2nd Region Tournament Preview
Region 2 Preview:
Region 2 has been about one particular team the entire season, Madisonville-North Central. They did not lose a single game in the region and were ranked in the BGP top 10 the whole year. That is not to say a few teams gave them a scare during the year. Henderson County played them to an 8 point game and Lyon County played them to a 7 point game, the closest score for them in the region. The tournament will no doubt be theirs to lose, and they have been playing extremely well over the past month. In fact they havenít had a close game since the 7 point win at Lyon County.
Their biggest competition most likely would have been Hopkinsville, but they lost on layup with 3 seconds left to Christian County. They were improving greatly and the tournament is being held on their own floor, but since they are not here, Henderson, Lyon, and Christian County are most likely their toughest competition. They will play Henderson in the opening round, and then could see Christian County in the second round. They would meet Lyon County in the finals if both teams make it that far. This will be the first time in 20 years that a 8th district team was not favored to win the 2nd region. Last year Madisonville pulled an upset on University Heights. They look to continue that success this year, and while there will be some good games in this tournament, it may not be as exciting as some of the other regions, and if anyone other than Madisonville advances, it would be considered a huge upset.
Madisonville-North Hopkins (28-3)
The Maroons are one of the best teams in the state and finished ranked #5 in the BGP end of season rankings. They have been very consistent all year long, with the only hiccup being against John Hardin mid year. They are 5-3 against teams that made an appearance in the top 20 this season, with two of those losses being in overtime by a total of 3 points. They are legitimate state contenders and much of the team have experience playing in Rupp last season when they lost to Warren Central in the 2nd Round.
As a team they averaged 72.5 ppg while giving up 56.8 ppg. They are led by two outstanding big men in Ksuan Casey and Kenny White. White is the Region 2 player of the year and averages 18.4 ppg and 8.2 rpg. Casey averages 18.2 ppg and 10.3 ppg. Together they make one of the best down low tandems in the state, if not the best. Neither one of them shoot tremendously well from the outside, White can hit the three if left open. However they do shoot 36% from three point range, and main rely on Deljuan Johnson (11.0 ppg) and Keshawn Stone (8.3 ppg) to hit those from the outside. Coach Beshear usually runs a consistent 8 man rotation, but those 4 guys are on the floor for most of the game.
Lyon County (22-9)
The Lyons got about as good a draw as they could have hoped for in this tournament. They will have some tough games, but they avoided having to play Madisonville or Henderson in the first two rounds. They can only meet them in the finals. That said, they still will have tough games against Caldwell County and the winner of UHA and Webster. Lyon County has played the best ball in the region next to Madisonville, winning 12 of their last 13 games including a 9 point win against Caldwell County and a 5 point win at Webster County. If they reach the finals against Madisonville, they have confidence they can win, as they played them closer than anybody else in the region.
Eighth grade phenom Travis Perry leads the Lyon with 26.8 ppg, that is second best in the entire state, and he hasnít even hit high school yet. He hit 77 three pointers this season (37.4%) and pulls in a respectable 4.4 rebounds a game. While teams are focusing so much on Perry, sophomore Jackson Shoulders is a force around the basket. He is averaging 16.6 ppg and 11.5 rpg. Not very many teams in the region have had a successful game plan versus Lyon County, and they will be the favorites to make it to the finals from the bottom portion of the bracket.
Webster County (25-5)
Webster is one of the teams that have been difficult to judge all season as they play a very weak schedule as they have not played one team even being considered in the BGP Top 20. However, they have played well during their schedule, at one point winning 11 straight games. They struggled against Henderson County during the regular season but defeated them when it counted in the 6th district championship game, which saved them from playing Madisonville in the first round. Instead they will play University Heights, which they defeated by 1 point two weeks ago. This time it will be on a neutral floor and should be a great 1st round game.
Webster has four players scoring in double digits this season, led by Tyler Camplin who is getting 17 ppg. Destin Allen is next with 13 ppg and then Hunter McNaughton at 12 ppg and Ayden Winn with 10 ppg. They balanced scoring is a good advantage for the Trojans. While they arenít as strong on the glass as some other teams in the region, they are above average, getting almost 28 rebounds per game as a team. They shoot 33% from behind the arc and only give up 52 ppg, but remember their competition has not been on par with other top teams in the region.
