2018 - Final Region 8 Rankings and Post-Season Preview

  1. ColonelMike's Avatar
    Another season has flown by. I think that feeling is heightened by my age, but perhaps not. It just seems that the preseason rankings were just released and we all began speculating on who would really have the breakout year and who would be holding the trophy in New Castle in March.

    Last week wasn't the best of weeks for the 8th region... Boyle County held off Oldham County in Danville, 67-61....North Bullitt stunned South Oldham, 75-61... Gallatin fell to Beechwood, 61-55....and Simon Kenton was walloped by Covington Catholic, 84-59 as four of the region's top teams fell to non-region foes.

    That said, it's been a pretty good year for the 8th....
    - Oldham County routed the top ranked team in the fourth region (Warren Central) and the top ranked team in the fifth region (John Hardin).
    - Simon Kenton took down Cooper when the Jaguars were ranked #2 in the state.
    - Walton-Verona knocked off two 20-win teams from the 10th region (Campbell County and Pendleton County), beat then #17 Mayfield, and finished as the runner-up in the Kentucky All-A Classic.
    - Collins beat a 20-win team from the Tenth (Scott High).
    - Collins and North Oldham both defeated one of the highest-scoring teams from the Sixth, 18-win Valley.
    - Spencer County beat two solid 6th Region teams, 19-win Iroquois and 18-win PRP.
    - South Oldham beat McCracken County, a 23-win team from the First Region, and Iroquois from the Sixth.
    - Five teams have already won 20 or more games - Walton-Verona, Oldham County, Gallatin County, Spencer County, and Collins - and Simon Kenton, North Oldham, and South Oldham all have good chances to reach 20.

    So, while there were also losses to some top-tier teams, the Eighth Region more than held its own this year, earning its share of big wins.

    Now the Roy beckons in just about a week and a half. Everyone is still "in play"....

    It's interesting to look back on the preseason poll and the rankings now. preseason #1 Walton-Verona #2 Oldham County #3 Anderson County
    Region Coaches' Poll preseason #1 Anderson County #2 Oldham County #3 Walton-Verona

    The final regular season rankings:

    1 - Walton-Verona (24-5) Last week: #1 Pre-season rank: #1 As we come to the end of the season, the team that topped the pre-season rankings is on top again. Walton-Verona has been extraordinarily impressive this season, beating a number of big-name teams, ranked teams, and winning the 8th Region All-A. The Bearcats then went to the state All-A and ran through three impressive opponents, including #17 Mayfield, before succumbing to powerful Lexington Christian in the finals by 6. Despite losing their big defensive stopper (6'8" Dieonte Miles) in December, the Cats merely re-grouped, and finished 12-1 against 8th Region competition. They won their final seven games of the regular season, and are just about the hottest thing in the region now, having won 15 of their last 16.

    Walton wrapped up the season with a 6-point win over South Oldham last week, along with a 75-30 victory at Carroll County.

    Though guard Brennan Stanley got much of the press this season, the Bearcats are hardly a one-man team. Walton has not yet posted the stats from the Carroll game, but in the six games prior to that contest, seven different players posted at least one double-digit scoring night. Kameron Pardee has been particularlyl devastating of late; he had 14 points / 11 rebounds against South and is averaging 12.2 ppg over the last six contests, about 25% above his season average.

    Walton is doing it with one of the hardest defenses in the region to score against, one of the best tickets to a title. While Walton is averaging an excellent 64 ppg, the Bearcats are giving up a region-best 47.7 ppg - almost 8 points per game less than #2 Oldham County at 55.5 ppg.

    2 - Oldham County (24-5) Last week: #2 Pre-season #2 Oldham County continues to be among the region's best under Coy Zerhusen, who's now won 123 games in almost four full seasons. The Colonels, 9-1 against region opposition, took on a brutal schedule this season and did very well, with some big signature victories. Like Walton-Verona, Oldham proved that they could play well without a key player. All-region senior guard Jackson Gibson missed the final six games of the regular season, and Oldham still managed to win five games, including victories over Waggener, Simon Kenton, and Collins. The Colonels also head into the post-season on a roll, having won 8 of their last 10 games.

    Last week, Oldham knocked off Bardstown by 17 before being upset on the road against a good Boyle County team (17-7) from the 12th region.

