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  1. 1) Hazard (12-2): The Bulldogs have added one championship to they're resume once this season and they added another one this past weekend when they won the 14th Region All "A" Classic. They picked up wins over Wolfe County 54-51, Cordia 49-42 and Knott County Central in the championship game 62-54. The Bulldogs will advance to the all "a" classic state tournament at EKU's McBrayer Arena where they will tip off against the 7th region winner between Kentucky Country Day and Louisville Collegiate. Hazard has two games this week, both against district opponents. They will travel crosstown to take on the Perry County Central Commodores on Tuesday and host Buckhorn on Friday. 2) Knott County Central (12-4): The Patriots picked up 3 wins last week to extend they're win streak out to 6 games but that win streak was snapped when they fell 62-54 to Hazard in the championship game of the 14th Region All "A" Classic. Knott County Central will host Cordia on Thursday for they're lone game of the week. 3) Wolfe County (11-3): Wolfe County split both of they're games last week, defeating Owsley County 59-53 but falling to Hazard 54-51. Both took place in the 14th Region All "A" Classic. Wolfe County will be on the road this week, traveling to Beattyville on Tuesday to take on Lee County and on Friday traveling to Oneida Baptist Institute. 4) Estill County (10-5): The Engineers seen they're three game win streak snapped last week when they lost they're only game of the week, 50-46 on the road at Woodford County. Estill County will be home this week, hosting Southwestern on Tuesday and district foe, Powell County on Friday. 5) Cordia (7-10): The Lion's woes continue as they have now lost 4 of they're last 6 games including both games last week. They defeated Breathitt County 74-68 but fell to Hazard 49-42 both in the 14th Region All "A" Classic. Cordia will be on the road this week, at Buckhorn on Tuesday, Knott County Central on Thursday and Lincoln County (at Southwestern Iron Warrior Classic) on Saturday. 6) Perry County Central (4-12): The Commodores struggles continue as they have now dropped 6 of they're last 7 games. 3 of those losses came last week when they fell to Knox Central 73-67, Harlan County 81-64 and Wayne County 80-64. All were at home. Perry County Central will have two home games this week and one road game. Home hosting Hazard on Tuesday, on the road at Leslie County on Thursday and at home on Saturday hosting North Laurel. 7) Breathitt County (5-8): The woes continue for Breathitt County as they have dropped 3 of they're last 4 games. They picked up a 73-67 win over Leslie County but fell 74-68 to Cordia. This week doesn't get much easier for the Bobcats as they will host Leslie County on Tuesday and on the road at Jackson City on Thursday and on the road at George Rogers Clark on Saturday. 8) Buckhorn (6-8): The Wildcats have hit a snag, dropping 3 of they're last 4 games. Buckhorn edged out Jackson City 65-63 but fell 61-51 to Knott County Central. Both in the 14th Region All "A" Classic. Buckhorn will host Cordia on Tuesday and on the road at Hazard on Friday. 9) Leslie County (4-9): After a rough start to the season, the Eagles seemingly have been playing better as of late, winning 3 of they're last 4. Leslie County dropped they're only game of the week last week to the same team they will face Tuesday, Breathitt County 73-67. Leslie County will host Perry County Central on Thursday and be on the road at Pike County Central on Saturday. 10) Owsley County (6-6): After a 1-4 start to the season, the Owls have gone 5-2 since. Owsley County will have 3 straight district games but two this week and one next week. They will host Powell County on Tuesday and travel to Lee County on Friday. 11) Jackson City (5-10): With the two losses last week to Buckhorn 65-63 and St. Patrick 67-56, have now ran they're losing streak to 5 straight and have now lost 8 of they're last 9 games. The Tigers will be on the road this week at Breathitt County on Thursday and Jenkins on Friday. 12) Letcher County Central (3-9): Since winning they're last two games of December, the Cougars have dropped they're last 3 since. 13) Powell County (3-10): The Pirates have lost 4 straight and 6 of they're last 7 games.That's not good for the defending 56th champions. 14) Lee County (3-10): The Bobcats defeated June Buchanan 76-64 last week to snap a 6 game losing streak. 15) June Buchanan (0-8): The Crusaders are still searching for that first win. When will it come?
