Mayfield (1st Region Champions) State Tournament Preview
Mayfield Cardinals are finally getting to make the trip to Rupp Arena. Last year seemed to be the year that would happen as the Cardinals went through the regular season without losing a game to any Region 1 school. However they lost to McCracken County in the Region semifinals and just like that, the dream ended.
Mayfield did not lose any major components from last year and entered into this season as the Region 1 favorite. Things did now start out as well as expected. They lost 3 of their first 5 games including a 1 point loss to McCracken County, a team that lost much more than they did from the previous season. Just over a week later they lost to Paducah Tilghman by 2, and a closer than expected victory versus Murray.
January started to see this Mayfield team make some progress. They defeated Graves County by 5, then played on of their best games of the year to defeat University Heights Academy. They defeated Murray soundly, and from Jan 8 on, the Cardinals won all but one game (Lexington Christian in the All A State Tournament). They have won 16 of their last 17 games including defeating Graves County in triple overtime for the 3rd District title.
In the region tournament this year, Mayfield had to go through Marshall County, which they did so with ease, but they also had to face Paducah Tilghman, a team they split with during the year. They had the better team on the floor, but couldnít pull away from PT and the game ended up going into overtime where the Cardinals pulled it out. In the finals match against McCracken, they were able to return the favor from last season, by ousting the region favorite 56-44. The game was a very low scoring affair in the first half, but things picked up in the second as Mayfield pulled away.
Mayfield is led by three very good players. Brothers Carson and Connor Guthrie, and Desean Jackson work together very well and make them a very dangerous team. Connor Guthrie is the teamís leading scorer and the Region 1 Player of the Year. He can score from anywhere on the floor including 10 feet from behind the 3 point line. He isnít afraid to shoot it from anywhere either. He actually scored more 3 point baskets this season (93) than he did 2 point baskets (91). He is averaging 15.5 ppg and hits 55% of his shots including 46% from behind the arc.
Carson Guthrie, unlike his brother, likes to stay close to the basket, although he will shoot from the outside if need be. He loves to stay around the rim, which is evident from his 9.3 rebound per game average. He pours in 13 points per game and plays very good defense for an undersized big man.
Forward Desean Jones is a great role player for Mayfield. He plays his role well and does a great job of getting open shots and getting to the basket. He is not as skilled as Guthrie is underneath the basket but does enough to keep teams honest. He is not a 3 point threat, he only hit 8 this year, however, he does shoot 63% from the field so you need to know where he is, or he will pick you apart. Other guys to watch are Kade Neely (8.3 ppg), Trey Matthews (7.6 ppg) and 3 point specialist Husten Lancaster (41 threes this season).
Expect Mayfield to play tough defense and try to control the game. They will most likely be the smaller team on the floor when matching up at Rupp, but Carson Guthrie can play bigger than he seems. They are quick and they run a good half court offense where shots can go up from anywhere. They wonít be the most talented team at Rupp, but they will put up a great fight, and may surprise some people.