BluegrassPreps.com 1st Region Boys Basketball Preview

  1. #1
    by silo11 is offline Premium Member
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    Defending Region 1 Champions: Mayfield Cardinals


    Region 1 last year had some very entertaining movement throughout the season. Lots of talent throughout the region made for some very exciting games. Mayfield was the preseason favorite but dropped games in the early going. McCracken showed they were a tremendous force and opened a lot of eyes on how quickly they can rebuild. Marshall County looked like it would have a great team, but Harmon was ruled ineligible and the season didn’t turn out like people had hoped. Graves County had one of their most talented teams and had a fantastic year, and Paducah Tilghman played Jekyll and Hyde, winning some big games, and losing some questionable ones. They fell out in overtime to eventual champion Mayfield.

    A whole lot of talent moved on from last season leaving many teams with so many questions for this year. Some teams lost almost their entire starting lineup. The teams that didn’t lose much will have a huge advantage going into the season. The question will be will they be able to hold that advantage through season’s end.


    1. Marshall County - Terry Birdsong
    2018-19 record: 13-19
    Key Losses: none
    Key Returners: Tyler Stokes (15.1 ppg), Tyler Powell (14.5 ppg)
    Key Additions: Zion Harmon (33 ppg)

    The Marshalls went through quite a bit last season. From waiting on pins and needles to see if Zion Harmon would be eligible to play, then getting notice he wouldn’t be, and falling to a record below .500 on the season. They were competitive in most of their games, but did struggle against the more talented teams. However, the core group on this team were able to get a lot of playing time and therefore a lot of experience.

    This year the Marshals will have virtually the same team back with one exception, Zion Harmon will be leading the team. Harmon is consistently ranked as one of the best guards in the country. As a junior, he already has offers from Kansas, LSU, Maryland, Louisville, and Seton Hall along with others. He is a legit threat from anywhere on the floor. He already has one Kentucky State Championship with Bowling Green in 2016.
    Coach Birdsong is very excited about this year’s team. While Marshall County has been known to be a good defensive team, this season the offense should be significantly better. Coach feels that he has pieces in place that compliment Harmon very well. Tyler Stokes will keep things in check around the basket. Last year he averaged almost 10 rebounds a game while leading the team in scoring as well. He has taken steps to become more aggressive and confident throughout the off season, and Birdsong expects some big games out of him. Tyler Powell was the second leading scorer on the team last year and looks to continue to improve over last year. Jay Nimmo, the 2019 KHSAA State Golf Champion and “Mr. Golf”, is the defensive heart of the Marshals, and looks to continue his sharpshooting from behind the arc. His 43% from three last season was the best ever for a Marshall County player.

    Add all of these pieces together, and Marshall County has a legitimate chance at winning not only the 4th district, but the Region 1 championship. They will play one of the toughest schedules in the region, including some of the top teams in the country. They will play in the Marshall County Hoopfest, Memphis vs The World Shootout, City of Palms Classic, and Hooping on the Hill tournament. These unique opportunities should prepare them for what could be a run at Rupp Arena.


    2. McCracken County - Coach Burlin Brower

    2018-19 record: 31-4
    Key Losses: Trevor Winsett
    Key Returners: Jackson Sivills (20 ppg), Noah Dumas (12.6 ppg)

    McCracken County is one of the teams that did not lose many players from last year’s 31 win team. They are prime and ready to compete for the region 1 championship and make it to Rupp once again. They will enter the season as one of the favorites to do just that. They have the experience, grit, and talent to make it happen. They lost one major contributor to last year’s team. Trevor Winsett was the team floor leader and third leading scorer averaging 9 ppg.
    Next to Harmon from Marshall County, Jackson Sivills is the most talented player in region 1 and has verbally committed to Murray State. He averaged 20 ppg last season and look for him to improve on that this season. He was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder last season, and should do the same this season. Sivills can score from anywhere on the floor and can take a game over. Noah Dumas will take over as floor leader, but it may take sometime for him to get comfortable in that role. He is a good shooter, especially off the dribble. Ramon Heard will be looked upon to help on the glass and defense down low.
    The Mustangs will also boast some good talent coming off the bench this season. Coach Brower is optimistic about the offense the Mustangs can produce this season, however he is concerned about the defense. McCracken has been known to be a defensive juggernaut, and this group hasn’t been able to reach that bar yet, but hopes to as the season progresses. The schedule can give good litmus test throughout the season as they play some tough games early on, then the King of the Bluegrass, Missouri power Poplar Bluff, and Warren Central late in the year. All of it put together to make a run in the region 1 tournament.

