The Spencer County Bears travel to Goshen, KY to face the North Oldham Mustangs on Thursday, 12/12/19. Tip-off 7:30 pm.
Big region 8 matchup. The Bears and Mustangs - both of whom are considered region contenders this year - square off in Goshen. The Bears are playing super right now, with their four core players clicking. Sam Conley, Jake Whitlock, Lucas Hornback, and Gage Mabry form 80% of one of the best starting fives in the 8th Region. All four are capable scorers and defenders, and - coming into this week - they had scored 140 of Spencer's 154 points to date.
The bench is thin, but it hasn't hurt the Bears yet, as they come into the week 2-0. They will have also played South Oldham, the #2 ranked team in region 8, by the time they tip off on Thursday.
This is "Oldham County Tour" week for Spencer; they will have played South Oldham (Tue 12/10), North Oldham (12/12), and Oldham County (12/14) by the time the week ends. All three Oldham schools figure to be in the running for the region title this year, although only two can make it out of the 29th district. Still, it may be the best time for Spencer to face the Oldham squads: South had a tumultuous Week One with head coach Steve Simpson sidelined with back surgery; North only got in one game last week, and star guard Justin Powell will have just become eligible to play the day before the Spencer game; and Oldham County basically replaced its entire starting lineup from last year - while the Colonels are off to a strong start, this lineup will not have faced a test like Spencer County yet when they tipoff on Saturday at the Ronald McDonald House Classic in Buckner. It won't be an easy week for the Bears by any means, but they will certainly have some advantages they might not have later in the season.
North Oldham will be playing its third game of the season Thursday. The Mustangs stumbled last week against Iroquois with an ineligible Powell on the sidelines. North struggled to hit shots, grab rebounds, or keep players on the floor (foul issues) in a game where, according to head coach David Levitch, pretty much anything that could go wrong, did. Before this game, the Mustangs will have the chance to right the ship against Trimble County in Bedford in an early-season 29th district seeding game. That will be Powell's first game as a Mustang since he played at NOHS as an 8th grader, and the Mustangs will be heavily favored.
The Mustangs have plenty of complementary talent around Powell to be very good. And Powell is a special enough talent to make the players around him better. His passing should make the two Higdon brothers - Tyler and Ian - a thousand times better in the post, and the fact that Powell will take over the point guard role handled by Dallas Roberts last year means that Roberts will likely have more opportunities to get his shot from the perimeter.
North should be much better this year on offense and defense, though it may take a little while for the unit to find its new identity with the new floor leader.
Thursday will be North's first home game, and - even though it's a weeknight game - the game should draw a decent crowd. I say that it "should" because it will feature two of the most talented teams in the 8th Region and should be a blast to watch.
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