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Inside The 11th Region (1/18/15)


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Some quick hitters on the state of the always in flux 11th Region:

 

 

Player of the Week: Dylan Jones - Western Hills

 

Shout out to, Dylan Jones, who set a new Western Hills school record by hitting 10 threes against Burgin, finishing the night with a 35 point clip. The Wolverines are definitely making strides, and have won 4 of their first 7 following the Christmas break.

 

 

 

Team of the Week: Bryan Station

 

The Defenders are going to be prone to some ups and downs, but I like what this team brings to the table and the things they are capable of doing when they play well. Andre Davis is young, and, like the Defenders on the whole, will have his moments. Still, I think he grows into his role and becomes more consistent by year's end. Taquan Claitt and CJ Walker are both great athletes who excel on the gridiron and the hardwood. Walker is steady, and Claitt, though undersized for a big man, still battles and in a down year for bigs in the 11th, might be the best overall post player because what he doesn't get in terms of being a player who you run an offense through and ask him to pick things up scoring wise, he makes up by stuffing stats in categories like rebounds, putbacks, deflections, blocks, etc. DeAndre Dishman has put in lots of work last season, and was a kid that I thought had some potential when seeing him last year (and if you don't believe me, you can go through the archives and see what I wrote about him them). Put it all together, and then add in the fact that there's potential for Ronnie Carson to join the team and round out the lineup, especially in terms of his ability to provide shooting to an offense that could use it, and you can see why there's reason to think that Station could finally end their drought this year.

 

 

 

1. Lexington Catholic:

 

The Knights keep their hold on the #1 spot by getting their revenge on Lafayette. Past that, they ground out a victory over a determined Tates Creek, then capped the week by pulling out a win in the Fieldhouse against a very good Mason County team. For better or worse, you know what you'll get with the Knights. This week's matchup with a surging and now healthy Dunbar team will be one to watch, but I'm going to go ahead and say that you might want to file it away in the "Upset Alert" category for now.

 

 

2. Lexington Christian Academy:

 

First year Coach Nate Valentine's squad has met and even exceeded expectations so far. The loss of forward Trevor Hill was a huge blow to the team. The Eagles may have another gear, however, as forward Drew Trimble, who has serious interest from the United States Naval Academy, has been banged up through most of the season but is finally returning to full strength. I've always felt he was an underrated player, and with the return of he and guard John Stein, the Eagles may prove to be even better than we've seen thus far. While you can read more about the team in my All A Preview, I would imagine that most prognosticators favor the Eagles to get back to the All A State, where they'll be hungry to avenge a blowout loss to Newport Central Catholic in last year's semis.

 

 

3. Bryan Station:

 

They're going to overtake the #3 spot for now because they've exorcised the demons that are district foes Henry Clay and Scott County, which has to be a huge mental hurdle for their kids. Going forward with the confidence that will come from beating each should pay huge dividends for my team of the week.

 

 

4. Lafayette:

 

The Generals are a well-coached bunch who have a number of kids who can bring different things to the table. Ross Jenkins continues to emerge as one of the best bigs in the 11th. Harrison Lane isn't the best at creating his own shot, but will make you pay if you leave him open and is a zone buster. Lucky Jackson is an outright warrior and brings athleticism, defensive intensity, and rebounding. Jajuante Carpenter was a kid who I really liked when watching them play last season, and has started to come on as of late and is playing more like the player I was hyping up over the summer. Jaelin Jenkins has proven himself through the season. Still, the Generals are somewhat up and down, following up huge wins over Lexington Catholic and Bryan Station by being taken to OT by Frankfort, then losing very close contests in quite hostile road environments to Lex Cath and LCA. Make no mistake, the Generals could beat any team above them, but they could also be beaten by some below them just as easily.

