This past week was just supposed to be a tune up week for many teams with predictable outcomes. The players had to adjust being back in school after playing their most recent games during the Holiday break. However, there were several fireworks that went off resulting with a few surprises. This past week has further opened up what already was a pretty wide open race in the 6th.
1. Fern Creek (12-3): For one week in December (16th-23rd) Fern Creek looked as if they would be able to run through the region and perhaps the state much like they did last season when they won over 20 games in a row and all 16 region games. But after the last four games (2-2) this does not appear to be the case. The worst showing for the Tigers was likely their win last week against 7th region opponent, Manual. A 2 point home victory against (6-9) Manual can only be described as a chink in the armor. Fern Creek still has not been beaten by a 6th region program dating back to last season, and perhaps they can get back on track this week at the LIT when they would face 3 consecutive 6th region teams should the seedings hold (Southern, PRP, & Doss). Still, the 2 point margin victory last week must have given all future opponents considerable confidence as they face the Tigers.
2. Doss (12-4): The Dragons won their only game this week in convincing fashion as they beat a very good Fairdale team by a score of 71-54. Solid production from PG Stephon Franklin and former Henderson County scorer Taye Calloway have allowed the Dragons to ride the high scoring guard tandem to another really good start of a season that continues to show promise. The Dragons open the LIT with Iroquois who they beat early in the season 74-71. Expect a much improved Doss team this time around as they have had 15 games to get use to a new coach and teammate. A potential semi-final match-up with Fern Creek looms if both teams advance.
3. Butler (14-1): Butler suffered their first loss of the season as they dropped a 53-62 surprise to district foe DeSales who got over the .500 mark with the upset. To Butler's credit they bounced back right away with a 18 point win over North Oldham. The question mark with Butler is whether the schedule has prepared them for the LIT and tougher games which follow. The game against DeSales might have been a good thing for Butler as they got a wake up call before the LIT. A potential matchup with Ballard is an intriguing game if the seeding prevails in the quarterfinals. Butler is a good team, we will learn the next 10 days just how good they really are. They may surprise us and could be sitting atop the rankings soon.
4. Pleasure Ridge Park (10-4): The Panthers drop a spot after losing their only game last week to Ballard by the score of 68-88, but not too much can be learned from that game with PRP missing key starters. Gerald Gray, the leading scorer, and Trey Hill, their versatile playmaker, each sat with injuries that hope to be healed in time for the LIT. What was learned is that without both it will be hard for PRP to beat the elite teams. These two have so much experience and provide the scoring punch in addition to other things that will be missed if they fail to return to the lineup for the LIT. Bullitt East is the 1st round game and then a likely rematch with Fern Creek would be played on Wednesday if they beat Bullitt East.
5. Fairdale (8-6): The Bulldogs had a great chance to move up in the rankings with a game against Doss last week that turned out to be more lopsided that expected in a 54-71 loss. Doss is playing really good and the shots might not have been falling for Fairdale, but it did cause a question of whether the Bulldogs are a serious threat to win the 6th region. Up to this game they had only lost to 3 in state teams and those were very respectable losses as two came from Cooper and Ballard. Still, the slip versus Doss is more of a lost opportunity to notch a very big regional win. Fairdale plays Waggener on Tuesday in one of the best 1st round matchups of the LIT. Waggener is recognized as the 3rd best team in the 7th region and a Fairdale win would bode well for the strength of the 6th.
6. Valley (8-5): Valley has now lost 3 of their last 5 games after winning 6 games in a row. The most recent loss this past week was on the road at North Oldham, 47-63. Valley can beat very good teams as they have proven when the beat PRP and also having beaten Mayfield twice, who is one of the better teams in the 1st region. They also have some losses to teams that Valley was likely favored to beat, Henry Clay & North Oldham. Male is Valley's first round opponent at the LIT which is played on Valley's home court. The winner gets to take on #1 seed Trinity on Wednesday.
7. Iroquois (11-5): The Raiders went 2-0 with two easy victories against opponents that did not figure to challenge them. But they did take care of business convincingly and as this team learns to win they become more and more dangerous. They face District 22 rival, Doss, in the opener of their LIT game on Monday. This will be a 2nd meeting this season as their initial meeting resulted in a close Doss victory.
8. Jeffersontown (9-5): The Chargers stay put at the 8th ranking spot although they lost to Waggener this past week. It was a very good showing as Waggener is one of the better 7th region teams and had to hold on to gain a 6 point victory over the Chargers. If anything has become known this season, Coach Duncan is a formidable leader over on the sideline. He has proven he is a very worthy Head Coach in the city as he looks to pull off an upset in his first LIT as a Head Coach when the Chargers face Ballard.
9. Bullitt East (9-7): Bullitt East continued their winning ways last week with another win over an out of state school. The last game they played against Kentucky competition was a 60-68 loss to Owensboro before Christmas. The game prior to that they beat Apollo by 12. PRP awaits in a first round LIT matchup on Tuesday. The winner likely plays Fern Creek.
10. DeSales (8-7): DeSales is now above .500 as they won two games last week. The Colts probably deserve to move ahead in the rankings after beating Moore 62-52 and more importantly a 62-53 upset win over previously undefeated Butler. If they can upset Trinity who they play in the first round of the LIT they will skyrocket up the rankings.
11. Southern (7-6): Southern is below DeSales in the rankings, but actually is the 15 seed in the LIT, one seed above DeSales. Their first round opponent is Fern Creek. The last two game to start the New Year were not productive as they lost to both Male and Atherton.
12. Holy Cross (9-5): Holy Cross missed out on the LIT, but scheduled two good games against traditionally solid teams over in the 7th region who also did not get invites for the LIT this season, Eastern & Manual. Those will be great victories for Holy Cross if they can notch them both.
13. North Bullitt (6-9): Expect North Bullitt to possibly climb in future rankings as the last two games show solid improvement. Even though they lost to West Jessamine, it was close 47-52. West Jessamine is 11-1 and one of the better teams in Region 12. They also beat rival Bullitt Central last week by a score of 62-51.
14. Moore (4-9): Lost by 9 to DeSales last week and they have Seneca set for this week as both teams failed to earn LIT invites.
15. Bullitt Central (10-6): Rough start to the New Year as Bullitt Central lost to both Meade County and rival North Bullitt last week.
16. Whitefield Academy (8-6): Started 2018 with a nice 51-50 win over St. Francis and almost got the win over Christian Academy of Louisville in a close loss 61-66 at the event they host, the Whitefield Down Syndrome Classic that was held on January 6th. This is a great event held for a great cause where multiple games were held throughout the day. The highlight of the event is a very special game held between teams made up with Down Syndrome players. This is such a great opportunity to see basketball and participate in a great cause. Hats off to Whitefield's program for hosting this event.
17. Western (1-14): Almost beat Seneca last week in a 91-92 loss. They play Central this week looking for their 2nd win of the season.
18. Beth Haven (4-9): Solidified their ranking ahead of Evangel with a 74-53 win on January 4th.
19. Evangel Christian (1-10): After losing a second time to Beth Haven, it does not look like Evangel Christian will get a chance to exit the bottom of the rankings unless they can upset Whitefield Academy on January 11th.