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Region 8 Week 10 Review / District Tournament Preview

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8th Region Week 10 Review / District Tournament Previews

By:  Colonelmike


Random thoughts as Week 10 comes to a close….

CONGRATULATIONS to senior guard Kelly Niece of Simon Kenton, who just wrapped up a dream season.    Niece was announced this past week as the KABC 8th Region Player of the Year.    Along the way, the Pioneers’ star erased an old Simon Kenton single game scoring record when he racked up 47 points against Owen County in the final game of the season.

Niece finished the regular season as the region’s top scorer, averaging 31 ppg; as of this writing, that also makes him the leading scorer in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

KUDOS also go out to Coach Jason Burns of Spencer County!   Burns – who has led his team to a 17-6 record, won the KABC 8th Region Coach of the Year Award.

GRANT COUNTY finished the season as if COVID didn’t exist…..the Braves managed to get in 30 games throughout the season.    At the other end of the spectrum, CARROLL COUNTY and NORTH OLDHAM managed just 13 games – and Carroll played four of their 13 games just last week!

Congratulations to DALLAS ROBERTS, sophomore guard for North Oldham, who eclipsed the 1,000 point threshold against Bowling Green on 3/5/21.    Roberts, who is now in his third year as a starter at North, is now within a little over 800 points of North Oldham’s all-time scoring leader – his current HS coach, David Levitch.   A 2,000 point career scoring mark isn’t out of reach, either.

Kudos also to DYLAN HAMMONDS, Grant County sophomore, who has now recorded over 1,000 career points and over 500 career rebounds.

A remarkable FOUR players in the region averaged a double-double for the season:

     Dylan Hammonds, sophomore, Grant County     22.5 ppg / 10.9 rebounds.    Hammonds finished the year with four straight double-doubles.

     Trevor Hardin, senior, Henry County               22.4 ppg / 12.0 rebounds     

     Teagan Moore, sophomore, Owen County       27.9 ppg / 10.4 rebounds     Moore finished as the number two scorer in the 8th region.

     Keishaun Mumphrey, senior, Carroll County  24.5 ppg / 11.5 rebounds    Mumphrey – the only player in the 8th region to finish last year’s season averaging a double-double – had a double-double in his last 11 games and in 12 of his 13 contests.

     Honorable mention goes to Hunter Penn of Woodford County (16.1 ppg / 9.6 rebounds), and Tate Ogburn of Trimble County (12.3 ppg / 9.0 rebouds).

The 2021 8th Region All-Region team, per the KABC:

Kelly Niece, Simon Kenton       199 points (Player of the Year)

Trevor Hardin, Henry County  178

Sam Conley, Spencer County  162

Tyler Slone, Oldham County   123

Teagan Moore, Owen County 111

Brant Smithers, Walton-Verona   105

Deaton Oak, Oldham County   88

Hunter Penn, Woodford County   87

Dallas Roberts, North Oldham    81

Dylan Hammonds, Grant County   66

Jake Whitlock, Spencer County   60

Keishaun Mumphrey, Carroll County   37

Sam Campbell, Oldham County     19

Ben Michel, South Oldham    16

Timothy Fuller, Shelby County 12

Carson Wooldridge, Anderson County 12

Finally, heading into the post-season, the hottest team in the 8th Region is….Trimble County.   The Raiders have won five straight games heading into District play and are playing their best ball of the season.    More on the Raiders and their streak in the rankings, below.

Not a lot of movement in this week’s rankings….but some interesting notes, and Trimble County does advance a bit thanks to their current winning streak.


After Week Ten:    (this Week’s District Tournament schedules follow the Ranking):


1 - Oldham County – (10-4)  Last week: #1   Oldham County sat idle last week, and did not get any games in.   The Colonels, however, have been firmly in control of the #1 ranking all year, and with good reason.   

The senior-dominated Colonels maintained their claim all season with more big-time wins than any other 8th Region team, including victories over Top-10 DeSales and Top-20 ranked Eastern, combined with wins over upper-tier competition such as Spencer County (17-6), Conner (13-6), and Seneca.

It was unfortunate that COVID intervened; interesting matchups against Highlands and  Elizabethtown never happened.

Among the players to watch heading into the post-season:   Senior forward Tyler Slone (14 ppg / 5.6 rebounds), Deaton Oak (11.2 ppg), Sam Campbell (9.5 ppg), and Xander Wagner-Rose (8.1 ppg / 6.0 rebounds).   Oldham is one of the region’s top-shooting teams, hitting 48.1% from the floor overall, and a solid 36.7% beyond the arc.    At the line, the Colonels hit a blistering 76% during the season, with Slone (36 of 38, 94.7%) leading the way. 

You have to like Oldham’s chances when things get tight; four of the Colonels’ starters – Slone, Oak, Campbell, and Wagner-Rose – are hitting 82% or better from the stripe.

Oldham County is riding a three-game winning streak heading into the post-season, and has not lost to a region foe in five tries this year.


The Top Challengers

2 –  Simon Kenton (13-8)    Last week:  #2     Simon Kenton wrapped up the year on a three-game winning streak, and beat Newport (59-44) and Owen County (78-56) last week.

8th Region Player of the Year Kelly Niece wrapped up his senior campaign in style, with 22 points against Newport and a school-record 47 points against Owen County.   Niece was 19 of 31 from the floor and 6 of 7 at the line in the Owen win.

Niece set the SK record for most career points, most points in a game (47), won the KABC 8th Region Player of the Year award, and led the state in scoring at 31 ppg this year.   He did it while shooting an incredible 59.5% from the floor, including 40.2% beyond the arc (41 of 102)


3 – Spencer County (17-6)     Last week:  #3    Spencer dropped a game last week, falling 52-46, to Bardstown, but the Bears bounced back to end their season on a high note with an 81-55 win over North Bullitt.

Spencer’s win over NB was statistically one of the Bears’ best games of the season, as Spencer hit 51.8% from the floor – one of the few games Spencer shot over 50% this year – and hit a whopping 15 of 30 threes (50%).   The Bears had made an average of just 4.7 threes per game over the previous nine contests.  The fifteen makes were the most made threes by the Bears this season.    Three Bears made it into double digits against the Eagles, with Lucas Hornback scoring 19, Jonathan Combs 17, and Jake Whitlock 16 (including 4 of 8 threes).  John Howie (9 points) and Sam Conley (8) both just missed dougle figures.   Jason Nichols grabbed 10 rebounds in the win,

Conley, who finished third in the Player of the Year balloting, finished the season averaging 21.1 ppg / 7.4 rebounds.


