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Bluegrasspreps.com 2nd Region Boys Basketball Preview
Region 1 teams surprised many people in the sweet sixteen the past few years, Calloway County in 2015 and Murray in 2016. This year there are a couple teams that truly believe they make a bang at the Sweet Sixteen in 2017 as well.

Region 1 was hit hard by graduation this offseason. 18 of the top 30 scorers in the region were seniors and have moved on. Some of the best teams last year were hit particularly hard and will have a much more difficult time repeating last year’s success, while some of the teams that were mediocre the past few years have a chance to compete at the top of the region.
The discussion here will change and morph over the year, but for now here are our Region 1 rankings for the both the teams and the top players.

1. Hopkinsville – Coach Tim Haworth
2016-17 record: 28-7
Key Losses: C.J. Hennigan, Brandon Govan, Josiah Patton
Key Returners: Jalen Johnson (17.7 ppg, 39% from 3pt), Shorty Cager (15.9 ppg, 44% from 3pt)


Since Tim Haworth took over as head coach at Hopkinsville in 2010, the Tigers always seem to have a very good basketball team. This year will be no different. The Tigers have won the 2nd region 5 out of the last 6 years. They hope to continue that dominance this year. That opportunity depends on whether Jalen Johnson will be ruled eligible for the upcoming season. Johnson initially transferred to Aspire Academy prior to the start of the school year to play basketball, but did not play in any games and was not officially on their roster for the first game. He transferred back to Hopkinsville last week. The Tigers are awaiting a ruling from KHSAA if he will be able to play. Coach Haworth is fully expecting his eligibility to be approved. If that is the case, then the Tigers become the favorite to win Region 2. It also puts them as one of the top teams in the state. If he is ruled ineligible, the Tigers can still win Region 2, but things will be much more difficult.
Johnson lead the Tigers in scoring last year and was no doubt the leader on the court. Johnson paired with fellow senior Shorty Cager, makes arguably the best backcourt in the state. Both are quick, both can shoot, both handle the ball with ease, and both see the floor while making good decisions, and both are above average defenders. Add juniors James Nicholas and Tefrell Toliver down low, and you can see a very good team forming. Nicholas and Toliver were both highly touted by Haworth while they were freshman. He believes this is the year they both will breakout and achieve to the level he believes they can.
The most interesting player on the roster is junior Jamarion Sharp. Sharp has not played a lot over the past two seasons, but he grew 4 inches since last season and is now listed at 6’11”. Not sure how much he has improved in his skills down low, but with that kind of height, the Tigers will be scary in the paint.
Hoptown always seems to play one of the toughest out of region schedules in the state, and this year is no different. The Tigers will play Bowling Green (2x), Owensboro, McCracken Co., Mayfield, Russellville, and two Holiday tournaments, one being at CPS in Nashville featuring some of the top talent in the nation.

2. Christian County – Coach Kerry Stovall
2016-17 record: 27-8
Key Losses: Jaylen Sebree, T”Aiveyhon Mason
Key Returners: Detorrion Ware (20.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg), Cory Trice (11.4 ppg)


Kerry Stovall returns to Christian County after a few years of absence. He has won a state title with this very school before leaving to go home to Muhlenberg Co. But after Frankie Smith stepped down last year, Christian County convinced Stovall to return. He has got a talented team, and I’m sure it didn’t take a whole lot of convincing.
If Johnson is ruled not eligible to play for the Tigers, the Colonels would be the favorites to win Region 2. The Colonels lost more than Hopkinsville did last year. Losing Sebree and Mason would hurt any team in the state. Their talent was a huge reason for their success last year. However, having Detorrion Ware for another 2 seasons is a reason to smile. Ware is a fantastic talent who led Christian County in scoring last season as a sophomore. One more year of summer ball and more experience under his belt, he will be one of the premier players in the state to watch. He could drop 30+ points in a half it seems, and with Sebree and Mason moving on, the team will look for more of those high scoring nights from him. His partner in scoring this year will be Cory Trice. Trice was the 4th option last year. He will be the 2nd option this year. He has worked hard to strengthen all aspects of his game.