  2. Overview: The 15th Region saw one of their top teams push one of the best in the 16th to double overtime, a few teams stumble and some early surprises after one week of play. This will be a fun, competitive region to follow throughout the year. Updated rankings are as follows. Rankings (overall record): 1. (-) Johnson Central (1-0) - The Golden Eagles opened the season strong with a dominating win over Jackson County at home by a final of 81-52. Never trailing in the game, JC put four players in double figures led by Cory VanHoose who posted 21 points and 12 rebounds. Isaiah May (15 points 6 rebound 5 assists) Jacob Rice (12 points 8 assists 4 steals and 6 rebounds) and Gabe Ferrell (13 points 6 rebounds 2 blocks 1 assist) had strong performances as well. JC returns four starters that averaged double figures last season in the aforementioned players and will only get better this week and several key players from football return. In week two the Golden Eagles will be idle as they have no games scheduled. 2. (-) Pikeville (0-0) - The Panthers have yet to open the season and are scheduled to be idle until week three. Most of their key players are still returning from football and will take some time rounding into basketball form. 3. (-) Paintsville (0-1) - The Tigers opened the season on the road versus the top team in the 16th region in Elliott County. Paintsville gave them all they wanted before falling 93-96 in double overtime. With multiple chances to win in regulation and the first extra frame, the Tigers fell just short despite getting big games from freshman Colby Fugate (26 points) and junior Seth Williams (26 points). Freshman transfer Brady Dingess posted 8 points (3/5 FG) 2 rebounds 4 turnovers 0 assists and 0 steals before fouling out. This Paintsville team is very good, play very fast and if will be difficult for anyone in the 15th region to beat. Paintsville will be in the WYMT Mountain Classic this week as they open with Knox Central on Tuesday. 4. (-) Shelby Valley (1-0) - The Wildcats began the season with 59th District play against Jenkins and saw 13 players hit the scoring column in an 81-32 home win. The running clock came early as the stars sit most of the game, but Valley did see Samuel Stanley (18), Cody Potter (13) and Cameron Worrix (11) hit double figures. Valley is deep and like the teams above them, play very hard. Look for two more lop sided wins in week two as the Wildcats host Betsy Layne and then travel to Pike Central. 5. (-) Floyd Central (1-2) - The Jaguars opened the season at home with a 60-42 win over Magoffin County. The game was close until the fourth quarter when Ethan Smith-Mills put the Hornets away for good, leading the game with 26 points on 9/21 shooting. Floyd Central star Brady Conn played in the first half, but did not return for the second half and it is still unclear whether it was an injury, coaches decision, etc. The Jaguars would finish out week one with two losses on the road. They were defeated by Perry Central 54-73 and Fleming County 41-53 (no stats available for either game). Week two will see the Jaguars play in the WYMT Classic back at Perry Central as they take on Clay County in the opening round. It will be the second school Floyd Central Head Coach Kevin Spurlock has faced this season where he once coached (Perry Central). 6. (-) Belfry (0-0) - Like a few other teams in the region, Belfry has yet to open the season. They will host Wayne, WV at home in week two. 7. (Up 3) Sheldon Clark (1-1) – Sheldon Clark makes the biggest jump this week as they opened strong with a 61-49 win over Mercer County in the Nissan Classic at North Laurel. Top Prospect Trey James was named player of the game, notching 21 points. The Cardinals would follow up the win with a loss in their home opener to 16th region power Boyd County by a final of 68-83. James again continued his excellent play with 26 points and 13 rebounds and the Cardinals also got a career high from sophomore guard Jordan Dalton (20 points). This game was closer than the final indicates as the Cardinals were down only six going into halftime. The Cardinals have Betsy Layne at home on Thursday. The last time these two met it came down to a buzzer beater by Ethan Colegrove, but don’t expect this contest to be as close. 8. (-) Lawrence County (1-1) – The Bulldogs were on the road for their first two contests of the season in the form of a 53-60 loss at Morgan County and a 91-70 win over Jenkins. The fast play continues for Coach York and his squad as this team really likes to get up and down the floor. Week two will see a home game versus Magoffin County on Tuesday, a road game versus Prestonsburg on Friday and a home game versus Phelps on Saturday. Lawrence County will be favored in all three games. 9. (Up 2) East Ridge (1-0) – The Warriors jump up two spots this week with an impressive win at home versus Magoffin County by a final of 70-51. Head Coach Randy McCoy is recovering from open heart surgery and still not able to be with the team, but they are running his system in his absence. With strong showings in their scrimmages, East Ridge seems to be a little better than most suspected early in the season. In week two the Warriors will be on the road at Pike Central in their only contest. 