    3. Murray -Coach Dior Curtis
    2018-19 record: 16-13
    Key Losses: RaVichael Strickland
    Key Returners: Hunter Utley (12 ppg), Grant Whitaker (9 ppg)

    Murray had a good year last year finishing with a winning record and a promising future. The Racers did lose their leading scorer in Strickland, and their third leading scorer in Lovins, but it is anticipated that Utley will step up and play a bigger role this year, and freshman Grant Whitaker will as well. The Racers didn’t lose near as much as some of the other teams from Region 1, and they can use this to their advantage, especially early on in the season.
    Hunter Utley averaged 13 ppg as a sophomore and 12 ppg as a junior. He should take over as the Racers leading scorer and look to see about 15 ppg from him. He is also the teams leading rebounder. Grant Whitaker averaged 9 ppg as an eight grader, so the Racers are counting on big improvement from him and hope he can contribute 12+ ppg. The bench looks stronger than last season as many of the players have some experience.
    While the Racers aren’t the cream of the crop in the region this year, they are a contender. If things gel well and fall into place right, they could find themselves playing a Cinderella role come tournament time.


    4. Calloway County - Coach Brad Cleaver
    2018-19 record: 11-18
    Key Losses: none
    Key Returners: Chandler Steele, Cade Butler, Kade Mize

    Calloway will enter the 2019-20 season as one of the most experienced in the region. They will return all their starters from last year, and didn’t lose anyone of significance from the bench. They should be set to compete for the district this season.
    They had three specific guys who can score, and each one of them led the team in scoring last season at some point. Chandler Steele and Cade Butler both averaged over 13 ppg last year. Butler did most of his damage from behind the 3 pt line hitting 42% from beyond the arc. He is also the team’s best free throw shooter. Steele works in and around the basket. He is great around the rim and excellent and drawing contact as he shot 185 free throws last season. He also grabbed almost 9 rebounds a game. Look for Steele to average a solid double/double this season. Mize averaged 12 ppg last season and he was dangerous from both 3 point range and around the rim. He was second on the team on field goals made.
    The bench will be deep and experienced and the Lakers have a chance to be competitive in the district, unfortunately they will still most likely be the 3rd best team in the district.

    5. Paducah Tilghman - Coach Greg Overstreet
    2017-18 record: 16-12
    Key Losses: Rodriguez Thomas, Avery Strayhorn, Tyus White
    Key Returners: Michael Laster

    Last year The Blue Tornado had high hopes for a region 1 title, unfortunately it was a very up and down season. They opened the season with a dominating performance against Hopkinsville, then dropped 3 of their first 4 region one games. They rebounded however, and it took overtime for eventual region 1 champion Mayfield to oust them in the semifinals. Much like Mayfield, the Tornado lost quite a bit this offseason, including their coach.
    Greg Overstreet left St. Mary’s and came across town to become Paducah Tilghman’s next head coach. He has one of the best players in the region to build around in Michael Laster. Laster is a four year starter who averaged almost 12 ppg last season and led the team in rebounds as well. He will be in the running for the Region 1 POY. After Laster, there is a wealth of inexperienced players. Coach Overstreet understands the uphill battle he will have with so much inexperience, but has already seen tremendous growth in some of his players. Eli Brown has really stepped up already this season and looks to play a big role in the newly defined Tornado team. Brown averaged almost 5 ppg last season, and looks to at least double that number for this season.
    The good news for Paducah Tilghman is a lot of teams lost a lot of talent and will be playing the same game they will be this season. Laster may give them the upper hand in winning many of those games. Everyone will be looking for him to deliver and lead this team.

    6. Carlisle County - Coach Jon Dillard
    2017-18 record: 18-14
    Key Losses: Trey Wilson
    Key Returners: Reese Anderson, Blake Elder

    Carlisle had a nice season last year led by 1,000 point scorer Trey Wilson. However Wilson has moved on and turned over the reigns to last year’s leading scorer Reese Anderson. The senior averaged almost 16 ppg last year while hitting 77 threes. He has the chance to break the school three point record this season. He will need to do that and more to help replace Wilson’s 14 ppg the team lost. Blake Elder will have to step up his scoring effort as well. He put in 10 ppg last season and will need to add 3 or 4 ppg to that effort. He is the big man on the team at 6’5”.
    The Comets will return 4 starters and so they will have experience. What they will struggle with is size. They are a small team and so bigger teams could give them trouble, especially on the boards. Fortunately the region this year isn’t tremendously big, so they should be able to compete with the mid level teams, and maybe even pull and upset over the top tiered teams.