One of the questions will be who else will step up for the Colonels. They will not be able to rely on just 2 players to win this region. It is just too difficult. JaQuon Long showed some flashes of being that third guy last year, and he probably gets that by default. Christian County really only played a 7 player rotation last year. The Colonels may look to football star Kolbe Langhi for help or Damikeon Mathis, but someone will have to step up to complete this team.
County opens the year at very good Paducah Tilghman team. They also will play Doss, Owensboro, Russellville, Mayfield, John Hardin, Bowling Green, and some other out of region teams. They will be well tested come tournament time. That is a pretty tough schedule.

3. University Heights Academy – Coach Grant Shouse
2016-17 record: 13-15
Key Losses: Travion Hollowell
Key Returners: Keke Tandy (23.6, 41% from 3 pt), Drew McGowan (11.6 ppg, 40% from 3 pt)

UHA was most likely the most talented and best team in the state last season, with a losing record. It was Flash and Dash with the duo of Travion Hollowell and Dekeyvan Tandy. Both averaged more than 20 ppg last year and they were fun to watch. This year Hollowell is gone so Keke will be the go to guy. Even though Tandy led the team in scoring, Hollowell was the clear leader on the team. Now Tandy will have to step up and assume that role. Keke Tandy is one of the most talented players in the state. He is only a junior and has multiple D1 offers. Last year he actually took a step back in points (23.6) scored versus his freshman year (26.4). Look for him to rebound and average at least 26 this year. Tandy is one of those few guys in the state that just can’t be stopped. But scoring will be more difficult with teams not having to worry about Hollowell on the other side.
UHA still has a lot of talent on the team. Taquan Hollowell and Drew McGowan played big roles last year, and those will be magnified this year. McGowan can score from anywhere on the floor, but he is deadly from 3 point range, and always seems to hit the big shots when needed. Taquan is probably the hardest working player on the team. He hustles his way around the court each and every play. That leadership will be needed.
The biggest knock on UHA over the past few seasons has not been their offense, but instead their defense. The Blazers averaged almost 71 ppg last year in scoring…they also gave up almost 70 ppg to the other team. They gave up 80 points or more in 7 games last year, losing all 7. The gameplan in the past has seemed to be to outgun the other team, and that didn’t work well against teams with equal talent. If the Blazers can get a grasp on the defensive side of the court, they could be very dangerous and have a high chance to win the region.
Their schedule is softer than their 8th district rivals. They will play Southwestern, Graves Co, Murray, and a couple Holiday Tournaments. The district is tough enough to get them ready for the regional play. If they can even make it there.

4. Madinsonville North Hopkins – Coach Matt Beshear
2016-17 record: 15-15
Key Losses: Noah Cunningham, Conner Cline, Dylan Ashby
Key Returners: Ksuan Casey (8.1 ppg), Kenny White, Cade Cunningham


The Maroons were hurt by graduation last year losing their top 3 scorers. If only they could have those guys back this year, they would have a great chance to make some serious noise. But instead, Madisonville will be looking for some guys to step up and show they can perform beyond expectations. They do have some players that made contribution last year. Cade Cunningham, Christian Fields, and James Gilbert all logged some significant playing time. Coach Beshear thinks they will be okay with the experience these guys received playing last year and in summer ball. The key to victory will go through big man Ksuan Casey and guard Cade Cunningham. Casey only averaged 8 ppg last year, but also averaged almost 8 rebound a game. He will have to make his presence known.
Cade has had an excellent summer and has shown some tremendous growth. The Maroons expect big things from the sophomore in years to come.

The Maroons schedule is not as difficult as some of the other region 2 teams. They do play Owensboro Catholic, Daviess Co and Louisville Central. Those are top quality teams. They also will match up with Apollo, Ohio Co., and McCracken Co.