The Next Group:


4 – Collins (10-8)   Last week:  #4     Collins lost their only matchup last week, 55-49, to #12-ranked Trinity   The Titans continue to struggle on the offensive end, and shot just 41.9% in the game, including just 2 of 13 from beyond the arc.   Quinton Simmons led the Titans with 15 points.

The Titans’ defense has kept them in ballgames; although Collins is averaging a mere 51.7 ppg, the Titans are giving up just 50.4 ppg.   Nine of the Titans’ 18 opponents have scored less than 50 points.

In fact, in the last 7 games, the Titans’ ballgames have resulted in little scoring by either team.  Neither the Titans nor their opponents have scored over 56 points in any of the last 7 games.


5 – Walton-Verona (14-13)    Last week:  #5   Things have kind of taken a turn for the worst for the Bearcats, who limp into the district tournament on a six-game losing streak, the second-longest losing streak in the region.

That said, the six-game stretch was arguably the toughest stretch of the W-V season, as the Cats faced Tenth Region power Mason County (2 point loss), 8th Region power Spencer County (8 point loss), and Ninth Region powerhouses Beechwood (lost by 4), Dixie Heights (lost by 26), and 11th-ranked Highlands (lost by 21).    Only the loss to the Holmes Bulldogs (by 9) was a bit of a surprise.

Last week, Walton dropped games to Holmes (85-76), Dixie Heights (72-46) and Highlands (80-59).    The Bearcats got great games from Brant Smithers (28 points) and Carter Krohman (15) in the loss to Holmes, hitting 14 of 28 threes in the contest….Smithers led the way against Dixie as well, with 13 points, but W-V hit just 40.5% from the floor in that loss    Against Highlands, W-V held its own on the glass against a much bigger Bluebird team, losing the rebounding battle just 34-31, but the Cats shot just 39.3% from the floor in the game   Smithers and Cameron Christy led the way with 15 apiece.

Walton had great balance all year; Smithers led the way with a 20.2 ppg average, while hitting 82 of 199 threes (41.2%).   Three other Bearcats averaged in double figures, including Christy (10.4 ppg), Krohman (11.3), and Conner Davis (10.4 ppg).

The Bearcats, who the 8th Region just 2 years ago, will have a rough road ahead.   As the District 32 second seed, they will have to defeat the red-hot Grant County Braves in the district first-round elimination game, a team they defeated by just 2 points during the regular season.


All Alone in the Mid-Pack

6 -  Grant County (15-15)    Last week:   #6   Grant County, one of the youngest teams in the region, needed games to catch up with the “veteran” clubs that didn’t need so much help from the off-season play.    The Braves got it – as the season comes to a close, Grant County has played more games than any other 8th Region team, getting in 30 games; every bit as many games as they normally would have gotten in.

The Braves split two last week, falling to Madison Central, 90-70, before rebounding with a convincing 65-43 victory over Gallatin County   

Dylan Hammonds added two more double-doubles to his resume this year, recording a 29 point / 10 rebound game against Madison Central before wrapping up the season with a 26 points / 10 rebound effort against Gallatin.

Hammonds, a sophomore, finished the year having reached over 1,000 career points and over 500 career rebounds.   He made the All-8th Region team, averaging 22.5 ppg and 10.9 rebounds, one of just four Region 8 players to average a double-double.    Hammonds shot 58.3% from the floor, and ended the year with four consecutive double-doubles.

A sterling free throw shooter, Hammonds made 135 of 162 free throws (83.3%). 

Grant County and Walton-Verona square off in the first round of the 32nd District in what should be a “knock-down, drag-out” affair between two teams that settled the regular season matchup by just 2 points (a Walton win).



Coming – and Going


7 – North Oldham  (4-9)  Last week:  #7 -    North lumbers into the post-season on a two game losing streak, but the Mustangs’ last two games have come against ranked opponents, as they lost to #8 Bowling Green on the road, 56-39, and to #17 St. X at home, 57-39.

Poor shooting was costly in both games, as North shot just 33% against BG and 29.8% against St. X.

North was actually in the ballgame against St. X through three quarters, but poor shooting and few free throw opportunities doomed the Mustangs.

North shot just 18 total free throw attempts in the two losses.

Inconsistency across the board has been North’s trademark this year, and it’s due to the limited number of games the Mustangs have been able to play.    Limited by bad weather and COVID, North has played fewer games than any other 8th Region team except Carroll County (both North and Carroll played just 13 games).

North is also limited to some degree by its youth; three starters are sophomores (Dallas Roberts, Ian Higdon, and Luke Anderson).   All are talented – Roberts made the All-Region team – but all are still sophomores, and their physical abilities are somewhat limited by that.

The defense took a while to start to “synch up” with this squad, which was hampered also by inconsistent shooting (42.9% shooting overall on the season, including 29.5% beyond the arc, and 66.4% from the line.)

North holds pat at #7 here in the final ranking in large part because nobody below them has really made a strong case to catch / pass the Mustangs.    North has won few games, but they have beaten one of the teams below them (South Oldham), and their 12-point win over Simon Kenton the road – the only 8th Region loss for SK so far this year – is a better region win than any region win owned by any of the teams below them.

True, North scored just 39 points in each of their last two games – but both were against ranked opponents.   North acquitted themselves very well against St. X, dogging the Tigers for three quarters before succumbing in the fourth.   And Bowling Green has held many well-regarded teams to low point totals as well:   Franklin-Simpson (12-3) scored just 39 points against BG, the same as North; South Warren (16-5) scored just 31 points against BG; Barren County (19-7) managed just 40 points, and Paducah Tilghman (17-4) scored only 47 points.

Five of North’s nine losses have come against teams currently ranked or ranked at the time of the game – Oldham County, Eastern, Butler, Bowling Green, and St. Xavier.   Their other four losses came against two Region 8 teams ranked ahead of the Mustangs (Collins, Grant County), an Indiana powerhouse (Jeffersonville), and a KY team that had just gotten all of its star players active (Evangel Christian). 

