This week brings one of my favorite events of the year, the Louisville Invitational Tournament. I first attended the LIT in 1978, when Apollo beat Shelby County and Charles Hurt in the championship game. This week’s tournament, in which Trinity is the top seed, should be another great tournament.
Only five of the 16 teams in the LIT field are from the Seventh Region. In the field in addition to Trinity are Ballard (the no. 4 seed), Waggener (6 seed), Male (9 seed), and St. X (12 seed). Each of them plays a team from the Sixth Region, so it will be interesting to see how those Sixth Region v. Seventh Region match-ups turn out.
Not making the LIT field usually leaves a gap in a team’s schedule, since Louisville teams leave their schedules open for the week of the LIT. Some of the LIT non-qualifiers have scheduled games this week to fill the void. Others will simply not play this week.
Here’s to all fans making it to Valley this week for at least some of the LIT.
1. Trinity Shamrocks (13-1)
Trinity had a good week. It opened with a 72-49 win over Collins, with Trinity’s big three leading a balanced attack (David Johnson and Justin Powell had 11 points each while Jay Scrubb added 10). Rival St. X slowed the pace against the Shamrocks on Friday night, but Trinity led throughout and won 46-34. Jay Scrubb had 15 points and 9 rebounds against Trinity. Coach Szabo’s post-game comments suggested there were some things in the St. X game about which he was not happy, but a double digit win over a rival is a good thing. Trinity is the no. 1 seed in the LIT and plays DeSales on Monday night in the first round. The Shamrocks potentially will face Ballard in the semi-finals and Fern Creek in the finals.
2. Ballard Bruins (10-3)
The Bruins went 1-1 for the week. Ballard was down by 15 in the fourth quarter to Floyd Central of Indiana before getting back within 2 in the final minute, but the Bruins eventually fell to Floyd Central 65-60. Marshon Ford led the Bruins with 17 points. In an anticipated match-up against Pleasure Ridge Park, PRP ended up being without two of its best players (Gerald Gray and Trey Hill) due to injury. The Bruins led throughout and easily won 88-68, with five Bruins scoring in double figures in that one. The no. 4 seed in the LIT, Ballard opens the tournament this afternoon against Jeffersontown.
3. Waggener Wildcats (11-3)
Waggener won both of its games this week, beating two good teams. Waggener won on the road at North Oldham 66-58, with three Wildcats scoring in double figures (J. J. Kalakon and Nicholas Brewer had 11 points each, Kevion Hudson had 10). The Wildcats then beat fellow LIT participant Jeffersontown 75-69. Kalakon is averaging 15.6 ppg for the season. Waggener, the no. 6 seed, plays Fairdale in the first round of the LIT on Tuesday afternoon.
4. Male Bulldogs (11-6)
Male went 2-1 on the week. Its wins were against Southern (67-50) and Collegiate (83-45). On Saturday, Willie Feldhaus’s Male Bulldogs fell to Allen Feldhaus, Jr.’s Madison Central Indians 55-38. Madison Central led by five at halftime and pulled away in the second half. Tyren Moore leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 11.5 ppg, with Howard Fleming close behind at 11.1 ppg. Noah Courtney contributes 9.9 ppg. Male enters the LIT as the no. 9 seed and plays the host Valley Vikings in the first round Tuesday afternoon.
5. St. Xavier Tigers (9-6)
The Tigers’ game against Trinity was its only game this week. St. X slowed the pace and kept the score low, and was within 5 early in the third quarter at 20-15. But Trinity pulled away and beat the Tigers 46-34. Pierce Kiesler once again led the Tigers in scoring with 17 points. St. X is the no. 12 seed in the LIT and faces a tough first-round match with the 14-1 Butler Bears on Tuesday night.
6. Seneca Redhawks (5-9)
The Redhawks have won four games in a row, the last one being a 92-91 victory over Western this week. The 92 points is the most a Seneca team has scored in over 5 years. At five wins, Seneca is nearing the seven win total it has achieved in each of the past two seasons. The Redhawks host Moore Thursday night.
7. Manual Crimsons (6-9)
I am looking forward to hearing more details about Manual’s 57-55 loss to Fern Creek Friday night, but apparently Manual had the final possession with a chance to win the game. Fern Creek has been playing extremely well lately, and Manual’s ability to be competitive against Fern Creek is a very good sign for the Crimsons. Manual is very balanced on offense, with three players averaging in double figure (Kenyan Jacob at 12.6 ppg, Noah Hawkins at 11.9 ppg, and Eli Roberts at 11.1 ppg). Manual will play at Holy Cross Thursday night.
