Region 8 Week 4 in Review: A New Number One

  1. ColonelMike's Avatar
    Many thanks for your patience this week....since the Week 5 write-up will come out on Monday, I will keep this week's recap short.....

    Compared to last year, there's been a shortage of quality wins over ranked opponents outside the region so far. But much can change - the season is long - and the battles within the region suggest a "battle royale" in New Castle come March.

    This recap reviews the game's played 12/17 - 12/22 and the team's records and game commentary is all based on that period.

    There's a new Number One...

    1 - Collins (9-2), Last week: #3 ( Perhaps nobody in the 8th Region had as successful a week as the Titans, who took on the monsters in the King of the Bluegrass Tournament and not only won a few games, they advanced all the way to the championship game (unfortunately, a team from Brooklyn, NY ended the Titans' run there).

    (in Collins' case, we reviewed games through Sunday 12/23)

    Collins began the week with an 11 point handling of #20 ranked Louisville Male, then beat #2-ranked Trinity to advance to the championship. The win over Trinity was remarkable, considering the Shamrocks had shellacked the Titans by 32 points just a few games earlier.

    Until the loss in the championship, the Titans had won 7 straight games.

    Collins seems to have "jelled" early, and they are getting solid, quality wins.

    2 - Walton-Verona (8-1) LW: #1 The Walton-Verona Bearcats continue to be one of the most feared teams in the region, and the strong favorite to win the 8th region all-A tournament - and perhaps the overall 8th region tournament in March.

    The 'Cats' 17 point loss to #10 Ballard didn't help their cause, as many people expected the #8 Bearcats to win - or at least keep it close. We'll be watching to see whether that's a harbinger of things to come - or merely a little bump in the road.

    Walton beat a pretty solid Madison Central team by a dozen last week, and also lost to Brentwood Academy (TN).

    Seniors Kameron Pardee (16.3 ppg / 6.0 rebounds) and Dieonte Miles (13.4 ppg / 6.0 rebounds) at the unquestioned strength of this team, but guard Trey Bonne (12.0) is a major contributor from the outside and an excellent shooter from deep range.

    3 - Simon Kenton (8-1) LW: 2 SK didn't do much of anything "wrong" this week, but they and Walton-Verona were simply overshadowed by the spectacular week Collins had. Therefore, SK falls once spot to #3, but make no mistake: the difference between #1 and #3 is razor-thin.

    Simon Kenton hosted their own tournament last week, and, after defeating Newport Catholic Central 104-64 and North Oldham 90-72, they fell in the finals to #14 South Oaurel, 80-67.

    Simon Kenton is faring better this season against the higher-regarded teams, and there's one real good reason: they simply shoot "lights out". At 51.3% overall, 41.7% from beyond the arc, and 77.6% at the line, they are simply hard to outscore.

    A three game stretch on 1/4, 1/5, and 1/8 versus #8 Walton-Verona, Highlands, and Cooper will tell a lot about this team's true potential.

    4 - Oldham County (7-4) LW: #4 Oldham's probably one of the hardest team's to figure out in Deember, but if you'll remember, we kind of predicted that would be the case. With an absolutely brutal schedule in December, and only one returning starter, it remains to be seen when - or if - this group will bond together into a regional contender.

    Oldham has four quality wins - as many as anybody in the 8th - over Central Hardin, Taylor County, Spencer County, and Highlands. But they have equally as many losses to the best teams, falling to #1 Scott County, Grant County (on a hail mary 3), Walton-Verona (by 6), George Rogers Clark, and Campbell County.

    The biggest hurdle still appears to be shooting, where Oldham is nothing like last year's Final 4 team, shooting just 41% from the field, 27% from beyond the arc, and 68% at the line.

    So - will the REAL Oldham County please stand up. We'll learn more as the season progresses.

    5 - South Oldham (9-3) LW: 5 I was very tempted to move South above Oldham this week. Their matchup on 1/11 is going to be a doozy. But we don't have that to look at just yet.