So – for the moment – North Oldham stays at #7.   


8– Gallatin County (13-9)     Last week:  #8    Gallatin was unfortunate enough to be sidelined with a quarantine – but the Wildcats were fortunate enough to get back to action just before the end of the season, getting in three final games before launching into tournament action.

The Cats looked like a team that’d been off for two weeks in their games last week, getting hammered by Trimble County, 65-45 and Grant County (65-43) before rebounding to end the regular season with a narrow win, 61-53, over Ludlow.

The Cats shot like the ball like many teams have after long quarantine layoffs, hitting just 27.1% of their shots in the loss to Trimble and 31.9% against Grant.   The Wildcats made just 7 of 36 threes combined in the two losses, and even struggled at the stripe, hitting a combined 19 of 34.

Win, lose, or draw, though, the three games will be tremendously beneficial to Gallatin County as they head into the District tournament, facing Carroll County in one of the first round “play-in” games in the 31st District.    The path to the region isn’t easy for Gallatin; despite their 1-12 record, Carroll is notorious for playing Gallatin County tough over the years, including a 58-52 decision this year (won by Gallatin).   As the #3 seed, Gallatin would then have to beat #2 seed Owen County in order to advance to the District finals and secure a spot in the region 8 tournament.

This hasn’t been the best shooting Gallatin squad, hitting just 42.3% from the floor.   But veteran coach Jon Jones has a balanced attack, with three players – Logan Riddle, Ashton Gullion, and Drake Skidmore – all averaging about 10 ppg, and Hayden Dickerson right behind at 9.2 ppg.


The “Impossible to Rank” Group  - South beat Henry at Henry by 26….Henry beat Gallatin twice….Gallatin beat South Oldham by 10.    Then there’s Owen County, who’s split with Henry County and Gallatin County.   Shelby County is surging – including a win over Henry, but a loss to Owen.    Meanwhile, Trimble has lost to Henry twice, but split with Owen…


9 – Shelby County (9-10)  Last week:    #9 –  Shelby played no games last week, and that downtime may not be helpful as they get set to go into District 30 play – but on the other hand, the Rockets didn’t risk anything, including any exposure to another team that potentially had COVID.  

Shelby comes into the post-season having won 5 of their last 6 games, including a 4-0 mark against Region 8 foes (Anderson County, Grant County, Henry County, and Trimble County).   The Rockets’ offensive arsenal is growing with the recent development of Kyre Bishop into an offensive alternative.

Bishop – a sophomore who has only played in five games – is averaging 12.6 ppg, and actually led the Rockets in scoring in the last game, a 78-70 win over Henry County – with 20 points and 6 rebounds.

Shelby has a tough opening round game in the District 30 tournament, facing longtime rival Anderson County, a team they beat just recently by just 4 points (44-40).


10 – Woodford County (8-11)  Last week:   #10 –  The Yellowjackets did not play last week, either, but the Yellowjackets go into the post-season in a good position as they earned the #1 seed in the District 30 tournament.

Woodford (3-1 in District 30 play) actually tied with Spencer County in district competition, but the Yellowjackets won the tiebreaker by virtue of their head-to-head victory, 60-47, over Spencer County back on January 15th, when Spencer was still without the services of star senior Sam Conley due to injury.

As such, Woodford gets a first round bye and will face the winner of the Shelby County – Anderson County game in the semi-finals.

For Woodford, it may all come down to the offense.   The Yellowjackets are 8-3 when scoring 60 points or more, but Woodford County is winless (0-8) when they fail to reach 60 in a game.

The Yellowjackets need to shake off their recent trend; Woodford has lost 7 of its last 9 games, and it will be interesting to see if the layoff helps to put those ghosts to bed, or if the time away from the court puts Woodford at a disadvantage due to “rust”.


11 – South Oldham (7-9)   Last week:  #11   Difficult to know where to place the Dragons this week, but one thing is sure:   South has been able to put together a little momentum heading into the post-season.

South has now won three straight games, matching the team’s longest winning streak of the season and putting an end to a stretch where South had dropped 8 of 9 contests.

Last week, South got a 65-57 win over Anderson County and followed it up with a 66-62 road win over Central Hardin.

After shooting nearly 64% in a win over Iroquois the week before, the Dragons shot 54.5% against Anderson and 55.8% against Central Hardin.  The three consecutive wins have largely been driven by two juniors, Ben Michel and Cole Davis.    Oddly enough, the two have scored the same number of points in all three contests.

Michel and Davis both had 18 against Iroquois; 19 against Anderson, and 12 against Central Hardin.

Talk about weird.

Senior Cayden Brown has been the only other Dragon in double figures in the last three games, with 10 against Iroquois, 15 against Anderson, and 18 against Central Hardin.


Looking for momentum….


12 – Henry County (15-9) Last week:  #12     Henry County also did not play last week.

Trevor Hardin finished his senior season with a 22.4 ppg / 12.0 rebounds average, a statline that helped earn him runner-up honors in the 8th Region Player of the Year balloting.

Hardin has been supported on the inside by twin tower Sam Royalty, who’s averaging 8.8 ppg / 8.4 rebounds, giving Henry a terrific 1-2 punch on the inside.   Guard Kevin Wix is Henry’s #2 scorer, averaging 14.6 ppg.

Henry has been somewhat limited in its attack this year; as versatile and prolific as Hardin and Royalty are on the inside, the perimeter game has been suspect, as Wildcat shooters have hit just 97 of 326 threes on the season for a mere 29.8%

The Wildcats finished as the #1 seed in the 31st District, and therefore have earned a spot against the winner of the game between Trimble County and Eminence in the district semi-finals.   Henry beat Trimble by twenty – twice – and blasted Eminence twice, by 20 and by 25 points.  The Wildcats go into the post-season as a heavy favorite to advance to the 8th Region tournament.