5. Henderson County – Coach Tyler Smithhart
2016-17 record: 22-10
Key Losses: Taye Calloway, Robert Dawson, DeAngelo Ware, Idris Mitchell
Key Returners: none


This year was supposed to be the year that Henderson dethrones the District 8 stranglehold on Region 2. The region tournament will be held at Henderson and they had most of their starters returning from a 22 win last year with some really good games against tough competition. And then…..Taye Calloway, the team’s leading scorer and best talent transfers to Doss. Then Ware and Mitchell won’t return either. That means all of the team’s top scorers will not be playing this year. They still have a great coach, great fans, and a tough atmosphere to play in. But the road to Rupp just got harder and steeper.
The Colonels do still have talent, albeit it is unproven. They will rely their seniors to lead this team, even if they do not have a ton of game experience. Cartel Gilbert will be the most experienced returner this year . He had some very good games last year leading the Colonels in scoring. There were other games he didn’t score at all. He will need to get more involved in the offense and fill in some of the gaps that have been left. Look for Jadal Fletcher to contribute more this year as well. He has a nice outside shot and looks to have really improved over the off season. The Colonels will need every bit of Alec Agnew’s height down low. The big man is good on the boards, but really needs to work on his post work in order to contribute on offense.
Coach Smithhart will have this team ready to play. They always play hard and are always a tough win, especially when playing at Henderson. The schedule will be challenging as they play numerous teams that have been picked to win their region (Warren Central, Paducah Tilghman, Knott Co. Central, Hopkinsville) plus Ohio Co, and holiday tournaments. This is the season for the Colonels, because they will graduate the majority of their starters after this season.

6. Webster County – Coach Jon Newton
2016-17 record: 18-15
Key Losses: Ethan Gilbert
Key Returners: Chatman Ellis (13.8 ppg), Daylan Lewis (10.6 ppg), Malachi Powell (11.1 ppg, 42% from 3pt)


Things really drop off when you leave the 8th district. Webster County is bringing back most of their starting lineup from last year. A team that improved vastly as the year went forward until it ended in a sour game against Christian County in the second round of the regional tournament. Webster has some decent talent and they play with grit. Losing Ethan Gilbert will hurt some, but have Ellis, Lewis, and Powell return for another year to play together will help. If they want to compete anywhere close to the level of the district 8 teams, they will need a game plan that will slow the game down and use their strengths as a team to keep it close and then anything can happen.
The Trojans shoot well from the outside, but their inside game is lacking. Too many times they had to settle for mediocre shots from the outside last year. That will need to improve this year for them to have success against better teams in the area. They should easily have a winning record again this year. Looking at their schedule they will be favored in most games outside of the higher ranked Region 1 teams and maybe Apollo.


7. Livingston Central – Coach Bill McNamara
2016-17 record: 18-15
Key Losses: none
Key Returners: Cameron Dean (14.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg), Sean Hosick (8.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg)


This is the point where schools just don’t have the firepower to matchup with the top teams in the region. The Cardinals would fall under that category. They have a good team coming back with all of their starters ready to go on the year. Outside of the top teams, Livingston Central has the most experienced team returning for 2017. They had 8 players who played in at least 30 games last year. All 8 will be playing this year again.
The Cardinals will look to senior forward Cameron Dean for leadership on both sides of the floor. Dean does a great job around the basket but really needs to cause more contact. He only shot 100 free throws last year, and he really needs to get that up around 160 or higher. The same could be said about center Sean Hosick. These guys need to be really good around the basket for Livingston to succeed. Other contributors will be guard Cameron Head, who was the team’s best outside shooter, Kobe T-Roy Ringstaff, and Dylan Sherer.
Livingston Central’s schedule pretty much consists of games with region 1 and region 2 schools. They do have a holiday classic thrown in there as well.

8. Trigg County – Coach Payton Croft
2016-17 record: 8-19
Key Losses: none
Key Returners: Devon Triplett (18.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Jordan Cameron (8.7 ppg)


Coach Croft’s team had a disappointing season last year after making a big splash the prior year and going 21-8 on the season. Last year was a tough pill to swallow. However, the Wildcats made some good strides and having most of your starting lineup return is a good way to start. Although Trigg County doesn’t have the talent or athletes that their neighboring teams in Christian County do, they should be much improved over last year. The team has worked very hard in the off season and that will be evident in the games played this year. Add to that the rest of the second region is down as well and the Wildcats can have a nice season.
Trigg will be led by talented guard Devon Triplett. He is a fascinating player to watch. Unfortunately last year he didn’t get a lot of help. Jordan Cameron, Jakobe Bridges, and Micah Brown will all be looked upon to contribute this year. Keep an eye on JaKobe Bridges as he averaged 6.6 ppg last year as a freshman. If he can keep improving, he will be a nice compliment to Triplett by the end of the season.
Trigg should be the second best team in District 5, and could give Livingston Central a run for the their money.

