16th Region Basketball Week 5

Week 5 in the 16th Region was like everywhere else in the state, Holiday Tournament time. The AIT stood out this year with a Boyd County Ashland game reminiscent of the late nineties. It was good to see, as the rest of the region struggles to find itself still. Tournaments in Greenup and Bath County were competitive but not necessarily well played at all times. The teams in the Region that travelled outside to play during the holiday season didn’t fare as well as they would’ve hope, I’m sure. It sounds like an excuse, but if the cumulative property disintegrates when calculating probable wins and losses in the 16th region. I’ve stated before that it would take till Christmas for the rankings to solidify, but they appear to be as fluid as they were on the first day of the season. At any given time, teams ranked 3-15 can, and have, beaten each other with seemingly no pattern. At the very least, it makes a night at the gym interesting.

1. Ashland (11-1) – Ashland hosted a very entertaining AIT this week, culminating in a Championship win over the in-county rival Lions. In route to the championship the Tomcats got easy wins over Breathitt County and ninth region (Covington) Holy Cross. The final game, however, was much different with a double OT victory over Boyd County. It was a Boyd County-Ashland game that was fun to watch and fairly well played by both teams. The most important thing for the Tomcats, perhaps, is the number of players not named Villers or Robinson that are stepping up. In the AIT as a whole, Bradley, Hudson and Conway all stepped up. In what should be an exciting week in Tomcat basketball, Ashland will turn around and face Boyd County in the first of two regular season games along with games against Russell and Lewis County.

2. Boyd County (8-4) — In addition to their OT loss to Ashland, the Lions won handily against Vestivia Hills, a 7A school from Alabama, and collected a win against in Mason County. This week Reese Robinson and Blake Stewart both played well, and Gunner Short has really come into his own most notably with a 30 point game against Ashland. The Lions are looking good within the region still, but will face Ashland at ho’s me on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see if these two teams can provide a game that lives up to the high standard they have set for themselves. Boyd County will also play Fairview this week.

3. Morgan County (12-2)
—The Cougars had another busy week and collected 3 more wins, compiling an impressive 12 wins thus far this season. I was unable to travel to Pine Mountain this week, so purely judging by the schedules and W/L’s of their opponents this week I’m having a hard time moving the Cougars up any further than the 3rd spot. The Cougars face Elliott and Menifee in the upcoming week. Based upon the schedule remaining for the season, Morgan County is poised to compile a very impressive Win/Loss record and gain more and more confidence along the way.

4. Lewis County (8-7) —The Lions collected three losses this week, bringing them to a four game slide. Lewis County travelled to Bracken County and played in the Straightedge Holiday Tournament losing to Bourbon, Harrison and Bracken County. Unfortunately for the Lions they are looking at games against Elliott County and Ashland this week. I am looking forward to the neutral court game against Ashland to see what Lewis County is really made of. Offut has been the focus, but Ruckel, O’Keefe, and Wallingford all need to be consistent producers to have the season they envisioned.

5. Bath County (7-6) –The Wildcats continued their inconsistent play this week, hosting the CSI Classic. After opening up with a win against Jackson City, Bath County dropped games to East Carter and Estill County. Although the game against East Carter was close they had no answer for Brooks size and seemed out of sorts defensively and offensively. If the Wildcats can muster up a consistent shot and buckle down on defense they have the weapons to be a good team, but so far it’s not showing. They look to get back on track this week with games against Nicholas County and Menifee County.

6. Greenup County (6-7) —The Musketeers rebounded this week with wins against McLean County and Prestonsburg in their Stultz Pharmacy Classic. Greenup County is still riding the high scoring of Gage Hughes who posted 40 points against Prestonsburg this week. When opponents can hold Hughes to 25 points or less the chances of a win are slim. Kyle Gammon is offering consistent support, but the Musketeers are still reliant on Hughes to determine the outcome. In the loss to Seneca, Hughes was held to 16 points. Greenup faces Raceland this week away.

7. Elliott County (4-6)
– Elliott County travelled to Lexington Catholic this week for the Traditional Bank Classic. The Lions held their own splitting four games. Elliott dropped games to Lexington Catholic and Doss but collected good wins against Franklin County and Taylor County. Each of those two teams had good early round wins that made the Lions wins against them look impressive. Elliott County has talent and if they can direct it, will still be a force in the Region.

8. Rowan County (8-5) – The Vikings travelled to Pigeon Forge to participate in the King of the Smokies this week, dropping two and winning one. The upcoming week holds an away game against Fleming County.

9. Raceland (5-4)
—The Rams had the week off but look forward to a home game against Lawrence County this week.

10. Menifee County (3-5) —Menifee County picked up good wins against Robertson and Lawrence County’s after a loss to Paris in the CSI Classic at Bath County. The Wildcats needed the wins coming off a 6-game slide including a disappointing and lopsided loss against Fairview. Dalton Barnett is shooting well, scoring at a good clip and grabbing a significant portion of the team’s rebounds. Menifee County getting terrific contributions from Travis Trimble who has been shooting well. The Wildcats look a step slow on defense, though, giving up a lot of points to teams who shouldn’t be scoring, even in their wins. Menifee County has a tough contest on Tuesday, facing a good Morgan County team.

11. East Carter (5-8) — The Raiders are a hard team to figure out. They picked up good wins against Lawrence County and Bath County to lose in the finals of the CSI Classic against Paris. They at times show poise, but more often then not they look disorganized. In the Bath County game, Jordan Brooks looked good but the leader of the Raider’s, Brady Bush, went down with an apparent knee injury against Paris. Hopefully, the injury isn’t serious, as East Carter heads into games with West Carter and Russell this week.

12. West Carter (5-5) —The Comets did not play this week, but will enter back into competition with Elliott County and in county rival East Carter to start the year.

13. Fairview (5-5) —The Eagles did not play this week. The Eagles will be tested late in the week by Boyd County.

14. Russell (3-9) — The Red Devils travelled to Middletown to play in their Holiday Classic this past week. Russell dropped two games to Owensboro and Elizabethtown before picking up a win against (1-13) Western. The Red Devils are still struggling to find any consistency defensively. I was worried about scoring initially, but a combined effort from 5-7 players a night has alleviated that in conjunction with Hale’s on floor leadership. The season only gets more difficult this week with a matchup against Ashland and East Carter.

15. Fleming County (2-12)
— Fleming County unfortunately is suffering as much if not more than expected from the loss of Alexander. The Panther’s dropped three as they travelled to the Cumberland Falls Tournament. Coach Stapleton’s team will be back home to face Rowan County.

16. Rose Hill (5-6)
—The Royals dropped their only game this week, against Tolsia, WV. Rose Hill will face two more small schools this week before a string of in-region games.