13 – Trimble County   (10-12)    Last week:  #15   Trimble County is the only upward-moving team in the ranking this week, advancing two spots to #13.    The Raiders have won a region-best 5 straight games, and have defeated Owen County recently.    The Raiders are 9-6 over their last 15 games – the same record as Owen County during that span – but the Raiders have gotten some momentum with the current five game winning streak, have earned that win over Owen County, and – unlike Anderson County, the other team they have passed – have recorded some stirring victories over some decent teams, such as Gallatin County (by 20),

Trimble beat Carroll County last week, 67-58, then followed with a dominant victory over Gallatin Coujnty, 65-45.   The Raiders closed out the regular season with a 67-60 win over Bethlehem.

Trimble hit over 50% in two of those games – 53.1% against Carroll and 55.1% against Owen – and got good contributions from throughout their roster.

Tate Ogburn led the Raiders in scoring in one of the games – 25 points against Gallatin – and tallied double-doubles against all three.  In fact, the junior registered four consecutive double-doubles to close out the season, including 16 points / 13 rebounds against Carroll, 25 points / 16 rebounds against Gallatin, and 16 points / 11 rebounds against Bethlehem.  

J. T. Wilcoxson, a sophomore, led the Raiders in scoring in two of the three games, with 20 points against Carroll and 19 against Bethlehem.

About all that’s gone poorly over the last five games has been the Raider free throw shooting.   Trimble shot less than 50% (8 of 18) against Carroll, rebounded to knock down 23 of 29, nearly 80%, in the win over Gallatin County, but then shot a meager 12 of 24 in the win over Bethlehem.


14 – Owen County (14-10)   Last week:  #13   Owen County had a busy final week of the regular season, winning three of four as they prepped for the District 31 tournament.

Owen got three consecutive wins over teams they were expected to beat, topping Dayton, 76-45, Ludlow, 66-54, and Carroll County, 63-48, before dropping their final game of the season to the region’s #2 team, Simon Kenton, 78-56.

Sophomore guard Teagan Moore – who finished as the #5 vote-getter in the 8th Region Player of the Year Balloting, with the highest vote tally for an underclassman this year – had a phenomenal week, cracking the 40 point market twice and the 30 point mark once (no stats were available for the SK game).   Moore had 47 against Dayton, 41 points and 14 rebounds against Ludlow, and 32 points / 13 rebounds against Carroll County.

Moore finished the regular season as the #2 scorer in the region at 27.9 ppg.   Moore averaged a double-double, adding 10.4 rebounds / game to his resume.

During the course of the three wins, Moore showed he had the knack for getting to the free throw line; he hit 30 of 36 free throw attempts over the three games.

The Rebels’ 14 wins are more than their total number of wins over the last two years’ combined (12 wins), and their first season with double-digit victories since 2015-16, when Owen went 29-4.


15 – Anderson County (6-9)    Last week:  #14 – Anderson split two games last week, falling to South Oldham, 65-57, and defeating Frankfort Christian, 67-47.

Anderson shot well against South (55% from the floor), but the Bearcats hardly got any chances at the line on a night when every point counted big.   Anderson made it to the stripe just four times, making one free throw.   Carson Wooldridge scored 19 points and grabbed 8 boards.

It is worth noting that the Bearcats won just one game out of seven against 8th Region opponents this season; only Eminence and Carroll County have so few region wins.


16 – Williamstown (11-16)   Last week:  #16   Jacob Cheesman is working hard to change the culture in Williamstown, and to cultivate the idea that a small school can still win.    In his first season last year, the Demons improved from a 9 win season the year before, winning fourteen games en route to a 14-17 record, a 4-8 mark against region competition, and a strong year-end finish, going 6-3 over the final nine games.   It was the Demons’ best record in three seasons.

Williamstown again finished strong, winning 4 of their final 6 regular season games.   The Demons won their final two games last week, topping Villa Madonna, 64-49, paced by Joel McCain’s double-double (18 points / 10 rebounds) and then wrapped the regular season up with a 54-46 win over Dayton, with Gunner Feagan scoring 19 to lead the way.

Williamstown, which has struggled to shoot straight this year, shot the ball well in both wins, hitting 51.9% against VM and 48.6% against Dayton.

The “youth group” that will tell this squad’s future did well in both games.    There were five players who reached double figures in one or both games, and four of those players were underclassmen, including Joel McCain (junior – 18 points and 10 points vs. Dayton), Gunner Feagan (sophomore 10 points and 19 points, respectively), Honore Yangoua (freshman, 12 points vs. VM), and Colton Feagan (freshman, 12 points vs. Dayton).

Williamstown hosts the 32nd district tournament this week.

17 – Carroll County (1-12)   Last week:  #17   Carroll County played four of their thirteen games last week.  

The Panthers fell to Trimble County, 67-58, Frankfort, 74-55, Owen County 63-48, and Great Crossing, 67-48.   The four losses extended the region’s longest losing streak to ten games.

The losses weren’t entirely unexpected; the Panthers had played just 9 games coming into last week, and they hadn’t played since February 23rd.    They had had six straight games cancelled due to COVID.

Keishaun Mumphrey wrapped up an incredible senior season in style, with double-doubles in all four games.    The Panther senior had 23 points / 12 boards against Trimble, 31 points / 13 rebounds against Frankfort, 23 points / 10 boards against Owen, and finished the regular season with 23 points / 11 rebounds against Great Crossing.

Mumphrey finished the regular season with an amazing eleven straight double-doubles, and had a double-double in 12 of the Panthers’ 13 regular season games.    He finished year with averages of 24.8 ppg and 11.5 rebounds.


18 – Eminence (6-19)   Last week:  #18   Eminence came into the final week of the season just 3-18, but the Warriors doubled their win total in the final week, taking 3 of 4 games to end the regular season on a high note.

The Warriors edged Whitefield Academy to start the week, winning 49-45.    The Warriors took their only loss of the week in game two, falling by four to Walden (59-55), before winning out with victories over Burgin (55-53) and Calvary Christian (54-46).

Eminence saw different players taking the lead during the week; Bladin Malone tallied 17 points to lead the way in the win over Whitefield; Josh Ruzanka scored 18 in the loss to Walden.  

In the victory over Burgin, three Warriors tied for scoring honors, with Blaze Berry, Ruzanka, and Elijah League each scoring 13 points

Ruzanka led the way against Calvary with 22 points.




