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Bluegrasspreps.com 3rd Region Preview

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1. Owensboro Catholic Aces (21-9, 17-3) - The Aces roll into the 3rd region tourney with the golden horseshoe. In the first round district game against Daviess County, they used a furious 4th quarter rally and last second put back by JD Marshall to eliminate the Panthers. They erased an 11 point 2nd half deficit in the win. In the district title game, they trailed Apollo by 7 late in the 4th, but rallied to cut the lead to 3. Luke Hayden nailed a contested 40 footer as time expired to push the game into overtime where Catholic would hold on to win. Coach Tim Riley and the Aces come into the Sportscenter as the top team left standing in the region.

 

2. Meade County Greenwaves (16-6, 8-4) - Meade County comes into the tournament red hot, winning 6 of their last 7 games. They had an impressive win against a good Central Hardin team late in the regular season, then dominated the 11th district, knocking off Breck County by 10. The Waves are the defending region champs and have been to the title game in each of Coach Tripure's first 3 seasons. They probably got the toughest draw of any district champion however, as they take on red hot Apollo.

 

3. Ohio County Eagles (15-13, 12-5) - The Eagles defeated Muhlenberg County in impressive fashion to win the 10th district title. In their elimination game earlier last week, they knocked off upset minded Mclean County 62-49. Forwards John Parker and Logan Sandefur give the Eagles a chance to beat anyone on any night. Throw in great shooters like Dylan Decker and Trey Lewis and the Eagles could be a dangerous team with Tony Hopper leading the charge.

 

4. Apollo Eagles (13-15, 8-9) - Pure talent alone, Apollo is probably the best or second best team left standing in the region. 11 of Apollo's 15 losses have come by 4 points or less. They were a prayer away from beating Owensboro Catholic in the district championship. Back on Tuesday night, they upset the #1 Owensboro Red Devils in dramatic fashion. If Apollo can avoid foul trouble and can continue to play loose, they are going to be a very tough out. Big man James Graham has been the difference. He has improved all season, and has become the best big man in the region. It also gives Apollo a high percentage go-to guy late in games. If they can somehow keep momentum from a great 9th district tournament run, Apollo has a great shot of getting to Rupp.

 

5. Muhlenberg County Mustangs (11-15, 7-5) - The Mustangs had a bit of a let down in the 10th district championship game on Thursday. Coming off a bye, they never captured the energy that Ohio County was able to come out with. Will Nofsinger is the top scorer in the region and gives the Stangs a chance to make a run. The supporting cast however, is very young. It will be interesting to see how the Mustangs react to the regional tournament environment.

 

6. Breck County Tigers (15-12, 12-9) - Breck County had a very up and down regular season and that trend seemed to continue in the 11th district tournament. They knocked off a dangerous Hancock County team to keep their season alive in the district's first round. They could not sustain that momentum into the championship, losing to Meade by 10. The Tigers have Kobe Poole to lean on, but will have to find him some help in a very tough first round match-up with Owensboro Catholic.

 

7. Grayson County Cougars (13-16, 9-10) - The Cougars were the team left standing with the trophy in the wild 12th district tournament. They survived a tough game against rival Butler County in the first round and went on to blow out Edmonson for the title. The Cougars believe they are back where they belong, as they dominated this district for a long time. Former player, now coach Travis Johnston is looking to start his legacy at the school. They will be leaning on Bailey Logsdon moving forward.

 

8. Edmonson County Wildcats (10-21, 7-10) - The Cats continued their dominance over the Trinity Raiders this season with an upset win at the new Barn back last Monday night. That win puts them in the tournament. They were defeated soundly in the district title game by Grayson County. Edmonson will look to be the Cinderella of the 3rd region tournament, as they have nothing to lose. Logan Lindsey is the leading scorer at 11.4 points per game.