10. (Up 2) Phelps (2-0) – Led by Trey Francis, Phelps has a much improved team this year as indicated by an undefeated opening week. In wins over Hurley, VA (81-44) and Twin Valley, VA (53-51), the Hornets showed they could play both a fast pace game and controlled, slow game. In the Hurley, VA game Francis had a nice two handed dunk on a breakaway. The competition will pick up in week two as Phelps hosts Prestonsburg and travels to Lawrence County. 11. (Up 2) Pike Central (1-1) – The Hawks defeated Prestonsburg in their home opener 54-47 and fell to Leslie County on the road 49-66 in week one. After setting the school record for wins in a season last year, its full rebuild mode for Coach Whitaker and his staff. Jenkins, East Ridge and Shelby Valley are on the slate for a week three home stretch as Pike Central hopes to remain above .500. 12. (Down 4) Prestonsburg (1-1) – New Head Coach Brent Rose opened his first week with Prestonsburg win a loss on the road to Pike Central 47-54 and a win on the road at Leslie County 61-35. This team is looking to build off a regional tournament run last season and has the personnel to do it. In week two, Prestonsburg will travel to Phelps before having their home opener against Lawrence County. The latter of those two games could have major 58th district seeding implications come tournament time and should be a great atmosphere. 13. (Down 7) Magoffin County (0-2) – The Hornets took the biggest fall in week one, dropping seven spots after blow out losses to Floyd Central (42-60) and East Ridge (51-70) on the road. Coming off a surprising summer run, these Hornets are staggering out of the gate. Scoring machine Brady Whitaker has yet to find his groove although he has been in double figures both games. Magoffin has Lawrence County on the road, hosts Jenkins in their home opener, and travels to Robertson County to play Augusta in the Robertson County Adidas Classic in week two. They will be looking to pick up more than one win this week. 14. (-) Betsy Layne (2-1) – Brad Short is back on the sidelines after sitting out of coaching last season (former Allen Central Head Coach). Despite losing one of his best players to transfer (Byron Hammond - Pikeville) was able to schedule easy and pick up two wins in week one by defeating Jenkins 74-40 and June Buchanan 62-45 (both on the road). The loss was to Buckhorn 36-48 (also on the road). Betsy Layne completes their five game road show to open the season in week two as they travel to Sheldon Clark and Shelby Valley. They will be big underdogs in both games. 15. (-) Jenkins (0-3) – The Cavaliers lost 40-74 at home versus Betsy Layne, 32-81 on the road versus Shelby Valley and 70-91 at home versus Lawrence County in week one. Jenkins last win came February 20th, 2017 versus June Buchanan (winless last season) but they will not go winless this season as they have Piarist on their schedule. Jenkins has Pike Central, Magoffin County and Barbourville all on the road in week two. 16. (-) Piarist (0-2) - The Knights opened the season with two losses on the on the road to June Buchanan (24-59) and Breathitt County (29-86). Expect them to be on the list of “teams in the state without a win” late into the season. Agree or Disagree?
  3. In our preseason preview we predicted this region would see teams beating each other from top to bottom in the rankings. Week 1 did nothing to disprove that theory. As upsets and surprises occurred across the region. Look for these rankings to be volatile all season long. 1. ELLIOTT COUNTY (3-0) The Lions proved they are worthy of their region favorite status. They won their season opener over 15th region contender Paintsville in a double overtime affair. Korbin Spencer and Tanner Dickerson led the Lions to two more easy victories over East Carter and Lyon County, the latter in the Marshall County HoopFest. The Lions will travel to Lloyd to take on upstart Greenup County on Tuesday. 2. LEWIS COUNTY (2-0) The Lions pulled the upset of the week by toppling Ashland 73-71 in their opener. Sam O'Keefe and Seth Wright are leading a balanced Lions attack that also posted a win over Fairview. This week the Lions try to defend their EKC tournament crown as they take on Rowan County Tuesday night in the semifinals. 3. ASHLAND (1-1) The Tomcats dropped their opener to Lewis County but bounced back to defeat Cordia in their home opener. Senior Devaunte Robinson registered two impressive games in Week 1. The Tomcats employed a deep bench in their win over Cordia which will bode well for them as the season wears on. 4. ROWAN COUNTY (3-0) An impressive initial week for the Vikings as they posted wins over Montgomery County, Greenup County, and Bath County. The duo of Mason Moore and Brady Madden have been the catalysts for the fast start. An good early season battle with Lewis County looms Tuesday in the semifinals of the EKC tourney. 5. BOYD COUNTY (2-0) The Lions are showing they won't relinquish the region crown without a fight. Blake Stewart and Talbott Taylor, two returning starters, have carried the load as expected in wins over Menifee County and Sheldon Clark. The Lions will see where they stand this weekend with home games vs Elliott County and Bath County. 