    7. Graves County - Coach Joshua Frick
    2018-19 record: 22-10
    Key Losses: Ryan Mathis, Jordyn Noranjo, Jacob Savage
    Key Returners: Seth Thomas

    Graves County had another great season last year with 22 wins. The Eagles have not had a losing season in the 21st Century. They have been one of the most consistent teams in region 1 over the last 20 years. This year may be one of the most difficult to keep that streak going. Graves is one of many teams in region 1 that have lost almost their entire starting five. Mathis and Noranjo are Graves County career scoring leaders and averaged almost 33pg between them. Jacab Savage averaged 13.5 ppg and was the team’s leading rebounder. All three will be sorely missed and very difficult to replace.
    The only scoring threat from last year returning is Seth Thomas who averaged just 6.5 ppg. However, Graves should have a pretty good size advantage over most of their opponents this season, as they will be able to put a starting lineup with everyone over 6’1”. Coach Frick anticipates a lot of growth throughout the season, and expects the end product will look much different and much improved than the beginning product.
    Two players beside Thomas to watch this season is Kade Babb and Race Richards. Babb will take over in the front court and protecting the glass. He has worked hard on his scoring underneath and Frick believes he has double/double potential. Richards is the most athletic guy on the team and plays well above the rim. He will need to polish his game as the season progresses, but could play a huge part down the stretch.
    Expectations have always been high at Graves, and considering 20 straight years with a winning record, those expectations have always been met. Those expectations have not changed. Meeting them this year will be a difficult challenge, but don’t expect this team to shy away from that challenge.


    8. Mayfield - Coach Payton Croft
    2018-19 record: 31-4
    Key Losses: Carson Guthrie, Connor Guthrie , Desean Jones
    Key Returners: Kade Neely

    The Cardinals had a great season last year. They were dominant in Region 1 last year going 19-2 during the regular season, they won region 1 All A Classic, won the Region 1 Championship, and finished in the final BGP Top 20. Through all that success, the Cardinals ended up stumbling come tournament time. They lost in the first round at Rupp, which was disappointing, but overall the season was quite the success.

    Unfortunately, the top four players from last year’s team have moved on, so has Coach Guhy. This year, the Cardinals will have a new look with a new coach. Payton Croft has moved from Trigg County to Mayfield. He will have the tough task of following a region championship without the stars that won that championship. No team has lost more in region 1 than Mayfield. They may have lost more than any team in the state. 7 of their top 8 scorers are not back this season. Only Kade Neely returns. Neely averaged almost 9 ppg last season, and will be looked upon to lead the team as the only experienced player.
    Coach Croft will have his work cut out for him, but he will have the opportunity to form the team around his vision and his goals. It may be a touch couple of years as even though this team is inexperienced, it still has 7 seniors. It may be a year of preparing to compete at a higher level next season.



    9. Hickman County - Coach Wynn Harris
    2018-19 record: 9-18
    Key Losses: None
    Key Returners: Jackson Midyett, Dylan Hicks, JD McClannahan

    Hickman County lost quite a bit last year but still had expectations for a winning season. That did not happen as they struggled to win against stronger competition within the region. They only won back to back games once the entire season.
    This season, almost their entire starting lineup is in tack. This gives the Falcons hope that they can get at least back to the .500 mark on this season. They will lean heavily on last year’s leading scorer, junior Jackson Midyett. He averaged 14 ppg and almost 40% from 3 point range. The Falcons will also rely on Dylan Hicks who put in 8 ppg in 2018-19. If both of them make improvements this season, Hickman will be more competitive this season and could pull out a .500+ campaign.

    10. St. Mary - Coach Wes Overstreet
    2017-18 record: 12-18
    Key Losses: none
    Key Returners: Colin Doss, Joey Eggemeyer

    The Vikings lose their coach to Paducah Tilghman, and so Wes Overstreet moves up to take his place. Vikings hope to improve on last year’s season as most of the starting 5 is back. Colin Doss over 14 ppg last season and Joey Eggemeyer added 11 ppg. With both of them returning with more experience, and their bench better this season, St. Mary should see improvement and could very well be over the .500 mark. Unfortunately being in district 2, handcuffs how far they will be able to go.
    It is a very young team however and lots of room for growth. The Vikings don't have a senior on the roster, and only four juniors. So there is hope that by the end of this season, they have built something to really compete next year.