    Oldham has been one of the top shooting teams in the state all year, and that has continued of late. In the last 8 games, Oldham County has shot better than 50% six times, including their last three contests.

    The hot hand of late has belonged to senior center Travis Henderson. Henderson has led the Colonels in scoring in 6 of their last 7 games, and has topped the 20 point mark in the last three, including a 29 point effort against Bardstown. Senior forward Zach Larimore has also been playing well. After starting the year slow, Larimore has averaged 17 ppg over the past six games, including a 21 point / 10 rebound performance against Waggener.

    Perhaps the most exciting development for Oldham, though, is the emergence of Christian Harper. The 6'3" junior forward has emerged as the most active rebounder on the team, leading the team in rebounding in each of the past three games. He had a double-double against Christian Academy of Louisville and seems to be just scratching his potential.

    3 - Collins (21-8) Last week: #3 Pre-season #4 The defending champs are not going to go into the night quietly. After floundering a bit the previous two weeks, the Titans got two wins last week, topping North Oldham, 53-40, and CAL, 73-40, to close out the season on a winning note.

    Collins has now won 3 of their last 4, ending a three-game skid.

    Nick Fort continues to be the leader of this team (16.9 ppg / 7.1 rebounds), but he is surrounded by scoring talent. Jacob Feltner (14.4 ppg, 51.4% three point shooting, 92% free throw shooting), Dayvion McKnight (12 ppg / 8 rebounds), and Marcellus Vail (11.7 ppg) are all capable of putting up big numbers. McKnight may be the most scary of them all; the sophomore has exploded in his second varsity season. Gone is the sometimes out of control freshman, and now opponents are having to deal with a point guard who rebounds like a power forward.

    4 - Simon Kenton (18-8) Last week: #5 Preseason: #5 The Pioneers work their way back into the top 4 after a 1-1 week that saw them get slammed by one of the top five teams in the state - Covington Catholic - only to bounce back with a nice 18 point win over Holmes to wrap up the season.

    SK has now won 4 of their last 5 and 6 of their last 10. Though the "6 of 10" doesn't sound all that impressive, keep in mind that the four losses were to Oldham County, South Oldham, Collins, and CovCath.

    Simon Kenton is another region 8 team that has played an absolutely brutal schedule, and it is worth noting that, outside the 25 point loss to CovCath, no team has beaten the Pioneers by more than 13 (Collins 73-60). Six of their eight losses were to teams that have won 20 plus games, one loss was to a 19-win team, and only the surprising 1 point loss to South Oldham was to a team with as few as 16 wins (I say surprising only because South was missing three starters).

    Kelly Niece is probably the top freshman in the region this year; he scored 22 against CovCath and has led this team in scoring all season.

    5 - Gallatin County (23-7) Last week: #6 Preseason: #7 The Wildcats, like many other teams this week, had an up-and-down week. They were upset by Beechwood by six, before rebounding for a surprisingly narrow, 49-48 win over Shelby County.

    Still, 8th Region Coach of the Year Jon Jones has done an extraordinary job with this crew. Back to back 20 win seasons are never easy to achieve, and Gallatin has some decent credentials, with an early season double digit win over Collins to their credit and an impressive 4-point loss to Walton-Verona in the 8th region all-A final that came down to the final seconds.

    Before the season, Jones said that Troy Coomer might be one of the best shooters he's ever coached....this week, Coomer twice led the Wildcats in scoring, tallying 19 against Beechwood and 16 against Shelby. For the season, Coomer is shooting over 52% from the floor and averaging 16.9 ppg.

    There are concerns. Gallatin has a couple of head-scratching losses, and the offense seems to have stalled a bit. After scoring fewer than 60 points in only 5 of their first 23 games, Gallatin has been held at or below 55 points in 4 of their last 7 games. Though averaging 64.8 ppg on the season, the Cats have averaged just 58.4 in the last 7 games.

    Still, Gallatin will be favored to come out of the 31st as the district champion.

    6 - Spencer County (20-7) Last week: #7 Preseason: #8 The Bears move up one this week, after stretching their region-best winning streak to eleven. Like Gallatin, the Bears have now posted their second 20-win season in a row, and coach Jason Burns seems to have momentum building in Taylorsville.