6. WEST CARTER (2-0) The Comets are a year older and it is showing on the floor. Two easy wins over Fairview and East Carter featured an uptempo style of play with a deep bench. Trace Tackett has been very effective off the Comet bench. Russell is up next in the EKC tournament semifinals. 7. MORGAN COUNTY (2-1) The Cougars suffered a surprising home court loss to Russell in the EKC tournament Saturday. Jake Helton led the way for two wins over Lawrence County and Bath County earlier in the week. They hope to find their shooting touch in a consolation matchup with East Carter on Tuesday. 8. RACELAND (1-0) The Rams opened their season with a 30 point win over Rose Hill Saturday. This week gives them an opportunity to notch three wins as they play three winnable games against Coal Grove, Augusta, and Notre Dame. Two of those games will be at The Palace. 9. GREENUP COUNTY (3-1) New coach Robert Amis is making an early bid for Coach of the Year honors with three wins in the opening week. The Musketeers stunned rival Russell in overtime and came from behind to defeat Augusta on the road. Brady Nelson and Brady Burchett have been instrumental in the fast start. The road gets tougher this week with games vs Elliott County and Lewis County. 10. RUSSELL (1-1) Jekyll and Hyde week for the Red Devils. A tough loss to Greenup County was followed by an upset of Morgan County on the road Saturday. Tristan Miller is scoring the ball well and freshman Brady Bell had an impressive opening two games. The Devils take on West Carter Tuesday in the EKC semifinals. 11. BATH COUNTY (0-3) The Wildcats have played a brutal schedule to start the season. They absorbed lopsided losses to GRC and Morgan County. A tough loss to Rowan County on Saturday ended a tough week. A change to get their initial win comes Tuesday night at Fairview in the consolation bracket of the EKC tournament. 12. FLEMING COUNTY (1-1) The Panthers notched a solid out of region win over Floyd Central.In their opener they took a 21 point loss to a solid Robertson County squad. The Panthers can get on a roll with trio of winnable games this week including a district tilt with Menifee County. 13. FAIRVIEW (0-2) A rough first week for the Eagles with losses to West Carter and Lewis County. The Eales played short-handed without the services of Garrett Greene and Preston Ledford. Sharp shooter Tarrick Smith has been scoring at a high rate for the Eagles. Bath County visits Westwood Tuesday night. 14. EAST CARTER (0-2) The Raiders are getting a taste oi their own district so far this season. Elliott County and West Cater hung big losses on their district rival in those games. Now the Raiders will take on Morgan County Tuesday in EKC consolation bracket. One bright spot was Hunter Binion but he suffered a foot injury that will sideline him two weeks. 15. MENIFEE COUNTY (2-1) This Wildcat team could move up the rankings soon. With wins over Jackson City and Powell County the Wildcats are a mild surprise. A couple seed games this week with Fleming County and Bath County will be telling for the boys from Frenchburg. 16. ROSE HILL (0-3) The Royals absorbed three losses in Week 1 of the campaign. Kenny Wilburn has been a bright spot for the Royals with his scoring and athleticism.
  4. 1. South Laurel (9-1 overall, 3-0 vs. 13th Region opponents) The Cardinals were impressive during their stay in the Simon Kenton Invitational Tournament. They recorded wins over Dixie Heights and Scott before beating previously unbeaten Simon Kenton in the finals, 80-67. Senior JJ Ramey had 33 points in the title game, and coach Jeff Davis is also getting solid play out of Matt Cromer, Brett Norvell, Alex Hostettler, Matt Dalton and Landon Wombles while the bench continues to come along. 2. Clay County (11-0, 3-0) Clay County defeated Pulaski County in the semifinals and Southwestern in the finals of the M&W Shootout to pick up the championship win. Glenn Gray’s squad will have a shot at the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament championship this upcoming week, but they’ll have to beat some very good teams to do so. 3. Knox Central (8-1, 2-1) Knox Central has been rolling, outscoring teams by double digits during their five-game win streak. Tony Patterson’s squad has defeated Harlan, Ashland, Belfry and Cordia during the run along with a 77-74 victory over Georgia’s Campbell (Smyrna) High School. 4. North Laurel (7-4, 3-2) The Jaguars snapped a four-game losing skid by defeating both Paris and Harlan County to capture the Smoky Mountain Classic Championship. The two teams could very well meet again in a couple of days when both teams participate in South Laurel’s Legacy Nissan Dribble Drive Classic. 