Bluegrasspreps' 2015-16 6th Region Basketball Preview
This basketball season in the 6th Region will be much different than last season in many ways. For starters:
Before last season began, it was a toss-up between two teams in PRP & Doss; this season has one team entering the season as an overwhelming favorite in Bullitt East without a serious threat unless the talented young team from Fern Creek has matured fast enough to challenge.
Last season Doss beat PRP in the first game and never looked back going 16-0 in their 6th region games; Doss lost their 3 senior stars from that team making a repeat run improbable for the Dragons, but Bullitt East could be as dominant this season.
In 2014-15 the 6th region had the same top 4 teams (Doss, PRP, Bullitt East, & Desales) and a 5th team (Fern Creek) slightly behind them in rankings most of the season; in 2015-16 outside of Bullitt East and Fern Creek it is a pretty wide open race for the remaining Top 5 spots.
Last Season once again PRP entered the season as one of the top favorites to emerge again as the 6th region champions; this season is much different as PRP will enter the season as a darkhorse to challenge the top teams and return to Rupp once again.
The Chargers under Coach Bob Blackburn are expected to be the heavy favorite to take over the dominant role that Doss held last season. They return their 2 leading scorers in G Tyler Sharpe (17pts) and F Jared Ferris (11pts). Despite the loss of Tyler Bacon, the Chargers will still have two other returning starters in F Brandon Klefot (9pts) & G Bailey Rakes (9pts). They also have other players like Jr. Jared Osborne & So. Luke Ezell who have been patiently waiting their chance to provide depth and add their own skills to the dangerous returning starters. This team will have more experience that most teams will have and by a large margin. They will flat out be the favorite to win the region crown, but it wonít be easy by any stretch of the imagination to match the undefeated run that Doss had last season against 6th region teams.
Coach James Schooler and the Fern Creek Tigers were hammered by DeSales in their final game last season. But that game was in the Final Four of the 6th Region tournament with three freshmen starting and the team's leading scorer from last season, G Tony Washington (14pts) in his first season in the program as he transferred from Waggener before the season began. Now Sophomores PG Anthony Wales, G Ahmad Price, and F Trey Hill each averaged between 9-10 pts. They are top ranked players in the state at their positions in the 2018 class. Fern Creek is only losing one starter and one other player off a team that finished 18-12. Experience will be a factor as the Tigers will still be young with Washington as the only senior on the team. Look for Jr. 6'6" C Daquan Jones and So. Tony Rogers to round out the rotation along with the lone transfer to this season's team, So. Clint Wickliffe who came from Ballard.
Moore has a new Head Coach in Roy Sutton who in his first head coaching position must take over a team that finished 8-18 the season before. But Coach Sutton knows how to makeover a struggling team from his tenure under Coach James Schooler at Fern Creek who proved that it is possible to do so in short order. The Mustangs won their district tournament, but suffered a season ending loss by over 30 points to Fern Creek in the first round of the 6th Region tourney. But this is a different team that will be very long with the addition of Jr. 6'6" Ramon Collins who transferred from Doss where he was a solid contributor on that state contending team and he is a highly ranked player in the state. They may have the most impacting freshman in the city or state with 6'6" Justin Weaver who also is a top ranked player in the state in the 2019 class. They will be led in the back court by senior PG Keonte Smith. Look for Moore to again win their district and this time advance past the first round of regional play.
With what the Bulldogs return in talent, they will be in contention for being one of the top ranked teams in the 6th region. Leading the way for the David Hicks coached Fairdale team is talented Sr Tre Richardson (14pts), and So. Glenn Queen (9pts) who became a factor for the Bulldogs towards the end of last season. Seniors Ethan Longacre, Korey Tipton, and David Jones will have a year under their belt and also be key contributors.
