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  1. The Lions of Boyd County are making their first trip to Rupp Arena since 2000, a statement that sounds surreal given their success isn't the 1980's and especially in the 90's. The path was anything but easy, though. The Lions point guard, Blake Stewart, missed the semifinal game due to illness, but managed to play, and play well in the championship contest, although showing obvious signs of fatigue and sickness. In addition, he suffered a rolled ankle in the fourth quarter of the championship before returning to the game to handle the ball in the most crucial minutes. If that wasn't enough, Boyd County's Reese Robinson injured his shoulder in the semifinal and missed the championship contest. Through all of this, the Lions remained solid and steady in their play behind the play of 5 other players lead by Gunner Short, the eventual regional MVP. The biggest margin of victory in the region was 6, in the championship game against Ashland. In a matchup reminiscent of the late 90's Boyd and Ashland squared off for the 5th time this season. The Lions and Tomcats were the best two teams in the region from the beginning of the season to the last game. The region tournament, however, was a slate of close games from the first round to the championship. A 9 point victory by the Tomacts was the largest margin of victory, but that, even, was an overtime contest against Raceland. The Lions have been consistent all year, but they face a tough foe in the first round with 6th Region Champion Fern Creek. With wins over Trinity and Cov Catholic on their resume this season, the Lions will definitely have their hands full. The future for Boyd, Ashland and several other teams looks bright for the 16th region with several young players making strong contributions this year, most notably Villers from Ashland and Stewart from Boyd County. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a resurgence for the region in becoming more competitive statewide. The Lions play Fern Creek at 1:30 on Thursday.
  2. 16th Region Tournament Preview After an entertaining week of District Tournament basketball, the field is set for the 16th Region Tournament. The results of the district tournaments, although entertaining, weren’t unexpected. They have, however, setup what should prove to be a very competitive and exciting tournament in Morehead. Game 1 – Morgan County vs Ashland Blazer After dropping the championship game to Boyd County, the Tomcats have a stiff first round matchup against district champions Elliott County. In their fourth meeting of the year, the Cougars defeated Elliott by ten points. The Tomcats and Cougars haven’t played this season, but both have to be considered to be in the top three teams in the region. Ashland has been strong all season but have dropped three of their last five, after only two prior losses this season. The Cougars have only suffered one loss in February, and seem to be hitting their stride. The winner of this matchup will face the winner of the Raceland-Bath County contest. Game 2 – Raceland vs Bath County Bath County comes in as the district runner up in this game after falling to Rowan County. Raceland was able to win defeating Lewis County in their district. Unlike the Morgan/Ashland, the Rams and Wildcats are more familiar with one another. They split two games, by similar margins. If Bath County can find their shot they are as talented as anyone in the region, however, that hasn’t been a given this season. Raceland will try to use their size and strength to overpower the Wildcats. This one is a toss-up, with the winner’s prize being a second-round matchup of the Morgan-Ashland victor. Game 3 – Boyd County vs Elliott County In what seems like the inevitable, a battle of the Lions will take place in Morehead. Boyd County and Elliott County have squared off twice this season already, with Boyd County winning both games. Elliott County did reduce the margin of victory in the second matchup, falling by 8 at home. Boyd County, utilizing a very fundamental approach behind a strong starting five, has only two losses since the first of the year. The winner of this matchup will face the winner of the Rowan County-Lewis County game. Game 4 – Rowan County vs Lewis County In the final game of the first round, the Vikings will face off with the Lions of Lewis County for the second time this season. Lewis County won the first meeting, but the Vikings progressed steadily throughout the season. Lewis County has been up and down all season, but possesses all the components necessary to win. Offut has really stepped up late in the season for Lewis County, while the young roster for Rowan has matured behind stellar coaching. The games represent a very balanced region, and each should be very competitive. With that said, odds are good that Boyd County and Ashland, being in opposite brackets could meet for a fifth and deciding game this season in the championship.
  3. 16th Post Season Preview 1. Ashland (21-4) – After a terrific regular season, the Tomcats lost a game in each of the last two weeks. This week, Ashland fell to Russell at home, after defeating the Red Devils by 31 earlier in the year. I still look for the Tomcats to perform well in the district, but facing Fairview in the first round is anything but a sure win. If the Tomcats can put together a win, they are all but certain to face Boyd County for the fourth time this season. Despite the late season losses, Ashland is still the favorite, if only by a small margin, to win the Region. 2. Boyd County (24-6) — The Lions are in good form headed into the district and regional tournaments. Although they had to play through a tough game against East Carter, they collected good wins over Pikeville and a 34 point beat down of Greenup County this week. In what may be the safest bet of the region, the Lions will face Rose Hill to open district play. Boyd County is poised to make a late 90’s style run in the region this year behind a strong staring five. Coach Anderson has the Lions ready to play. 3. Morgan County (23-5) —Morgan County finished the season strong with big margin wins over Powell and Greenup County. The Cougars are spreading their offense among four or five players consistently, with Prater, Evans and Helton still leading the pack. Morgan ended up with the best draw possible in their district, facing West Carter in the first round, although the Comets are anything but a certain win. The district, regardless of past wins and losses is fairly evenly matched, with all four capable of winning or losing every contest. 4. Bath County (15-13) – The Wildcats had a rough end to the season with losses to Johnson Central and Lewis County, both by more than 15 points. Bath County will look to Pergrem and Williams to carry them into the regional tournament but the team has struggled with inconsistent play all season. They will face Menifee County in the first round, a team that they both lost to and beat by 41 points. Their future is going to be decided by which team shows up. 5. Raceland (14-11) —After a lot of up and down play, the Rams ended their season in similar fashion. In the same week Raceland defeated Fairview by 29 points and lost to West Carter. Raceland will face Greenup in the first round, a team they have beaten twice this year. If Raceland can take advantage of their size, they will be a formidable foe for anyone in the region. 6. Russell (13-13) — After a rough start, the Red Devils ended the season with their biggest win over Ashland at Ashland. They also lost to Elliott this week, but it was a competitive game at the Lions gym. Considering the poor start, a .500 season seems to be an accomplishment. The Red Devils, however, will be tested mightily in the first round with the Lions of Lewis County. Russell has had the Lions number this season though, defeating them in the two previous mathups. 7. Elliott County (10-12) – The Lions put an end to their losing streak with a good win over Russell but he Lions have struggled against fundamental competition this season. Elliott will face a surging East Carter in the first round. Although Elliott County has defeated East twice this season, both games have been close and East Carter is doing a good job controlling the tempo against good teams. Elliott will have to have a good game to make it out of the district this season. 8. Rowan County (14-14) – The Vikings are definitely not the same team they were last year, but they are showing improvement from the beginning of the season. The final week of the regular season featured a win over Mason County and an overtime loss to region frontrunner Morgan County. Rowan County will have a real test in the first round with a Fleming County team that is really showing improvement. They suffered a loss at home just a couple weeks ago against the Panthers. 9. East Carter (10-16) — Although both of the Raiders games ended in defeat this week they were close losses to better teams, Boyd County and Estill County. In each loss the margin was less than 5 and the Raiders were able to control the tempo of the game. The Raiders will face Elliott County in the first round of the district tournament, a team they have fallen to twice this season, but don’t be surprised if they pull a win out this time. 10. Lewis County (17-13) — After a downturn in an up/down season the Lions finished strong with a big win over Bath County, along with a defeat over Augusta. The Lions have the potential to win the district and make a strong showing in the region, but have also shown they can lose games to seemingly less talented teams. Lewis starts district play against Russell, a team they already lost to twice this season. 11. Fleming County (11-18) — After a rough start to the season Fleming has finished the season strong, behind the strong play of Crump, before falling three times this week to Greenup, Buckhorn and Russell. The Panthers will open district play as the unlikely favorite against Rowan County, after a late season victory over the Vikings at their gym. 12. Greenup County (8-17) —Greenup County is heading the wrong direction for a successful post season run. January wasn’t kind to the Musketeers, and February wasn’t much better. Greenup did collect a win over Fleming County, but not much else. Hughes and Gammon have had good offensive seasons, but that hasn’t been enough for the Musketeers. Greenup will face a good Raceland team in the first round. 13. Fairview (8-18) — The Eagles played some good teams close this year and had a good win over Morgan County, but ended the season on a skid including a home loss to Bath County by 25 points. Fairview has shown the potential to come up with a big win, but Ashland is waiting in the first round of the 64th. 14. Menifee County (10-16) — Menifee showed early signs of success this season, then disappeared before picking up four late season wins. Menifee opens district play against Bath County, a team they split wins and losses with this season. 15. West Carter (9-18) — Coach Webb’s young team pulled off another surprising win this week, with a victory over a good Raceland team, showing that anyone can beat anyone this season. The Comets will face Morgan County to open district play. 16. Rose Hill (9-16) — In a tough district the Royals season is most likely coming to an end. They will face Boyd County in the first round. A team they’ve lost to twice this year but significant margins. Players to Watch in the Post Season 1. Chase Villers —Ashland—As the 3-pointer falls for Chase, the Tomcats go. In his senior year chase has been terrific. If he can put together good shooting nights, the Tomcats can be unstoppable, Regionally. 2. Gage Hughes —Greenup—A proven scorer, the Musketeers will be relying on Gage to carry them. Gage is capable of big points, and if Greenup wants to progress, he’ll have to get them. He’s going to have to help to win many, though. 3. Gunner Short —Boyd County—Gunner has made his mark on the Lions team this season. He is capable of post play, while also being able to bring the ball up the court or spotting up for a three. His game is truly well rounded. 4. Dalton Barnett —Menifee—Barnett has been the most consistent thing about Menifee County basketball this season. He has efficiently put up big point games while leading the team. The team will be facing an uphill battle but they have a good player at the lead. 5. Devaunte Robinson —Ashland—Robinson has had some up and down play this season, but with his athleticism and size Devaunte can be unstoppable. In the 16th region Davaunte is a big guy in the more classic sense and that works to Ashland’s favor. 6. Bobby Hale —Russell—Bobby has become the leader many thought he would be. He is a true point guard, with a high IQ and a leader on the court. He has also provided much of the scoring, but the Red Devils have found that in other places lately, making them a much more formidable team. 7. Tay Offutt —Lewis—The Lions may not have had the season they were hoping for, but their ability to move forward will lay with Offutt. With size and athleticism only rivaled by Devaunte Robinson, Tay is capable of leading, rebounding and scoring. As he goes, Lewis will go. 8. Spencer Pergrem —Bath County—The one thing predictable about Bath County’s season has been the wins when Pergrem plays/shoots well. Spencer is an all around player, but the Wildcats need him to set the pace with efficient scoring. 9. Blake Stewart —Boyd County—Blake has played a number of roles this season, but the most important is as leader of the team. Although still just a sophomore, his decision making and poise is impressive. As one of the top contenders in the region, Boyd County will need Blake. 10. Michael Prater —Morgan County—Prater has shown that he is capable of scoring this season but has also morphed into a leader on the floor. Morgan has worked their way to the top of the region, largely behind his play. With other scorers stepping up Prater is even more capable of leading.