 

 

5. Madison Central:

 

An Indians team who is yet to really hit their peak is someone I'm still keeping in mind as a dark horse. They're flying under the radar right now, but once healthy, they could be your regional champions. In looking at the field and the way things have shaken out over the year, you get the feeling that this is much like many of the other seasons in recent history where Madison Central has been the team left standing at the end.

 

 

6. Dunbar:

 

Now at full strength and having played a few games together, the Bulldogs have started to show people why they were my #1 team coming into the season. Simply put, Darius Williams is the truth when it comes to the region's top players. With Taveion Hollingsworth providing secondary scoring punch by using his quickness and passing ability to probe defenses, the Dawgs have a legit 1-2 punch. Now that Dontell Brown is back and providing toughness on the interior, Dunbar has added another dimension. I'm not looking too deep into a road loss to Wayne County, which quite tough to beat in 12th Region territory, but am instead looking at the 20 point decision over Tates Creek and a 7 point win over Henry Clay that came in a span of 3 days. With Boyle County, Lafayette, and Lexington Catholic on tap for this coming week, we're going to find out plenty about the Bulldogs.

 

 

7. Henry Clay:

 

You don't get the sense that there's tons of excitement in the program whose talent has been eroded by defections and injuries over the past few seasons, because if nothing else, you definitely don't hear much about them. Regardless, I think we'll find out more about the Devils soon enough, as they take on both Ballard and Trinity within the span of 7 days (Jan 22 and 28th, respectively). After beating Scott County and having observers take note of their status, a pair of losses to district rival Bryan Station and LFCPS foe Dunbar sets the Blue Devils back in line for now. Maybe I'm underrating them, but with no stats reports and the like, it's just guess work.

 

 

8. Scott County:

 

The Cardinals falling this far may be a surprise, but in a year where everyone is so tight, I don't know what else to do considering the free-fall that the team has experienced since losing DJ Jenkins. The Cardinals play a tough schedule, and sit at .500 on the season following last week's loss to Bryan Station. Billy Hicks hasn't forgotten how to coach, but you really have to wonder whether his kids are able to handle the adversity that comes with being the hunted in a down season. Until someone else is crowned, the Cardinals are still the 11th Region Champions, but in a down year, you have to think other teams who've been beaten up on can't wait to get in line to take a shot at the Cards. Maybe that isn't the wisest philosophy, but I can't help but think that others aren't taking a "get them while we can" approach.

 

 

9. Tates Creek:

 

The Commodores' contrasting style will usually make for an interesting matchup with most of the other top teams in the 11th. While capable of beating anyone on a given night, they've also been beaten by the others with some consistency, with a few of those losses coming by large margins. While I'm not counting them out, I'd say that so far, they've not done enough to really separate themselves from most of the other teams that are ranked in the same range.

 

 

10. Woodford County:

 

A win over Madison Central has my attention. Since former Mr. Basketball Scott Hundley has taken over, the Jackets have been a well-coached squad, and this year is no different. While this may not be his most talented team while at Woodford, they are still capable, and should not be taken lightly at all.

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Care to offer up predictions on which teams will compose the 11th region tournament field?

 

41st

Woodford County

Frankfort High/Franklin County (FHS has won both games close, tough to pick winner)

 

42nd

Bryan Station

Henry Clay

 

43rd

Lexington Catholic

Dunbar/LCA (LCA has won both games close, Dunbar getting better and close to full strength)

 

44th

Madison Central

Madison Southern (if they don't draw each other)

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Didn't know that districts still used the draw.

 

Only the 44th. They vote each year. Model, Berea, and Madison Southern always vote to draw. They want to avoid the Madison Central matchup in the first round. On most occasions though Model and Berea do not draw each other.

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Granted this is an atypical year for LCA but the fact that only two of these teams will make the 11th region tourney is tough.

 

I'm willing to say the 43rd district tournament might be tougher then the 11th region tournament this season. If not it's pretty close. I think LCA will continue to be on the rise in the next few years. Coach Valentine and his staff have done an outstanding job and have a great young player to build around in Rode.

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