    The Dragons have gotten hot of late, winning 8 of 10 games. Granted, they haven't played quite the schedule some other teams have, but they've played some solid teams, including Simon Kenton, Grant County, and Lafayette. They went 3-1 last week, with a key victory over Trimble County in a district seeding game. Luke Morrison had 33 points in the 93-61 victory over the Raiders.

    Speaking of Luke Morrison, there has to be more talk about this young man for 8th Region Player of the Year. Morrison, a junior forward, now leads the region in scoring, and it's easy to see why: He's averaging 27.4 ppg while hitting 57% of his shots. And his shots aren't all "gimmes" - he's 51 of 95 from beyond the arc for 53.7%! He also grabs 5.5 rebounds per game.

    Morrison's low game - 13 points - came in game 1 against Collegiate. Since then, he's never failed to reach at least 21 points, and he's scored over 30 points in three games, with a high of 37 against Simon Kenton, a game in which he hit five three-pointers.

    South's offense hasn't seemed to have stalled any, despite losing 9 seniors to graduation last year, including 4 starters. Right now, the Dragons are sailing along at an 80 ppg clip. Doubtless, that average will come down, but it's still amazing it's lasted this far into the season.

    6 - Gallatin County (9-3) LW: 6 Gallatin County had a busy, but highly successful week, heading down to Gatlinburg and winning the Smokey Mountain Classic. They kicked off the tournament by beating Landrum (SC). After a four point win over Friendship Christian of TN, the Cats beat Summerville of TN (12-2) when Wyatt Bowen put in a three pointer at the buzzer.

    The only blemish on Gallatin's record last week was a one-point loss to Oldham County in Buckner, and the Wildcats almost claimed that one. Down 5 with less than a minute to play, the Cats managed to creep into a one point lead, but they left Oldham County time to call a timeout and draw up set play. The result was a relatively wide-open layup attempt by Oldham that the Colonels missed, but got fouled on. Two free throws handed Gallatin the one point loss.

    Interesting matchup on 1/4 coming up when Gallatin faces Carroll County in the second of their two district seeding matchups. Gallatin won by 11 in the first face-off, but Carroll has been the surprise team in the 8th this year, and this could be a lot closer than many think.

    7 - Grant County (10-4) LW: #7 And the team with the most wins heading into 2019 is.....? The Grant County Braves. Grant has returned with the same prolific offense they had last year, but their defense - though not on the level of some of the 8th Region's elite defenses - is at least credible now, giving Grant a little more flexibility on offense and the chance not to have to play "racehorse" basketball all the time.

    The Braves went 3-1 last week, beginning things with a stunning upset at the hands of Carroll County, who beat Grant 88-79. But after that, the Braves engineered wins over South Dearborn (IN), Ohio County (by 8) , and Covington Holy Cross (by 24).

    Grant continues to score in big numbers, averaging over 70 ppg; they've only scored below 60 points twice this year.

    Part of the success may be the emergence of Jack Epperson. Epperson played in a lot of games last year, but averaged just 2 ppg / 2 reb. This year, he's averaging 11.2 ppg and a team high 7.2 rebounds. Combined with Luke Dawalt (6.9 reb), the Braves now have a credible one-two punch on the glass they didn't have before.

    8 - Spencer County (4-6) LW: 8 Spencer has slightly underachieved so far this year, but there is still 2/3 of the season to play. Plenty of time to build. Last week, the Bears represented the 8th Region in the King of the Bluegrass tourney (along with W-V and Collins). The results were not what Spencer wanted - no wins - but the Bears played three solid games against top-flight competition.

    Spencer opened with #10 Ballard, losing, 80-71. They fell in the first round of the losers' bracket, 61-58, to Madison Central, and then wrapped up the tournament with a 64-57 loss to South Miami (FL).