  4. 16th Region Basketball in Review True to form, the region was unpredictable at best this week. Ashland fell to out-of-region Mason County. West Carter, Fairview and Menifee County all ranked in the bottom tier of the region picked up unexpected wins. The district tournaments are on the horizon and the outcome of each is still very much a toss up with the exception of, maybe, the 64th. The final week won’t alter the post season matchups, but will provide one last glimpse at the current state of each of the teams. 1. Ashland (20-3) – Surprisingly, the Tomcats only game over the week ended in defeat. The Tomcats caught Mason County’s up and down season on a high point, allowing career highs for multiple players. Viller’s was able to score 41-points in the loss, but it wasn’t nearly enough in a high scoring contest that saw the Tomcats down by 20 points in the second half. The Tomcat’s face West Carter and Russell this week. Regardless of loss, the Tomcats still seem to be a small step ahead of Boyd and Morgan. Ashland ended up with the tougher end of the district draw, facing Fairview in the first round. 2. Boyd County (21-6) — The Lions had another productive week, collecting 3 wins in 3 games. Boyd picked up a district tying victory against Rose Hill this week, along with good wins against Rowan County and Elliott County. Elliott played the Lions close through the majority of the contest, but Boyd showed toughness in the away matchup, pulling ahead late. The Lions are consistently playing well at every position, and seem to be more comfortable with the Gunner Short adjusted lineup. 3. Morgan County (21-5) —In a week of nail bitingly close matchups the Cougars were able to collect two wins, while dropping one against Fairview. They did collect an overtime victory over the Comets of West Carter, and a 2-point victory over Rowan County. Morgan has proven to be capable of winning consistently, and are very well coached making them a top contender in the Region. They, through luck of the draw, are the top seed in the 62nd, and will face West Carter in the first round. Before that time comes, the Cougars have regular season games against Greenup and Powell Counties. 4. Bath County (14-11) –This week personifies the season of the Bath County Wildcats. Not only did they split their games, they won the first by 35 and lost the second by 26. The Wildcats lost to West Carter, a very young, but well coached, team. Bath County, behind Pergrem, Otis and Williams are capable of being a very good team, but are also capable of cold, long nights. The Wildcats round out the season with games against Fairview, Johnson Central and Lewis County. 5. Raceland (14-10) —After an upswing the Rams ran off the rails this week, then finished strong with a 30 point victory over Fairview. Leading up to the win, though, Raceland dropped games to East Carter, Lewis County and Bath County. Overall, the Rams looked a bit out of sorts and lackadaisical. Raceland did get scoring from outside of Potter and Weaver this week, but at the same time the big guys weren’t as effective. The Rams have two more chances to work out the kinks before districts, facing Menifee County and West Carter. 6. Russell (12-12) — The Red Devils had another good week with victories over West Carter and Fleming County. Bobby Hale is still the leader of this team, but as in the past few weeks, Whitt is contributing much needed scoring and rebounding. Overall, Russell is one of the most improved teams in relation to where they were at the beginning of the season. Russell will face one of their toughest weeks of the season in the last one squaring off against Elliott County and Ashland. 7. Elliott County (9-12) – The Lions downturn continued this week with disappointing losses to Morgan and Menifee County, before playing Boyd County well, but ultimately falling to the Lions at home. The same issues seem to still be plaguing the Lions, with disorganized and inconsistent play. Losing the coin toss for the districts top spot, means the Lions will face a surging East Carter Raiders team in the first round. Elliott has one more regular season matchup against Russell to work out the kinks. 8. Rowan County (13-14) – The Vikings are still playing much better than early in the season, but still split their games this week defeating East Carter in a close matchup before dropping a tight game to Morgan County. Sizemore and Madden are stepping up and leading a well-coached rowan County squad. The Vikings will face Mason County and Fairview in the final week of the regular season. 9. Lewis County (15-13) — Lewis County may be the hardest team in the region to figure out, not that many are very predictable. After a couple of rough weeks, the Lions picked up victories this week over Raceland, Greenup County and West Carter. Offut is stepping up at the right time, with contributions from a rotating supporting cast. Lewis County finishes the regular season with Augusta and Bath County. 10. East Carter (10-14) — Even with a loss to Rowan County, the Raiders had a good week with victories over Raceland and Fairview, both away games. The Raiders won, by controlling the tempo of the games and through scoring and hard play, especially from Damron and Bush. The remainder of the year will be an uphill fight for the Raiders, facing Estill County, Boyd County and will face Elliott County in the first round of the district tournament. 11. Fleming County (11-18) — After a rough start to the season Fleming was making a run but had a setback this week, winning two and dropping two. The Panthers defeated Lewis and Bracken County before dropping games to Russel and Buckhorn. Even in defeat, Fleming County is much better than early in the season, behind the play of Crump. They will travel to Greenup County for their final regular season game. 12. Greenup County (7-15) —Greenup County, unfortunately for them, is struggling at the wrong time of the season. Their schedule is not going to get any easier this week with matchups against Boyd, Morgan and Fleming County. If there is a bright spot, they are all at home. Gammon and Hughes have provided the only bit of consistency the Musketeers have had this year, but so far it hasn’t been enough. 13. Fairview (8-17) —This week typified the season for the Eagles, in that they have struggled with random bright spots. Fairview beat a good Morgan County team but dropped games to East Carter, Raceland and Phelps. With Bath and Rowan County to finish the regular season, the Eagles have Ashland to look forward to in the first round of the district tournament. 14. Menifee County (8-15) — After a long slide Menifee bounced back with big victories over Elliott County and Nicholas County this week. Menifee faces Raceland, Estill County and Williamstown to finish out the season, regardless of outcome it would be hard to see Menifee making a big post season push. 15. West Carter (8-16) — Coach Webb’s young team pulled off a big win over Bath County this week, but fell to Lewis County, Russell and Morgan County. The end of the season is not looking favorable to the Comets with Ashland and Raceland on the schedule. 16. Rose Hill (7-16) —The Royals played dropped an in-district game against Boyd County, the team they will also play in the first round of the district tournament.