District 29 – Oldham County / South Oldham / North Oldham – Defending champion:  Oldham County

Favorite:  Oldham County

Defending Champ:  Oldham County

Oldham rides into this tournament as the favorite to defend their title, which would make it not just the Colonels’ second straight district title, but their 10th in the last 11 years.    Although the benefit is somewhat negligible due to the COVID-limited crowds, the Colonels will also derive whatever benefit comes from hosting the tournament in Buckner

The Colonels should be playing without any pressure; as the #1 seed in a 3-team district, Oldham County is automatically in the district championship game, meaning the Colonels are already guaranteed an 8th Region tournament berth.

Why the Colonels will win:  Oldham is long, and the Colonels use their length well, both on the glass, and very effectively on defense.   Oldham is the best shooting team in the district, and the Colonels are brutally efficient at the free throw line.    Finally, the Colonels have depth and tremendous balance; Tyler Slone – at 14 ppg – leads this team in scoring, but the Colonels have several players who can – and have – scored 18-20+ points on any given night.  Though Oldham is an inside-first team, the Colonels have several strong outside shooters who are good enough to keep defenses honest.  

Why Oldham might not win:   Oldham went 2-0 against North Oldham and South Oldham this year, and both of those games came in the first three games of this crazy season.    But both wins were close contests, as Oldham beat South in the season opener by just 8 points and North two games later by only 9.    A lot of water has gone under the bridge, and both South and North have improved.    Have they closed the gap any?   Maybe not – but the on-court gap wasn’t that big, based on those early scores.   Unlike the other districts in the region, District 29 is entirely a “backyard” affair, with all the teams hailing from the same county.    The players on these three teams have played with – and against – each other since they were 5-6 years old.    There are few surprises.  The other factor that may be working against Oldham is the time off; Oldham hasn’t played since March 4.   The Colonels will have had two weeks idle when they play the title game, and we’ve seen what time off has done to teams this year.

The contenders:  South Oldham and North Oldham – South Oldham ended the season on a three game winning streak, and Steve Simpson now has a core group of players who have stepped up and made this team their own.   The Dragons offense – unusually stagnant at times this year – has produced 65+ points in each of the three wins.   Ben Michel – Cayden Brown – point guard Cole Davis seem to be developing a real chemistry.  South has hit 54.5% or better in each of their past three games.   The Dragons appear to be pretty healthy right now, which may be their trump card.   Simpson has a deep bench with plenty of interchangeable parts he can plug-and-play as needed.   A pair of underclassmen on that bench may be the Dragons’ “wild cards”; sophomore Kiya Ledford brings incredible energy off the bench at both ends of the court; he has to avoid foul trouble to be a factor for South.   And Coach Simpson would love to see freshman Christian Veirs re-discover his shooting eye; the talented freshman was a dead-eye early in the season, but has been in a slump of late.

North Oldham stumbles into the post-season with just 4 wins to its credit, and only 13 games played all year – tied with Carroll County for the fewest games played of any 8th Region team.   The Mustangs are bursting with talent, but have yet to put it all together in a ballgame.   Dallas Roberts is one of the most exciting players in the region, and will ultimately be one of the region’s all-time greatest scorers.   Austin Carr-Cole is a strong scorer that helps keep the defense from focusing on Roberts, but Carr-Cole – who has been out of action – has hit just 4 of 20 shots since coming back to the lineup two games ago.   Ian Higdon and Luke Anderson have both showed great potential on the inside, but both are sophomores and have lacked consistency.    Consistency is the challenge for North; when the Mustangs are on, they are very good; when their shots aren’t falling – and they are hitting just 42.9% on the season – the Mustangs are very vulnerable, since their defense hasn’t proven to be strong enough to carry the team.

North beat South Oldham in the regular season, 52-48.   This game is likely a true toss-up.   North probably wins if they are able to get the ball inside with any regularity; South probably wins if the Dragons can get the kind of ball movement they have shown at times this year.  

North can’t afford the defensive letdowns that have characterized the Mustangs’ season at times; South can ill-afford to leave points on the wayside by missing free throws.

South last won the district in 2019; the Dragons have advanced out of District play for five straight seasons.  North last won a district tournament game in 2015, when they beat South Oldham 68-61 and advanced to the Region tournament as the district runner-up.

PREDICTION:  Oldham over South in the finals

Schedule:  (All District 29 tournament games broadcast – free, live video on www.pegasussportsky.com)

            Tuesday, 3/16/21 – North Oldham vs. South Oldham 7 pm               at Oldham Co HS

            Friday, 3/19/21 – Oldham County vs. North / South winner  7 pm       at Oldham Co HS


DISTRICT 30 – Woodford County, Spencer County, Collins, Anderson County, Shelby County

Favorite:  Spencer County

Defending Champ:  Collins

Why Spencer will win:   The Bears are the most veteran team in the 30th, with a starting unit that has largely remained intact for years.    Sam Conley is the best player in the 30th district, and is probably the best player in the district at either end of the court.    Jake Whitlock – though he made All-Region – is probably one of the most overlooked talents in the entire region, and gives Spencer a multi-dimensional guard who has tremendous penetration abilities as well as a solid outside shot.    And although the Bears’ defense may play second fiddle in the district to Collins, the Bears are a tremendous defensive unit that plays blue-collar basketball and is good at staying in front of the offensive player with the ball.

Why Spencer Might Not Win:   Spencer doesn’t have a lot of quality depth on the bench, and the Bears can ill-afford to get into foul trouble.    In addition, Spencer simply doesn’t shoot all that well, hitting just 41.9% of their shots overall, and only 30.9% of their threes.    At the line, Spencer is near the bottom of the 8th Region with a very pedestrian 68.1%.    Poor shooting led to Spencer’s most perplexing loss of the year, to Western – the Bears shot just 29.4% from the floor, 17.6% (3 of 17) from beyond the arc, and 53.8% at the line in that loss.    The post-season is a one-and-done affair; there are no second chances for Spencer if they have a poor night shooting.

The Contenders:   Collins would appear to be the primary challenger to Spencer’s bid.    The Titans played Spencer close in a 4-point game late this season.   Collins has done a remarkable job all season of preventing teams for scoring, and they are allowing just 50.4 ppg.    Nine teams have failed to reach 50 points against Collins.   The problem for the Titans, is that they have to keep the score low because they are only scoring 51.7 ppg, and the Titans really have a very limited perimeter attack that they can use to open up the middle.   