    A bright spot for Spencer was the play of Jacob Seawright, who had 31 points against Ballard, and 24 against Madison Central.

    Tough upcoming games include 1/4 at Collins, 1/17 at Walton-Verona, and 1/19 vs. South Oldham.

    9 - North Oldham (5-7) LW: #9 North holds here despite a turbulent week against top level competition. Losses to Waggener, Simon Kenton, and Scott High dropped North below .500, although the Mustangs did gain a victory over Russell during the week.

    There are some bright spots; North has scored 60 or more points in 7 of their 8 games leading up to last week. Their top three point threat, Grant Adelson, is hitting right at 40%, and three different Mustangs score in double digits. The team is a tremendous free-throw shooting team at around 71%, and they play a scrappy brand of basketball that helps them get rebounds against bigger opponents. (Tyler Higdon leads them in that category at 8.1)

    The Mustangs will likely go as far as their 8th grade point guard will take them. It's a given; some nights he will be spectacular; some nights he will be, well, an 8th grader. But the bottom line appears to be that Dallas Roberts - who averages about 13 ppg - is a "keeper".

    10 - Carroll County (6-3) LW: #13 This week's big mover is Carroll County. Call me slow, but I'm starting to get somewhat on the Panther bandwagon. I still think Gallatin will win the 31st district, but two teams from each district go to the region tourney, and it's looking more and more like the Panthers could be the early leader in the race for that final berth.

    The Panthers opened up last week with an eye-opener: a 88-79 victory over Grant County, where the Panthers - who haven't exactly been the greatest shooting team in the world - finally put it all together, connecting on a whopping 63% of thier shots. Wyatt Supplee had a phenomenol game, scoring 36 points in the win.

    After losing to Switzerland County (IN) in the Jefferson County Invitational Tournament, Carroll finished strong, with wins over Trimble County and Henryville, IN.

    Along the way, Supplee had another monster game to display, as he hung 47 points on Trimble County, including 6 of 10 beyond the arc and 13 of 17 at the line.

    11 - Anderson County (5-5) LW: #10 Anderson is the last of our "mystery" teams this year. Against Region 8 teams, the Bearcats are 1-2, beating Henry County to open the season, and losing to Walton-Verona by 13 and Grant County by 7. The margins insinuate that this team could be a contender at year's end, but for now, Anderson is beating the teams they should and losing to those they shouldn't.

    Record-wise, their best opponent outside the Region was Paintsville (8-2), but the Cats lost that game by 25.

    We'll learn more about AC on 1/18, 1/22, and 1/31, when they face Collins, Spencer County, and Gallatin County.

    12 - Shelby County (4-6) LW: #11 Coach Eddie Oakley has made definite improvements in this Rocket team, but are they enough to get out of the 30th district, with Collins and Spencer blocking the way?

    Not sure. Not sure they can beat Anderson in the tournament, either, but we're still a ways away from that discussion.

    Last week, the Rockets went 2-1, beating Somerset, losing to Lafayette by 13, and defeating Rockcastle County. It's been the story of their year; they have yet to win or lose more than two in a row.

    Improved shooting would help; the team hits 40% from the field, 34% from the three, and 65% from the line.

    A look at the team stats would suggest that a third legitimate scorer must be found. Right now, everything goes through Taurius Robinson or Noah Gordon. Those two have eerily similar stat lines: Robinson: 11.6 ppg / 44.6% FG / 75% FT / 6.8 rebounds Gordon: 13.2 ppg / 42.1% FG / 70.5% FT / 6.8 rebounds. Who else can step up? Maybe Kaden Dugle, who only averages 5.3 ppg. but hits 51.2% of his shots?

    13 - Trimble County (4-7) LW: #12 The Raiders have dropped four in a row, after showing some promise early in the year, particularly in their road upset of North Oldham. They followed that with a 19 point win over Eminence, but it's been all downhill since in losses to Franklin County, South Oldham, Madison (IN), and Carroll County, with each coming by at least 13 points.