    Last week, Spencer wasn't too terribly challenged as they manhandled Bethlehem, 70-51, and Bullitt Central, 63-36. Four Bears reached double figures against Bethlehem, with Sam Conley scoring 23 and Jacob Cole regarding a double-double with 16 points / 12 rebounds. Impressively, it was two different players leading the way against BC, as Jae Whitlock scored 15 and Jackson Cole 12.

    In fact, the Bears have had three different players lead the team in scoring in each of the past three games; Jacob Coke had 22 points / 12 boards against Rock Creek.

    During the current 11-game winning streak, Spencer has won 8 games by double digits, and beaten three solid teams along the way - Iroquois (19 wins), Pleasure Ridge Park (18 wins), both from the 6th region, and district rival Anderson County.

    7 - South Oldham (16-10) Last week: #4 Preseason: #6 The Dragons are struggling to find themselves right now. A big reason has to do with health.

    South has struggled to put a consistent lineup on the floor all season due to the flu and other assorted illnesses. At one time, South had three starters out due to illness, and this has affected the team from a consistency-standpoint. At one moment, South has gone to northern KY and beaten Simon Kenton on their home court with only two healthy starters....the next minute....

    Last week, South dropped two games - they've now lost three straight - falling in a major surprise to North Bullitt, 75-61, before losing a close one to Walton-Verona by 6.

    Devin Young continues to be the leader on this team, but the 6'7" senior shooting guard has struggled from beyond the arc of late, hitting just 7 of 34 threes (20.6%) in his last four games. One of the region's premier perimeter shooters, Young is hardly someone anyone can afford to slack off of, but right now, the shots just aren't falling.

    Head coach Steve Simpson has steered this team to the region title in 3 of the past 5 years. This team could still pull off the feat, particularly if the shots start falling again. For now, Simpson is just happy to have everyone back in practice, healthy at last.

    Name alert: Ben Johnson. The senior reserve guard has exploded of late, scoring 21 against SK, 10 against North Oldham, and 16 against Manual before being sidelined with the flu. After returning against Walton-Verona, he led the team in scoring with 14. Despite being a sub, he's now increased his average to over 8 ppg....

    8 - North Oldham (17-11) Last week: #8 preseason: #9 The Mustangs had a tall task last week, going to play at Collins and hosting a strong DeSales team from region six - without starting shooting guard Dylan Yates, who averages about 11 ppg and 4.3 rebounds - both second-best on the team.

    Despite leading at the half, North fell to the outside shooting of Collins, 53-40, heading into the Friday matchup with DeSales. Before that game, the conventional wisdom was that a fast paced game favored the Colts, who averaged over 66 ppg, and that a slower pace favored the Mustangs, who average about 54 ppg.

    Surprise! In a game played with out Yates - and at breakneck speed - the Mustangs scored their highest single-game point total of the year, hitting 55.6% of their shots, 50% of their threes and 23 of 26 at the line (88.5%) en route to an 85-70 win. Justin Rose had 33 points in the win; Grant Adelson emerged from his cocoon, hitting 6 of 10 threes and scoring 28 points. Justin Burton added 14. Those three players combined for 12 of 24 shooting from beyond the arc.

    A week ago, in commenting on North's play, I said that they might have opened eyes in the wrong way. This was an impressive performance that opened eyes in a good way.

    Coming on: Grant Adelson is coming on as a serious offensive threat. Buoyed by this performance, his confidence will be sky-high going into the post-season.

    Kudos to Rob Burton, who became the winningest coach in North Oldham history a couple of weeks ago.

    9 - Anderson County (9-15) Last week: #9 Preseason: #3 A lot of us missed on Anderson County at the beginning of the season. Many felt the Bearcats were the preseason favorites in the 8th. And while this is certainly a team that has enough talent and coaching to claim the region title, it's no secret that this team has underperformed this season.

    Anderson has certainly played one of the toughest - maybe the toughest - schedule in the region this year, and that makes it difficult in some ways to assess their chances. But Anderson has gone just 3-6 against region 8 teams, with losses to most of the major contenders - Oldham County, Walton-Verona, Spencer County, Simon Kenton, Collins, and Gallatin County. Worse, Anderson has to beat at least one of those teams - Spencer County - to even advance to the region, where they fell in the championship game to Collins last year when Cobe Penny's last-second layup rolled off the rim.