Woodford County is the tournament #1 seed, but there probably hasn’t been a #1 seed getting this little respect in their district tournament in some time.     The Jackets earned the #1 seed by going 3-1 in district play, tying Spencer, and the Yellowjackets got the tiebreaker nod by virtue of a 13-point win over Spencer early in the season, when Sam Conley was out with an injury.   Despite the number one seed, all the attention still seems to be focused on Spencer and Collins.  Still, Woodford will be in the mix here.   The Jackets boast all-region center Hunter Penn (16.1 ppg / 9.6 rebounds), arguably the best big man in the District, and the Yellowjackets are the best shooting team in the district, hitting 51% of their shots, including 40.4% from beyond the arc.   But Woodford goes as Penn goes, and if Penn has to sit for any length of time, it will be interesting to see who steps up for Woodford on offense, as Penn is the only player averaging in double figures.

Shelby County is the hottest team coming into the district 30 tourney, having won 5 of their last 6, but – like Woodford County – Shelby didn’t play at all last week, and will deal with the negative aspects of a layoff.   The Rockets could be a real spoiler; Shelby is playing its best ball of the year and features a lineup with several scorers who can lead the team.    The emergence of sophomore Kyre Bishop – who has averaged 12.6 ppg since hitting the lineup 5 games ago – makes Shelby a bit of a mystery team.  

Anderson County looks to be “odd man out” this year, but keep in mind that Anderson County beat Collins this year, and lost to Shelby by just 4 and Woodford by 9.    Only Spencer, who beat Anderson by 16, handled the Bearcats with any kind of ease.   Anderson couldn’t play Spencer, though, until the finals, so don’t be shocked if the Bearcats – who have split their last eight games – show up in the championship game.

The awkward thing about this tournament is that one of the top 4 ranked teams in the 8th Region will be eliminated on Wednesday night.   Since Spencer and Collins finished as the #2 and #3 seeds, they will play in an elimination semi-final game in a rematch of the Bears’ 42-38 win over Collins on 2/26/21 (at Collins)

PREDICTION:   Spencer County over Shelby County

Schedule:   at Collins HS

Monday, 3/15/21        8:15 pm           Shelby County vs. Anderson County                        play-in

Tuesday, 3/16/21        8:15 pm           SF - Woodford County vs. Shelby / Anderson winner

Wednesday, 3/17/21   8:15 pm           SF - Collins vs. Spencer County

Friday, 3/19/21           7 pm                Semi-final winner 1 vs. Semi-final winner 2 (Finals)


DISTRICT 31 – Henry County / Owen County / Gallatin County / Trimble County / Carroll County / Eminence

Favorite:   Henry County Wildcats

Defending Champ:  Gallatin County

Why Henry County Will Win:   The Wildcats finished the season on a three game losing streak, but Henry has been the steadiest team in the 31st district all year, and most notably, they have only lost once against District 31 competition, a 9-point early season loss to Owen County.    The Wildcats returned the favor with a 13 point win over the Rebels late in the season, beat defending champ Gallatin County twice in two close games, and dominated the rest of the district en route to the #1 seed.   Eighth Region Player of the Year runner-up Trevor Hardin is the most dominant big man in the region, and Sam Royalty helps him form Henry County’s version of the “Twin Towers”.    Every missed shot tends to end up in one of their pairs of hands.   Henry County will be playing at home, and despite the fact COVID is limiting fans in the stands, the New Castle gym presents a special challenge to visitors; the deep, deep emptiness beyond the east end goal is a dark blackness that shooters aren’t used to in most gyms.   It gives the Cats a decided home court advantage.   

Why Henry County Might Not Win:   The 31st district teams play each other at least twice a year, so opponents get plenty of opportunities to know each others’ soft spots.   For Henry, that may well be their outside shooting.    Brandon Graves has hit 54 threes at a reasonable 34% clip, but the rest of the team combined has added just 43 more made threes.   Together, the Cats are hitting just 29.8% from beyond the arc   If an opponent can bottle up the Wildcats’ powerful inside game – easier said than done – Henry may struggle to keep up with the jump shot.    The Wildcats also struggle at the stripe, hitting just 61% as a team, one of the lowest percentages in the 8th Region.   Kevin Wix is a solid 71% at the stripe, and he’s been there 115 times…but Hardin, who – not surprisingly - has taken the most free throw attempts (142), has made just 58.5% of his shots.   And fellow center Sam Royalty, who has taken the third-most free throws (79), is shooting just 46.8% at the stripe.   

The Contenders:    Defending champion Gallatin County and a very young Owen County look to be the primary challengers to the home team.   Trimble County, one of the hottest teams in the district coming into the tourney, may be a dark horse.    Carroll County and Eminence may pull off a surprise or two, but both will need a little bit of good fortune to come their way in order to win three games and the tournament.

Gallatin was supposed to be rebuilding this year, but Jon Jones, the 8th Region “Dean of Coaches”, has worked his magic again, and the Wildcats have won 12 of their last 16 coming into the tournament.   Gallatin has had its ups and downs against 31st district teams, though – three of those four losses came against Henry County (by 7), Trimble County (by 20), and Owen County (by 7 in OT).   Overall, Gallatin is 6-5 against district foes, leaving the four-time defending champs as the #3 seed, and forced to win three games.   Gallatin hasn’t been a typical Jon Jones team in the sense that the Wildcats haven’t been the best shooting team (42% from the field, 61.1% at the line), but Gallatin will present some defensive challenges because the Cats have a number of players who can have a big game on any given night.   Logan Riddle, Zac Johnson, Hayden Dickerson, Drake Skidmore, and Ashton Gullion all can be the scoring leader for the Cats.   And Gallatin rarely beats itself.