    On the 4th, they'll play Southwestern (IN) before opening play in the 8th Region "All A" on 1/8.

    14 - Henry County (2-6) LW: #14 Henry County has only played 8 games so far, and they only played one last week, falling on the road to former 8th-region rival Bullitt Central, 70-49. January will help in terms of games; the Wildcats play 10 games in January, with six on the road.

    Points remain the problem and basketball is a game of points:

    Over the last five games, Henry has reached 60 points just once.
    Over the last 7 games, Henry has allowed 60 or more points six times.

    15 -Williamstown (5-7) LW: #15 The Aleris Christmas tournament didn't treat the Demons too kindly; after an opening round win over Frederick Fraize, the Demons lost consecutive games to Hancock County (on the hosts' home floor) and Crittenden County, dropping Williamstown below the .500 mark.

    But Williamstown has to be awfully proud of this team so far; they've come a LONG, LONG way since last year's team managed to eke out two one-point victories at the very end of the game.

    16 - Owen County (2-9) LW: #16 Owen continues to struggle with scoring. They opened last week with a district win over Eminence, but then dropped three straight to Berea, Menifee, and Pineville.

    In none of the three losses did the Rebels score more than 46 points.

    Noah St. Claire leads Owen at 16.3 ppg, and Isaac is nearly averaging a double-double at 10.8 ppg / 9.4 rebounds.

    17 - Eminence (1-9) LW: #17 The Warriors have lost five in a row, and right now, the distance between Eminence and the rest of the region seems cavernous. It's a challenging time for the coaching staff and players, but there's a lot of basketball to be played. This once-proud basketball program might do well to reach back into the old yearbooks and remember the days of Mont Sleets and company....reinstalling that team pride will help.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 08

    Good job CM. Looks like you have it ranked very well!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 17

    After watching Spencer County at King of the Bluegrass, if they are the 8th best team in the region this region must be loaded. I would venture to say they are better than Grant and Gallatin and possibly South.

  4. #4
    Mack The Knife's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 05
    "Last night when we were young"

    Quote Originally Posted by bluecats View Post
    After watching Spencer County at King of the Bluegrass, if they are the 8th best team in the region this region must be loaded. I would venture to say they are better than Grant and Gallatin and possibly South.
    Well, Gallatin did lose to the runner-up in the King Of The Bluegrass 50-48. But I digress.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 16

    Quote Originally Posted by bluecats View Post
    After watching Spencer County at King of the Bluegrass, if they are the 8th best team in the region this region must be loaded. I would venture to say they are better than Grant and Gallatin and possibly South.
    I don't know how Grant County is rated above Spencer. As far as Gallatin and South Oldham we will find out soon when they play.

    Also the loss to South Miami was in overtime.
    Last edited by Cardsrule1972; Dec 29, 18 at 02:31 PM.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 16

    Quote Originally Posted by Mack The Knife View Post
    Well, Gallatin did lose to the runner-up in the King Of The Bluegrass 50-48. But I digress.
    If you want to do comparison scores we could do that all day. Walton Verona got handled by Ballard. Spencer County gave them a game. It's all about matchups.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 16

    The matchup I'm dying to see is Simon Kenton vs Spencer County. I want to see the top two sophomores in the region go at it. Niece vs Conley. Niece being the best scorer in the region vs Conley who is an elite athletic defender and also a good scorer. Hopefully that will happen down the road.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 15

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardsrule1972 View Post
    The matchup I'm dying to see is Simon Kenton vs Spencer County. I want to see the top two sophomores in the region go at it. Niece vs Conley. Niece being the best scorer in the region vs Conley who is an elite athletic defender and also a good scorer. Hopefully that will happen down the road.
    Do they play each other?

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 16

    Quote Originally Posted by hoops_fan View Post
    Do they play each other?
    They would only play if they met in regional game. That would be a fun game to watch in my opinion.