 

FIRST ROUND GAMES & PREDICTIONS

Meade vs Apollo - This should be the marquee game of the 1st round. These two teams did not meet in the regular season. While Apollo probably has more talent in their first 6-7 guys, Meade knows how to win and that is an area Apollo has struggled with all season. The Eagles will present a mismatch with James Graham in the middle. This game will come down to who can control the tempo. Whoever does that should win. PREDICTION: Apollo by 6

 

Ohio vs Edmonson - The Eagles come in with a lot of confidence. Look for big games by John Parker and Logan Sandefur. Tony Hopper is a surgeon this time of year and I expect that to continue on Wednesday night. PREDICTION: Ohio Co by 12

 

Grayson vs Muhlenberg - This is the the matchup that probably has the highest upset potential. Muhlenberg beat Grayson by 16 way back in the 2nd game of the season. If Nofsinger struggles to shoot, the Stangs could be in trouble, but i dont expect that to happen 2 games in a row. The Mustangs have played a TOUGH regular season schedule and this should be the time that pays off. PREDICTION: Muhlenberg by 5

 

Owensboro Catholic vs Breckenridge County - The Aces come into this game as an overwhelming favorite, but keep your eye on this one. They have played down to competition at times this season and have periods where they struggle to score. Kobe Poole can score with the best of them. The Tigers will have to take care of the ball if they want to have any shot. I have to think that Tim Riley will do his best to take away things that Poole likes to do. PREDICTION: Owensboro Catholic by 10.

 

3rd Region Championship Prediction: Apollo over Owensboro Catholic - Ill go homer with the prediction and take the Eagles to win it all. I think the 9th district has been the best all season, and Apollo is battle tested. If they bring the same mentality to the Sportscenter as they brought in the district title game last week, they are going to be hard to beat. The Aces would have to defeat them for 5th time (2 by last second shots), and that will be a tough task.

 

TOP PLAYERS TO WATCH AT THE SPORTSCENTER:

1. Will Nofsinger - Muhlenberg County (24ppg) - Nofsinger can score it better than anyone in the region. He is the type of player that can make everyone around him dangerous and that could be a recipe for an upset run to a regional title.

 

2. Aiden Matthews - Meade County (19.8 points/7.4 rebounds) - Matthews is the best player in the 3rd region that no one knows about. Playing in Meade County can sometimes do that to guys(being that its so far away from most region schools). Matthews can do it all and could be a big reason that Waves return to Rupp for the 2nd straight year.

 

3. Luke Hayden - Owensboro Catholic (11ppg) - While Hayden has admitiedly had a down season this year, he has also battled though very tough injuries. In the past 4 games he has gone over 20 points and looks to have a refreshed bounce to his step. If Catholic wins their 2nd regional title in 3 years, he will be a big big reason why.

 

4. Kobe Poole - Breck County (23.5ppg) - Poole knows how to score. Much like Nofsinger, when he gets going, he makes everyone around him better. He could be a key in pulling off a major first round upset vs Owensboro Catholic.

 

5. Nathan Boyle - Apollo (15.8ppg) - Boyle had a fantastic 9th district tournament and is probably one of the most underrated players in the region, by the fans at least. Coach Tim Riley called Boyle the best shooter in the region and a guy you must account for. Boyle has been attacking the rim a lot lately and has really improved his rebounding as well.

 

6. James Graham - Apollo - Graham has steadily improved his game throughout the season. Coming into the season he didnt have much of any varsity experience. He is a late bloomer who is blooming at the right time for Apollo. Graham is easily the best shot blocker in the region and protects the rim as well as anyone.

 

7 & 8. Logan Sandefur & John Parker - Ohio County - Both guys have a very similar game. Sandefur is probably a little better shooter and Parker is probably a little better down low, but both guys can beat you. They are a very good comination for Tony Hopper.

 

9.JD Marshall - Owensboro Catholic (12ppg/6rpg) - Marshall was the hero against Daviess County, with the go ahead rebound and putback with 1.5 seconds to go. Outside James Graham from Apollo, there really isnt a guy in the region who should be able to handle him on the block.

 

10. Chezney Weick - Meade County (10.6ppg/6rpg) - What I like about Weick is, he has been there before. He was a huge factor in last years regional title game. He is a scraper down low and can hit the mid range jumper. He should present some problems to teams with his physicality.

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Depending on which Apollo team shows up (I hope they are over that now) I agree. If bad Apollo shows, they could be bounced early.

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Depending on which Apollo team shows up (I hope they are over that now) I agree. If bad Apollo shows, they could be bounced early.

 

If anyone other than Apollo or OC comes out of the 3rd; it will be a very ugly 1st round game at state against the 9th.