5. Harlan County (9-3, 4-1) The Black Bears saw their seven-game win streak come to an end after falling 64-62 to North Laurel in the finals of the Smoky Mountain Classic title game. 6. Corbin (5-2, 3-1) Tony Pietrowski’s squad has a chance to move up in the rankings this upcoming week if they can capture the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament championship. To win the title, the Redhounds could very well have to beat regional foes Bell County and Clay County during the process. 7. Barbourville (7-3, 5-1) Cody Messer’s squad could be challenged this week during Pineville’s Pine Mountain Classic with games against Williamsburg and Pineville. The Tigers already own a 66-44 win over the Yellow Jackets, but haven’t played the Mountain Lions yet. 8. Williamsburg (5-4, 3-4) I believe The Yellow Jackets’ 72-66 loss to Corbin actually jumpstarted their season. Since the six-point defeat, Williamsburg has won three in a row, which includes wins over Oneida Baptist, Claiborne, Tenn. and Bell County. 9. Bell County (4-5, 2-4) The Bobcats defeated North Laurel earlier in the week with a 62-58 win at The Jungle, but dropped a double digit loss to Williamsburg later in the week. This team is good enough to beat almost anyone in the region, but if Bell County isn’t on top of its game, it it could very well lose to most teams in the region, too. 10. Middlesboro (6-3, 3-3) Middlesboro has won six of its last seven games, which includes wins over Lynn Camp (59-3-), Oneida Baptist (73-52), and Leslie County (69-41). 11. Harlan (7-5, 3-4) The Green Dragons are winners of three straight after winning the Sayre School-Jim Lankster Classic. Harlan recorded wins over Sayre, Model and Belfry. 12. Lynn Camp (7-2, 4-1) The Wildcats are also winners of three straight after defeating the likes of Oneida Baptist, Whitley County and Knoxville Catholic, Tenn. 13. Whitley County (7-5, 0-4) The Colonels saw their three-game win streak get snapped in the finals of the Barren Hoops Classic after falling to Clay County, Tenn., 78-66. Whitley County has been improving as of late and will look to make noise in this week’s Oneida Christmas Classic. 14. Red Bird (5-4, 3-3) The Cardinals haven’t played in over a week, but saw their three-game win streak come to an end after falling to Barbourville, 61-38, on Dec. 14. 15. Oneida Baptist (2-6, 2-4) The Mountaineers are are losers of four straight with hopes of getting on track soon. 16. Jackson County (3-8, 0-5) The Generals are improving, but haven’t found a win against a 13th Region team yet this season. 17. Pineville (4-7, 0-5) The Mountain Lions are another team that looks to be improving. Pineville is winless against 13th Region teams, but has hopes of ending the skid soon.
  5. Week 4 produced a change at the top, as previously undefeated Danville dropped their rematch with Wayne County 51-40 on a neutral site. An argument can still be made for either Danville or Wayne at the top, and Lincoln County is closing fast. There is currently a gap between these top three teams and the rest of the 12th Region, although any of the next six or seven teams have the potential to improve enough to join the group at the top. Holiday Season observations for the 12th Region: · This Region was presumed to be down this year, and it may be, but perhaps not as much anticipated. It will be interesting to see how Wayne matches up with 9th Region surprise team Beechwood, how Mercer does vs. undefeated 13th Region powerhouse Clay County, and how West Jessamine fares in the loaded Central Bank Classic this week. Other 12th Region teams should all fare well in their respective in-state tournaments. · It’s not coincidence that the top three ranked teams are also likely the top three best defensive teams. All three can be very difficult to score against in the half-court. Other teams have shown potential to play this level of defense (West and Boyle come to mind) but it is difficult to sustain defensive consistency with underclassmen and a there are a lot of underclassmen playing key minutes for teams below the top three. · Transfers occasionally happen over the holiday break. Would not be surprised to see one this year that impacts this Region. · Still too close to call on Player of the Year. Carter Baughman is putting up better overall scoring numbers and is turning the ball over less, but Dalton Bruner is grabbing six rebounds a game and playing more under control than in the past, helping him become more efficient offensively. The best player may end up being the one that makes his teammates around him better, and both teams will need that from them in order to break into the top echelon of teams in the Region. · Way-too-early top five prediction for 2019-20: Wayne, Lincoln, Boyle, Pulaski, Somerset. Here is a look at the week 4 results, rankings, and Week 5 key match-ups: 1. Wayne County – After a one-week absence from the top of the rankings, the Cardinals return based on their 5-0 week and victories over Mercer County and previously undefeated Danville. Wayne and Danville have now split their matchups, the Cardinals dropping a 60-57 game at Danville two weeks ago that could have gone either way and 51-40 neutral site win this past week in the Arby’s/KFC Holiday Classic at McCreary Central. The two teams are evenly matched, Wayne getting the slight nod (for now) based on the more convincing neutral site win. With Weaver, Gehring and Spencer all being threats on the perimeter and Burks scoring efficiently inside, the Cardinals currently have a wider variety of scoring options than the Admirals, but just by a whisker. Both teams defend well, Wayne applies better on-ball pressure while Danville is bigger and more athletic. The Cardinals play in the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic this week, starting with a very challenging matchup vs. 10-1 Beechwood. 