Coach Tony Williams led the Dragons in his first year to the best season in recent memory as they went all the way to Rupp Arena. The Dragons were hit very hard by graduation with their 3 best players running out of eligibility, but they also were hit hard with transfers as 3 potential starters all left before school started this year. Many coaches could not recover from that loss, but Coach Williams did not complain, he went to work. He is confident that his team will surprise people and be in the hunt for a region crown. With the returns of his nephew Jr G Jaylon Hall (5pts) and Sr G Nick Anderson (5pts) it appears that there will be a lot of points that will need to be replaced, but the improvement from both of them in lead roles will be dramatic. They also have a talented transfer from Indiana, Sr. F Kelshawn Knight-Goff who started his career at Trinity. Laron Hargrove is a Senior that will be a key player back filling the loss of both rebounding and points in the paint while another player to keep an eye on that will improve as the season goes on is So. G Stephon Franklin.
Coach Mabrey and his long time staff are seldom projected to finish any worse than 2nd or 3rd in the region. Last season the Coach hit a milestone with career wins to prove the point that PRP simply has a winning tradition that few can match. It may take his best coaching to have a finish that resembles what PRP is almost always expected to deliver. This season they cannot be counted out because they will be well coached as always with leadership coming from Sr Brandon Cranford (8pts) and Sr Hunter Stevenson (8pts). Those players have experienced winning since they arrived and the Panthers will also have So G Gerald Gray who saw time last season that will increase this year. Early games against Moore, Western, KCD, and Butler will shed insight into the season ahead.
The Bears return some good talent in Jr Austin Wise (13pts) and So.Jaquay Wales (5pts), but the most important addition is new Coach KC Goodin. The Bears could upset a team or two and sneak into the regional final because Coach Goodin historically is known for getting the younger kids in his program to play hard and become better throughout the season. They will defend and they will believe in Coach Goodin in a way much different than last season where the program was bottled with turmoil. The most improvement from any team from last season and this season could be the Bears and Coach Goodin will be responsible for that growth.
The Vikings lost very little of itís scoring from last season as they return a great deal of players like Jr Eric George (14pts) and So Curt Lewis(6pts) that can light it up on any given night and with the schedule that Coach Joe Harris has put together for his young Valley team, they most certainty will be improved in the win loss column. Watch for Freshman G Cameron Wilson (9pts) to be a team leader as Coach Harris has proven he will play his best players regardless of class.
Coach Shedrick Jones and the Trojans are looking for significant improvement this season. Despite losses to several of their best players, they have a trio of Seniors returning to lead the team, including Donquel Andrews (13pts). The Trojans return two other senior starters from last season in Michael Durbin (9pts) and Glenn Hill (9pts). This will be an experienced team, but they have not experienced much winning in the past. The Bobcats will also have Junior Charles Wilson (7pts) returning with experience.
Tom Crews is a seasoned veteran that simply is too good of a coach to not put in the Top 10. His team will win games with great defense, excellent ball movement, and heady play. They may not be as talented as teams they match up with, but never doubt they will be prepared and able to upset teams. They graduated so many of their points as the team from last season that reached the Regional Finals was senior heavy. Jr Jaxon Burgess will be the leader of this team and expected to carry the scoring load for the Colts.
The Cougers under Joseph Lee should be in good condition this season in their district with some returning talent from last season in Seniors Cameron Dukes and Chase Craddock. The question will be how they do against the other teams in the 6th region and for the most part they are not playing against the top tier teams, although they do play district foe Moore.
The Warriors have been middle of the road the past couple of seasons and it looks like it could be the same this coming season if Coach Moorman can replace his top 3 scorers who graduated. There is young talent there and they play hard so the opportunity to crack the Top 10 is very likely sometime during the season.
The Eagles will be like several teams this season, re-building after losing two key players including the best player Ricky Dunnavan. Good news is that they have 2 seniors who scored in double figures in Jared Free and Ryan Henson. Jr Travis Dunnavan will try to replace his brother's scoring. Coach Korey Craddock could have a much better finish in the rankings than where they are ranked now if they can get any help from their frontline. The best players are all guards and will need some help.
Iroquois is coached by Jeff Morrow. There will be a blend of youth and seniors that may finally allow the win loss record to see improvement. This team could be the sleeper team that produces surprises along the season because the system that Morrow plays will be hard nosed and effective.
The Cougars of Holy Cross are coached by Mike Durham and will win games because they play as a team. They play a full 6th region schedule and will have a good season if they finish with an even win/loss record in regional play. With some traditional power teams a bit down, it could be a surprise season that Holy Cross might possibly make some noise during District & Regional tournament this year.