  5. 16th Region Basketball in Review 1. Ashland (20-2) – The Tomcats continued their winning ways this week, with 3 victories including convincing wins over Elliott County and Spring Valley, WV. Ashland carried over some cold shooting from last week in the first half of the Elliot game but Chase Villers found his rhythm in the second half, finishing with 25 points. The Tomcats are also getting substantial contributions from Brandt off the bench. The Tomcats have completed district play and will most likely finish tied with Boyd County at the top of the 64th. Ashland faces Mason County, Rowan County and Johnson Central this week. 2. Boyd County (19-5) — The Lions had a productive week, collecting 3 wins in 3 games while spreading points, rebounds and responsibilities among seven players. In a win against East Carter Taylor Smith was able to connect on six 3 point attempts. Reese Robinson had a game high 20 points and 13 rebounds in a crushing defeat of Fariview, and Gunner Short had 20 points in a win over Rowan County. Along the way Stewart continued his consistent play, while Taylor is offering production in scoring and those non-measured stats. The Lions look to tie Ashland for a top spot in the district with a victory over Rose Hill this week before facing Elliott County. 3. Morgan County (19-4) —In the seemingly endless game against Elliott County, the Cougars picked up a win over the Lions this week, improving to 2-1 over Elliott County. The Cougars also picked up a win over East Carter but looked less than impressive against the Raiders zone. The deliberate pace seemed to throw Morgan off forcing bad shots and inconsistent play. Blake Evans shot particularly well in both games, especially from beyond the arc, leading Morgan in scoring in both games. Prater wasn’t far behind in production, while picking up the focus of both opponents defensive scheming. The Cougars will face West Carter, Fairview and Rowan County this week. 4. Bath County (13-10) –The Wildcats continued their up and down season this week losing contests to Russell and Rowan County before defeating a surging Raceland. By virtue of their win over Raceland I’m going to leave them in the same position as last week, but I can personally see Bath County ranked 12 as easily as I can 4. The next 6 teams, especially, are toss ups in terms of rank in the region. A bright spot for Bath this week was big nights from Brown and Otis, offering points to the regulars. Bath needs to take advantage of this week with games against Augusta and West Carter. 5. Raceland (13-8) —The Rams continued to play well behind the play of Potter and Weaver, with wins over Lewis County and Greenup County, before falling to the unpredictable Bath County Wildcats. With the mid-season emergence of the two big men and contributions of others, Raceland looks to be a dangerous team heading towards district and regional tournaments. Raceland will face Lewis again this week before East Carter and Fairview at home. 6. Russell (10-12) — The Red Devils had a good week with victories over Bath and Lewis County’s. Even with down games Hale is still leading his team, but what the Devils needed most, they have found…scorers. Russell had 5 players in double figures in their win against Bath County, none of which were Hale. The Red Devils are much improved from the beginning of the season, and look to improve on their record with games against West Carter and Fleming County this week. 7. Elliott County (9-10) – The Lions had a rough week this week, but they also had rough competition. The Lions picked up losses to two of the best in the region, Ashland and Morgan County, after collecting a win over the Comets of West Carter. The Lions are still plagued with inconsistent, seemingly disorganized play. They have a full schedule this week, facing Greenup and Menifee before playing Boyd County at home. 8. Rowan County (12-12) – The Vikings split games this week, with a win over Bath County before falling to Boyd County at Boyd County. Madden and Sizemore are playing well, behind the play calling of Thacker, but struggle with focus and defense at times. Rowan County has a rough week ahead with games at George Washington (WV) and Ashland. 9. East Carter (8-11) — The Raiders couldn’t have been looking forward to this past week with Morgan and Boyd County on the schedule. Even thought they both ended in defeat, the deliberate play and zone defense caused both opponents trouble and disrupted their normal rhythm. The Raiders will continue to play slow ball but they are going to have to find consistent scoring to turn these close games into wins. East will face Rowan, Raceland and Fairview, all away this week. 10. Lewis County (12-12) — After a good win over Rowan County this week, Lewis dropped two, Raceland and Russell. Both teams are on an uptick at the moment, but Lewis seems to be following the inverse path. The Lions have had stretches of impressive play this year, but have been very inconsistent as of late. Lewis looks to reverse it’s fortune this week with matchups Raceland, Fleming and Greenup. 11. Greenup County (7-14) —Seemingly nothing went right for the Musketeers this week. Greenup dropped all four games, losing to Wheelersburg, Lawrence County, Raceland and Paintsville. A lack of experience is showing in a lack of focus and defense. Greenup looks to change it’s fortune in matchups against Elliott and Lewis this week. 12. Fleming County (9-16) — After a rough start to the season Fleming is making a comeback of sorts. The Panthers picked up two wins this week before losing to a much better Montgomery County team. Josh Crump, consistently improving, put up 42 points in a game against Harrison County. They look to continue their improvement against Lewis, Bracken and Russell. 13. Fairview (7-15) —Following a good win over Raceland, the Eagles struggled and lost games to Boyd County and Phelps. In what was a close game early in the year, Boyd County defeated the Eagles by nearly 30. Fairview is rather inexperienced and it shows, especially away from their home court. The Eagles face Morgan, East and Raceland this week. 14. Menifee County (6-13) —The Menifee County slide continued this week, dropping two more games including a matchup with Fleming County. Barnett is still playing well, but lacks the support to improve above their current status. Menifee will face Elliott and Nicholas this week. 15. West Carter (7-13) —West Carter’s split games this week, but played Elliott closely at home. Coach Webb is working with his kids, but they are young and struggling. The Comets will face Morgan, Russell, Bath and Lewis this week. 16. Rose Hill (7-14) —The Royals dropped three games this week. The Royals will have a difficult start to the upcoming week, with an in-district game against Boyd County.
  6. 16th Region Basketball in Review Teams in the 16th were able to play a full schedule for the first time in the last three weeks and it didn’t disappoint. I'm more convinced then ever that the total disparity in the region is minuscule. With Fleming County beginning to win games and the top teams looking vulnerable it appears the region is truly up for grabs. 1. Ashland (17-2) – The Tomcats came away with two victories this week, but both were hard fought and much closer than most, including myself, would have expected. Early in the week Ashland barely escaped with a 1-point win over East Carter. For one of the first times this year, the brothers Villers had a cold night, but Robinson was able to will the Tomcats to a last second victory. The Tomcats are still the most impressive team in the region but both of their opponents showed that they are vulnerable to defeat. Ashland faces Rose Hill and Elliott County this week. 2. Boyd County (16-5) — After good wins over Spring Valley (WV) and Sheldon Clark this week, the Lions struggled with an inconsistent Mason, but still collected a win in OT. The Lions laid heavily on the normal suspects…Stewart, Short and Robinson, but also are starting to get consistent production from Taylor and Smith, who had 23 against Sheldon Clark. The Lions have a full week with matchups against Huntington, East Carter, Fairview and Rowan County. 3. Morgan County (17-4) —A week after beating Elliott County, the Cougars fell to the Lions before collecting a win over West Carter to end a two-game slide. The Adkins duo are adding consistent points and minutes to the proven Prater, Helton, and Evans. The Cougars are still a top contender but have shown that they two are subject to defeat by teams in the region and in their own district. With a districts so evenly matched, upcoming games with East Carter and Elliott County this week will be important and telling. 4. Bath County (12-8) –The Wildcats split their two games this week, losing to Fleming County and defeating Bracken County. Bath lost a close one to Fleming in the waning seconds, but more telling is the perceived lack of effort and urgency at times. Pergrem and Williams leading the Wildcats are capable of beating anyone in the region, but at the same time the outcome is at best a toss up at tip off. Bath will see Russell and Rowan County this week in regional matchups. 5. Raceland (11-6) —As the regional representative for the All A, the Rams faced and lost to Louisville Collegiate before defeating Menifee County at home. Raceland continues to utilize the size and talent of Weaver and Potter to good regional wins. They’ll have a chance to further their recent success in matchups with Fairview, Lewis County and Greenup County. The Rams have shown that they are contenders and belong in the upper grouping of the region as much as anyone. 6. Russell (8-12) — The Red Devils like most of the teams in the region are evenly matched with their regional opponents. So, in what seems like a broken record the Red Devils split their two games, defeating Rowan County and losing to Greenup. What Russell does have at this point in the season that most don’t is good play and production from four players…Whitt, Clark, Jachimczuk, and the leadership of Hale. 7. Elliott County (8-8) – The Lions pulled into a .500 season this week with a victory of district foe Morgan County, avenging a loss from the previous week. The Lions still suffer from inconsistency and disorganization but Dickerson and Evans have the ability to stand out along with Whitley at times. The Lions will face Morgan once again this week along with 62nd district foe West Carter. 8. Rowan County (11-10) – The Vikings had a rough week dropping games to Fleming County and Russell. The Vikings are organized but the execution is inconsistent. Rowan County looks young in their play, and for good reason…they are. They gave a fourth quarter lead to Fleming after holding them almost scoreless in the third. Mistakes and lapses in on court decision making are going to make consistency hard to achieve this season. Rowan County will face Bath, Boyd and Lewis County this week. 9. East Carter (8-11) — In what sounds like a broken record the Raiders split their games this week. Using a deliberate and disciplined game plan the Raiders narrowly lost to Ashland in a game that they were in a position to win to the last seconds. If they are able to maintain that game plan they will be capable of beating anyone in the region. They did pick up a rivalry win against the Comets of West Carter. The Raiders have games against Morgan and Boyd County this week. 10. Lewis County (11-10) —The Lions keeping up the trend, split games this week falling to Boyd County before defeating Fairview. Offut is still providing consistent leadership and scoring along with Wallingford, with contributions from Wright and Okeefe. The Lions have potential but are a few steps away from being where I thought they would be. Lewis County has a full week of R teams in the region facing Rowan, Raceland and Russell. 11. Greenup County (7-10) —The Musketeers only game of the week was a much-needed win over in county rival Russell. In a come from behind effort Hughes had 40 points and Gammon made the key drives and free throws that put the Musketeers over the top. Greenup faces Lawrence County this week along with Raceland. 12. Fleming County (7-15) — Fleming County is starting to make some movement in the region. Fleming picked up good wins this week against Rowan County and Fairview. The Panthers fought hard in a comeback win against Rowan County. Josh Crump has looked solid in the wins, connecting from the three-point line with consistency while leading an organized floor game. There is also rumor that Zac Alexander may be making an appearance in the near future, following a couple weeks of pregame warm ups. 13. Menifee County (6-13)—Menifee County continued its slide this week falling to Raceland and Powell County for their fourth straight loss. Dalton Barnett still looks like one of the best players in the region but the Wildcats are struggling defensively to put it together. Menifee will face a surging Fleming County team this week. 14. West Carter (6-12) —West Carter’s inexperience is showing in their three losses this week. The Comets fell to Rowan, East Carter and Morgan County this week. The Comets only game of the week will not be any easier with a game against in district foe Elliott County. 15. Fairview (6-13) —The Eagles losses this week were confusing at best. Fairview played Ashland very well, losing a close one after fighting hard. The offense for the Eagles is lacking to move them up the list in the region. Their other loss was a 23-point beat down issued by Fleming County. Fairview will have a rough week ahead with Raceland and Boyd County. 16. Rose Hill (7-11) —The Royals split their games this week, playing out of region competition. The upcoming week will put them against district competition in form of the Ashland Tomcats.
