16th Post Season Preview

1. Ashland (21-4) – After a terrific regular season, the Tomcats lost a game in each of the last two weeks. This week, Ashland fell to Russell at home, after defeating the Red Devils by 31 earlier in the year. I still look for the Tomcats to perform well in the district, but facing Fairview in the first round is anything but a sure win. If the Tomcats can put together a win, they are all but certain to face Boyd County for the fourth time this season. Despite the late season losses, Ashland is still the favorite, if only by a small margin, to win the Region.

2. Boyd County (24-6) — The Lions are in good form headed into the district and regional tournaments. Although they had to play through a tough game against East Carter, they collected good wins over Pikeville and a 34 point beat down of Greenup County this week. In what may be the safest bet of the region, the Lions will face Rose Hill to open district play. Boyd County is poised to make a late 90’s style run in the region this year behind a strong staring five. Coach Anderson has the Lions ready to play.

3. Morgan County (23-5) —Morgan County finished the season strong with big margin wins over Powell and Greenup County. The Cougars are spreading their offense among four or five players consistently, with Prater, Evans and Helton still leading the pack. Morgan ended up with the best draw possible in their district, facing West Carter in the first round, although the Comets are anything but a certain win. The district, regardless of past wins and losses is fairly evenly matched, with all four capable of winning or losing every contest.

4. Bath County (15-13)
– The Wildcats had a rough end to the season with losses to Johnson Central and Lewis County, both by more than 15 points. Bath County will look to Pergrem and Williams to carry them into the regional tournament but the team has struggled with inconsistent play all season. They will face Menifee County in the first round, a team that they both lost to and beat by 41 points. Their future is going to be decided by which team shows up.

5. Raceland (14-11) —After a lot of up and down play, the Rams ended their season in similar fashion. In the same week Raceland defeated Fairview by 29 points and lost to West Carter. Raceland will face Greenup in the first round, a team they have beaten twice this year. If Raceland can take advantage of their size, they will be a formidable foe for anyone in the region.

6. Russell (13-13) — After a rough start, the Red Devils ended the season with their biggest win over Ashland at Ashland. They also lost to Elliott this week, but it was a competitive game at the Lions gym. Considering the poor start, a .500 season seems to be an accomplishment. The Red Devils, however, will be tested mightily in the first round with the Lions of Lewis County. Russell has had the Lions number this season though, defeating them in the two previous mathups.

7. Elliott County (10-12) – The Lions put an end to their losing streak with a good win over Russell but he Lions have struggled against fundamental competition this season. Elliott will face a surging East Carter in the first round. Although Elliott County has defeated East twice this season, both games have been close and East Carter is doing a good job controlling the tempo against good teams. Elliott will have to have a good game to make it out of the district this season.

8. Rowan County (14-14) – The Vikings are definitely not the same team they were last year, but they are showing improvement from the beginning of the season. The final week of the regular season featured a win over Mason County and an overtime loss to region frontrunner Morgan County. Rowan County will have a real test in the first round with a Fleming County team that is really showing improvement. They suffered a loss at home just a couple weeks ago against the Panthers.

9. East Carter (10-16) — Although both of the Raiders games ended in defeat this week they were close losses to better teams, Boyd County and Estill County. In each loss the margin was less than 5 and the Raiders were able to control the tempo of the game. The Raiders will face Elliott County in the first round of the district tournament, a team they have fallen to twice this season, but don’t be surprised if they pull a win out this time.

10. Lewis County (17-13)
— After a downturn in an up/down season the Lions finished strong with a big win over Bath County, along with a defeat over Augusta. The Lions have the potential to win the district and make a strong showing in the region, but have also shown they can lose games to seemingly less talented teams. Lewis starts district play against Russell, a team they already lost to twice this season.

11. Fleming County (11-18) — After a rough start to the season Fleming has finished the season strong, behind the strong play of Crump, before falling three times this week to Greenup, Buckhorn and Russell. The Panthers will open district play as the unlikely favorite against Rowan County, after a late season victory over the Vikings at their gym.

12. Greenup County (8-17)
—Greenup County is heading the wrong direction for a successful post season run. January wasn’t kind to the Musketeers, and February wasn’t much better. Greenup did collect a win over Fleming County, but not much else. Hughes and Gammon have had good offensive seasons, but that hasn’t been enough for the Musketeers. Greenup will face a good Raceland team in the first round.

13. Fairview (8-18)
— The Eagles played some good teams close this year and had a good win over Morgan County, but ended the season on a skid including a home loss to Bath County by 25 points. Fairview has shown the potential to come up with a big win, but Ashland is waiting in the first round of the 64th.

14. Menifee County (10-16) — Menifee showed early signs of success this season, then disappeared before picking up four late season wins. Menifee opens district play against Bath County, a team they split wins and losses with this season.

15. West Carter (9-18)
— Coach Webb’s young team pulled off another surprising win this week, with a victory over a good Raceland team, showing that anyone can beat anyone this season. The Comets will face Morgan County to open district play.

16. Rose Hill (9-16) — In a tough district the Royals season is most likely coming to an end. They will face Boyd County in the first round. A team they’ve lost to twice this year but significant margins.

Players to Watch in the Post Season

1. Chase Villers —Ashland—As the 3-pointer falls for Chase, the Tomcats go. In his senior year chase has been terrific. If he can put together good shooting nights, the Tomcats can be unstoppable, Regionally.

2. Gage Hughes —Greenup—A proven scorer, the Musketeers will be relying on Gage to carry them. Gage is capable of big points, and if Greenup wants to progress, he’ll have to get them. He’s going to have to help to win many, though.

3. Gunner Short —Boyd County—Gunner has made his mark on the Lions team this season. He is capable of post play, while also being able to bring the ball up the court or spotting up for a three. His game is truly well rounded.

4. Dalton Barnett —Menifee—Barnett has been the most consistent thing about Menifee County basketball this season. He has efficiently put up big point games while leading the team. The team will be facing an uphill battle but they have a good player at the lead.

5. Devaunte Robinson —Ashland—Robinson has had some up and down play this season, but with his athleticism and size Devaunte can be unstoppable. In the 16th region Davaunte is a big guy in the more classic sense and that works to Ashland’s favor.

6. Bobby Hale —Russell—Bobby has become the leader many thought he would be. He is a true point guard, with a high IQ and a leader on the court. He has also provided much of the scoring, but the Red Devils have found that in other places lately, making them a much more formidable team.

7. Tay Offutt —Lewis—The Lions may not have had the season they were hoping for, but their ability to move forward will lay with Offutt. With size and athleticism only rivaled by Devaunte Robinson, Tay is capable of leading, rebounding and scoring. As he goes, Lewis will go.

8. Spencer Pergrem —Bath County—The one thing predictable about Bath County’s season has been the wins when Pergrem plays/shoots well. Spencer is an all around player, but the Wildcats need him to set the pace with efficient scoring.

9. Blake Stewart —Boyd County—Blake has played a number of roles this season, but the most important is as leader of the team. Although still just a sophomore, his decision making and poise is impressive. As one of the top contenders in the region, Boyd County will need Blake.

10. Michael Prater
—Morgan County—Prater has shown that he is capable of scoring this season but has also morphed into a leader on the floor. Morgan has worked their way to the top of the region, largely behind his play. With other scorers stepping up Prater is even more capable of leading.