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Interesting week in the boys' 8th region, with a surprise or two here and there already...

Definitely surprised to see that only four region teams remain undefeated after just one week of the season: Gallatin County (4-0), Oldham County (2-0), Simon Kenton (2-0), and Walton-Verona (1-0).

SEVERAL big games this week to note:
- 12/5 #2 Oldham County (2-0) vs. #4 Anderson County (0-1) - perhaps a preview of the 2018 8th region finals?
- 12/5 #7 South Oldham (2-1) vs. #8 Spencer County (2-1) - these two teams are averaging a combined 50 three point attempts per game!
- 12/5 #5 Gallatin County (4-0) vs. #1 Walton-Verona (1-0) - A chance for Gallatin to show that they are in the mix for more than just a district title...
- 12/5 #10 North Oldham (1-2) vs. Louisville Male - The Bulldogs are ranked about the middle-of-the-pack in the 7th, but are always a challenge. Opportunity for a big non-region victory for an inexperienced Mustang squad.
- 12/5 #12 Henry County (1-1) vs. #16 Eminence (0-3) - Rivalry game is also a 31st district seeding game.
- 12/6 #11 Grant County (0-3) vs. #17 Williamstown (0-2) - 32nd district seeding game
- 12/7 #13 Carroll County (1-1) vs. #15 Owen County (0-2) - 31st district seeding game
- 12/8 #14 Trimble County (2-1) vs. #2 Oldham County (2-0) - 29th district seeding game.
- 12/8 #4 Anderson County (0-1) vs. #1 Walton-Verona (1-0) - another game this week that could very well be a preview of the region final.
- 12/8 #6 Collins (1-1) vs. #9 Shelby County (1-2) - another big rivalry game this week that happens to also be a district seeding game.
- 12/8 #5 Gallatin County (4-0) vs. #12 Henry County (1-1) - top two teams in the 31st battle early in the season to establish who is the real district favorite.


After one week (rankings reflect where the teams are now, not necessarily where I think they will finish the season):

1. Walton-Verona (1-0) - Our pre-season number one stays on top after just one game, a 51-42 victory over Dixie Heights. We're going to learn a lot about the Bearcats in a hurry; this week they travel to red-hot Gallatin County on 12/5 and host Anderson County on 12/8. One week after Anderson, they travel to Buckner to play Oldham County.

2. Oldham County (2-0) - The Colonels have had a solid first week, blasting North Hardin on the road by 16 points and whipping Rock Creek Academy (IN), 96-66. Oldham shot 57% from the floor against North Hardin - including 57% from beyond the arc - and a possible new perimeter threat emerged as Andre Brewer hit 3 of 5 threes against the Trojans. Next up: Anderson County on Tuesday, 12/5, in Buckner in a prime-time 8th region matchup.

3. Simon Kenton (2-0) The Pioneers are off to a quick start again this year. I still tend to see Anderson County and Collins as better teams in the long run, but SK has been much more productive in week 1, with a nice 75-72 victory over the #2 team in the tenth region, Mason County, to their resume already. This week: 12/5 @ Ryle and 12/8 vs. Dixie Heights.

4. Anderson County (0-1) Anderson goes down a spot after losing to the 13th-ranked team in the 11th region, Woodford County, by 10 in their only game so far. Hard to think AC will stay down, though. Big week for the Bearcats: 12/5 at Oldham County and 12/8 at Walton-Verona.

5. Gallatin County (4-0) Gallatin moves up from #7 to #5 this week after blitzing their first four opponents by an average of 31 points. Granted, Eminence, Williamstown, and Bracken County are a combined 1-7....but the 11 point victory over defending 8th champ Collins, when the Wildcats scored 53 second half points, was impressive. Tuesday 12/5 is a big one, versus Walton-Verona. Troy Coomer leads the Cats with an 18.3 ppg average....