2. Danville – The Admirals suffered their first loss of the season, 51-40 to new #1 Wayne County in the Arby’s/KFC Holiday Classic at McCreary Central. Danville struggled to get good looks vs. the Cardinals and had to work for every bucket, nothing came easy. The Admirals also defeated Western Hills, McCreary Central and Scott (Tennessee) to go 3-1 on the week. Sophomore Dante Hayden continues to be the only Admiral scorer averaging in double figures (11.8 PPG), but as the most athletic team in the Region, Danville’s strength is in defense and rebounding. Danville plays tournament host in the Hilliard Lyons Holiday Hoop Classic this week, then prepares for a huge District showdown at Lincoln County on January 4. 3. Lincoln County – You don’t have to look too hard to see how much the Patriots have improved during the first month of the season. They opened the season in November with a 52-37 home loss to Lafayette, and this past week the defeated the same Lafayette 70-62 to win the Clash of the Titans tournament at Mercer County. Lincoln also defeated the host team 58-41, and Rockcastle County 60-42, on their way to the title. The Patriots have found a balanced attack, they can score inside and out, off the bounce or behind the 3-point line, and they can defend in the half-court and throw quick guards at you with pressure. They are still just below the top two but certainly have to capability to surpass them by season end. Lincoln travels to warm weather this week at Windermere Prep (Florida) to play in the Rock Holiday Classic. 4. West Jessamine – West dropped a winnable game vs. Pleasure Ridge Park this past Thursday in the People’s Exchange Bank Holiday Invitational at Henry Clay, 60-56, then defeated Great Falls (SC) 87-77 and Paul Lawrence Dunbar 59-49. The Colts have the talent to compete for the Region title this year, but they show signs of shooting for 2021, and their open gym style of play seems to enable consistent defeat of opponents with inferior talent but struggles against the better defenses who can force you to move and share the ball to score effectively in the half-court. West plays in one of the stronger tournaments this week, the Central Bank Classic at Lexington Christian where no less than five of the eight teams are ranked in the top 25 in the state. The Colts open with Covington Holy Cross on Thursday. 5. Mercer County– In a Monday home game this past week, the Titans led Wayne County deep into the 3rd quarter when Senior Guard Carter Baughman was forced to exit the game with a wrist injury, not to return; Wayne cruised from there, to a 70-55 victory. Fortunately, Baughman’s injury was not serious and he returned to action for the Clash of the Titans tournament where Mercer lost in the semifinals to Lincoln County 58-41. The Titans also had two victories as tournament host, 67-47 over Rockcastle County and 84-78 over Somerset. Mercer County has had a difficult schedule on their way to a 4-6 start, and it doesn’t get easier this week as they play 11-0 Clay County in the opening game of the Cumberland Falls Invitational. After that, however, the schedule lightens up considerably and the Titans should be able to put up a healthy record in early 2019. 6. Pulaski County– Four games in four days for the Maroons this week, going 3-1 in their home tournament, the M&W Shootout. A 71-66 close to a strong Clay County team was the only blemish, as Pulaski comfortably took care of Madison Southern and visiting teams from Tennessee and West Virginia. Sophomore Colton Fraley is leading the scoring at just over 20 points per game as the Maroons are yet another 12th Region team who plays a lot of underclassmen. Pulaski is off this week, then travels to Boyle County on January 2ndfor what will be a must-watch game and an indicator of the Maroon’s capability to position themselves amongst the Region’s top teams. 7. Boyle County– Boyle opened the week with a 79-61 loss on the road against Frankfort, one of the surprise teams of the season so far as they own wins over Franklin County and top-20 powerhouse Henry Clay. The Rebels move up a spot in the rankings this week not because of that game, but from an impressive and hard-fought 63-54 victory over Taylor County on Saturday night, who came into the game with a 9-1 record. Boyle County travels to play in the Nelson County Classic this week where they have three winnable games in a round-robin format, Thursday through Saturday. 