8. Eastern Eagles (6-9)
Eastern had an impressive 70-35 win over Kentucky Country Day before going to Lincoln County on Saturday and losing to the Patriots 68-62. That loss was only the Eagles’ second loss in its last seven games. Jacob Robinson continues to lead the Eagles offensively at 14.9 ppg. The Eagles play Holy Cross tonight.
9. Atherton Rebels (6-8)
The Rebels played once this week, getting a good 77-71 win over Southern. Atherton has no games on its schedule this week. Its next scheduled game is January 16 against Manual. That game presents Atherton with a chance to revenge a 61-50 loss to Manual in the Graviss McDonald’s Woodford County Invitational played on December 21.
10. Christian Academy Centurions (6-9)
Christian Academy won both of the games it played this week, beating Christian Academy of New Albany, IN 63-56 and Whitefield Academy 66-61. Jacob Dupps leads the Centurions in scoring at a 10.5 ppg clip. CAL plays Jeffersontown this week on Thursday night.
11. Central Yellow Jackets (2-8)
Central did not play this past week. A previously unreported score popped up on the KHSAA scoreboard this week, a December 29 loss to Frederick Douglass by a 79-70 margin. Central plays at home against Western Thursday night.
12. Louisville Collegiate Titans (15-3)
The Titans opened the week with a 64-46 win over Thomas Nelson but then, facing its biggest challenge of the year, fell to the Male Bulldogs 83-45. That left Collegiate with a 15-3 record, well on its way to eclipsing the school record for wins in a season of 18. The Titans’ sole game this week is against Shawnee, after which the Titans will prepare for the All A regional tournament the following week.
13. Kentucky Country Day Bearcats (7-5)
After dispatching Shawnee 66-61, the Bearcats were outdistanced by Eastern 70-35. Solomon Mathis remains one of the leading scorers in the Seventh Region, averaging 20.7 ppg. The Bearcats have no games on their schedule this week but will instead prepare for the All A Seventh Region tournament, of which they are the four-time defending champion.
14. St. Francis Wyverns (7-6)
St. Francis lost a heartbreaker early in the week on a goaltending call at the buzzer that gave Whitefield Academy a 51-50 win over the Wyverns. The Wyverns rebounded with a 47-18 win at Frederick Fraize on Saturday which stopped the Wyverns’ 5-game losing streak. Jomar Sullivan leads St. Francis in scoring at 16.5 ppg, with Ahmad Moore contributing 13.2 ppg and Noah Sparks contributing 10.1 ppg. The Wyverns have two road games this week, at Rock Creek (Indiana) on Wednesday and at Walden on Saturday, and then will play in the All A tournament the following week.
15. Shawnee Golden Eagles (3-13)
Shawnee was competitive against Kentucky Country Day before falling to the Bearcats 66-61. The Golden Eagles were less competitive against Iroquois, falling 68-36, but came back and beat Portland Christian in a close one, 48-47. That win moved Shawnee ahead of Portland Christian in this week’s rankings. The Golden Eagles play Collegiate Thursday night.
16. Portland Christian Eagles (5-7)
Portland Christian went 1-2 this week. After losing to Louisville Holy Cross 70-46, the Eagles beat Calvary Christian 72-57. On Saturday, in a game between two schools that used to be close to each other but now are in different ends of Jefferson County, Portland Christian lost a close one to Shawnee 48-47. Quincy Dye continues to pour in the points for the Eagles and is currently averaging 23.6 ppg, tops in the Seventh Region. The Eagles play Frederick Fraize and Burgin this week.
17. Brown Bears (4-11)
Brown was off this week. The Bears play at Bullitt Central tonight and were scheduled to travel to Ballard Memorial on Saturday for a renewal of a series involving the two Kentucky boys teams with female head coaches, but that game has been removed from the schedule (looks like it may have been affected by the schedule of the All A First Region tournament). Brown will play in the All A Seventh Region tournament the following week.
18. Walden Wolverines (1-8)
Walden played once this week, losing to Hancock County 53-39. The Wolverines have three games this week, playing away games at Henry County and Beth Haven during the week before hosting St. Francis on Saturday.