  7. 16th Region Basketball Week in Review Winter weather once again disrupted play in the 16th Region, but the sun came out long enough this weekend to see Ashland collect it’s first in region loss, and finally get the All A underway. Outside of a Tomcat loss, everything else seemed to stay to course, in that there is no course. Consistency in shooting, defense, toughness, and turnovers or lack thereof, has been elusive for all but a few in the region. Which leads unpredictable results, close games, and at times some ummmm…not so pretty basketball. 1. Ashland (15-2) – The Tomcats suffered their first in-region loss of the season, falling to Boyd County at home on Friday night by 4. Ashland, after falling behind by 17 points fought back in the fourth quarter to tie the game before eventually falling to the Lions. Boyd County used tough defense and multiple defenders to clamp down on Robinson. This was the only game for the Tomcats this week, who face East Carter and Fairview next week. Even in defeat, I still believe the Tomcats are the top team in the region. 2. Boyd County (12-5) — The Lions were able to defeat in-county rival Ashland for the first time this season. In victory, the Lions overcame early foul trouble by Stewart with a total team effort. Anderson is still trying to figure out the best way to play Short and Robinson together and maximize their efficiency, but it looked much better in this game. West and Taylor both contributed on both ends of the court. Riding a high, the Lions defeated Russell on Saturday night, in a close game. Robinson stepped up to lead the Lions in a game that saw early foul trouble for the entire starting five. The Lions have a busy week with a makeup game at Lewis County and home games with Spring Valley and Sheldon Clark. 3. Morgan County (16-3) —The Cougars picked up their second in-region loss this week dropping a semifinal All A game to Raceland after defeating Elliott County in the first round. Prater and Evans continue to lead the Cougars, but they are getting 4-5 players in double digit scoring consistently. Lapses in defense and intensity at times seem to be the downfall for Coach Perry’s team when they struggle. Morgan looks to bounce back with a rematch against Elliott County. 4. Bath County (11-6) –The Wildcats are now riding a 4-game win streak heading into the Championship game of the 16th Region All A. Bath County defeated Fairview and West Carter in route to a championship matchup against Raceland. Pergrem is proving to be worthy of the praise leading the Wildcats, along with Bryce Williams. When Bath County is shooting well and focused on defense pressure they are hard to beat. They will have their hands full with the size of Raceland, in what should prove to be an entertaining matchup. 5. Raceland (9-5) —The Rams picked up two good wins in the 16th Region All A this week, defeating Menifee County and Morgan County. The size and skill of Potter and Weaver, and the contributions of Octavious Hall is starting to show for Raceland. A championship matchup with Bath County will begin a busy week in which the Rams will face West Carter, Lewis County, and Menifee County. 6. Russell (7-11) — The Red Devils weather shortened week provided for only one game, which turned out to be a loss to Boyd County. Even in loss, though the Red Devils look much improved from the beginning of the season. The Devils were counting on and have gotten production from Bobby Hale, but the surge of production from Whitt and Jachimczuk is really starting to move Russell in the right direction. 7. Lewis County (10-9) —The Lions picked up a good win easily defeating a highly inconsistent Mason County. The Lions will need Offut and consistent play from the rest of the team as they face another Lion, Boyd County on Tuesday. Lewis County rounds out a difficult week with games against Fairview and Raceland. 8. Rowan County (10-8) – The Vikings, split their games this week losing by 36 to George Rogers Clark before defeating North Laurel in the Tim Short Classic. Even though the Vikings took a hard loss they are starting to look more cohesive with 4-5 solid contributors each game. Rowan will face West Carter, Russell and Fleming County this week. 9. Elliott County (7-8) – The up and down season for Elliott County continued this week with a loss to Morgan County. Shot selection and offensive organization make the Lions hard to figure out. The Lions have a chance to win every game, but I don’t see them putting together many wins in a row. The road won’t get any easier as Elliott County faces Morgan County again this week. 10. East Carter (7-10) — The Raiders were only able to play once this week picking up a win against East Carter. Justin Green and Jordan Brooks, are becoming more assertive as the season progresses to help Bush and Dyer lead the Raiders. The deliberate style of play really confuses teams that want to play at a quicker pace. East Carter will start off with a tough game against Ashland. 11. Greenup County (6-10) —The Musketeers only game of the week was an East Carter defeat. Gage Hughes is still putting up points but the deliberate play of East Carter caused him and the remainder of the Musketeers much frustration. Greenup’s lone game of the week will be a tough one, against in county rival Russell. 12. Menifee County (6-10) —Menifee County was defeated by Raceland in the opening round of the All A for their only game of the week. The Wildcats will face out of region opponents in Robertson and Powell County. Menifee County is in a slide that they need to correct, but are still 3-2 in their district. 13. West Carter (6-9) —West Carter’s played in the All A this week, picking up a win against host Rose Hill before dropping the semifinal game to Bath County. Coach Webb is getting the most he can out of his team, but they are young and prone to mistakes. The Comets have a full week with Rowan County, Raceland and East Carter on the schedule. 14. Fairview (6-10) —The Eagles lost badly to Bath County in the first round of the All A before picking up a win against in district foe Rose Hill. Fairview has played well at times this season but don’t seem to be making consistent progress. This week will not be any easier for the Eagles as they face Ashland at home. 15. Fleming County (4-14) — Fleming County split their two games, both out of region teams, this week with a victory over Augusta and a defeat at the hands of St Patrick. Coach Stapleton has had first year struggles with his team, but Josh Crump is starting to stand out as a leader and a capable scorer. Fleming has tough games with Bath County and Rowan County this week. 16. Rose Hill (6-10) —The Royals lost their only game this week to in region opponents West Carter and Fairview as they hosted the All A. The Royals leave regional opponents this week as they play their normal schedule.
  8. 16th Region Basketball in Review Winter weather in the 16th Region disrupted the All A tournament and a number of regular season matchups, but still left plenty of time for a number of entertaining games. Following the theme of the year, every game played beyond the top 3 teams was a toss-up, with no clear leader emerging outside Boyd County and Ashland, with Morgan proving very consistent with it’s schedule. Outside that the transient property of wins can be used to make any team clearly superior or inferior depending on the path taken. 1. Ashland (15-1) – Ashland won the only game it played this week, with an overwhelming defeat of Fairview. This week brings the third installment of Boyd County vs Ashland, this time at home. After a barn burner in the AIT, Ashland was able to handle the Lions easily in the second, we’ll see how the third one shakes out. 2. Boyd County (9-5) — The Lions also only played once this week, with a 50-point beating of Rose Hill at home. The upcoming week brings a rematch with Lewis County along with in-district games against Ashland and a Russell team on a heater. Boyd County needs to step up their performances to stay ahead of Morgan County. 3. Morgan County (15-2) —The Cougars managed to get two of their games in this week, with a good win over Greenup County, while squeaking by Magoffin County. As the week starts, Morgan County faces rival Elliott County in a game that is now going to be played in Elliott as a first round All A matchup. Morgan has been up and down in their performances this season, but the Cougars have been getting double digit scoring from all five starters. Their performance in the progression of the All A should offer a better way to judge the team. 4. Elliott County (7-7) – Elliott County had one of their better weeks of the season this week, with wins over East Carter and Rowan County. Even though the Lions were able to pickup both wins, they had to do so with comebacks in each game, with the Rowan Contest ending in double OT. Kole Whitley has been much more effective in running the Lions floor game, with Tanner Dickerson and Gage Evans putting up points, although they are still not shooting as well as they need to in order to reach the top of the region. The Lions will face a test with an opening round All A matchup against Morgan County. 5. Bath County (9-6) –The Wildcats ended up with an off week, but will face Fairview in the opening round of the All A. With the teams that are entered into the All A, the games should serve as a barometer for where the middle of the 16th Region is in respect to each other. 6. Russell (7-10) — The Red Devils picked up two more wins this week, stretching a hot streak that still leaves them below .500 but noticeably improved. Russell picked up animpressive victory at Lewis County, defeating the Lions handily in a team effort. Bobby Hale has been reliable since day one but in their recent uptick, he is getting able assistance from Jachimczuk and Whitt. The schedule doesn’t get any easier to round out this season for the Devils who face Rowan, Lawrence and Boyd County’s this week. 7. Raceland (7-5) —Coming off their best week of the year the Rams took a step back with a loss against in county rival Russell. The Rams had no answer for Bobby Hale, but Potter and Weaver still played solid games. Raceland joins a good deal of the region in the All A this week, facing off against Menifee County in the opening round. 8. Rowan County (9-7) – The Vikings, went 1-2 this week with a win against Menifee and loses to Fleming and Elliott County. The Elliott game proved to be a heart breaker with the Vikings losing a late game lead, only to collect the loss in double OT. Tate Johnson is starting to come on as the season progresses, but the Vikings ae still inconsistent at best. The Vikings have another busy week ahead with games against Russell and George Rogers Clark. 9. East Carter (6-10) — The Raiders dropped their only game this week against Elliott County. The Raiders dropped a big lead in disappointing fashion after leading the majority of the game. Turnovers and bad decisions doomed the Raiders down the stretch. Brooks and Dyer are contributing, and Green looks to be their most consistent player. East has a busy week with games against Fleming, Greenup, and Bath County’s. 10. Lewis County (9-8) —The Lions had a rough week. Following last week’s loss to Ashland, Lewis County faced an identical 49-70 loss to Russell. While Russell is looking better, the Lions looked lethargic at best in defeat. After a hot start to the season, the Lions have dropped 6 of their last 7 games. With a game against Boyd County to start off this week, Lewis County needs to find some energy and consistency quickly. 11. Greenup County (6-9) —The Musketeers only game of the week was a Morgan County defeat. Gage Hughes is still putting up big points, dropping 36 points, but the Musketeers are having a hard time collecting wins. Greenup faces Mason County this week along with both East and West Carter. 12. Menifee County (6-9)— Menifee County split their two games this week, defeating Lee County and losing to Rowan County. Barnett and Trimble have been consistent performers all season and were again this week. Menifee is now 2-3 in the district, but it is wide open, with the teams all trading wins and losses. Menifee plays Raceland in the opening round of the All A. 13. West Carter (5-8) —West didn’t play this week. They’ll enter into the All A Tournament this week, with an opening round Rose Hill matchup. 14. Fairview (5-9) —The Eagles lost big to the Tomcats this week rounding out a tough stretch of games. They’ll face another tough game this week, against Bath County in their opening round All A matchup. 15. Fleming County (3-12) — Fleming County picked up just its third win of the season, but looked decent in the victory of the Rowan Vikings. They also suffered a loss against Mason. The Panthers have had a rough season, but are capable of winning games on their district. Fleming County has a full week with East Carter, Menifee and Augusta on tap. 16. Rose Hill (6-8) —The Royals lost their only game this week to in district foe Boyd County. The Royals will square off against other small schools as they host the All A.
