Basketball season finally arrived, and the first week of action in the Seventh Region saw Collegiate and St. Francis combine to go 5-0 while Ballard remains winless. But I think Ballard will be fine. While Ballard lost the only game they played, it was a close loss to 11th region power Scott County in a great matchup you usually don’t see the first week of the season. And this week presents another great matchup when Trinity plays hosts to the Fern Creek Tigers on Saturday night.

Trinity went 3-0 for the week and starts atop this week’s rankings. In fact, the top three teams remain the same. There are some changes after that, the main one being the Male Bulldogs moving up based on their 3-0 start. There certainly will be more changes as we move through the season.

1. Trinity Shamrocks (3-0)

David Johnson seems to be playing as expected, leading the Shamrocks to wins this week over Bullitt East (85-51), on the road against Pulaski County (86-76), and against The Christ School of Arden, North Carolina (79-64) in the Nissan Classic at North Laurel. After playing Seneca on Friday night, Trinity hosts Sixth Region favorite Fern Creek on Saturday night in what promises to be a great game. Steinhauser Gym should be rocking.

2. Ballard Bruins (0-1)

So much for those easy early season games, as Ballard hosted Scott County in its only game this week. Despite going 0 for 15 on three-point shooting and being outrebounded 57-32, Ballard led for most of the game before falling to the Cardinals 69-63. While losing is never the preferred outcome, I don’t anticipate Ballard putting up similar numbers in those two areas the rest of the season. The Bruins don’t play again until December 12, when they face Christian Academy.

3. St. Xavier Tigers (2-0)

St. X starts the season without expected starters Sam Boarman and Evan Walker, both of whom were still playing football through yesterday’s 6A championship game. The Tigers also have been without Andrew Lechleiter, whose arm was in a cast when I saw then play Atherton in the season opener. None of that bothered the Tigers much as they posted impressive wins over Atherton 59-38 and North Oldham 62-44. Pierce Kiesler and James Taylor have played well for the Tigers. St. X will play Central and Waggener this week.

4. Male Bulldogs (3-0)

Male started the season with a one-sided win over Shawnee (104-35) before looking very impressive in a 75-56 road win over Manual. They needed overtime to beat Clinton County 76-69 on Saturday. The Bulldogs are young and talented, and I look forward to seeing the Bulldogs progress as the season moves forward. They host North Oldham Tuesday night before playing at Central on Saturday.

5. Waggener Wildcats (2-0)

Waggener starts the season 2-0 with wins over Central (73-62) and Valley (64-57). J.J. Kalakon has led the Wildcats in each game with 18 against Central and 21 against Valley. After hosting the Moore Mustangs during the week, the Wildcats go on the road to play the St. X Tigers Friday night.

6. Manual Crimsons (1-1)

Manual started the season with an easy 71-47 win over the Eastern Eagles but then lost at home to the Male Bulldogs 75-56. The Crimsons were well balanced offensively against Eastern but struggled with their outside shooting against Male. Games against PRP and John Hardin this week will be challenging. Manual also hosts Iroquois this week.

7. Christian Academy Centurions (0-1)

CAL played aggressively but lost to South Oldham 62-60 in a game in which both teams were called for a lot of fouls (South Oldham had a player foul out in the 2nd quarter). CAL certainly will miss Milton Wright, who has decided to not play basketball this season. CAL’s starting lineup against South Oldham included two transfers from Louisville Collegiate, 6’5” sophomore Tyler McDaniel and 6’0” freshman Gray Weaver. Shelby County is next up for the Centurions, followed by games with KCD and Lexington Lafayette.

8. Seneca Redhawks (0-2)

Seneca gets my vote for playing the toughest early-season schedule in the state. After losing to Butler (78-59) and PRP (86-72) this week, the Redhawks’ next four games are against Fern Creek, Trinity, St. X and Doss. When that streak is done, Seneca will have played the four highest ranked teams in BluegrassPrep.com’s 6th Region pre-season rankings and two of the top three ranked teams in the Seventh Region. While it is hard to see many victories in those games for the Redhawks, Coach Coleman has them playing hard. Facing such tough competition should get them ready for the rest of the season.

9. Atherton Rebels (1-1)

The Rebels were overmatched in their season opener against St. X, losing 59-38. Jacob Pulford led the Rebels in that game with 13 points and 7 rebounds. The Rebels bounced back Friday night to beat Iroquois 67-65. Atherton plays Jeffersontown and Shawnee this week.

10. Eastern Eagles (1-2)

A win over Central (78-56) was sandwiched between losses to Manual (71-47) and Iroquois (71-65). The Eagles play at Jeffersontown and then host Lexington Henry Clay this week.

11. Central Yellow Jackets (0-2)

A 73-62 season-opening loss to Waggener was followed by a 78-56 loss to Eastern. It’s hard to see Central getting a win this week with games against St. X and Male. But Central is young and no doubt will get better as the season progresses.

12. Kentucky Country Day Bearcats (1-1)

Cold shooting (22% shooting from the field as a team) did in KCD in their opener against Spencer County, as the Bearcats fell to the Bears 51-24. Later in the week, the Bearcats beat Western in overtime, 60-53. After playing Whitefield Academy on Tuesday, KCD will face Christian Academy and Bullitt East later in the week.

13. Louisville Collegiate Titans (3-0)

The Titans stand 3-0 with wins over Portland Christian (73-60), Whitefield Academy (72-65) and Fort Knox (68-54). Chez Moore gives Collegiate an inside presence (averaging 20 ppg so far), while Eli Allen, Drew Manning and Nate Francke are scoring from the outside. Collegiate hosts fellow unbeaten St. Francis on Monday before playing Evangel Christian and Bullitt Central later in the week.

14. St. Francis Wyverns (2-0)

Although injuries have prevented them being at full strength, the Wyverns start the season 2-0 with wins over Brown (51-14) and at Burgin (61-41). I am unsure of the playing status of Jomar Sullivan, the Wyverns’ leading returning scorer who badly sprained his ankle in the opener against Brown and did not play against Burgin. St. Francis has a busy week ahead, first playing Collegiate on Monday in a battle of unbeaten teams before playing Shawnee, Fleming County and Hancock County later in the week.

15. Portland Christian Eagles (1-1)

Portland Christian lost to Collegiate 73-60 in its season opener despite Quincy Dye’s 33 points on 11 for 15 shooting from the field, but then bounced back to beat Community Christian of Paducah 71-48 with Dye collecting 28 points. The Eagles are off this week.

16. Shawnee Golden Eagles (1-2)

With a 70-66 win against Brown on Friday night, the Golden Eagles matched their win total from last season. They almost exceeded it on Saturday but ended up losing 61-59 to Western Hills in overtime. With games against St. Francis and Beth Haven this week, along with a game against Atherton, Shawnee hopes to get that second win this week.

17. Brown Bears (1-2)

Playing without Jai’rus Bibb, the Bears lost their opener to St. Francis 51-14. Upon his return to the lineup, Brown lost a close one to Shawnee 70-66 and then went on the road to beat Burgin 66-57. Jai’rus had 17 points in the win over Burgin.

18. Walden Wolverines (1-1)

The Wolverines lost their opener to Frankfort Christian 61-45 but came back to beat Heritage Academy 59-48. They next play Tuesday night at home against the Burgin Bulldogs.