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Busy week in the 8th, and we learned a lot this past week about some of our teams. I'll keep today's recap short as I'm buried, like most of you, in family events today.

Remember, the below rankings are NOT future predictions, but rather, where I see the teams TODAY.

1. Oldham County (11-0) - LAST WEEK: 1A Oldham County is one of just 5 teams left in the Commonwealth that have yet to lose to Kentucky competition. This past week was truly an impressive week for the Colonels as they gave the 8th Region probably its two biggest wins outside of the region so far this year. Oldham hosted the Pegasus Sports Network Best in Hoops tournament, and won their three games by 35, 32, and 28 points. Most impressively, those second two games were against two undefeated, ranked, teams in #16 Warren Central, the top-ranked 4th Region squad, and #10 John Hardin, the top-ranked Fifth Region team. While winning two games against such opposition would have been impressive, the manner in which Oldham won them was truly eye-opening. Oldham led Warren Central 24-4 after one period and coasted from there, and they led the John Hardin Bulldogs 22-10 after one. Oldham fans would be wise not to start celebrating anything yet - no region tourney has ever been won in December, and there are plenty of quality coaches and players sitting out in the region ready to pounce - but the Colonels earned a serious tip of the hat this week and the new number one ranking. Defensively, Oldham did a good job against Mr. Basketball candidate Mickey Pearson, a 6'8" senior guard from John Hardin that scored 17 points in the finals - 11 below his season average - but who made just 7 of 19 shots and scored only two points in the first half, when Oldham built a 16 point lead. (Pearson had scored 30 and 32 points in his previous two tournament games) From a region perspective, Oldham earned a little more respect for the 8th, a region that's frequently under-appreciated. Oldham's Travis Henderson earned tournament MVP honors, and Jackson Gibson put on a performance to remember in the finals, when he torched John Hardin for 35 points on 10 of 11 shooting from the floor (including 2 for 2 on threes) and hit 13 of 15 free throws. This week: The Colonels will travel to Palm Beach, FL, to play in the Holiday Basketball Classic. We'll see how Oldham County handles the success...

2. Walton Verona (7-2) LAST WEEK: 1. The Bearcats really didn't have a bad week at all, in fact, they had a darn impressive one, playing in the prestigious King of the Bluegrass tournament in Louisville. After opening with a 13 point loss to top 5 Ballard, the Bearcats rebounded to win three straight, defeating teams from Tennessee and Florida before topping Mercer County, 62-55, a team that had already beaten Anderson County and Shelby County from region 8. Wins are awfully hard to come by in the KOB, so this was a great week for WV. With Dieonte Miles back from injury, the Bearcats are now largely at full strength, which is bad news for their future opponents. With two twenty point wins in their pocket over highly-regarded Gallatin County and Anderson County already, and a narrow (repeat: narrow!) loss to Oldham County on the road, Walton has truly earned one of the top rankings in the region. This week: Does not play

3. Collins (7-2) LAST WEEK: 5 The Titans move up two spots in to third this week after sweeping three games en route to the championship of the Simon Kenton Invitational Tournament. Despite two lackluster games against middling competition in the first two rounds, the Titans produced a strong game in the championship, defeating a really good Scott High Eagles team that had just bounced the homestanding SK Pioneers in the previous game. Collins is slowly developing a solid resume; their only losses have been to top-tier teams in #13 Madison Central by 6 and 9-2 Gallatin County. The win over Scott, however, was clearly their biggest victory of the season. THIS WEEK: The Titans travel to Owensboro to play int he Apollo Fairfield Inn Invitational tournament. They open against Newport on 12/27/17.

4. Simon Kenton (8-1) LAST WEEK: 3 The Pioneers drop one spot this week after taking their first loss last week to a strong team from Scott High. Losing to Scott is no disgrace; the Eagles' only losses to date have been by 2 to GRC, 1 to Mason County, and 5 to Collins - all three losses on the road or at neutral sites. SK bounced back in their own tournament to win the third place game over Conner, their second victory over the Cougars this year. So far, the Pioneers have won the games they probably should have won....the January 5th game on the road at Walton-Verona will really tell us a lot more about where they truly stand in the region rankings. THIS WEEK: At South Laurel for the Raymond Reed Classic

5. Gallatin County (9-2) LAST WEEK: 4 Gallatin falls a notch, but really not due to any fault of their own so much as due to Collins' success last week. The Wildcats won two of three in the Smoky Mountain Christmas Classic, but their only loss was to a team from Ohio. They wrapped up the tournament with a narrow win over Johnson Central. Gallatin is still looking for another defining win to go along with their 9 point victory over Collins way back on December 2nd. Looking at the Wildcats' upcoming schedule, it's not too hard to imagine this team winning every game between now and three big matchups on January 29th (Simon Kenton), January 31st (Anderson County), and February 3rd (South Oldham). THIS WEEK: Campbellsville HS Holiday Classic.

6. Anderson County (3-6) LAST WEEK: 6 The Bearcats didn't have the same kind of success Walton-Verona had at the King of the Bluegrass, dropping all three of their games, falling to #1 Trinity, Mercer County (by just one point), and Bowling Green (by 7). Anderson has played an absolutely brutal schedule, so their 3-6 mark is certainly deceiving, but the Bearcats are still primarily a three-man team, putting them on a level below the current upper echelon. THIS WEEK: Gateway Holiday Classic at Montgomery County HS. The Cats open on 12/28 against Campbell County, one of the premier teams in the 10th region.