  9. 16th Region Basketball Week 6 Week 6 in the 16th Region may have done little more than further solidified Ashland’s standing as the region’s top team. In a rematch of the previously ranked top two teams, Ashland won convincingly from horn to horn. In a continuation of the first five weeks of the season the results of the games were predictably unpredictable. Close games from earlier in the season morphed into blowouts and complete reversals in the win column. Several regional teams also participated in the Marvin Meredith Classic this weekend, providing a good retreat on a miserably cold day. In addition to the regional games this week, the All A Tournament will get underway at Rose Hill. 1. Ashland (14-1) – Ashland continued its winning ways this week in strong fashion, handily dispatching Lewis County, Russell, and even though they were able to close the gap, Boyd County. On Boyd County’s home court, Ashland took the lead early and extended it to nearly 25 points, before winning by 12. Ashland’s team, as a whole, looked strong, while still being lead Robinson and Villers. In similar fashion, Ashland used a big third quarter to earn a 21-point victory of Lewis County. Sandwiched between these two victories, the Tomcats thumped Russell at Russell (after heating issues moved the game) by 31 points. The upcoming week Ashland will face Fairview and see their former coach in a trip to Mason County. 2. Boyd County (9-5) — The Lions looked very lethargic in their double-digit loss to Ashland this week, after playing them to double OT just a week earlier. They showed glimpses of the team they can be, but it was short lived. Stewart and Robinson played well in the comeback effort, but they couldn’t find the chemistry to get over the deficit. Unfortunately, for the Lions, the Fairview game later in the week wasn’t much more impressive. Although they collected the win, the Lions can be much better than the four-point victory they claimed. Boyd County will play at home twice this week, against Rowan County and Rose Hill. 3. Morgan County (13-2) —The Cougars sole game this week was a win against Menifee County. Consistency has been key for the Cougars this season and the remainder of the schedule lends to Coach Perry racking up an impressive W/L record. This week looks to be a busy one, with Morgan County facing Greenup, Magoffin and East Carter before moving into the All A Classic. The level of competition will be amplified by the sheer number of games back to back. 4. Lewis County (9-8) —The Lions split their games this week, with a good victory over Elliott at home, followed the next day by a 21 point loss to Ashland. If anything good can be brought out of the loss, Offut looked good playing Robinson. The Lions could pick up come momentum this week if they can collect wins against Russell and Greenup County, both at home. Lewis County still has potential but needs to use this stretch and an upcoming game against Boyd County to find their way. 5. Bath County (9-6) –The Wildcats picked up two wins this week, neither of which was a surprise, however the 42 point margin of victory over Menifee County was unexpected, especially considering an earlier loss to them. In the same week that saw Bath County pummel Menifee they collected a 4 point victory over Nicholas County. With any luck, Coach Williams will be able to capitalize on the high of the win heading into a game with Fleming County before entering into the All A Tournament. 6. Raceland (7-4) —The Rams had a terrific week this week with blow out wins over Lawrence County and Greenup County. It also served as a coming out party for Rylie Potter, who may have finally found his way collecting two double doubles. With their size, Raceland could prove to be a force to be reckoned with if they can find consistency. The Rams have away games against Prestonsburg and Russell before entering into the All A. 7. Rowan County (8-5) – The Vikings did not play this week, but based on games of others, they still managed to move up a couple spots. They make up for an off week last week with games against Menifee County, Fleming County, Elliott County and Boyd County. Those matchups should give some more insight into the Vikings and their capabilities. 8. East Carter (6-9) — The Raiders are the team I get to watch in person the most and also the team I have the hardest time putting into a spot on this poll. A week after beating Bath County at Bath County, they lost by 14 to Russell at home, and didn’t look good doing it. In their defense they played without Bush who was out with a knee injury, and Jordan Brooks is looking more dependable. Coach Baker and his boys have two difficult games against Morgan and Elliott County, which may show us a bit more about their mettle. 9. Greenup County (6-7) —The Musketeers only game of the week was a beat down at the hands of in county rival, Raceland. Greenup County had no answer for Potter and was dominated offensively and defensively. The upcoming week will be a difficult test for the Musketeers with regional contenders Morgan and Lewis County on the road. 10. Elliott County (5-7) – Elliott County split their two games this week with a narrow 1-point win over West Carter and a 15-point loss to Lewis. Their 3-3 record in the region fairly reflects their overall standing. After watching this game, I think the Lions are in about the position they will remain from now on. The game plan looks unorganized and haphazard, in a Saturday morning pickup kind of way. When it flows they look decent, otherwise they look like a .500 team with little chance of improvement. This week looks like it will bring more of the same with trips to East Carter and Rowan County, and Morgan County in the first round of the All A. The All A has been the Lions time to shine in the past, they need it to be this season. 11. Menifee County (3-5)— Menifee County’s troubles resumed this week with a somewhat predictable, but respectable loss to Morgan County, but shocked me by taking a 42-point beating from Bath County—a team they beat by double digits earlier in the year. This week they have a Rowan County rematch, another team they beat early in the season and will travel to Raceland to play a Rams team that is moving in the right direction. 12. West Carter (5-8) —The had a rough week racking up three losses, however all three were respectable and I think Coach Webb is getting all he can out of the players he has. They dropped close games to in district rivals Elliott County and East Carter. They’ll enter into the All A Tournament this week, with an opening round Rose Hill matchup. 13. Fairview (5-8) —The Eagles put up a good fight against Boyd County, losing by four after being up at half time. Ethan Smithers had a double-double and Fairview shot well from the floor. They have another tough test in Ashland this week before entering the All A Tournament against Bath County. 14. Russell (5-10) — The Red Devils picked up two wins this week, including a 14-point defeat of East Carter, and lost by 31 to a much more talented Ashland team. They play three games this week that should provide a better look at what they can do, if it comes together for them. If not, Lewis, Raceland and Rowan may make for a long week for Bobby Hale and his teammates. 15. Fleming County (2-12) — Fleming County ended up with an off week this week, and will face Mason, Rowan and Bath County’s this week. 16. Rose Hill (6-7) —The Royals split their games this week. Rose Hill’s Kenny Wilburn is putting together a good season in gamed against similar teams, but his week holds a district game against Boyd County before hosting the first round of the All A.
  10. 16th Region Basketball Week 5 Week 5 in the 16th Region was like everywhere else in the state, Holiday Tournament time. The AIT stood out this year with a Boyd County Ashland game reminiscent of the late nineties. It was good to see, as the rest of the region struggles to find itself still. Tournaments in Greenup and Bath County were competitive but not necessarily well played at all times. The teams in the Region that travelled outside to play during the holiday season didn’t fare as well as they would’ve hope, I’m sure. It sounds like an excuse, but if the cumulative property disintegrates when calculating probable wins and losses in the 16th region. I’ve stated before that it would take till Christmas for the rankings to solidify, but they appear to be as fluid as they were on the first day of the season. At any given time, teams ranked 3-15 can, and have, beaten each other with seemingly no pattern. At the very least, it makes a night at the gym interesting. 1. Ashland (11-1) – Ashland hosted a very entertaining AIT this week, culminating in a Championship win over the in-county rival Lions. In route to the championship the Tomcats got easy wins over Breathitt County and ninth region (Covington) Holy Cross. The final game, however, was much different with a double OT victory over Boyd County. It was a Boyd County-Ashland game that was fun to watch and fairly well played by both teams. The most important thing for the Tomcats, perhaps, is the number of players not named Villers or Robinson that are stepping up. In the AIT as a whole, Bradley, Hudson and Conway all stepped up. In what should be an exciting week in Tomcat basketball, Ashland will turn around and face Boyd County in the first of two regular season games along with games against Russell and Lewis County. 2. Boyd County (8-4) — In addition to their OT loss to Ashland, the Lions won handily against Vestivia Hills, a 7A school from Alabama, and collected a win against in Mason County. This week Reese Robinson and Blake Stewart both played well, and Gunner Short has really come into his own most notably with a 30 point game against Ashland. The Lions are looking good within the region still, but will face Ashland at ho’s me on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see if these two teams can provide a game that lives up to the high standard they have set for themselves. Boyd County will also play Fairview this week. 3. Morgan County (12-2) —The Cougars had another busy week and collected 3 more wins, compiling an impressive 12 wins thus far this season. I was unable to travel to Pine Mountain this week, so purely judging by the schedules and W/L’s of their opponents this week I’m having a hard time moving the Cougars up any further than the 3rd spot. The Cougars face Elliott and Menifee in the upcoming week. Based upon the schedule remaining for the season, Morgan County is poised to compile a very impressive Win/Loss record and gain more and more confidence along the way. 4. Lewis County (8-7) —The Lions collected three losses this week, bringing them to a four game slide. Lewis County travelled to Bracken County and played in the Straightedge Holiday Tournament losing to Bourbon, Harrison and Bracken County. Unfortunately for the Lions they are looking at games against Elliott County and Ashland this week. I am looking forward to the neutral court game against Ashland to see what Lewis County is really made of. Offut has been the focus, but Ruckel, O’Keefe, and Wallingford all need to be consistent producers to have the season they envisioned. 5. Bath County (7-6) –The Wildcats continued their inconsistent play this week, hosting the CSI Classic. After opening up with a win against Jackson City, Bath County dropped games to East Carter and Estill County. Although the game against East Carter was close they had no answer for Brooks size and seemed out of sorts defensively and offensively. If the Wildcats can muster up a consistent shot and buckle down on defense they have the weapons to be a good team, but so far it’s not showing. They look to get back on track this week with games against Nicholas County and Menifee County. 6. Greenup County (6-7) —The Musketeers rebounded this week with wins against McLean County and Prestonsburg in their Stultz Pharmacy Classic. Greenup County is still riding the high scoring of Gage Hughes who posted 40 points against Prestonsburg this week. When opponents can hold Hughes to 25 points or less the chances of a win are slim. Kyle Gammon is offering consistent support, but the Musketeers are still reliant on Hughes to determine the outcome. In the loss to Seneca, Hughes was held to 16 points. Greenup faces Raceland this week away. 7. Elliott County (4-6) – Elliott County travelled to Lexington Catholic this week for the Traditional Bank Classic. The Lions held their own splitting four games. Elliott dropped games to Lexington Catholic and Doss but collected good wins against Franklin County and Taylor County. Each of those two teams had good early round wins that made the Lions wins against them look impressive. Elliott County has talent and if they can direct it, will still be a force in the Region. 8. Rowan County (8-5) – The Vikings travelled to Pigeon Forge to participate in the King of the Smokies this week, dropping two and winning one. The upcoming week holds an away game against Fleming County. 9. Raceland (5-4) —The Rams had the week off but look forward to a home game against Lawrence County this week. 10. Menifee County (3-5) —Menifee County picked up good wins against Robertson and Lawrence County’s after a loss to Paris in the CSI Classic at Bath County. The Wildcats needed the wins coming off a 6-game slide including a disappointing and lopsided loss against Fairview. Dalton Barnett is shooting well, scoring at a good clip and grabbing a significant portion of the team’s rebounds. Menifee County getting terrific contributions from Travis Trimble who has been shooting well. The Wildcats look a step slow on defense, though, giving up a lot of points to teams who shouldn’t be scoring, even in their wins. Menifee County has a tough contest on Tuesday, facing a good Morgan County team. 11. East Carter (5-8) — The Raiders are a hard team to figure out. They picked up good wins against Lawrence County and Bath County to lose in the finals of the CSI Classic against Paris. They at times show poise, but more often then not they look disorganized. In the Bath County game, Jordan Brooks looked good but the leader of the Raider’s, Brady Bush, went down with an apparent knee injury against Paris. Hopefully, the injury isn’t serious, as East Carter heads into games with West Carter and Russell this week. 12. West Carter (5-5) —The Comets did not play this week, but will enter back into competition with Elliott County and in county rival East Carter to start the year. 13. Fairview (5-5) —The Eagles did not play this week. The Eagles will be tested late in the week by Boyd County. 14. Russell (3-9) — The Red Devils travelled to Middletown to play in their Holiday Classic this past week. Russell dropped two games to Owensboro and Elizabethtown before picking up a win against (1-13) Western. The Red Devils are still struggling to find any consistency defensively. I was worried about scoring initially, but a combined effort from 5-7 players a night has alleviated that in conjunction with Hale’s on floor leadership. The season only gets more difficult this week with a matchup against Ashland and East Carter. 15. Fleming County (2-12) — Fleming County unfortunately is suffering as much if not more than expected from the loss of Alexander. The Panther’s dropped three as they travelled to the Cumberland Falls Tournament. Coach Stapleton’s team will be back home to face Rowan County. 16. Rose Hill (5-6) —The Royals dropped their only game this week, against Tolsia, WV. Rose Hill will face two more small schools this week before a string of in-region games.