    Truthfully, though, the losses to the highly-ranked teams could be explained - but last week was concerning for the fans in Lawrenceburg as Anderson fell by 16 to Powell County (14-12) on the road and at Franklin County (13-16). Shooting woes plagued Anderson, as the Cats managed just to make just 18.8% of their threes against Powell and hit only 41.3% overall (and 26.3% from beyond the arc) against Franklin.

    Besides shooting, rebounding continues to be an issue. The Bearcats managed just 21 rebounds in each of their last two games. Against Powell, they were hammered on the glass, 35-21.

    Cobe Penny wrapped up his final regular season with 25 points against Franklin County; he has already passed his brother C.J. Penny as the all-time scoring leader at Anderson County. He capped that honor with another today as he was named the 8th Region Player of the Year in what was perhaps the least-suspenseful vote of the year. (Penny was the unanimous pick for POY in our pre-season poll).

    Anderson has lost 7 of their last 9 games and faces a tough challenge to get back to New Castle.

    10 - Grant County (9-19) Last week: #10 Preseason: #11 Grant County split two last week, topping Owen County, 66-39, before falling to powerful Scott High, 77-49 in their season finale.

    Chase Good continues to be a monster on offense here late in the season; for the fourth straight game, Good led the team in scoring, tallying 21 points against Owen and 25 (including 6 of 9 threes) against Scott. In the last four games, Good has been over 20 points three times and averaged almost 22 ppg. In his last four games, Good has hit 16 threes.

    Grant showed a lot of promise early in the year, shooting the ball well and showing some glimpses of promise against powerhouses such as John Hardin (despite a 20+ point loss in a game that was a single-digit affair in the fourth). But the defense never came around, and Grant went 4-9 since the New Year, and has lost 9 of their last 12 games. The Braves got some chances against some of the top teams, but failed to capture the upset in losses to Gallatin County, Simon Kenton, Collins, Oldham County, and Walton-Verona.

    Grant averages over 64 ppg, but is giving up 69.3 ppg, ranking them 16 of 17 region 8 teams in scoring defense.

    Still, when you can score, you can win. Grant goes into the post-season as a decided underdog, but if an opponent has an off-night shooting, the Braves have the offensive clout to pull of an upset.

    11 - Shelby County (6-21) Last week: #11 Preseason: #10 The Rockets stay put this week despite dropping two last week, 74-41 to DeSales and 49-48 in a heartbreaker to Gallatin County.

    Barring an unexpected upset over Collins in the first round of the 30th district, Shelby will fail to match last year's victory total of 7 wins this year. A young team that has some talent, Shelby just never got the offense going this year, averaging just 50.7 ppg, ranking them #15 in region 8 of 17 teams. In 14 of 27 games, Shelby failed to crack the 50 point mark. And in a season where Region 8 teams scored at a historic pace - 11 teams averaged over 60 ppg and two averaged over 70 ppg - this was a bad weakness to have.

    12 - Carroll County (9-19) Last week: #12 Preseason: #16 Carroll dropped two this week, but still moves up one as the Henry County Wildcats, hit by injury, falls. Carroll fell last week to Collegiate, 78-69, and Walton-Verona, 75-30. David Duncan (24 points against Collegiate and 10 against W-V) and Wyatt Supplee (13 points / 10 assists vs Collegiate and 10 points vs W-V) again led the way.

    Supplee continues to lead the Panthers with a 15.3 ppg average.

    Carroll has lost 4 of their last 5 heading into the district tournament, but has a legitimate chance to make the region as they have a favorable first round matchup against a hurting Henry County team in the district first round.

    13 - Trimble County (13-16) Last week: #14 Preseason: #17 Trimble lost their last game of the season, a surprisingly lopsided 16 point loss to Lloyd Memorial, but the Raiders found their groove late in the season, and go into the post-season winners of 6 of their last 9. Trimble took care of business against region foes Williamstown, Eminence, Owen County, and Henry County during the stretch, and played 31st district power Gallatin County to a 10 point game.