8. Garrard County – After a 55-45 road loss at Southwestern to start the week, the Golden Lions returned home and defeated Augusta 81-60. In that win, Junior Guard Braden Sebastian broke the school’s single game scoring record with 55 points on 21-30 shooting, adding 17 rebounds in a dominating performance. Sebastian is now averaging a double/double, with 25.3 points per game and just over 10 rebounds per game. Garrard has a good chance to make some noise in the Henry County Invitational this week, starting with a game on Thursday vs. Bishop Brossart. 9. Somerset– The Briar Jumpers traveled to Mercer County this week for the Clash of the Titans tournament this week, where they dropped three in a row – 48-40 to Shelby County, 62-54 to Lafayette, and 84-78 in overtime to the tournament host. Somerset was competitive and had a chance to win in all three games, they have been in every game this season against some strong competition; their young roster continues to show improvement and these close losses could flip to wins by season end. The Briar Jumpers have four players (nearly five) averaging in double figures, they are a fun team to watch play and have a bright future should the strong Sophomore class continue to develop. Somerset plays Thursday through Saturday in the Lake Cumberland Holiday Classic this week. 10. Rockcastle County – It was a tough road for the Rockets this week, losing 67-47 to Mercer County and 60-42 to Lincoln County in the Clash of the Titans tournament. The Rockets finished the week with a 58-54 loss to Shelby County. Senior Guard Cade Burdette has been lighting it up from the three-point line and is leading a balanced scoring attack with just over 11 points per game. The Rockets travel to Montgomery County Friday through Sunday next week for the Gateway Holiday Classic. 11. Casey County – This was a solid bounce-back week for the Rebels, starting with a 76-68 road win over McCreary Central and two tournament wins over visiting teams from Tennessee to advance to the finals of the Arby’s/KFC Classic. Unfortunately, Casey then ran into 12th Region powerhouse Wayne County, who prevailed over the Rebels 73-56. Senior Guard Maximo Reyes is averaging nearly 30 points per game is among the state leaders in scoring, while Sophomore Spencer Baird is averaging nearly 20 points per game. The Rebels travel to Campbellsville to play in their Holiday Classic next week. 12. Southwestern- The Warriors started a busy week with a strong home win over Garrard County, 55-45, then lost to Madison Southern 70-57. Southwestern won two games as tournament host over teams from West Virginia and Tennessee before dropping the championship game to Clay County, 68-54. After five games in six days, with a 2-3 record, the Warriors will need the holiday break to rest up before traveling to LaRue County for three more games in the Magnolia Bank Holiday Classic. Juniors Cole Dysinger and Braden Sims are averaging 15.3 and 12.3 points per game respectively, leading the Senior-less Warriors to a 5-6 start to the season. 13. East Jessamine – The Jaguars traveled to Lincoln County on Tuesday and were not competitive, suffering a 72-37 loss to the rapidly improving Patriots. East bounced back nicely with a 67-53 win over a Fleming County team that was 7-2 coming in, this was played in the Kentucky Bank Challenge at Rowan County. The Jags completed the week in Rowan County with a 60-55 loss to Louisville Eastern. Senior Forward Tyler Pitney continues to lead the way for East Jessamine, averaging a double/double with 18.1 points per game and 11.1 rebounds per game. 14. McCreary Central – The Raiders dropped to 1-9 on the season, dropping four games this week to Barbourville, Casey County, Danville, and Scott (Tennessee), before getting their second win with a 82-60 victory over Sunbright, Tennessee on Sunday to complete a very busy 5-game week as KFC/Arby’s Classic tournament host. Up next is Rowan County in the Williamstown Holiday Tournament. 15. Burgin – Two more wins this week, 61-42 at Frederick Fraize and 49-36 over Community Christian from Paducah put the Bulldogs at 9-1 on the season. Burgin does not play again until January 5. 16. Danville Christian – A road win at KSD moves the Warriors to 2-7 in their inaugural season in the KHSAA, next game is January 5 vs. Frankfort Christian. 17. Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) – Two losses at home to Beth Haven and Danville Christian, KSD is off until January 10. Key 12th Region Games of the Week: Thursday, December 27 Wayne County vs. Beechwood, 7:00 p.m. (Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic) West Jessamine vs. Covington Holy Cross, 3:00 p.m. (Central Bank Classic @ Lexington Christian Academy) Mercer County vs. Clay County, 9:00 p.m. (Cumberland Falls Invitational @ Corbin) Thursday through Saturday Tournament Action with 12th Region Teams: Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic, Various Sites(Wayne County, Somerset) Nelson County Classic(Boyle County) Hillard Lyons Holiday Hoops Classic @ Danville(Danville) Central Bank Classic@ LCA (West Jessamine) Rock Holiday Classic, Windermere Prep, Florida (Lincoln County) Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament @ Corbin(Mercer County) Henry County Invitational (Garrard County, East Jessamine) Campbellsville High School Holiday Classic (Casey County) Magnolia Bank Holiday Classic @ LaRue County (Southwestern) Williamstown Holiday Tournament(McCreary Central)