    11. Fulton County - Coach Jamie Madding

    2018-19 record: 15-14
    Key Losses: Kahari Miller, Camden Aldridge, George Scott
    Key Returners: Caleb Kimble (15 ppg)

    The Pilots had an exciting season last year just missing their second straight district championship by a single basket to Carlisle County. While they their leading scorer from last year returns, Fulton County loses three of their starters, including their next three scoring options. There is still enough experience returning that Coach Madding expects them to be just as competitive this season as last year.
    It all begins with Caleb Kimble, who surpassed 1,000 career points last season. He will be expected to carry a heavy scoring load with the team this season. 20 ppg may not be out of the question for the senior. The real question for the Pilots will be the improvement of the bench players from last year. Who will step up and fill the shoes vacated? Josh Cole looks to lead the team from the point, Hayden Murphy will keep defenses honest as a 3 point threat, and Dylan Hammond will give support around the rim on both ends of the floor.
    Coach Madding believes this team has what it takes to win the District 1 championship this season and advance to the regional tournament for the fourth year in a row. Their goal this year will be to win that first round game.



    12. Fulton City - Coach Jon Dillard
    2017-18 record: 7-23
    Key Losses: Drew Malray
    Key Returners: Cameron Madding, Brennen Walker

    Fulton City has a wealth of return starters this year only losing one in Drew Malray. However he was the 3 point threat for the team and they really need some else to step up from the outside. Senior Cameron Madding will once again lead the Bulldogs in his final year. Madding averaged 12.5 ppg and he will need to get the other around him involved. Brennen Walker had an injury plague season last year and now he is healthy. He averaged just over 10 ppg in just 16 games last season. Coach Dillard will be focused on fundamentals and ball control.
    The team has dedicated this season to Coach Dillard’s wife, Gretchen, who was diagnosed last year with stage 4 colon cancer, which has moved to her liver. They all agree that she is the “toughest” person they all know. Things like this put this game into perspective.


    13. Ballard Memorial - Coach Jimmie Holder
    2018-19 record: 4-21
    Key Losses: Drew Cox, Lucas Suiter
    Key Returners: Dequin Donlow (12 ppg)

    The Bombers had one of the worst seasons in recent memory last year only winning four games. They lost two of their top three scoring threats so this year doesn’t look like it is going to be much better. They do have a new coach as Jimmie Holder is taking over for Coach Cooper. Only time will tell if Ballard can make improvements over last year.


    14. Community Christian Paducah - Coach Daniel Durrett
    2018-19 record: 8-21
    Key Losses: Ben Carter, Elijah Middleton
    Key Returners: none

    CCA went through a 63 game losing streak up till the end of the 17-18 season. Last year they were able to win 8 games which was quite the success. Unfortunately this team loses their two best players to graduation and it may be a tough season from the start. They may be able to squeak out a few wins this season.


    Top 10 Players to Watch in Region 1

    1. Zion Harmon, Marshall County (Guard) - Junior
    Harmon is considered one the best point guards in America in his graduating class. He can do pretty much everything. He led Bowling Green to a state title as an 8th grader and led the state in scoring as a freshman. His ball handling skills are off the chart as his ability to get to the basket. He is quick, nimble and if you figure out how to stop him from driving, he will step back and drain it from the outside. There is reason for all the hype surrounding this young man. I hope that we can keep him in Kentucky so we can watch this talented young man continue to blossom.
    Zion Harmon DID WHAT??? #1 Freshman in the Country GOES OFF at NEO Youth Elite Camp - YouTube

    2. Jackson Sivills, McCracken County, (Guard) Senior (POY Candidate)
    Sivills was part of a trio from McCracken County that made that offense go. The other two parts are gone, and now this team will be Sivills to push going forward. He is a good defender with long arms and good fundamentals. On the offensive side of the ball he can drive, but he is a better shooter from the outside hitting 40% from 3 point range. He needs to improve his free throw shooting (65%) because he will go to the line a lot more this year since team can focus on just him. Sivills currently has offers from Murray St, NKU, Rice, Samford, and a few others.
    Video - Game Highlights vs Paducah Tilghman - Jackson Sivills highlights - Hudl

    3. Reese Anderson, Carlisle County – Senior
    Anderson led the Comets in scoring last season averaging almost 16 ppg. He can score from the inside and the outside. He hit 77 three pointers last season, best in the district. He has no problem putting it up from anywhere on the floor (210 three point attempts). He shoots 82 from the free through line and looks to get there through driving to the rim when he gets the chance. He was second on the team with 121 rebounds, although that could improve. Look to see Anderson push his scoring average up to 20 ppg, especially if he can add some efficiency on his 3 point shots.

