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BluegrassPreps.com 3rd Region Boys Basketball Preview


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There is a lot of uncertainty around the 3rd Region this preseason.  Who is going to play, who isn’t going to play and will transfers be ruled eligible dominates the discussion more than actual competition.  Even with all that uncertainty, the Muhlenberg County Mustangs will enter the season as favorites to repeat as 3rd Region Champions.  Coach Kyle Eades and veteran assistant Steve Sparks return a very solid core of players who helped the Mustangs reach Rupp Arena last season.  Behind them however, all bets are off.  Apollo could make an instant turn around with the services of 2 big time transfers from Oklahoma.  Wanang Wel would instantly become the 3rd Region Player of the Year favorite if ruled eligible.  Time will tell.  With Owensboro and Owensboro Catholic there are questions around multi sport athletes possibly sitting out basketball season.  If they do or if they do not, you can still expect both teams to be competing for a title as Coach Drake and Coach Riley always find a way.  It is going to be fun to watch teams like Grayson County, Ohio County and Daviess County take that next step to see if they can throw their hat in the ring at the Owensboro Sportscenter.  Things may be a bit muddy for a few weeks, but come Christmas, we should have a better idea of what is what inside a 3rd Region that is desperate need of a shot in the arm.

 

1 .Muhlenburg County Mustangs (19-2) – Coach Kyle Eades – 3rd Region & 10th District  Champs

The Mustangs are coming off a great regular season and strong postseason run.  They will have to find a floor general with the loss Nash Divine but return nearly everyone else of last year’s 3rd Region Championship team.  Cole Vincent is the team’s top returning player at 12 points and 5 boards per game.  Trey Lovell, Brayden Lovan, Asher Carver, Donovan McCoy and Davion Summers all return with plenty of experience and could lead the Mustangs on any given night. Madox Jernigan and Chandler Moore are two young players to watch.

 

2. Owensboro Red Devils (12-6) – Coach Rod Drake – 9th District Champs – Region Semifinalist

As long as the core multi sport athletes decide to play this season, Coach Drake and the Devils will return almost all of their production from a year ago.  Their leading sorcerers Amari Robinson Wales and Kenyatta Carbon will both return at 18 points per game each.  Cayman Powell, Chris Glover and Talas Taylor were all solid in varsity minutes last season.  The biggest questions are surrounding football players Ethan Pendleton,, Jerimiah Goodwin and others.  If they do not return, the Devils will have a weakness in the paint.  No matter what, expect Owensboro to be as deep as ever.

 

3. Owensboro Catholic Aces (18-10) – Coach Tim Riley – 3rd Region and 9th District Runner Up

The Aces were set to return almost everyone from last season, minus Gray Weaver who was injured early last year and could not play in the final month of the regular season or post season.  That said, there are some questions to if the baseball kids Sam Mcfarland, Luke Scales and Braden Mundy will suit up for Coach Riley this season.  Even if they do not, the Aces can still depend on the dynamic duo of Brian Griffin and Ji Webb.  Both will return off injury this season.  Griffith put up 23 points per game last year while Webb was also in double figures at 15 points per game and 7 boards per game. Tutt Carrico and Parker Gray will return to add depth.  There is also word that the Aces will have the services of a top transfer from Lyon County.  For now, it will be a wait and see game to see what this complete team will end up looking like.

 

4. Grayson County Cougars(13-9) – Coach Travis Johnston – 12th District Champions

There is a ton of excitement around the Cougars this season.  They will return all contributors from last year’s district championship team.  They will be led by the 3 headed monster of  Keegan Sharp , River Blanton and  Chandler McCrady.  All 3 averaged double figures last season. Hunter Tomes also returns and gives good size in the paint.  Coach Johnston will have this team competing for a regional title in 2022.

 

5. Ohio County Eagles (13-11) – New Coach Paul Decker – 10th District Runner Up & Regional Semifinalist

Tony Hopper has stepped aside and Paul Decker has stepped into the helm in Hartford.  Coach Decker will be looking to replace leading scorer Q Jennings but returns a solid group of varsity contributors. Sharpshooter Josh Manning returns as the lone man in double figures last season.  Elijah Decker is coming off a tough injury filled season and should emerge as the leader of this group. Parker Culbertson brings key experience and sophomore Carter Young has came over from Apollo.  This is a very talented group and they should be able to contend in a tough 10th district.

 

6. Daviess County Panthers (5-14) – Coach Neil Hayden

Coach Hayden and the Panthers are coming off a rare down season but will look to shift momentum this year.  They will be led by junior swingman Cole Burch.  Burch finished the season very strong, putting up 14 points and 7 boards per game. Guards Max Dees, Jack Payne and  Issah Tomes return to provide varsity experience.- Devonte McCampbell comes over from Owensboro and should give the Panthers an instant paint presence.  Keep your eye on 8th grade point guard Jonathan Moss.  He has been one of the most electric middle school players for College View and should find some varsity minutes this season.