Owen County is an extremely young team; Coach Devin Duvall has been cultivating this group for the last couple of seasons, leading to a team that is physically young – but mentally advanced.   Sophomore Teagan Moore was one of the top vote-getters in the Player of the Year balloting, and is #2 in scoring in the region at 27.9 ppg.   A matchup nightmare on the outside at about 6’5”, Moore is averaging a double-double, grabbing 10.4 boards a game.    Of the top five scorers on the Rebels’ roster, only Jack Spurgeon is a senior.    Isaac Wash, #2 in scoring at 11.4 ppg, is a freshman, 6’8” center Brax Ward is a freshman, and Lincoln Cobb is a junior guard.   Perhaps because of the youth, Owen has been up-and-down at times, but the Rebels won 2 of 3 against Gallatin, split two with Henry, and split two with Trimble.    The district mark was good enough to give Owen the #2 seed.    Moore is one of the hottest players heading into tournament play, averaging 35.4 ppg over the last five games…

Trimble County looks to be the wild card.   The Raiders face Eminence in the first round game, and will be favored to advance to a semi-final matchup against Henry County.    The matchup probably isn’t to head coach Marcus Mumphrey’s liking; Trimble lost twice to Henry County by 20 points; a matchup with Owen – who the Raiders split two games against – in the other SF might have been preferable.   But Trimble – led by a balanced scoring attack similar to Gallatin’s – is definitely playing their best ball.   The Raiders are hitting a solid 47% from the floor; watch for sophomore J.T. Wilcoxson, who’s averaging a team-high 14.1 ppg, and junior Tate Ogburn, who’s almost averaging a double-double at 12.3 ppg / 9 rebounds.   Senior Dylan Jennings (13.9 ppg) provides leadership and is hitting nearly 55% of his shots.

Carroll County has been a victim of horrible circumstances surrounding COVID, but don’t overlook the Panthers in the first round; Carroll has a long history of playing Gallatin County close, and – despite winning just one game this year – Carroll lost to the Wildcats twice, by just one point and by six points.   Keishaun Mumphrey, who has recorded 12 double-doubles in the Panthers’ 13 games, will be a huge factor in that game.

Eminence looks overmatched this year, but the Warriors are the youngest team in the region, with no seniors, one junior, seven sophomores, three freshmen, and two 8th graders on the roster.   Sophomore Josh Ruzanka leads the team at 12.9 ppg.

Prediction:    Henry County over Gallatin County

Schedule:  (note that the first round games will be held at different sites)

Monday 3/15/21         6 pm    Gallatin County vs. Carroll County at Gallatin County HS

Monday 3/15/21         6 pm    Trimble County vs. Eminence at Trimble County HS

Tuesday 3/16/21         6 pm    Owen County vs. Gallatin / Carroll winner at Henry County HS

Tuesday 3/16/21         8 pm    Henry County vs. Trimble / Eminence winner at Henry County HS

Friday 3/19/21            7 pm    Championship


DISTRICT 32 – Simon Kenton, Grant County, Walton-Verona, and Williamstown

Favorite:   Simon Kenton

Defending Champ:  Simon Kenton

Why Simon Kenton will win:   The Pioneers are the highest scoring team in the 8th Region at 72.8 ppg, are one of the best shooting teams in the region (51% from the floor, 36% beyond the arc, and 78% at the line), and they have been tested by one of the most aggressive schedules in the region.   SK plays with the confidence of a veteran team, and finds the open man quickly on offense.   SK boasts the 8th Region Player of the Year in senior Kelly Niece, who not only leads the region, but the state, in scoring at 31 ppg while hitting 59.5% of his shots.   Four of the players who play the most are hitting 79% or better at the line.    Simon Kenton beat all three of their district rivals by 12 points or more during the regular season.   Finally, SK comes into the tourney having won 4 of their last 5 games, including a big win over Top 20 Ashland.

Why Simon Kenton might not win it:   Walton-Verona can put five tremendous shooters on the court at any given time, and might be able to simply “outscore” the Pioneers.   Grant County, one of the youngest teams in the 8th Region, has really come on of late in what was originally thought to be a rebuilding year.    Neither team will be dislodged easily by SK’s “shock and awe” offense.    At the end of the day, however, SK should be the biggest favorite to win their district among the four districts in region 8.   Walton-Verona and Grant – SK’s biggest threats – would need a bit of luck to go their way to pull off the upset.    None of the three top teams in the district are big; if one could control the glass against SK, control the tempo – preventing the Pioneers from getting into transition, and pressure the SK shooters enough to bring that shooting percentage down, an upset could be possible.

The Contenders:    Walton-Verona would appear to be the Pioneers’ primary threat; former SK star guard Mike Hester has the Bearcats playing well.    W-V is a great shooting team that can light it up from the outside, and they would be the best-suited team to try to keep up with the SK scoring machine.   Size could be an issue for the Bearcats and they might be caught in the position of trying to outrace a Simon Kenton team that wants to run.   The bottom-line, though, is if W-V gets the feel of the rims, things could get interesting in a hurry.

Grant County was expected to be in a rebuilding mode this year, but coach Joe Utter has taken a young crew and molded them together quickly.   Grant benefitted from getting in more games than any other 8th Region team, finishing 15-15.   Sophomore Dylan Hammonds has been one of the best players on the court in the 8th Region this year, period.   He’s almost become an automatic double-double each night out, and is averaging 22.5 ppg / 10.9 rebounds, and hitting 58.3% of his shots.   Fouled a lot, Hammonds has become deadly at the stripe, hitting 135 of 162 free throws for 83.3%.    The Braves wound up opening some eyes by going 11-5 against 8th Region competition, and knocked off traditional power South Oldham in late February.

The unfortunate thing about the 32nd District tournament is that either Walton or Grant will exit the post-season early.    The current Region 8 rankings have Walton-Verona at #5 and Grant County at #6, so – arguably – one of the Region’s top 6 teams will not visit New Castle.   (we have a similar issue in the 30th as #4 Collins and #3 Spencer County square off in an elimination game).

Williamstown appears to be the odd-man-out this year, but the Demons are playing at home in the tiny Williamstown gym, which will definitely provide a home court advantage.

Prediction:   Simon Kenton over Walton-Verona in the finals.


Monday           3/15/21            Simon Kenton vs. Williamstown        8 pm       at Williamstown HS

Tuesday           3/16/21            Grant County vs. Walton-Verona      8 pm       at Williamstown HS

Thursday         3/18/21            Championship                                     7 pm       at Williamstown HS


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Monday 3/15/21 winners:

Anderson County (30th District) - Bearcats advance to face #1 seed Woodford County

Trimble County and Gallatin County (31st district) - Trimble advances to face Henry County; Gallatin advances to face Owen County.