    Last week, Trimble defeated Henry County, 51-44, prior to the loss to Lloyd. Troy Grieshaber hit 10 of 14 field goal attempts in scoring 28 points in the win.

    14 - Henry County (13-16) Last week: #12 preseason: #12 The Wildcats' hopes of playing at home in the 8th region tournament took a hit when their point guard injured his hand, but Henry only has to beat Carroll County in the first round of the 31st district tournament to advance to the region tourney.

    Last week, Henry fell to Trimble County by 7 before losing to Iroquois, 96-59, to wrap up the regular season.

    The losses send the Cats to the post-season on a three game losing streak, and losers of 7 of their last 10.

    Henry has not posted stats in some time.

    15 - Eminence (15-14) Last week: #15 Preseason: #14 Considering that first year head coach Robert Amis got the job at Eminence late, and he inherited a team that graduated almost all of its scoring from last year's squad, a 15-14 mark by this year's Warriors marked a pretty solid season.

    Eminence played just one game last week, defeating Walden, 74-63, despite shooting just 41.2% from the floor and a measley 1 of 14 beyond the arc. The Warriors compensated with tremendous teamwork, as three different players posted double-doubles: Maurice Richardson (27 points / 10 rebounds), Deandre Wright (19/14), and Josh Dotson (10/11). In addition, Braedin Hinkley scored 14 points.

    When there are missed shots, there are rebounds, and Eminence absolutely dominated on the glass in the win, as the Warriors grabbed a whopping 50 rebounds.

    Eminence has "taken care of business" against the teams that they should have played well against, defeating Williamstown twice, Owen County twice, and Carroll County once. They lost to Trimble by 10 and 8 points. They lost to Henry County by 3 and 12. But the Warriors simply weren't able to match up against the upper-tier region teams, losing to Gallatin County by 30, 26, and 13, and to Walton-Verona by 52.

    To their credit, each game against Gallatin was closer than the matchup before.

    For Eminence to record a second straight trip to New Castle, the Warriors must beat Owen County and follow it up with an upset of Gallatin County.

    16 - Williamstown (2-28) Last week: #17 Preseason: #15 New coach John Reitz arrived in Williamstown just in time to see his star guard, Brennan Stanley, leave for Walton-Verona. Fresh off a 17-16 record and an appearance in last year's 8th region that saw the Demons fall by just five points in a round one loss to Gallatin County, the cupboard needed some fixing up.

    A schedule that featured an overwhelming number of road games didn't help, and Williamstown started 0-27. To the Demons' credit, though, the team kept battling, and last week, Williamstown closed out the regular season by winning 2 of 3 - their first wins of the season.

    The Demons defeated Bracken County, 60-59, and Owen County, 56-55, to break into the win column and get a little vengeance for December losses. Williamstown had lost to Bracken by 26 points in December, and to Owen County by 12 in December...

    The Demons then closed out the regular season with a 79-63 loss to Menifee County on the road.

    Williamstown has not posted stats in a while, which is a shame. I would have loved to see what the stats said about those two wins....

    Though the Demons averaged a region-worst 46.8 ppg, the team averaged 60 ppg in the three games last week.

    Unfortunately for Williamstown, the team must defeat top-ranked Walton-Verona in round one of the district to advance to the region for a second straight year.

    17 - Owen County (4-22) Last week: #16 Preseason: #13 Owen fell to Grant County, 66-39, and Williamstown, 56-55, last week.

    During a seven game losing streak to wind up the season, Owen scored 45 points or fewer in 5 games and averaged just 47.6 ppg. Shooting was a large reason why; the Rebels managed to hit just 40.4% of their shots this year, including 27.6% from beyond the arc. They also struggled at the line, hitting just 55%.

    The Rebels hope to use the home court advantage this week to their advantage in Owenton, as they look to win two games to advance to the region.

    Top Players (not in any order, but starting with the Player of the Year)

    Cobe Penny, Anderson County - the preseason favorite for Player of the Year won the award, and while he was at it, he became the all-time leading scorer at Anderson County HS. He averaged 22.8 ppg and 7.3 rebounds. In same ways, it would be unfortunate to hold the region without Cobe, but sentimentality will not be part of the game plan when Spencer County faces the Bearcats in the first round of the District 30 tourney. For Penny to get to New Castle one final time, he may have to put this team on his back to pull off the upset.