Henderson County (19-12)
Henderson did not have a great start of the season, but they finished strong. They won 9 of their last 11 regular season games, but lost to Webster County in the district title game. They unfortunately drew Madisonville-North Hopkins in the first round. A team they desperately wanted to stay away from until the finals. They did play them close in the only game against them this season, which was at home. They lost by 8 points and held Madisonville to one of their lowest scoring games of the season, however, Casey did not play in that game, and he will be on the floor this time.
The Colonels have two main scoring threats. Daymian Dixon averages just under 16 ppg and Noah Curry adds in 11.2 ppg. While others may not be huge scoring threats, what Henderson will do is throw many players at you and play relentless defense. They have a consistent rotation of 11 players, with 7 of them playing every single game this season. They are amazing from three point range at 31%, but they are good enough that you do not want to leave them open a lot. Their big weakness is the lack of big men compared to some of the other region teams, and against Madisonville in the opening round, it most likely prove to be detrimental to them advancing.
Caldwell County (16-15)
The Tigers had a true up and down season. They started off 0-5 before going on a 4 game winning streak. Then late January, they had another 5 game skid, but rebounded by winning 7 straight before getting pummeled in the district title game against Madisonville. They open play against Lyon County who they lost to twice during the regular season. Both games were close so they have the chance to pull the upset if they can figure out how to stop Perry and Shoulders.
Caldwell has four main scoring threats, but none of them are elite like Perry or Shoulders. Adarius Riley leads the way with 12.7 ppg and Tripp Branch gets 12.7 ppg as well. Cayden Fraliex and JaMarius Blaine both contribute around 10 ppg. The Tigers do shoot just over 35% from three and are pretty good on the boards. They can be a surprise team in the bottom half of the bracket, but they would need two of their best games of the year to do so.
Christian County (12-18)
If there is a coach in the state of Kentucky that knows how to coach a team in the post season, it is Kerry Stovall. The Colonels had a horrendous end to the regular season losing 11 of 16 games, and they are the only team with a losing record in the tournament. They were struggling mightily in 2020, then they were lucky enough to host the district tournament and came back from 11 down in the 4th quarter to win on a layup with 3 seconds left against Hopkinsville. They turn around and demolish a UHA team they had lost to twice in the regular season. Now they will play Crittenden County, a team they have not faced this year.
Christian County is led by Stephen Bussell (14.2 ppg), Damikeon Mathis (12.4 ppg), and Olajuwon White (10 ppg). They are average offensively and hit about 32% from three and 65% from the free throw line. A glaring weakness for Christian County is the frontcourt. They average the least amount of rebounds per game than any other team in the tournament. This will hurt them against better teams, and it will be up to Stovall to come up with the gameplan to take down each team.
University Heights (15-13)
The Blazers had a rough end of the season losing 3 of 4, all to region 2 teams. They did get a first round bye in the district play, but they lost big to Christian County in that game and will have to face Webster County now, a team they lost to by 1 on Feb 20. With this being on a neutral floor, the Blazers may be considered the favorite in this game. However they are not considered to be a big threat to win the region, or even make it to the finals.
UHA is led by KJ Crump, who averages 20.8 ppg, Amani McGee adds 14.2 ppg, William Bryan gets 11 ppg, and DJ Quarles pours in 15.6 ppg. After these four, productions drops off a cliff with the next person getting 2.6 ppg. The Blazers are another team that really struggles inside and will find it difficult to matchup with the bigger teams.
Crittenden County (16-16)
The Rockets had a surprising season and moved up through the rankings as the year progressed. They ended the year with a .500 record and had some nice wins during the season including wins against Lyon County and Caldwell County, however their schedule has been weak and that will probably be a factor when going up against Christian County in the first round. While they havenít played each other this season, the Colonels have played a much tougher schedule and play in a much tougher district.
Crittenden is led by three major players, Gabe Mott (16 ppg), Eric OíLeary (15.2 ppg), and Preston Turley (14.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg). They shoot 32% from three and 64% from the free throw line. They have allowed more points than they have scored this year, and it could be a short stint in the tournament for them.