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Great recap. I'm excited for this tournament and especially the first round game between Apollo and Meade. That should be a fun game to watch.

 

Great to see Matthews get some solid recognition here. In the District Championship on Friday he had 19 Points, 12 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 3 Blocks and 3 Steals. Kind of a typical stat line for him. Who has consistently put up the kind of numbers that he has in this region? I'm not just talking about scoring, I'm talking about a complete all-around player. At 6'5", he has great size and length and can also shoot from the perimeter. At no time did I ever feel like Matthews was not the best all-around player on the floor in Meade's 3rd Region games.

 

Kobe Poole is a pure scorer and is a different type of player. If we are looking at scoring only, then I think Poole is the best in the region because of his FG%. Poole's FG% is over 51.3% and he does damage from everywhere on the floor. I think he compares favorably to someone like Nofsinger who is shooting 40.7% from the field. Nofsinger takes about half of his shots from behind the arc and only shoots 36.3% out there (OK, but not great). If comparing those two, I'll take Poole who is a special player to watch.

 

Against very good teams outside the 3rd Region, Matthews had some huge games. John Hardin (38 Pts, 10 Rebs), Louisville Valley (33 Pts), Louisville Doss (great all around game with 19 Pts), Central Hardin (Double Double). Being outside of Owensboro doesn't help his cause for sure, but I think he is the best all-around player in the region this year.

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Should be a great regional tournament, but it will be one and done at State against 9th region. The Sportscenter will be fun this week and weekend.

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If anyone other than Apollo or OC comes out of the 3rd; it will be a very ugly 1st round game at state against the 9th.

 

Hate to say it, but could be ugly regardless.

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I think Apollo or Catholic could compete vs the 9th on a given night but they would be double digit under dogs vs CovCath or Cooper.

 

I do remember a double digit underdog Apollo team in 2006 knock off CovCath in round 1 too. It’s the Madness. You just never know.

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With night 1 in the books, I wont say I was surprised at the results, but they got my attention for sure. Apollo looks like a team that has turned the corner. They really put it on Meade County in the middle part of the game, as James Graham and Hayden Shelton took over. Graham is a force in the middle and has become one of the best players in the region. His shot blocking is unbelieveable. He finished 2 boards shy of a triple double with 16/8/10 blocks. Shelton took advantage of all the attention the Waves showed to Boyle, leading Apollo with 23. Once again it was Steve Barker's box and one defense that hurt Meade. Gray harassed Matthews all night long and I felt like he really frustrated him, holding him to 0 points in the first half, and only 7 in the 2nd. Coach Barker told me after the game that the team spent 2 days preparing for Matthews, which tells you how good of a player he is. Hats off to Meade on a solid season.

 

In the second game, Edmonson was 1 shot away from shocking Ohio County. While the game was nip and tuck, it was not well played. Ohio made several errors and just didn't shoot it very well. They survived a last second heave to win it by 1. Credit Edmonson for bringing the fight to the Eagles all game long. They erased an 8 point deficit in about a minute to tie the game with 30 seconds but they had no answer for John Parker the entire game. Parker was able to draw a foul with 5 seconds left, making 1 of 2. Edmonson couldn't find the basket in the scramble and Ohio held on. This will set up an Apollo/Ohio County rematch. In the regular season, Ohio defeated Apollo in a close one at home. It feels like Ohio will need to be much better on Saturday to match the red hot Apollo Eagles.

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With night 1 in the books, I wont say I was surprised at the results, but they got my attention for sure. Apollo looks like a team that has turned the corner. They really put it on Meade County in the middle part of the game, as James Graham and Hayden Shelton took over. Graham is a force in the middle and has become one of the best players in the region. His shot blocking is unbelieveable. He finished 2 boards shy of a triple double with 16/8/10 blocks. Shelton took advantage of all the attention the Waves showed to Boyle, leading Apollo with 23. Once again it was Steve Barker's box and one defense that hurt Meade. Gray harassed Matthews all night long and I felt like he really frustrated him, holding him to 0 points in the first half, and only 7 in the 2nd. Coach Barker told me after the game that the team spent 2 days preparing for Matthews, which tells you how good of a player he is. Hats off to Meade on a solid season.