7. South Oldham (7-4) LAST WEEK: 7 The Dragons had a rough time at the Twin Lakes Classic, losing two games against two solid teams by a total of just 6 points. They rallied in their final game to defeat Marion County by 5. South is putting up plenty of points, averaging over 74 ppg, but the Dragons are giving up 69 ppg, with 9 of 11 opponents scoring over 60 points against the Dragons. THIS WEEK: South hosts their own tourney, the Jeff and Julie Beyke Classic, in Crestwood. It's a quality tournament, with Waggener, Butler, and St. X in attendance; we'll learn how far along Steve Simpson's club has come this week.

8. North Oldham (5-5) LAST WEEK: 8 North had a relatively successful trip to Florda last week, winning two of three games against Florida and Pennsylvania competition. Rob Burton's Mustangs have now won four of their last five; we'll find out how far they've truly come this week when they face George Rogers Clark. They open the year on 1/2 against a strong Louisville Waggener team. THIS WEEK: City of Middletown Holiday Classic.

9. Spencer County (6-4) LAST WEEK: Since falling to North Oldham, the Bears have ripped off three straight solid wins, beating Jeffersontown by 15, Elizabethtown by 8, and Bardstown by 25. Having Sam Conley back has made a big difference; the Freshman has now played in four games since returning to the lineup, and he's been in double figures all four, including 14, 19, and 17 in the three wins. Conley is now leading the Bears in scoring at 15 ppg... THIS WEEK: Does not play. Spencer will spend the time prepping for a tough January; they face Collins and Oldham County both in the first 9 days of the New Year.

10. Grant County (3-9) LAST WEEK: 10 Grant County had a difficult week, but really didn't look all that bad in three losses in the tough Pegasus Sports Best in Hoops tourney at Oldham County HS. The Braves gave #10 John Hardin a dogfight for 3 1/2 quarters, and actually led most of the first half. They lost in OT to Fort Walton Beach (FL), and then lost a squeaker to North Bullitt in the 7th place game. Luke Dawalt and Chase Good both had strong tournaments for Joe Utter's team; Dawalt is averaging 15.9 ppg now and hitting 52% of his threes. Turnovers were the bane of the Braves in the tournament. THIS WEEK: The Father Lopez Holiday Tournament in Daytona, FL

11. Henry County (6-3) LAST WEEK: 12 The Wildcats move up a slot - but it may be more because nobody else seems to want it. Henry went 2-1 against less-than-stellar competition last week; the loss to Bellevue and the 1 point OT win over Washington County were underwhelming, but the Cats rebounded to bounce Ludlow in their last game in the Swauger Holiday Classic by 22. THIS WEEK: The Henry County Inv Tournament in New Castle.

12. Shelby County (2-8) LAST WEEK 11. The Rockets dropped three straight to teams with losing records last week, though two of the teams (Frederick Douglass and Tates Creek) hail from the powerful 11th Region. THIS WEEK: Nelson County Classic

13. Carroll Coujnty (3-7) LAST WEEK 13 Carroll was 1-2 in the Scottsburg Pre-Christmas Tournament, defeating Rock Creek in their last game by one point. The Panthers hit 36% of their shots or less in the two losses, and less than 60% at the line. THIS WEEK: NAS Tournament.

14. Trimble County (5-5) LAST WEEK: 14 Lost to South Oldham, 98-59, and defeated Frederick Fraize, 77-33. Trimble has largely done as expected; beating the teams they should beat, losing to those they should lose to. The five wins to date already eclipses last year's win total; I expect Trimble to blow it out of the water by the end of the season. Big opportunity this week for the Raiders. THIS WEEK: Henry County Invitational Tournament. The Raiders open on 12/27 against the 8-3 Bullitt Central Cougars from the 6th Region.

15. Eminence (6-6) LAST WEEK: 15 The Warriors had a great week, adding two more victories to their current 5-game winning streak. The first win was significant as Eminence handed Model (9-1) their first loss of the season. The Warriors wrapped up the week with a victory over Beth Haven in the Beth Haven Holiday Classic. Eminence continues to get contributions from a number of fronts; in the last four games (all wins), the Warriors have had four different players lead the team in scoring. Josh Dotson led the way against Beth Haven with 24 points on 11 of 14 shooting, with 12 boards. THIS WEEK: The Louisville Collegiate Classic; Eminence opens at 2:30 on 12/28/17 against Thomas Nelson.

16. Owen County (2-6) LAST WEEK: 16 Owen County earned their second victory in their last three games by beating Nelson County last week, 51-43. THIS WEEK: Lynn Camp Invitational

17. Williamstown (0-9) LAST WEEK: 17 Lost to Beechwood and Fleming County last week. The Demons won't play again until 1/5/18, when they travel to Grant County. Williamstown's next eight games are all either on the road or at a neutral site. We can evaluate the Demons' improvement on 1/6/18 when they play Eminence for the second time this season; they lost the first meeting by just 8 points. THIS WEEK: does not play.