    Nick Fort, Collins - The 6'5" senior is sometimes listed as G, sometimes as a SG, and sometimes as a PF. On the court, he is equally versatile, and perhaps the most talented multi-position player in the region. The nightmare matchup averages 16.9 ppg, hits over 53% of his shots overall, is a respectable 33% beyond the arc, and averages 7.1 rebounds per game. He is equally adept at the pull up jumper and crashing the offensive glass for putbacks.

    Devin Young, South Oldham Listed at 6'5", Young is in reality about 6'7", with a wingspan that makes him seem to be about 12' long. The senior plays shooting guard, and has perhaps the quickest release in region 8. His accuracy from beyond the arc can be almost uncanny. Young led the Dragons in scoring at 21.2 ppg and in rebounding at 8.4 ppg. At the line, he was nearly an automatic at 82.2%. Due to his scoring proficiency - I think he reached double figures in every game he played this year - Young's defensive ability, particularly his ability to rotate and block shots, is often overlooked.

    Jackson Gibson, Oldham County Gibson had as fine a year as anyone in the 8th region, an offensive threat able to put up 30 on any given night, and a real defensive nightmare on the front of the Oldham County 2-2-1 press. Gibson averaged 16.2 ppg while hitting a blistering 54.6% of his shots, quite the accomplishment for a guard. Gibson's ability to breakdown a defense off the dribble and somehow get to the rim regardless of the defenders in front of him was a constant source of amazement to opposing coaches.

    Brennan Stanley, Walton-Verona Like Gibson, Stanley has a tremendous ability to penetrate defenses. After leading the Williamstown Demons in scoring last year, Stanley transferred to Walton-Verona and led the Bearcats in scoring this year at 13.3 ppg. Stanley, a superb shooter, hit just under 50% of his shots overall at 49.8% - amazingly, he was 50% beyond the arc (57/114). And - unlike some players who hit everything but free throws - Stanley also excelled at the line, where he hit 84%. In a lot of ways, Stanley was the catalyst to this year's W-V run; he provided the talents that last year's Walton team didn't have, filling a void that made this a more complete team.

    Dayvion McKnight, Collins Perhaps one of the most improved players in the region this year, McKnight went from being a talented, but frequently out of control freshman, to being a sophomore breakout player. Averaging 12 ppg and a team high 8 rebounds on a Collins team loaded with scorers, McKnight combines the athletic talents of a guard with the power of a power forward.

    Travis Henderson, Oldham County The Colonels' senior center transformed himself as an impact player this year, and saved his best games for the big ones. Henderson tallied 25 points against John Hardin, 22 versus Warren Central, 24 against Waggener, and 19 points against Simon Kenton. Henderson led Oldham County in scoring at 16.4 ppg and grabbed 6.0 rebounds. Henderson hit an impressive 60% of his shots from the floor. While that's not always surprising to see such a high percentage from a center, it is when you consider that Henderson takes a lot of jump shots. In fact, he's the team's top three point threat, hitting 42.7% beyond the arc.

    Troy Coomer, Gallatin County Another underclassman, a junior, Coomer made his mark as a sharpshooter this year. Averaging 16.9 ppg for the Wildcats, Coomer made 52.5% of his shots overall - and 51.9% of his threes! (107 of 206) An 85.6 free throw shooter, Coomer added nearly 5 rebounds per contest for coach Jon Jones.

    Justin Rose, North Oldham 6'4" senior guard Justin Rose was generally the barometer of North Oldham's success this year. A powerful guard, Rose was a serious matchup problem for most defenders, as he could either shoot over or post up the average-sized high school guard. Rose averaged 21.2 ppg this year, and 6.4 rebounds. He shot over 48% from the floor and 41.9% beyond the arc. Unlike many prolific scorers, though, Rose is also an adept passer and ballhandler, and as a result, the Mustangs let him handle the ball much of the time, particularly when working against pressure defenses.