 

In the second game, Edmonson was 1 shot away from shocking Ohio County. While the game was nip and tuck, it was not well played. Ohio made several errors and just didn't shoot it very well. They survived a last second heave to win it by 1. Credit Edmonson for bringing the fight to the Eagles all game long. They erased an 8 point deficit in about a minute to tie the game with 30 seconds but they had no answer for John Parker the entire game. Parker was able to draw a foul with 5 seconds left, making 1 of 2. Edmonson couldn't find the basket in the scramble and Ohio held on. This will set up an Apollo/Ohio County rematch. In the regular season, Ohio defeated Apollo in a close one at home. It feels like Ohio will need to be much better on Saturday to match the red hot Apollo Eagles.

 

You've been spot on, can't see going away from your opinion now. Good job. Just as you've done all year. I think Apollo's players are buying into what Barker's preaching. I feel that Barker's ability as a coach might be a bit under rated. What do you think? Still a bit miffed with OHS, but life must go on.:banghead:

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Great game plan from Apollo last night with the box and one on Matthews. Gray wore Matthews like a shirt the whole game (he was so close that it looked uncomfortable at times). One time he got his feet tangled up with Matthews as they were running down the court after a made basket. They were nowhere near the ball. Matthews fell forward into Gray and an official called him for an offensive foul. Completely unintentional. Gray was too close and underneath him. That kind of sums up how the game went.

 

Graham was a beast last night. I didn't expect to see him play that well. Apollo played faster than what I expected as well. They packed in a tight box and one zone and it helped to cover up any quickness issues on defense.

 

Great job by Apollo last night. Seems like they are playing at a totally different level right now.

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Great game plan from Apollo last night with the box and one on Matthews. Gray wore Matthews like a shirt the whole game (he was so close that it looked uncomfortable at times). One time he got his feet tangled up with Matthews as they were running down the court after a made basket. They were nowhere near the ball. Matthews fell forward into Gray and an official called him for an offensive foul. Completely unintentional. Gray was too close and underneath him. That kind of sums up how the game went.

 

Graham was a beast last night. I didn't expect to see him play that well. Apollo played faster than what I expected as well. They packed in a tight box and one zone and it helped to cover up any quickness issues on defense.

 

Great job by Apollo last night. Seems like they are playing at a totally different level right now.

 

The fact that they played box and one on Matthews says a lot about him, but more about his teammates. Generally the coach didn't think his teammates could do enough to win. If Matthews and/or Meade hadn't seen this at all this year then it is difficult to adjust to on the fly. Interesting move by Apollo. it may have been a good call against Meade but I don't know if this says much about Apollo's confidence in their abilities to defend moving forward.

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Very good point dognation2 and much agreed. It looked like Meade allowed the box and one to dictate things too much early in the game. Other than maybe an offensive putback attempt, Matthews didn't take a shot in the first quarter. I didn't see how Meade could win a game like this if he was going to be a non-factor. Some of the other kids certainly have had some nice games recently, but they can't carry a team the way he can. I think somehow that got lost and I'm not sure how.

 

It just looked like they needed to get Matthews involved earlier even if he had to force things a bit. He got Gray in foul trouble and off the floor, but the guards weren't looking for him when he had a size mismatch. I would not have allowed that to happen. He is your best player and you need to get him going.

 

Don't know how effective Apollo can be against other teams who have more scorers, but the box and one last night had the effect of taking the head off a snake. I was surprised by how good Apollo looked last night. They certainly have size, but quickness might be an issue.

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You've been spot on, can't see going away from your opinion now. Good job. Just as you've done all year. I think Apollo's players are buying into what Barker's preaching. I feel that Barker's ability as a coach might be a bit under rated. What do you think? Still a bit miffed with OHS, but life must go on.:banghead:

 

The players have changed their mentality and bought in to the TEAM mentality. Coach Barker has always been a phenomenal coach. He took McLean County to levels they had rarely reached. I just think that sometimes his old school style doesn’t mesh with the kids today. His defensive strategy over the last couple weeks has really been impressive.

 

As far as being spot on, there’s a ways to go and no one knows how this thing will turn out. I’ve watched a lot of games over the years and Apollo just has that look. We’ll see if they can finish it out.

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