Simon Kenton (32nd district) - SK advances to the 32nd district finals against the winner of WV / Grant County game.

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All of the 29th District games will be broadcast live on Pegasus Sports at www.pegasussportsky.com

Free live video.   Broadcasts archived for one year.

Pegasus will also cover ALL games of the boys (and the girls) 8th Region tournaments.


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Generally, the All - Region team - voted on by the coaches - goes to the Top 15 vote-getters.   The #1 vote-getter wins the POY award.    

Thought I've never heard it referred to in this manner, many have said that the 15 players represent "1st Team" (first 5), "2nd Team" (second five), and "3rd Team" (third group of five).   Makes sense, though again, I've never actually heard it referred to that way in the 8th.

This year is a bit different in that there was a tie.   Both Timothy Fuller of Shelby County and Carson Wooldridge of Anderson County received 12 points, so there are 16 players instead of 15.

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39 minutes ago, ColonelMike said:

Generally, the All - Region team - voted on by the coaches - goes to the Top 15 vote-getters.   The #1 vote-getter wins the POY award.    

Thought I've never heard it referred to in this manner, many have said that the 15 players represent "1st Team" (first 5), "2nd Team" (second five), and "3rd Team" (third group of five).   Makes sense, though again, I've never actually heard it referred to that way in the 8th.

This year is a bit different in that there was a tie.   Both Timothy Fuller of Shelby County and Carson Wooldridge of Anderson County received 12 points, so there are 16 players instead of 15.

I guess I should point out that Fuller and Wooldridge tied for spot #15, so the coaches took both.   Had they tied for any other spot, there would have been just 15 players chosen...

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2 hours ago, Mojocat said:

My goodness, what an exhausting preview - I can't imagine how long it took to pull all of that together!  Very much appreciated, ColonelMike.


No doubt ColonelMike does fantastic work. It's knowledgeable, exhaustively researched, and well written. I see an 8th Region Review and it's like reading the whole Sunday newspaper and sharing a pot of coffee with an old friend.

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District results so far....

District 29:   Finals - Oldham County vs. North Oldham -   North Oldham earns a spot in the region tourney for the first time since 2015.

District 30:   Finals - Spencer / Collins winner vs. Anderson County - Anderson, the #5 seed, takes out Shelby and #1 seeded Woodford County to advance.

District 31:  Finals - Owen County vs. Henry County - the top 2 seeds advance.   There will be a new D31 champ after 4-time defending champ Gallatin falls.

District 32:  Finals - Simon Kenton vs. Walton-Verona - no huge surprise here. 

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My predictions didn't all do so well, did they?

If Spencer beats Collins, then all of my district favorites will be in the district finals....but I missed on three of their title-game opponents.    So the best I can have is 5 of the 8 finalists....

Got Walton right in the 32nd....

....but thought South Oldham would edge North Oldham in the 29th (I confess that was a coin flip, and North made certain I looked really bad for even calling it a "coin flip" game as the Mustangs were in control throughout).....I chose Shelby in the 30th (OK, I do kinda claim some credit for predicting the #1 seed, Woodford County, would not reach the finals, but I guessed wrong in terms of who would pull the upset....kudos to Anderson, who has put together a couple of nice games already).....and I picked Gallatin in the 31st to face favored Henry County.   (Like North Oldham, Owen County made a pretty emphatic statement - although they also tried hard to blow it late....)

The region is going to welcome back North Oldham for the first time since 2015....

Anderson County is back after a two year layoff...

Owen County returns to New Castle for the first time since 2016 (Henry County and Gallatin had represented the 31st for three straight seasons)

And Walton-Verona returns after a one-year hiatus.

Oldham, Henry, and SK have been frequent flyers in the region tournament of late.

NOTE:   If Spencer County - who is a slight favorite - beats Collins tonight (at Collins), it will mark the first time ever that Collins has missed the 8th Region tournament.   The Titans have gone every year since the school opened in 2010-11; a ten year run.

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8 hours ago, ConverseAllStar said:

I would think the Spencer County faithful will be disappointed if this year's senior class did not make a deep run at Henry County next week.  They got by the Titans a couple of weeks ago.  I expect they'll come out on top again tonight.

I would have agreed with you....and we both would have been wrong.    Collins 51 Spencer County 42

This year's Spencer County senior class finishes with a four-year record of 79-35 and one trip to the Region 8 tournament in 2019, going 1-1 in New Castle.

I was expecting a big run, too.    Just goes to show that getting to New Castle is hard, hard, hard.


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(8th Region ranking in parentheses) - only four of the top eight ranked teams in the region will advance to New Castle.

Three district number one seeds and three number 2 seeds will advance.

29th District - #1 seed Oldham County (#1) vs. #2 seed North Oldham (#7)

30th District - #3 seed Collins (#4) vs. #5 seed Anderson County (#15)

31st District - #1 seed Henry County (#12) vs. #2 seed Owen County (#14)

32nd District - #1 seed Simon Kenton (#2) vs. #2 seed Walton-Verona (#5)

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On 3/16/2021 at 11:24 AM, Mojocat said:

I'm surprised at that Spencer/Collins score.  One more aspect of this strange and shortened season is it was hard to get a good feel about a team, to have a firm idea of what and who they are and what you might expect from them game to game.  South really should have beaten Collins, while South lost by 15 or so (I think) to Spencer (one of the few games that was never really in doubt).  And in neither game did it seem like either Spencer or Collins was having a pretty bad or a pretty good game, it felt more like this is who they are.  


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I picked three of the district champs correctly......I'm grabbing onto that 75% accuracy rate and holding on like it's a life preserver.....  😄

'cause I sure whiffed on the runner-ups....   🙃  🤪

In fairness, picking the runner-ups is always the bigger challenge.   You have the Cinderella stories (Anderson County - great run!), the insane performances (Owen County's first half against Gallatin County in the 31st SF .....wow), and backyard brawls that are often toss-ups (North vs. South)......    only Walton-Verona in the 32nd wound up where I expected, coming in as the district runner-up.

More opportunities for all of you to laugh at me coming up when I post the region tournament preview tonight.....    


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