  11. 16th Region Basketball Week 4 Ashland suffered their first defeat of the season this week to George Rogers Clark, while another top Region team, Boyd County, dropped a game to Estill County. The remainder of the region performed about as expected, with a couple of exceptions, including a 95-point night for Fairview over Menifee County. Greenup’s Hughes is playing well and putting up big points consistently. Unfortunately, what most are already aware of, the region isn’t competing very well against the rest of the state. The teams top to bottom in the 16th are mostly competitive with each other, although the top four seem to be a step above the remaining twelve teams. The next week brings a number of interesting classic/tournament’s that should provide for a lot of entertaining basketball. 1. Ashland (8-1) – Blazer suffered their first defeat this weak falling to George Rogers Clark by 6 at home. They rebounded with a 16 point defeat of Ironton (OH). Viller’s shots just wouldn’t fall against Clark County and the Tomcat’s couldn’t find much production elsewhere. By contrast the Tomcat’s had five players in double figures against Ironton, shooting 50% as a team. The Tomcat’s will host the annual AIT this week, which should prove to be several days of entertaining basketball. 2. Boyd County (6-3) — Boyd County split their games this week, collecting a disappointing loss from Estill County and bouncing back to defeat Paintsville by 18 in the KY Bank Challenge at Rowan County. Gunner Short continues to look like a promising addition to Stewart and Robinson this season. The Lions will participate in the AIT this year with a opening round matchup against Owensboro Catholic. 3. Morgan County (9-2) —The Cougars had a busy week this week and came out of it 2-1. Morgan County collected wins against East Ridge and Prestonsburg before falling to Pikeville in the Graphix Holiday tournament. The Cougars are looking strong as they go into the Pine Mountain Classic after Christmas. Based on the scheduled opponents for the Cougars, it looks like it could be another good week for Coach Perry and his kids. 4. Lewis County (8-4) —The Lions had another productive week with victories in the Swauger Classic over Ludlow and Bellevue before falling to a good Newport team. Lewis County is heading to the Straightedge Construction Tournament after Christmas in Bracken County. It appears to be a field of teams that could mean another winning week for the Lions. 5. Bath County (6-4) –The Wildcats travelled to Gatlinburg this week to play and defeat Johnson County, but lost big to Harvest, an Ohio based prep school. Williams and Pergrem are playing well, with good play also from Porter and Chandler. Following the trend of the season, hot shooting leads to good wins for the Lions. If they can find consistency they are a formidable opponent within the 16th. Bath will host the CSI Classic following Christmas. 6. Greenup County (4-6) —The Musketeers had a rough week in regards to W/L’s but saw impressive play from Gage Hughes who put up big numbers in each game on good shooting. He had 27 in a loss to Montgomery County and 40 in a win over Phelps. Watching the games, it doesn’t take long to notice the opposition is focusing on Mr. Hughes, but he continues to put up good numbers on controlled play. A loss to East Carter got the Derby Classic off to a disappointing start for the Musketeers. Without more productive play from somewhere other than Gammon and Hughes, the Musketeers are going to be inconsistent at best. 7. Rowan County (7-3) – The Vikings looked better this week, putting up three wins in their home court KY Bank Classic and a fourth to start the week against Buckhorn. Balanced scoring against Casey County and strong performances from Madden and Johnson against Rockcastle County led to wins. The Vikings are looking more fluid and organized as they head to Pigeon Forge to participate in the King of the Smokies. 8. Raceland (5-4) —The Rams looked pretty good in their homecourt tournament, dropping the championship game to Southwestern by 2, after defeating Phelps and West Carter. Potter and Weaver have been consistent and reliable, with good production also coming from Kirk Pence. The Rams will be idle till the first of the year. 9. Elliott County (2-4) – Elliott County had an off week this week, but are headed to Lex Catholic for what may prove to be a difficult Traditional Bank Classic for the Lions. 10. Menifee County (3-5) —Menifee County dropped a game to Fairview by an unexpected 33 this week. Barnett was able to put up 17, but the entire team struggled to stop an average at best Fairview team from scoring. Menifee County is riding a five-game losing streak after opening the season with three wins. Swartz and his boys travel to Bath County to attempt a turn around after Christmas. 11. Russell (2-7) — The Red Devils went to Simon Kenton this week and struggled, losing all three games. All three games against Dixie Heights, Conner and Holy Cross were competitive, but Russell is still struggling on the offensive and defensive end. Russell has an off week to try to get straightened out. 12. West Carter (5-5) —The Comets split 4 games this week, defeating Sheldon Clark and East Carter, while dropping games to Raceland and Madison Southern. Leadingham and Glancy are starting to put up more consistent scoring, and Coach Webb has them looking more organized. It appears that the 50/50 record is going to be the story of the season. The Comets are also off till the beginning of the year. 13. Fairview (5-5) —The Eagles looked much better this week with a 33-point win over Menifee County and a victory over Robertson County. Coach Cooksey is getting balanced scoring from his team as they go into an off week. It’ll be interesting to see if the Eagles can maintain their offensive gains. 14. East Carter (3-7) — The Raiders notched a surprising win against Greenup County in an ugly game before stopping two to Southwestern and county rival East Carter. The Raiders are struggling offensively and defensively, heading into the CSI Classic in Bath County after Christmas. 15. Fleming County (2-9) — Fleming County split two games this week defeating Williamstown and losing to South Laurel by 24. The Panthers are travelling to the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament after Christmas. Fleming County is still struggling to find their offense. 16. Rose Hill (5-5) —The Royals fared well in their Private School Invitational tournament, going 2-1.