 

7. Hancock County Hornets (8-12) – Coach Mike Orr – 11th District Runner Up

Coach Orr returns his top 4 scorers from last year’s team.  Devyn Powers has been very impressive in the summer and through the first scrimmage against PRP.  Evan Ferry, Kaleb Keown and  Ryan Ogle all return from last year as well.  All 4 players averaged double figures last season.  The expectation around Hawesville is a district championship in 2022.

 

8 .Mclean County Cougars (17-9) – Coach Darren Lynam

Mclean County was one of the surprises of the region last year.  Coach Lynam always seems to get the very most out of his teams and he will need to do it again this season after losing 2 of their top 3 scorers and a ton of varsity experience.  The good news for Cougar nation is Brady Dame has returned for a 5th season.  Dame put up 14 points and 9 boards per game last season.  Jaxon Floyd and Cruz Lee return with varsity experience this season.  They will have an uphill battle in a tough 10th district.

 

9. Butler County Bears (5-10) – Coach Calvin Dockery – 12th District Runner Up

The Bears will return some solid varsity experience off last year’s district runner up team.  The team’s top scorer Jagger Henderson returns, off a 12 point per game season.  Soloman Fleener nearly put up double-double numbers last year and he also returns.   Brody Hunt also returns for Coach Dockery as the Bears will look to fend off Grayson County and Whitesville Trinity to get back to the Sportscenter this spring.

 

10. Whitesville Trinity Raiders (6-17) – Coach Nathan West

Whitesville is buzzing about the potential of their Raiders this winter.  They return All-Region guard Landon Huff.  Huff was dynamic last season and has shown more improvement during the summer months.  He put up 16 points and 8 boards per game last year.   Coach West also returns his next 4 top scorers in Landon Smith, Nathan Hernandez, Denver Dickens and Bailey Wright.  The Raiders will be on the hunt for a 12th District title in 2022.

 

11. Apollo Eagles (5-13) – Coach Mark Starns  

There isn’t a team in the region with more questions than Apollo.  They are awaiting a KHSAA decision on 2 transfers from Oklahoma.  Wadang Wel is 6-9 swingman and 3 star recruit according to ESPN.  He would instantly become a favorite for 3rd region player of the year, if eligible.  Jimmy Lohembe is 6-7 and has shown the ability to be an absolute force in his previous spot.   If those players become eligible, Apollo would instantly become a regional contender and a top 2-3 team in this region.  They would help returning players like Harrison Bowman, Jaden Kelley, Brady Ward and Eli Masterson become role players.  If they are not eligible, Apollo will have another uphill climb in a very tough 9th district.

  

12. Meade County Greenwave (9-11) – Coach Jason Tripure – 11th District Champions

The Waves will be looking to replace their top 3 scorers from last year’s 11th District Championship team.   Casey Turner, Cannon Decker and Dylan Abell were all lost to graduation.  Coach Tripure will return Grant Beavin and Cooper Crump from last year’s team but will be depending on incoming varsity talent to try to make another run at the 11th district title.  The 11th will not be as strong in 2022, so they will be in the mix.

 

13. Breckinridge County Tigers (7-11) – New Coach Jeff LaGrange

Things are going to look a little different at Breck County this season.  Long time Coach Patrick Critchelow stepped down as coach and Jeff LeGrange has taken over.  He will start his rebuild with returning players Eman Odonahue , Mercer Rogers and  Lane Taul.  The Tigers lost 3 of top 4 scorers, including leading scorer Cason Morris.  Even with a new cast of players, the Tigers should be able to contend for a spot in the regional tournament in  a down 11th district.

 

14. Edmonson County Wildcats (6-13) –New Coach Brad Johnson

Much like Breckinridge County, things are going to look different for Edmonson this season as long time head Coach Michael McClintic stepped away from the program.  Coach Brad Johnson steps in and will look to try to replace the production of 4 of their top 5 scorers from a year ago, including Chaz Wilson.  Wilson averaged a double-double and will be hard to replace.  Trace Taylor will be the top returnee for the Cats this season.

 

15. Cloverport Aces (1-22) – Coach Jason Hurst

Coach Hurst and the Aces will be looking to string together some wins this season as they have been hard to come by over the past few years.  The good news is they return top scorers Connor Lagadinos, Nathan Hedges & Cole Weatherholt.

 

All Region Preseason 1st Team

Brian Grifith – Owensboro Catholic

Ji Webb – Owensboro Catholic

Kenyatta Carbon - Owensboro

Amari Robinson Wales - Owensboro

Landon Huff – Whitesville Trinity

 

2nd Team

Cole Vincent – Muhlenberg County

Trey Lovell – Muhlenberg County

Brady Dame – Mclean County

Keegan Sharp – Grayson County

Elijah Decker – Ohio County

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