9. Dawson Springs – Coach Chad Burgett
2016-17 record: 17-16
Key Losses: Dylan Simpson
Key Returners: Braxton Cotton (11.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg), Justin Putman (9.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg)


The Panthers will be without Dylan Simpson this season. Simpson was Dawson Spring’s go to man. He averaged almost 17 ppg last year, and losing that hurts for any team. It will be very interesting to see how much sophomore Braxton Cotton has improved in the offseason. He was the second best player on this team last year as a freshman. His second year may prove to be a little more difficult as teams will be focused on him since they don’t have to worry about Simpson anymore. Senior center Justin Putman will have to take some of that pressure off. He help by giving Trigg a good inside game, especially against equally talented teams in the area.
Dawson is not going to compete with the top tier teams in the region, however, they can compete for the district title since Madisonville lost quite a bit from last year as well.

10. Caldwell County – Coach Daniel Kukahiko
2016-17 record: 16-14
Key Losses: Josh Wilkerson, Javonte Riley, Russel Brandon
Key Returners: Derrin Boyd (13.5 ppg)


Tigers are another team in the region that lost so much from last year. Wilkerson was one of the best players in the region last year averaging almost 18 ppg, and he was great from the outside. They also lost Riley and Brandon who combined averaged over 25 ppg. That is a big chunk of scoring to lose in one offseason. The bright spot is junior Derrin Boyd, who was the team’s second leading scorer last year returns. Caldwell although having a winning record last year, didn’t compete very well against the top teams in the area. They did very well against equally talented teams, and the hope will be they will do the same this year.
Caldwell will have to find some scoring from some of their other players besides Boyd. However only one player on the team (John Davis) had any kind of playing time last year. The team is full of sophomores and juniors who just do not have any experience playing at this level. The Tigers may have some growing pains this year, but hopefully they can grow together and really compete at the end of this year and into next year.

11. Hopkins County Central – Coach Lee James
2016-17 record: 21-10
Key Losses: Damontae Barnhill, Mason Burgett, Jackson Porter, Kyle Slate, Austin James
Key Returners: Tylan Mann


OUCH! Talk about a tough offseason. Nobody in region 2 was hit with players graduating than Hopkins County Central. They lost their entire starting lineup. Everyone. Barnhill was one of the more exciting players to watch in Region 2 and he could score from anywhere (20.5 ppg). Losing that is tough enough, but losing all the role players as well, and only having one player return who had any significant playing time really makes having a successful season tough.
Mann is the only player returning who played in 30 or more games last year for the Storm, and he only averaged 6 ppg. This year’s roster is small and obviously inexperienced. It may be a long year for Coach James, but he is working hard on defense first, and then scoring. The current starting lineup for the Storm this year averaged less than 12 ppg combined.

12. Union County – Coach Shane Smith
2016-17 record: 8-22
Key Losses: Kaile Gaither, Elex Dunfor
Key Returners: Logan Thomas (13.8 ppg, 10.2 rpg)


Until County doesn’t have a lot of talent compared to some of the other schools in Region 2. However they do have something no other team does. They have a player who averaged a double/double for the season. Senior Logan Thomas led the Braves in almost every offensive category. He had over 300 rebounds on the year. He will be leading the team again this year hoping for even better numbers. That may be too much to do because the Braves lost their next 2 best players to graduation. The team will rely on Marqualio King and Josh Girten, both seniors, to pick up some of the slack and help Thomas.