    4. Caleb Kimble, Fulton County – Senior
    Kimble doesn’t play for the best team or for a bigtime school, instead he plays for Fulton County, a small school of 160 students. Still he averaged 15 ppg last year and could very well improve that to close to 20 ppg. What makes it more impressive is that he is not surrounded by an experienced cast, so teams tend to focus on him and he still scores, but he is not a very efficient scorer due to the double teams. He can hit from deep or play around the rim. If he can’t get a decent team around him, he will be fun to watch.

    5. Tyler Stokes, Marshall County - Senior
    Stokes is Marshall County’s big man, and he played that part very well last year. He should be even a bigger force this year with Harmon on the floor. Stokes averaged 15 ppg and just under 10 rpg. Stokes can hit from the outside shooting an decent 30% from three, not bad for a big man. However, he is at his best in the paint and dominating the boards. Stokes is probably the best big man in the region.

    6. Tyler Powell, Marshall County - Senior
    Powell isn’t as good as his counterpart in the paint, but he is a little better in the backcourt. Powell averaged 14.5 ppg, but only 5 rpg. He shot 37% from three point range and was the teams best free throw shooter. He went the line more than any other Marshal, so it is a big part of his game. With Harmon playing on the floor with Powell, he could improve those numbers.

    7. Hunter Utley, Murray – Senior
    Utley was the leading scorer on the Tigers team two years as a sophomore, and second last season so he still has a lot of room to grow and experience to gain. He is a good ball handler with good view of the floor. He shot almost 42% from 3 pt range last year so he can hit it from the outside, and he likes to shoot it from downtown (175 attempts). He is also good and driving and picking up the foul, to which he shoots 82% from the FT line. Being that Murray didn't lose much this offseason, that should boost Utley's numbers even more.

    8. Michael Laster, Paducah Tilghman - Senior
    Laster has played behind some phenomenal talent during his high school career. This year, he is the leader. Laster only averaged 12 ppg last year, but did lead the team in rebounds at 5.2 per game. Laster attempts just over 1 three point shot per game, which is probably too much considering he only hit 18% of them. He also needs to improve his free throw shooting. He has the tools to be really good, it is his time to prove it.

    9. Chandler Steele, Calloway County - Senior
    Steele is the foundation for the Lakers game. He is a fantastic inside player with good agility, however his game is limited to within 15 ft of the basket. He is pretty good in that 15 feet, but needs to work on his free throw shooting (63%) considering he is averaging 6 ft per game.

    10. Jackson Midyett, Hickman County - Senior
    Midyett came on the seen last year with a passion to play. He only averaged 7 ppg the previous season, however he averaged 14 ppg, hitting 38% of his shots and 75% of his free throws. He is another play without a great supporting cast, but still gets the job done.

  2. #2
    TilghmanPride's Avatar
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    Great job! Lots of good information.

    Tilghman got the coach many around here have been wanting for a long time. I think it's the right hire and will prove to be over time.

    However, going into this season, Coach Overstreet will have his work cut out for him. Tilghman plays a really good schedule and it just really seems it will be an uphill battle this year.

    I belive Coach Overstreet done as well of a job as possible at St. Mary and will get this Tilghman team headed in the right direction sooner rather than later.

    It's certainly Marshall and McCracken at the head of this Region until someone proves otherwise, which would be very surprising.

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    Noah Dumas absent from the top 10?
    Last edited by True blue (and gold); Nov 14, 19 at 07:57 PM. Reason: Rule 13

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    silo11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyLaroy View Post
    Noah Dumas absent from the top 10?
    He was number 11.
    Last edited by True blue (and gold); Nov 14, 19 at 07:58 PM.

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    Any first region scrimmages?

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    Friend of mine who has seen the kid play says Harmon is as good as advertised. We will see if he can get Marshall rolling early.

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    sweet16's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RimRacker View Post
    Friend of mine who has seen the kid play says Harmon is as good as advertised. We will see if he can get Marshall rolling early.
    They play Bowling Green tomorrow.

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    Should be a good test early

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    Purple88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweet16 View Post
    They play Bowling Green tomorrow.
    I heard that BG double teamed Harmon the entire game and he had 42 points!

    Pulling for Marshall County! Harmon helped get BG their only State Championship in basketball and that's a big deal!

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    Bump.

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    Is Tyler Stokes one of Jeff’s kids? He coached at Graves County when I was in High School, and I believe was the AD at Marshall for a period of time.

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