  12. 16th Region Basketball Week 3 Things in the 16th Region still aren’t becoming any clearer. Ashland is looking strong in the region going into a match up with George Roger’s Clark. Boyd County suffered a lose against Louisville Ballard but played a decent game and bounced back the next day with a win. Lewis and Morgan are playing well within the region, but the remainder of the region is a toss-up. Any given night could mean a win or a loss to any other team. The upcoming week brings holiday showcases, with mostly local matchups. 1. Ashland (7-0) – Ashland went 3-0, again for the week including a 17-point victory over Greenup County and a win over Perry County Central in Pikeville. Ashland was led again by Robinson and the brothers Villers, but benefited from balanced scoring from Bradley, Conway and Mays. The undefeated Tomcats will play George Rogers Clark this week, along with out of state rival Ironton. Ashland has looked strong thus far, and shows no sign of slowing if they continue with consistent play. 2. Boyd County (5-2) — The Lions split two games at the Pikeville Invitational this weekend, losing to a talented Louisville Ballard team while racking up a win against a down Paul Lawrence Dunbar with a big fourth quarter. Trailing by 11 going into the fourth, Robinson had a big half to lead the comeback along with another big performance by Gunner Short and Blake Stewart. Short has proven to big a spark for the Lions. Boyd County will play in the Kentucky Bank Challenge at Rowan County this week, facing Estill County and Paintsville. 3. Morgan County (6-1) —The Cougars lone game this week was a rout of Jackson City at home. Prater is still leading the Cougars but they are getting balanced play from the entire starting five. With Perry at the helm the Cougars are looking more formidable with every game. 4. Lewis County (5-3) —The Lions had another good week with victories over East Carter and an impressive 17 point defeat of Lawrence County at their place. The Lions continue to get good production from Wallingford, Ruckel, and Offut. Coach Hampton has his team playing well as look to take on Bracken County and Ludlow this week. 5. Greenup County (3-3) —The Musketeers split their games this week, losing to the Tomcats and defeating Fairview. Gage Hughes put up an impressive 51 on 25 field goal attempts, while also collecting 10 rebounds. Kyle Gammon has offered significant contributions, but in order for the Musketeers to improve they may need consistent contributions from others. Greenup goes into the Derby Classic this week starting off with a game against East Carter. 6. Bath County (4-3) –The Wildcats pulled out two victories this week, with more balanced play. The Wildcats placed 5 players in double figures against Fleming County and four against Fairview. I expected both wins to be by a greater margin, but they were both wins. Bath County is headed to Gatlinburg to play this week. 7. Elliott County (2-4) – Elliott County dropped two more games this week with a disappointing loss to Raceland. The Lions still look disorganized and unsure of their selves. The Lions have an off week to get situated, but head to Lex Catholic for the Traditional Bank Classic after Christmas. 8. Menifee County (3-3) —Menifee County had a rough week after defeating Rowan County at home, they lost to West Carter, Berea and Paintsville on the road. Barnett continues to play well, along with Trimble, but it’s still not enough. Menifee plays Fairview away this week. 9. Rowan County (3-3) – The Vikings struggled this week with losses to Menifee County and Powell County. Rowan County is still struggling to put up points but are getting consistent contributions from Sizemore, Madden and Gardner. The Vikings host the Kentucky Bank Challenge this week. 10. Raceland (3-3) —The Rams split their games this week losing by to Russell but defeating Elliott. Potter and Weaver are pacing the Rams putting up double digit scoring and grabbing a lions share of the rebounds. The Rams will host their Derby Classic this week. 11. Russell (2-4) — The Red Devils split the week with a loss to Morgan County and a win at Raceland. Bobby Hale has been leading the Red Devils ably putting up big points while leading the team on the floor. 12. West Carter (3-3) —The Comets had a good week with big wins over Menifee County and Fleming County. West Carter is playing a very composed game plan behind the experience of Coach Webb. He is getting the most out of his team. 13. East Carter (2-5) — The Raiders dropped two more this week, both in OT. Bush is doing an adequate job of leading the team, but the Raiders don’t seem to be able to put together the fire power to overcome. If the Raiders continue to play the oppositions game plan, it’s going to be a long season. 14. Fleming County (1-8) — Fleming County’s season isn’t looking any better after dropping three games this week. Crump and Flannery are putting up good scoring totals but a struggling to find help and to stop the opposition defensively. 15. Fairview (2-3) —The Eagles split games this week with a loss to Bath County and a win against his dad’s Ironton St Joe’s team. Fairview played Bath County close away. The Eagles play Menifee County before going to Rowan to play in the KY Bank Challenge. 16. Rose Hill (3-4) —The Royals split games this week, losing to Ashland but putting up a big win against Riverside Christian.
  13. 16th Region Basketball Week 2 As week two ends in the 16th Region the picture isn’t much clearer for positions 3-13. Ashland and Boyd County both have proved to be as talented and capable as expected, with Ashland putting up a dominating performance against a talented Capital WV team. Past that the teams have proven that they can win/lose against the same team from one night to the next. Thus far it seems the ability to knock down shots with consistency will determine the winner on any given night. 1. Ashland (4-0) – Ashland went 3-0 for the week including a most impressive beating of Capital from Charleston WV. Ashland got a big performance from the youngest Villers brother, an eighth grader, Chase who connected on 4 three-pointers. Devaunte Robinson set the pace early on getting to the rim against a very talented, long and athletic WV Capital team. The Tomcats led throughout and won by 23, in a dominating performance which has moved them to the top of the Regional leader board. Ashland will face Greenup and Perry County this week. 2. Boyd County (3-1) — The Lions easily dispatched Elliott Friday night behind strong performances of Robinson and Stewart. As disciplined and talented as they looked against Elliott, they looked that flat against Lewis County but were still able to pull out a win in OT. Gunner Short had the performance of the night putting up 31 in an all-around performance making up for early and persistent fouls. The Lions head to Pikeville next weekend for their Invitational. The Lions slip to second this week based somewhat on a very weak performance against Lewis County but more so due to Ashland’s impressive defeat of Capital. 3. Elliott County (2-2) – Elliott County was able to put up a good win against Greenup this week, but looked disorganized and without a game plan for Boyd County. They trailed by 20-30 points throughout the night. They have one game this week, against Raceland. Kole Whitley is leading at point, with Evans and Dickerson doing scoring. 4. Morgan County (4-1) —The Cougars continued their winning ways against Russell in the EKC but lost to Lewis in OT in the Championship Game. The Cougars are winning with balanced scoring and play, with Prater and Evans averaging 16 ppg. Morgan County faces Russell and Jackson City this week, with a Morgan County matchup looming early the week after. 5. Greenup County (2-2) —The Musketeers picked up a good win against a hot Lewis County team at home this week while suffering a defeat against Elliott with Gage Hughes contributing 22. The Musketeers have a big contest with the Tomcats this week that will surely be a big test. 6. Lewis County (3-3) —The Lions ended up even at the end of the week but had good games against both Boyd County and Morgan County, winning the EKC along the way. Offut has looked good, but Ruckel and Wallingford are scoring and leading a balanced attack. They did suffer a loss at Greenup Friday night. Lewis will face East Carter and Lawrence County this week, both away. They should be able to pick up a couple wins if they perform the way they did this past week. 7. Menifee County (2-0) —Menifee opened the season with wins against Bath and Fleming. Barnett has started the season on a roll with 28 and 30 point performances. Menifee County will host Rowan County and travel to West Carter this week. 8. Bath County (2-3) –The Lions suffered two losses this week against Lewis County and Menifee County. Poor shooting and a defense that looks a bit disorganized have contributed to the losses suffered thus far. When the shots are falling, Bath County is hard to deal with. They should be able to get back on track this week with Fleming and Fairview on the calendar. 9. Rowan County (3-1) – The Vikings split games this week, losing to Bath and defeating West Carter, albeit by a single point in a very low scoring game. The Vikings travel to Menifee and Powell County this week. 10. Raceland (2-2) —The Rams split their games this week losing by 23 to a talented Ashland team and defeating Prestonsburg by 30. They have home games against Elliott County and Russell this week. 11. East Carter (2-3) — The Raiders put up an impressive 38 point win against Sheldon Clark this week to improve to (2-3). With an impending game against Lewis County this week, we might get a better feel for the Raiders, who have looked inconsistent at best. 12. Russell (1-3) — The Red Devils lost twice this week including a disappointing defeat at Fairview. They were able to defeat the Eagles by 25 last week. They have a tough game against Morgan County this week along with an away trip to Raceland. 13. Fleming County (1-5) — Fleming is off to a rough start dropping three games this week, including one to Menifee County. They face Nicholas and Bath County this week and West Carter next weekend. 14. West Carter (1-2) —The Comets lost to Rowan County this week in a low scoring affair. Coach Webb is still in search of finding scoring. This week looks rough with a matchup against Boyd County and Menifee County. 15. Fairview (2-3) —The Eagles pulled off a win against Russell after taking a 25 point defeat last week to the Red Devils. They face a tough game away against Bath County this week. 16. Rose Hill (2-3) —The Royals lost to in region opponent Fairview last week, but put up 2 wins with smaller schools this week. The Royals will face the Tomcats of Ashland in rough game this week.
  14. 16th Region Basketball Week 1 As week one ends in the 16th Region it’s clear that’s it’s unclear how the Region is going to shakeout. The EKC Tournament accounted for a large portion of the games this past week. This upcoming week brings more of the same along with some interesting in region matchups. While some teams looked better than expected I still think it’ll be January before you can start being confident with the true capabilities of the teams. 1. Boyd County (1-1) — The Lions suffered a loss to Johnson County but mounted a comeback behind a 37 point performance from Blake Stewart. The Lions will host the RoundBall Classic at the end of the week with matchups against Elliott and Lewis. 2. Ashland (1-0) – Ashland played only one game this week against the Lions of Lewis County. They rode a strong performance from Chase Villers who put up 33. The week ahead brings out of state South Point and a trip to Boyd County’s Roundball Classic. 3. Elliott County (1-1) – Elliott suffered a loss to Paintsville this week but posted an EKC win against an underwhelming East Carter. Evans and Dickerson provided much of the scoring with Whitley controlling the ball. The Lions are missing Spencer and need to have at least one more player step up to keep them ranked among the top teams. 4. Greenup County (1-1) —The Musketeers lost to Rowan County this week but posted a 12 point victory over Russell. With Hughes missing the contest it’s difficult to gauge the teams true strength. This week’s game against Elliott and next weeks against the Tomcats of Ashland will offer more a better picture of their true capabilities. 5. Morgan County (3-0) —The Cougars are off to a quick start defeating Lawrence, Bath and East Carter this week behind Praters strong play. The Cougars continue into the EKC this week and have a scheduled game against West Carter on Friday. It could/should be a good week for Perry and his boys. 6. Bath County (1-1) –In what was most likely the best game of the region this week Bath County dropped a nail biter to Morgan County. Pergrem and Williams have been offensive weapons with several others contributing. Thus far Bath County appears to have improved from their sub 500 team of a year ago. With Menifee and Robertson County at the end of the week they should improve upon their W/L record. 7. Rowan County (2-1) – The Vikings played Montgomery close and got the win this week before beating Greenup by double digits and losing to Bath County by double digits. The Vikings. The Vikings have had a balanced attack thus far with 4 players averaging double digits. 8. Raceland (1-0) —The Rams only played one game this week, beating Rose Hill. The upcoming week has them challenging two out of state teams before playing in region competition. 9. Russell (1-1) — The Red Devils split their first week games, beating Fairview but falling to the Musketeers of Greenup County by double digits without their best player. Russell doesn’t appear to be as strong as I thought they might be early on. 10. Fleming County (1-2) — Stapleton collected a win over Robertson County this week but dropped two to Bourbon County and Floyd County in a nearly 30 point loss. It looks like an up and down season for the Panthers at best. They play Menifee County tonight, giving them an opportunity to collect another win, though. 11. East Carter (0-3) — The Raiders are off to a rough start dropping all three games this week to Lawrence, Elliott, and Morgan. Even with the losses, they have been close games including a 3 point loss to Morgan. 12. Lewis County (1-1) —The Lions also split the week with a loss to Ashland and a win over West Carter. With Bath, Boyd and Greenup in the near future we will see what the Lions are made of. 13. West Carter (1-1) —The Comets finished the week even with a win over Fairview and a loss to Lewis County. The Comets are looking are missing their senior scorers from last year and will need some time to try to fill the void. 14. Menifee County (0-0)—Menifee will open the season tonight against Fleming. 15. Fairview (0-2) —The Eagles are off to a rough start and could be looking at a long season. They lost to West and Russell both by double digits. 16. Rose Hill (0-2) —The Royals lost to in region opponent Raceland last week, but has two games with smaller schools this upcoming week.