13. Lyon County – Coach Jeff Embrey
2016-17 record: 17-13
Key Losses: Payton Martin, Jack Rooyakker,
Key Returners: Gabe Board


The Lyons didn’t lose as much as some of the other teams, but they still lost quite a bit. Two of their Three highest scores graduated and just like many other teams, there is not a lot of experience to replace them. They will struggle until some of the guys can step up to replace the scoring hole left from last year’s seniors. Coach Embrey will look to Gabe Board and Max Wadlington to fill some of the scoring gaps, but with 4 freshman and only 10 players on the roster, it will be a tough go for a while this season.

14. Crittenden County – Coach Denis Hodge
2016-17 record: 7-24
Key Losses: Stacey Harrell
Key Returners: Logan Belt (9.4 ppg), Gavin Dickerson (9.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg)


The Rockets leading scorer will not be returning this season in Bobby Stevens. However, Belt and Dickerson are returning and hoping to improve on a learning experience last season. Many of the games last year were pretty close and winning or losing was just determined by just a few bad breaks or decisions. Most of the team is back and ready to improve on last year’s record. If Coach Hodge can get them to a point where they are comfortable playing together, a much better season could be ahead of them.

15. Fort Campbell – Coach Stacey Harrell
2016-17 record: 4-24
Key Losses: Kevin Moon, Christian Duff
Key Returners: Cameron Johnson


It is a difficult thing for a basketball having so much change from one season to another. Nobody experiences that more in region 2 than the Fort Campbell Falcons. Coach Harrell only has 3 players returning from last year’s roster of 13. Johnson will be looked upon as the leader of the team. He averaged over 8 ppg last year. However the other two returning players didn’t play very often so it is going to be another difficult year for Falcon basketball.

Top Players to Watch in Region 1

Dekeyvan (Kyky) Tandy, University Heights, (Guard), Junior.
KyKy Tandy is without a doubt the best offensive player in Region 2. He already has offers from many major D1 programs (Florida, Oklahoma) although he has not committed. 247sports has Tandy ranked as the 5th best combo guard in the nation for the 2019 class, and as the 2nd best player in KY for the same class.
Tandy can score from anywhere on the floor. He is quick, versatile and knows how to finish at the rim. He can just as easily drive around you to score as he can just step back and launch a three. If you want to see how offense is played, make sure to catch a UHA game this year. Tandy averaged 23.6 ppg, down from 26.4 ppg the previous year. He hits over 40% of his shots from three. Don’t be surprised if Tandy eclipses the 30 ppg mark. He is no doubt a Mr. Basketball candidate for 2019. A place where Tandy needs to improve is his defense. It is mediocre at best. He will need to step up and lead on the defense end to be the complete player he wants to be.
Video - Dekeyvan "KyKy" Tandy @NUR Jamboree In Louisville,KY - YouTube

Jalen Johnson, Hopkinsville (Guard), Senior
Jalen is a very talented and underrated player. He is one of the guys to look out for Player of the Year for Region 2. He initially transferred to Aspire Prep Academy at the beginning of the school year, but transferred back to Hopkinsville before the season without playing a game for Aspire. He is a smart player with great speed. He can score from the outside as well as at the rim. He is an above average ball handler and he sees the floor well. He is an excellent defender who usually is called upon to defend the best players in man to man. He averaged almost 18 ppg and 5 rpg last year and look for that to be closer to 20/5 this season. Johnson currently has an offer from Samford.
Video - Jalen Johnson Jr. Highlights - Jalen Johnson highlights - Hudl

Stephen (Shorty) Cager, Hopkinsville, (Guard), Senior
Cager is one of the smallest (5’8”), but quickest guards in Kentucky. There are not many who can match his quickness and speed. Add to that the jumpshot that he has worked so hard on and he becomes a real handful. Cager is an elite ball handler with very good floor vision. He is not afraid to pull up from the outside at any time. This can also be his weakness as he make poor shooting decisions. He is at his best when he is moving, although his set shot has improved, especially from behind the arc (45%) . His best shot is driving and pulling up at the free throw line. It is almost money unless to can keep up. Best free throw shooting on the Tiger team.
Video - Stephen Cager - 218 GUARD Hopkinsville HS in 217 Sweet 16 - YouTube