    Jacob Feltner, Collins Maybe the best spot shooter in the region, Feltner averaged 14.4 ppg this season while hitting 52% of his shots, and an incredible 51.4% (92 of 179) from beyond the arc. He hit 46 of 50 free throws for an unmatched 92% - unfortunately for Feltner, he needed to have taken 84 free throw attempts to be ranked in the state rankings. If he had enough attempts, his 92% would be #1 in Kentucky.

    I purposely did not rank the above 10 players, as it's practically impossible to compare players as every player fits their team's scheme differently and fulfills different roles. While the above are my "Top 10", there a number of other players who I really, really liked this year:

    Zach Kelch, Simon Kenton - The SK big man has some of the smoothest post moves I've seen this year.

    Zach Clinkenbeard, Walton-Verona - Clinkenbeard is one of the most mobile big men in the region, a similar player to Travis Henderson of Oldham County. He has a soft shooting touch, but is particularly valuable on the glass, where he averaged 5.7 boards this year.

    Zach Larimore, Oldham County - why not get my "Zachs" in all together here? Larimore started the year slowly for the Colonels, but has arguably been one of the region's top offensive forwards in the second half of the season. He goes into the season averaging 11.4 ppg / 5.4 rebounds, and hitting over 50% of his shots.

    Kelly Niece, Simon Kenton - one of the best offensive players in the region, period. Just a freshman, Niece's potential is off the charts. He averaged 16.6 ppg and hit 53% from the floor. A freshman who played a lot last year, Niece is a prime candidate to tally 2,000 points in his HS career.

    Sam Conley, Spencer County - another up-and-coming freshman, Conley averages 14 ppg and is hitting 52% from the floor. He also averages nearly 5 rebounds. In Jason Burns' offense, don't be surprised to see this young man start to put up insane numbers over the next few years.


    29th District at North Oldham HS
    all games on The Pegasus Sports Network - PSN

    Round 1
    #1 Oldham County (24-5) vs #4 Trimble County (13-16) Oldham won in December, 90-47, in a game where the Colonels hit 52% from the floor and dominated the glass, 30-19. Injured Oldham star PG Jackson Gibson is expected back for this game, but probably won't start. Trimble is playing better of late, winning 6 of their last 9 games, but don't expect the Raiders to have enough firepower to hang with the Colonels.

    #2 South Oldham (16-10) vs. #3 North Oldham (17-11) South is lurching into the post-season, sliding in on a three game skid. But the Dragons are healthy again, so Steve Simpson will have all his weapons at his disposal. Devin Young (South) and Justin Rose (North), two tall senior guards, both averaging 21.2 ppg, will face off in this one, likely 1:1 on the court. But the Dragons will have to find their shooting eye if they hope to avenge a regular season loss (56-51) to the Mustangs on North's floor. North will get back guard Dylan Yates, who served a two game suspension after getting ejected from a game against Meade County, and the Mustangs have new-found confidence in their emerging offense, which put up a season -high 85 points in a season finale 85-70 win over DeSales. Grant Adelson, averaging just 6 ppg, put up a season high 28 points in that game and hit six threes, giving Simpson something else to worry about. The Dragons will have the emotional edge; North will have the home court edge. This figures to be one of the best first round district games in the region.

    District 29 prediction: Oldham County over South Oldham by 10 in a "backyard brawl".

    District 30 at Shelby County HS

    Round 1:

    #1 Collins (21-8) vs. #4 Shelby County (6-21) Cross-town rivalries aside, the Titans simply have too many weapons for a Shelby squad that struggles to score. Collins is averaging over 68 ppg; Shelby just 50 ppg. Rockets have played better of late, but have lost the two previous meetings by 23 and 31. This is likely to be more of the same.

    #2 Spencer County (20-7) vs. #3 Anderson County (9-15) When we picked Anderson #3 in the preseason, we expected it to be #3 in the region - instead, Anderson is the #3 seed in their district and favored to make an early exit against the young up-and-comers from Taylorsville. Spencer County won the regular season matchup just a few games back by 12, and pretty much won every facet of the game. The Bears shoot the ball well, rebound strong, and play with the "chip on the shoulder" of a hungry squad. It's no wonder the Bears hold the region's longest winning streak at 11. Anderson, on the other hand, seems to be limping into the post-season after two bad losses to average to below-average teams last week. Does Glen Drury have a rabbit he can pull out of his hat? Can Cobe Penny make like Superman and save the day? Very possible, but these are two ships currently going in opposite directions.