The Chargers lose a lot of their scoring from last year when star player Brandon Johnson graduated. They have a new Coach in Miquel Coleman who did a great rebuilding job at Shawnee before leaving to come to Jeffersontown. He is in rebuilding mode unless some of his transfers become eligible which at this time does not appear to be happening until February.
One of the smallest schools in the region, Beth Haven under Coach Michael Stinnett will play tough and be prepared. The Bearcats are hoping to surprise some people and get to 20 wins again this season although the schedule plays few games against the larger 6th region schools as they went 1-3 in their district last season.
18 .Evangel Christian:
Coached by Joe Washington this is one of the smaller schools in the region and simply are going to struggle in the region. They were 14-14 overall last season but failed to win a regional game.
19 .Whitefield Academy:
Coach Billy Edge had a very good team last year and still only won 4 region games. This year they lost their best player to graduation and many juniors who were expected to play are not playing basketball this year for Whitefield. It could be a very long season and a challenge to win any regional games.
Top 10 Players:
1.Tyler Sharpe (Bullitt East):
The high scoring machine, Tyler Sharpe, has worked to become a more complete player to go along with his sharp shooting skills. Look for his average to get close to 20 pts unless the margin of victories for his team are so high that he sits the 4th quarter of many games. He is a warrior and great teammate. The talented SR is the best player on the best team which is why he is ranked number 1 in the region and also ranked in the Top 15 of his class in the state.
2.Ahmad Price (Fern Creek):
Only a sophomore, Ahmad holds a Division 1 offer from Samford and has substantial interest from many mid major programs. He is ranked as one of the top players in the state in his 2018 class. He does a little bit of everything for his Tiger team whether passing, shooting, or rebounding. He is ready to break out for a strong sophomore campaign.
3.Jared Farris (Bullitt East):
The big bodied power forward rebounds and finishes at the rim. He will knock down the mid-range jumper and his post moves are as good as anyone in the region. He's is a willing passer out of the post and finds the Bullitt East sharp shooters when they are open. He is a top 5 PF in the state in the 2016 class.
4.Tony Washington (Fern Creek):
The talented guard for the Tigers was the leading scorer for the season averaging 15 pts. Tony will look to continue to be that high scoring long range shooter who has worked very hard to be more than just a scorer as he enters his last season in high school. Tony is a top 40 ranked player in Kentucky in the 2016 class.
5.Ramon Collins (Moore):
Ramon was one of the biggest bench contributors to the Doss Dragon's run to Rupp last season. Ramon will be the main player that runs his new team this coming season. His 6'6" size with very athletic moves around the basket and in open space will make him a highlight feature for the local Sports segments. Ramon is a Top 25 player in the 2017 player in the state.
6.Trey Hill (Fern Creek):
Long and athletic combo guard/wing that at times will leave you scratching your head with his display of skilled athletic moves to the basket. What makes him a division 1 prospect is his length & speed with the ball. He can be a very versatile player that has really high upside and ranked in the Top 10 of his 2018 class in Kentucky.
7.Brandon Klefot (Bullitt East):
Brandon can attack the rim off the dribble and knock down his jumper from the perimeter or mid-range. He will be counted upon to be more active rebounding the basketball this season for Bullitt East. He is ranked as a Top 50 player in his 2016 class in the state.
8.Anthony Wales (Fern Creek):
Super quick point guard that has improved his strength from his freshman season who is also a good decision maker and passer, in addition to a scoring threat. He is ranked as one of the top pure PGs in his 2018 class and also has a Division 1 offer from Samford as does his teammate Ahmad Price.
9.Jaylon Hall (Doss):
Hall will become the leading scorer on the Doss team this season in addition to being a primary play maker. He has proven to be a very good long range shooter and has improved his ball handling so he is very good at creating his own shot. He is a Top 40 player in his 2017 class in the state of Kentucky.
10.Bailey Rakes (Bullitt East):
Bailey is the glue of the Bullitt East team and makes the team run from his Point guard position. He is a Top 60 player in the 2016 class in Kentucky and will knock down open 3 point shots with ease if left alone.