I have resigned myself to the fact that there will be little clarity in the Sixth Region for most, and perhaps all, of this year. But a team that beats the Ballard Bruins by 9 on the road, forcing the Bruins into 33 turnovers, deserves to move back into the top spot, so you will see that Pleasure Ridge Park again occupies that top spot.
PRP is one of seven Sixth Region teams who will participate in the Louisville Invitational Tournament, which begins on Monday, January 13. I plan to do an LIT preview before the tournament starts.
But there is plenty of good basketball to be played in the Sixth Region before then. Among the games I am most interested in trying to catch this week are J'Town at Fern Creek and Butler at DeSales on Tuesday, plus Butler at PRP on Friday. But there are plenty of other games this week that will be competitive and fun to watch. I hope you can make it out for some of it.
1. Pleasure Ridge Park Panthers (10-3)
PRP made the most of the one game it played this week, beating the (then) top-ranked Ballard Bruins 96-87. Freshman Zee McCown filled it up from the outside, totaling 31 points on the night, while the Panthers repeatedly beat the Ballard press down the floor for layups and forced Ballard into 33 turnovers. I really enjoy watching point guard James Taylor play; he almost had a triple double in this one (14 points, 9 steals, 9 assists). An impressive win for PRP, who next plays the Butler Bears on Friday. The Panthers will enter the LIT as the no. 3 seed and will play DeSales in the first round.
2. Fern Creek Tigers (8-5)
Playing in the Champions of Kentucky Hoopfest at North Oldham, the Tigers lost 77-65 to Lutheran East, a team from Cleveland Heights, OH, before bouncing back to beat Simon Kenton 66-52. This week Fern Creek has games against Jeffersontown and Bullitt East. The following week the Tigers will enter the LIT as the no. 7 seed and will play Waggener in the first round.
3. Jeffersontown Chargers (8-3)
Jeffersontown completed play on Monday in the Holiday Basketball Classic in Palm Beach with a 67-48 loss to a team from Weston, Florida. It was the only game it played this week. Through this point in the season, Brandon Rayzor-Moore is leading the Chargers in scoring at 14,1 ppg, while Jalen Fairman and Trevis Oglesvy are each averaging 12.6 ppg. Oglesvy is also grabbing 7.4 rpg. The Chargers face Fern Creek and Southern this week. The Chargers will enter the LIT as the no. 6 seed and will play Trinity in the first round.
4. Butler Bears (7-4)
The Bears returned from playing in the Ashland Invitational Tournament and took the past week off. Willard Minter leads the way so far this season, averaging 16.3 ppg, while Jadon Lamb is contributing 12 ppg. The Bears have two good games on their schedule this week, facing PRP and DeSales. The Bears will enter the LIT as the no. 5 seed and will play St. X in the first round.
5. DeSales Colts (6-5)
The Colts were competitive against the undefeated Elizabethtown Panthers on Friday but ended up falling to the Panthers 66-62. Going into that game, DeSales had three players averaging double figures: Sekou Kalle (15.8 ppg), Keith Robinson (14.3 ppg), and Logan Lautzenheiser (11.4 ppg). On the schedule this week are games with Butler and Bethlehem. The Colts will enter the LIT as the no. 13 seed and will play Ballard in the first round.
6. Fairdale Bulldogs (7-6)
The Bulldogs completed play in the Sunshine Classic on Monday with a 65-61 overtime win against Breckinridge County. Back in Kentucky, Fairdale lost to Central Hardin 67-55 on Saturday. The Bulldogs, who ended up being the first team left out of the LIT, have a home game against Western on Friday.
7. North Bullitt Eagles (11-2)
North Bullitt completed a very successful 3-0 run in Florida with a 70-46 win over the host team from Gulf Breeze and returned to Kentucky as champions of the Innisfree Hotels Beach Basketball Tournament. On Friday, the Eagles extended their win streak to seven with a 75-50 win over Iroquois. Logan Steinmacher is averaging an attention-getting 22.8 ppg and 8.9 rpg. The Eagles will be busy this week, with games against Oldham County, Bethlehem, and Bullitt Central. The Eagles will enter the LIT as the no. 9 seed and will play Eastern in the first round.
8. Doss Dragons (8-5)
With a 62-59 win over a team from Mascoutah, IL, the Doss Dragons went 4-1 in the Mater Dei Christmas Tournament in Breese, Illinois. The Dragons returned to Kentucky and beat North Hardin 62-61 on Saturday. Doss has games against Waggener and Moore this week before entering the LIT as the no. 15 seed and playing Seneca in the first round.
9. Holy Cross Cougars (9-4)
Holy Cross finished up play in the King of the Smokies Tournament in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with a 63-55 win over the host Pigeon Forge team. On Friday, the Cougars fought hard against Collegiate before falling to the Titans 49-46, a loss that kept the Cougars out of the LIT. Holy Cross suffered another loss on Saturday, losing 66-65 to South Dearborn from Aurora, Indiana. The Cougars have a single game scheduled this week, hosting Kentucky Country Day on Monday.
10. Bullitt East Chargers (3-11)
The Chargers lost to Miami North 72-59 on Monday to wrap up play in the Junior Orange Bowl Classic. Upon its return to Kentucky, Bullitt East went 0-3 in the South Oldham Classic, losing to Warren Central (64-50), Bowling Green (67-44), and South Oldham (87-74). The Chargers, who now have lost ten of their last eleven games, face Waggener and Fern Creek this week.
11. Bullitt Central Cougars (5-10)
The Cougars fell to Allen County-Scottsville 65-60 to start the week and then lost a close one to Meade County, falling to the Green Wave 44-43. Jacob Mann continues to lead the Cougars in scoring at 17.5 ppg, followed by Chander Ocasio (15.3 ppg, plus 7.1 rpg) and Gavin Hedges (12.7 ppg). The Cougars have games against Elizabethtown and North Bullitt on their schedule this week.
12. Iroquois Raiders (8-5)
Iroquois went 1-1 for the week, losing to North Bullitt 75-50 but beating the Shelby County Rockets 79-35. The Raiders have games against Shawnee and South Oldham this week.
13. Western Warriors (7-7)
The Warriors played once this week, losing to Seneca 75-57. Western hosts the Brown Bears on Tuesday before playing at Fairdale on Friday.
14. Moore Mustangs (5-7)
Moore dropped the two games it played this week, falling to John Hardin 89-50 and to Waggener 70-58. The Mustangs have three games on their schedule this week, facing Whitefield, Seneca, and Doss.
15. Southern Trojans (3-9)
The Trojans lost the only game they played this week, falling to North Hardin 70-64. Southern has challenging games against Manual and Jeffersontown this week.
16. Valley Vikings (1-7)
Valley did not play this week. The Vikings will be back in action on January 7 against Central and then on Friday play at North Oldham.
17. Whitefield Academy Wildcats (5-5)
Whitefield also did not play this week. The Wildcats play Moore on Monday and then will play in the Seventh Region All A Classic beginning on Friday.
18. Beth Haven Bearcats (2-7)
Beth Haven went 1-1 in the the Beth Haven Holiday Classic this week, losing 77-70 to a home school team from Elizabethtown but gaining a 83-62 win over Heritage Academy. The Bearcats have a trio of games this week, facing Evangel Christian, Shawnee, and Frankfort Christian.
19. Evangel Christian Eagles (1-6)
Evangel Christian did not play this past week but has three games this week, playing Beth Haven, Kentucky Country Day, and Butler County.