    Prediction: Collins over Spencer County in the finals by 12.

    District 31 at Owen County

    Play-in game: Eminence (15-14) vs. Owen County (4-22) - Eminence has won both regular season meetings, by 6 and by 8. Owen hopes to parlay the home court advantage into a round 1 upset. Eminence, however, has a number of offensive weapons, and the Rebels haven't scored much this year. Eminence has won two in a row; Owen has lost 7 straight. Warriors are likely to make it 8 straight.

    Henry County (13-16) vs. Carroll County (9-19) - These two have split two games this year, with Carroll winning the more recent game, 49-47. But with Henry County's point guard out, this looks like a game that is asking for Carroll to win it. Both teams are trying to reverse recent trends; Henry has lost 3 straight and 7 of 10; Carroll has lost 4 of 5. Henry features a gritty, blue-collar defense and Carroll is not a great offensive team, but the Panthers may have enough offensive power to get it done if Henry can't resurrect their injured offense in time. This could be one of the closest round 1 games of any of the district tournaments.

    Gallatin County (23-7) vs. Eminence / Owen winner - Gallatin has played Eminence three times and Owen twice. None of the games has been real close, although Eminence did manage to stay within thirteen in their last meeting. Still, an upset in this game would be one of the biggest upsets of the year in the 8th.

    Prediction: Gallatin County over Carroll County in the finals by 20.

    32nd district at Walton-Verona

    Round 1

    #1 Walton-Verona (24-5) vs. Williamstown (2-28) The region's top-ranked team against #16. Williamstown has finished the year on a sudden uptick, winning two of their last three. It's a great feel-good story to what had been a frustrating season for the Demons, but the storyline ends here against a team that may well be headed for the state tournament for the second time this season.

    #2 Simon Kenton (18-8) vs Grant County (9-19) Grant has tried and failed to get a signature win this season; they get another crack at it here. Simon Kenton won the regular season matchup in January by 28 points, but the Pioneers can't afford to sleep in on this one. Grant County has the ability to put up a lot of points. Chase Good is shooting the ball as well - or better - than just about anyone in the region right now, and 6'4" sophomore center Luke Dewalt is a force on the glass, and a tremendous perimeter shooter. If the Braves can get their shots to fall, they can put the pressure on the Pioneers and force SK to answer. SK has been seasoned by a strong schedule, and they've earned some nice wins over top-level opposition. But SK is still primarily a perimeter team themselves, and if the shots aren't falling for Trent Steiner's group, the opportunity for an upset exists.

    Prediction: Walton-Verona outlasts SK in the finals by 4.

    I'll have a more comprehensive region 8 preview next week.

    Last edited by ColonelMike; Feb 19, 18 at 08:56 PM.

  2. #2
    ColonelMike's Avatar
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    Oct 08
    Pegasus Sports Network - Oldham County, KY

    29th district - Oldham County has won the past 7 district 29 titles

    30th district - Anderson County has won the past 2 District 30 titles.

    31st district - Gallatin County is the defending champ

    32nd district - Walton-Verona is the defending champ; the 32nd has been won by three different teams over the past three years (2017 - Walton-Verona 2016 - Simon Kenton 2015 - Grant County)


  3. #3

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    Feb 17

    Thank you for your coverage this year CM. I haven't seen the draw for the region tournament, has it been posted yet?

  4. #4

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    Feb 17

    Quote Originally Posted by nkymatt17 View Post
    Thank you for your coverage this year CM. I haven't seen the draw for the region tournament, has it been posted yet?
    Regional draw should be this upcoming Sunday after all district tournaments are complete, most districts haven't even started playing yet.

  5. #5
    ColonelMike's Avatar
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    Oct 08
    Pegasus Sports Network - Oldham County, KY

    Correct. The draw is Sunday in New Castle.

    All - my apologies. I see I have (at least one) typo. In the Oldham County write-up, it states that Coy Zerhusen has won 123 games in almost four complete seasons. That should be almost FIVE complete seasons. Zerhusen - even if Oldham loses in the first round tonight in the district - would be averaging almost 25 wins a season in his first five years at OCHS.