchup in the district semis, but Grant will have to score a bucket-load of points - which they are very capable of doing.
    I agree completely. Grant will have to play much better defense consistently in this game if they want to advance. They've shown flashes but have yet to put it all together for an entire game.

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    For player of the year I would have to have Sam Conley on there before Miles considering he averages more points and rebounds (17.4, 7 Reb) and he's two years younger and 9 inches shorter. I know you probably have Miles on there for defense but Conley is known for being a lockdown defender. Unfortunately Spencer has no size so Conley has to guard the post. When he defends anyone his size or smaller it's a lockdown. When coming up with a top five I like guys that play both ends. You have some scorers on there who can score no doubt but if Conley guards them they would get half their averages. Those kids wouldn't have a chance guarding him because he is so explosive going to the basket. Another kid that would be on my list is Trevor Hardin of Henry County. Plays both ends and as good as anyone I watched this year. Just my two cents. Fun debate.

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    Did Conley guard Luke Morrison when Spencer beat South Oldham? Morrison scored 17 points, which is well below his average.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ConverseAllStar View Post
    Did Conley guard Luke Morrison when Spencer beat South Oldham? Morrison scored 17 points, which is well below his average.
    Team effort on that one.

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    Like you, I prefer a player who is a force at "both ends." Take a quick minute to re-read the post....the top five were not the first "list" created. I created a (larger) list of players - that included my eventual top 5 - who I thought were indispensable to their teams (not necessarily the highest scorers), based upon totally subjective analysis.

    Then I chose my top five and added the stats. It was interesting to see that the stats very closely mirrored my more subjective analysis in regards to how many statistical categories - of the five I had to measure - were stats in which the player was tops on his team. In each case, the player was #1 on his team in three of the five categories....

    Sam Conley, Trevor Hardin, Marcellus Vail, Wyatt Supplee, Jarin Rassman, Kameron Pardee, Seth Johnson - all were on my initial list. I sure wouldn't mind going into a game with those seven as my team!

    I had a couple of others I also considered....

    I'm not a voter, the coaches are, but some of the top talent in the region this year is young, and probably will lose out on the voting just for that reason. The voting does seem to favor seniors, with a few juniors sprinkled in. I'm sure somebody will remind me of a sophomore or freshman who won the award, but I just can't remember anyone younger than a junior who has won the award in a long, long, time. Sam and Trevor are in that younger crowd coming up.

    Like you said, it's a fun debate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scon36 View Post
    Trimble’s Logan Schwartz should be Clifford, younger brother of Kaylee. He is 4th in scoring for the Raiders behind Webster, Evan Stevens and Grant Weaver.
    I gotta slow down on my typing.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelMike View Post
    Like you, I prefer a player who is a force at "both ends." Take a quick minute to re-read the post....the top five were not the first "list" created. I created a (larger) list of players - that included my eventual top 5 - who I thought were indispensable to their teams (not necessarily the highest scorers), based upon totally subjective analysis.

    Then I chose my top five and added the stats. It was interesting to see that the stats very closely mirrored my more subjective analysis in regards to how many statistical categories - of the five I had to measure - were stats in which the player was tops on his team. In each case, the player was #1 on his team in three of the five categories....

    Sam Conley, Trevor Hardin, Marcellus Vail, Wyatt Supplee, Jarin Rassman, Kameron Pardee, Seth Johnson - all were on my initial list. I sure wouldn't mind going into a game with those seven as my team!

    I had a couple of others I also considered....

    I'm not a voter, the coaches are, but some of the top talent in the region this year is young, and probably will lose out on the voting just for that reason. The voting does seem to favor seniors, with a few juniors sprinkled in. I'm sure somebody will remind me of a sophomore or freshman who won the award, but I just can't remember anyone younger than a junior who has won the award in a long, long, time. Sam and Trevor are in that younger crowd coming up.

    Like you said, it's a fun debate.
    Sophomore Trevor Hardin went for 37 against South Oldham tonight. I don't think people realize how good this kid really is.

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    Hardin must have stayed out of foul trouble tonight. He has a great motor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ConverseAllStar View Post
    Hardin must have stayed out of foul trouble tonight. He has a great motor.
    Best motor I've seen in person.

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