  15. Preseason 16th Region Basketball Rankings It may be cliché, but 16th Region Basketball appears wide open at the season’s onset. The team rankings from top to bottom are far from set, as they are dependent upon game experience and play of younger, untested players. As the season starts, teams are adjusting to integration of football players, addition of freshman, transfers of key players, unfortunate injuries, mass exodus via graduation, and new coaches. With team schedules full of local games preceding district and regional matchups, a clearer picture should develop by the Christmas classic season. Traditional names appear at the top of the list, but even they are not secure. Elliott County has been on a terrific run of regional titles, but graduations and transfer of one of the region’s top players, make them anything but a safe bet. 1. Boyd County - Although the Lions graduated key producers from last year’s team (especially Kenser’s 24 points), Blake Stewart and Reese Robinson return to lead a talented Lions team. Robinson missed several games last season, and his presence this year will only benefit the Lions. Coach Anderson’s up-tempo, high scoring offense should prove to be successful if it continues to be balanced with his focus on the fundamentals. The Lion’s showcase-filled schedule includes an early December home-based round ball matchup with Elliott County that may provide a better picture of the 16th Region. Seventeen years removed from a Sweet-Sixteen, Boyd County could be in contention to make a run this year. 2. Ashland - With a 1-2 ranking reminiscent of the nineties, the 64th district promises to be competitive, at least at the top. Similar to Boyd County, Blazer is 15 years out from their most recent trip to Lexington. Last year’s 13-19 season was underwhelming, but the return of Chase Villers and Devaunte Robinson provides hope for the Tomcats. Villers proved to be an effective scorer and the athletic Robinson will help get the group of up-and-coming sophomores involved. If Coach Howell can find scoring within the sophomore class rounding out the rotation, the Tomcats could prove dangerous come Spring. 3. Elliott County- Coming off another 16th Region title, the Lions were looking strong even with the departure of Chase Porter, but the off-season defection of Korbin Spencer to Hargrave Military Academy, creates a bit more precarious future. It’s too early to count Coach Adkins out, though, with the ball in the hands of a super smart and quick Kole Whitley and the capable scoring of Tanner Dickerson. Elliott is the exception to local 16th Region play, making a trip to Lexington to play in the Catholics Christmas Classic. Last year’s 26-4 record will prove a lofty benchmark, but Elliott is not a team to back down. 4. Greenup County - The Musketeers possess what may be the region’s best player, Gage Hughes, a proven scorer. With Hughes drawing attention from opposing team’s defenses, Coach Tackett will need to find other players capable of filling the void left by Mike Hubbert. Hubbert was responsible for 24 points and nearly 8 rebounds a game last season. An even loftier challenge may be formulating a defense that can control the scoring of other shooting teams…see Elliott and Boyd above. 5. Raceland - With the return of Octavious Hall at the point position this year, the Rams are looking to improve upon last year’s 7-22 season. Travis Weaver and Rylie Potter are both reliable producers and at 6’5”, each has a size advantage over most region teams. If this advantage can be cashed in on both offensively and defensively, the experience of Potter and Weaver could propel the Rams past last year’s showing in an evenly talented 63rd district. The duo is going to have to improve on a combined rebound average of just 11 boards a game to keep the Rams competitive in higher scoring games. They also need to find more scoring, coming into the season with one of the lowest total point outputs in the 16th region. 6. Russell - Bobby Hale enters the season as one of the most experienced guards in the district. The Red Devils will need his experience and help from the remainder of the team, especially with Ryan Stump suffering injury early in the football season. Losing Ethan Raby to graduation, the Devils may look to Hale for more scoring early in the season. Hale was a 14 ppg scorer last year, but can’t be expected to pick up the 14 points that Raby was adding. Landon Brewer was the next highest scorer averaging nearly 10, but has also moved on via graduation. Austin Clark contributed 7 as a junior guard and should be able to aid Hale. 7. Fleming County - A promising season took a major blow with the loss of Zac Alexander to a football injury. It appears last year’s Regional Tournament standout will miss the basketball season. Chris Stapleton will take over coaching duties following yet another change in the head spot at Fleming. In Stapleton, the Panthers have youth and experience with local name recognition. If he can get buy in from all involved, the Panthers could vie for a top position. 8. East Carter - Similar to Russell, East Carter will be relying heavily on an experienced, reliable guard in Brady Bush. Look for him to be called upon to score more than in past seasons. Shooting and scoring may be early issues for the Raiders, but expect Coach Baker to start looking for minutes and shots from the sophomore and possibly freshman class. I would expect more of the same low-scoring, grind-them-out games this season. “Pretty” won’t be used to describe Raider games, but they could prove to be the best defense to the more offensively inclined teams at the top. 9. Morgan County - While suffering from a 9-20 record last season, the Cougars look to rebound with experienced and always energetic Matthew Perry at helm. Following key graduations and transfers to the rest of the district, a relatively young Cougars team paced by Senior Michael Prater, will look to challenge in the 62nd. The Cougars suffered some ugly losses last year that may serve as motivation this season. 10. Rowan County - Following the exit of Sean Woods and his son DeSean combined with mass graduation, the Viking squad is a bit of an unknown. Sizemore will return to offer game experience but the Vikings are mostly inexperienced beyond that. Thacker, no doubt, will have the incoming squad ready to play, but with three gritty teams in the District, it may be a rough start to the season. 11. West Carter - The Comets are coming off one of their best seasons since Coach Webb was a dominate 16th Region player, but they are reeling from the loss of big-man Ben Jordan and the tough-as-nails Roe. They will look to their more inexperienced players this season, but Coach Webb is a tough teacher who will have them learning from every outing. Like several teams on the list, the loss of experience and the unknown will be key words until Christmas. 12. Lewis County - Tay Offut returns to lead the Lions again this year. If Coach Hampton can find some production from his Juniors in scoring, the dependable Offut could put the Lions into District contention. Look for Kelly, Wallingford and Ruckel to step up this season. 13. Bath County - Reeling from two consecutively rough seasons and losing much of the scoring help to graduation, the Wildcats will rely on Coach Williams’ son Bryce to lead the team. It will be difficult for Bath to mount a major turn-around this season. 14. Menifee County - The Wildcats have players returning, including top performer Dalton Barnett. However, a vast improvement over last year’s 8-21 season may prove a difficult challenge. 15. Fairview - It could be a long season for Coach Cooksey this season, but following in the long tradition of the Cooksey family he will have his team ready to compete. The athletes of Ashland and Boyd County will make district play a challenge. 16. Rose Hill - Another coach’s son, Johnny Bush, is set to take over the helm this season. Well known in the Royals family, he is familiar with the challenges of a perennially young team from a small school. Top Players 1. Chase Villers (Ashland) Look for the transformation to a leader with scoring ability. He shot 36% behind the line and averaged a bit better than 16 points per game last season. The Tomcats will need at least that from him this year. 2. Gage Hughes (Greenup County) A proven scorer, a shooter who will have the green light. Averaging nearly 29 points he managed an impressive 46.7% from the floor, dropping 89 three pointers along the way. Expect a productive season from Hughes this year. 3.Reese Robinson (Boyd County) Athletic and capable of running the floor with a quick offense. Robinson averaged 10 points and 6 boards a game last season. With the departure of Kenser, Reese will have the opportunity and responsibility of adding to both of those averages. 4. Dalton Barnett (Menifee County) Skilled with size, will have to shoulder the lion’s share of the load. He’s shown his self to be capable of the responsibility last season but will need to improve on his team leading 17 points and 8 rebounds to improve Menifee’s stock. 5. Devaunte Robinson (Ashland) As athletic as they come in the 16th, capable of creating plays. He shot a reliable 50% through last season. If he can produce at that rate this year and increase his attempts, it will be a sound season for Ashland and Devaunte. 6. Bobby Hale (Russell) True point guard, with a high basketball IQ and a leader on the court. Hale was able to put up 450 points last year on 45% shooting. If Russell is able to find another scorer, this would be a good rate for Hale in ’18. If not, he may have his hands full trying to run the show, while making up scoring void left by Raby. 7. Tay Offutt (Lewis County) fundamentally sound and reliable, tough and gritty. Has relied on two point baskets but has been very efficient shooting 55%. He's already averaging nearly 9 rebounds a game, and plays all out buzzer to buzzer. 8. Brady Bush (East Carter) Brady grew up in a basketball family, plays a smart game, fundamentally sound. Not a strong scorer at 6 per game, but capable of running the team. Like Hale from Russell he’ll need some help scoring to show his game. 9. Blake Stewart (Boyd County) A floor general from a young age, proven ability, capable of distributing and scoring. With Kenser’s graduation Blake may have to up the scoring slightly, but his strength still lays with this ability to get the ball up the court. 10. Michael Prater (Morgan County) Capable of scoring, experienced, benefits from an experienced coach. Michael is a solid rebounder and scorer. Not a great three point threat, but a solid double double guy is realistic. **Zac Alexander (Fleming County) After a terrific Regional tournament showing, Zac was poised to be one of the top players in the Region. It appears at this point, though, that Zac may not get to play this season following an unfortunate football injury. A very tough kid who led his team last year in strength and scoring.
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