De’Torrion Ware, Christian County, (Guard), Senior
Ware is another amazing talent heralding from District 8. He is one of the other guys to look out for POY in region 2. He has worked super hard this summer and shed some weight to allow him to be a better player on the floor. He is in the best shape in his high school career and expect a huge season. He averaged almost 21 ppg last year, leading Christian County. With Mason and Sebree gone, this is his time to shine for the next two years. He can shoot from anywhere on the floor and is great at putting himself in a good position for putbacks. He is a good ball handler, probably could see the floor a little better. Very tough to guard because his touch is so good when shooting whether driving or throwing up bombs. He can hit from 30 feet with consistency. He took 500 shots last season, half of them from 3 point range. He currently has an offer from Southeast Missouri State.\
Video - Detorrion Ware - 218 FORWARD Christian County HS 216 King of... - YouTube

Cameron Dean, Livingston Central, (Forward), Senior
Dean isn’t as well known because he doesn’t play for one of the “big” school in Region 2. However, Dean can hold his own in the post. He averaged over 14 ppg and 7 rpg last year as a junior. He will again be expected to lead his team this season. He can handle the ball well, especially in the post. He has a good first move to the basket. Where he excels is on the boards and defense. He is a above average defender down low and really knows how to get position on both the offensive and defensive glass. He is one of those players who doesn’t get a lot of glory, but a lot of players just don’t like playing against.

Taquan Hollowell, University Heights, (Guard), Junior
Travion is gone, now it’s his turn. Taquan has always had the skill and talent to be a great ball player. He just has had to wait his turn. With Tandy and older brother Travion leading UHA the past two years, Taquan has just been a role player. Now he gets a bigger part of the action. Hollowell has good size for a guard and he is quick off the dribble. He anticipates the defense well in order to get to the basket. He is a good strong finisher and battles well on the inside. He could shoot better from the outside, but that isn’t his strength so he usually stays patient and waits for an opening to go. He averaged 7.5 ppg last year. Look for that to at least double this year.
Video - 16U Taquan Hollowell Highlight - Higher Goals (KY) - NGS Showcase of Champions - 7.3.17 - YouTube

Devon Triplet, Trigg County, (Guard), Senior
Triplett averages almost 19 ppg and 6 rpg last year for a squad that didn’t have much experience on the court. This year, that team has had a full year to play together, and look for Triplet to be even better. Devon can shoot from the outside, but it is not his strength. Especially from deep (30%). He excels at getting to the basket and finishing. He has shown he can score, even when defenses are completely focused on him. He will need to get his teammates more involved in the game this year if he wants to see those numbers go up significantly.
Video - http://cbsprt.co/2Al5Qqf

Chatman Ellis, Webster County, (Guard), Senior
Chatman has quick feet and loves to drive in the lane. He is very confident and has a good first step. He can take it all the way to the basket and finish or pull up for a quick floater. He goes to the basket with authority, especially for his size. He has good ball handling skills is an above average defender. He could stand to improve from the outside. He seems to always want to drive first and rarely takes a 3 point shot (38 attempts). He will be counted on to lead Webster County again this year.
http://www.hudl.com/v/27iC62

Logan Thomas, Union County, (Center), Senior

Gotta mention the big man. The only player in region 2 to average a double/double. He doesn’t have as much talent as other guys on this list, but no one has more grit. Thomas is surprisingly good around the basket. He release is quick and he takes advantage of that. He is a decent ball handler, but a great rebounder. He plays bigger than his true height. He is a joy to watch.
Video - http://cbsprt.co/2zYarhI

Cody Cunningham, Madisonville North-Hopkins (Guard), Junior
Cody spent the last two years under the shadow of his brother Noah, who was a great player for MNH. Cody only averaged 6 ppg last year, but he has had a great summer and has developed nicely. Cunningham was selected as an all star at the Ric Bouls Blue Chip camp this summer. His strengths are his ability to shoot from the outside and creating opportunities off the dribble. He sees the floor okay, but with continued experience, he can become a very effective passer. Look for his numbers to improve greatly this year.
Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA0qh1KDhhg