6. Collins (1-1) It always seems like Chris Gaither's squads start a bit slower than the rest of the region - but they always finish strong. The Titans got tremendous efforts from Nick Fort, who averaged a double-double last week (23.5 ppg / 11.5 rebounds), and Jacob Feltner (18.5 ppg). Still, even in the loss to Gallatin, Collins showed they had weapons as 4 different players reached double figures. 12/5 vs. Frankling County and 12/8 @ Shelby County

7. South Oldham (2-1) The Dragons are a work in progress at this point in time. South beat DeSales by 11 behind Devin Young's seven threes (and 26 total points), but have struggled to split games against Shelby County (63-57 loss) and Christian Academy of Louisville (62-60 win) with Young out due to injury. Still, that may turn out to be good for South as inexperienced players get experience. Even better news for South has been the unexpected return of Peyton Hicks, who averaged 18.5 ppg in the first two games. The defense, though, is struggling. 12/5 vs. Spencer County and 12/8 at Grant County

8. Spencer County (2-1) Spencer is just 3 points away from being 3-0; their only loss was a 62-60 loss to Franklin County. On a team that is being modeled largely on the South Oldham Dragon model (shooting a lot of threes), Spencer's Jackson Cole is off to a torrid start, hitting 15 of 29 threes (51.7%) over the first three games of the season and averaging a team-best 15.7 ppg. Up next: 12/5 @ South Oldham in what promises to be a three-point lovefest.

9. Shelby County (1-2) The Rockets did defeat #7 South by six points, but they did it in Shelbyville with South's top player on the bench with an injury. Shelby's other games have all resulted in lopsided losses (to Mercer County and John Hardin) to reasonably highly-regarded teams. Will the real Rockets please stand up? Shelby is running its offense through the interior; in a region where the three pointer is popular, Shelby is averaging just 7 three point attempts a game so far. Taurius Robinson is the only double-figure scorer, averaging 17 ppg and 8.5 rebounds. This week: 12/5 @ CAL, 12/8 vs. Collins.

10. North Oldham (1-2) The Mustangs have a lot to put together over the course of the season, but have one of the largest "upsides" of any team. The Mustangs beat an improved Frankfort squad and lost to two solid teams in Iroquois and St. X. Justin Rose is off to a great start, but has been prone to foul trouble. His 29 point effort vs. Frankfort was truly an impressive effort as he hit 11 of 16 shots overall, 2 of 5 beyond the arc, and added 7 rebounds. But North has to shoot better and - even more importantly - they must find a couple of additional scorers to take the next step. A tough December awaits, including road trips to Male on 12/5 and to Bardstown on 12/8.

11. Grant County (0-3) The Braves are launching them from deep! Grant is averaging 24 threes a game so far, and has been in some games, losing by 11 to Ryle and just by 6 to Boyd County. Chase Good is averaging 12.7 ppg to pace the squad, but four different players are averaging between 9 ppg and 12.7. This week 12/6 @ Williamstown and 12/8 vs. South.

12. Henry County (1-1) First victory came in overtime by 2 over Western Hills in OT. Wildcats have a long way to go, but still appear to be the second best team in the 31st district. 12/5 vs. arch-rival Eminence. 12/8 at district favorite Gallatin County.

13. Carroll County (1-1) The Panthers move up from #16 in the pre-season poll, mainly on the back of a powerful 16 point victory over a veteran Trimble County team and because the rest of the 31st struggled the first week. Braedyn Cole had a great week 1, averaging 18 ppg, including 23 against Trimble. Next up, a 31st district seeding matchup versus Owen County on 12/7.

14. Trimble County (2-1) The Raiders played a weak schedule to kick off the season, but to their credit, they posted W's in two of three games, a 78-31 win over Burgin and a 10 point victory over Eminence. Shooting is already a concern; Trimble is hitting just 44.7% from the floor, including 29.4% beyond the arc, and only 58.6% at the line. Next up: 12/5 vs. Owen County and 12/8 @ Oldham County.

15. Owen County (0-2) Rough week for the Rebels, who lost by 27 to Western Hills and to Lloyd Memorial in OT. Worse, the Rebels averaged just 19 rebounds in the two games. Three winnable games present themselves this week: 12/5 at Trimble, 12/7 at Eminence, and 12/9 vs. Williamstown.

16. Eminence (0-3) The Warriors lost handily to Gallatin County by 27 in their opener, then dropped contests to Frankfort Christian (by 11) and Trimble County (by 10). Shooting must improve; the Warriors are hitting just 36.6% from the field, 21.3% from three, and 56.8% at the line. Maurice Richardson is an early bright spot, hitting over 50% of his shots while averaging 15.5 ppg. This week is a big one for Eminence as they face arch-rival Henry County in New Castle on 12/5, followed by road trips to Williamstown (12/7) and Thomas Nelson (12/9).

17. Williamstown (0-2) A 46-point loss to Gallatin County and a 26 point loss to Bracken County tell the tale; the Demons are a work-in-progress right now. Still, it's a long season. 12/6 vs. Grant County in a district matchup, followed by 12/7 vs. Eminence.

CM