  6. Region 8 2018-19 Season Preview By: ColonelMike The 8th Region had a very successful year last year. The champions of the region, Oldham County, did extremely well at the state tournament, advancing all the way to the Final Four. Walton-Verona, the 8th Region Class A champs, made it all way to the title game of the State All-A, before losing by just 6 points to Lexington Christian. Along the way, - Oldham County won the Pegasus Sports Network Best in Hoops Classic, defeating two undefeated and ranked teams in the semi-finals and championship rounds. - Walton-Verona won two games in the brutally tough King of the Bluegrass tournament at Fairdale. - Collins won the Simon Kenton Invitational Tournament. In addition, several teams came home with runner-up trophies from Christmas Tournaments. Throughout the season, 8th region schools piled up victories over such notable powers as: - Warren Central (4th Region champions) - McCracken County (1st Region champions) (8th Region went 2-0 vs. McCracken) - John Hardin (5th Region Champions) - Campbell County (10th Region Champs) (8th Region teams went 3-1 vs. Campbell) - Cooper (9th Region, finished 25-6 and region semi-finalists) - Mercer County (12th Region runner-ups, finished with a record of 27-6) Multiple 8th Region teams represented the region well with those victories; Oldham County, South Oldham, Simon Kenton, Walton-Verona, and Anderson County were all among the teams that earned those big wins, and North Oldham was a last second tip-in away from upsetting 10th Region power George Rogers Clark. And the product on the court was exciting. For so many years, only 2 or 3 Region 8 teams could make the scoreboard blow a fuse as the majority of teams concentrated on defense and tried to keep games close. Last year, a whopping 10 of 17 region 8 teams averaged over 60 points per game, led by South Oldham’s 69.9 ppg. All in all, not a bad year to be an 8th Region fan, a region which so often gets overlooked throughout the state. What will 2018-19 have in store? A lot of awfully good players graduated last year. But as is always the case in HS basketball, that just means new players – each a potential star – will move up into the leadership roles. With the scarcity of returning starters across the region that played major roles last year, though, this year could be one of the most fun ever, with every game a potential “upset”. Unfortunately, we did not get the information from as many coaches as we did last year, when (if memory serves) 15 of 17 region 8 coaches responded to my questionnaire. This year, only 11 did, so some of this is going to be a “best guess” to start the season. Therein lies part of the problem with a preview. Last year, I felt very comfortable about my picks, and if you’ll remember, the rankings really didn’t change much from preseason to post-season. I’m afraid we may see a lot of movement in the rankings this year, as there are a lot of new faces, six teams did not send info, and there just seems to be a lot of “what ifs” out there. Plus, I’m anticipating a few schools to struggle early with young lineups, but to improve dramatically by February. And, as they all say: It’s all about how you finish. In my preview, below, I’ve identified the five schools that did not respond to my request for information. If one of these is “your” school, understand I’m not trying to “call them out” for failure to respond – the coaches are extraordinarily busy at this time – but I want you to know why 1) those write-ups are shorter, and 2) some of my information could be inaccurate. It is accurate, to the best of my knowledge, but I didn’t get it from the coach’s mouth. So – the preview for 2018-19 – also known as the first dart board toss of the year…LOL: 1 – Collins Titans – 2017-18 finish: 22-10, 30th district runner-ups; lost region in round 1 against eventual champ Oldham County – Chris Gaither starts his 8th season as the head man at Collins, and few coaches in the region have been so successful over that time span. The Titans won the region in 2015 and 2017, and were considered one of the top 3 teams in the region pretty much all of last year. Though not a particularly deep team, the Titans boasted arguably the best starting five in the region, and took on all comers in one of the toughest schedules faced by any Region 8 team, playing teams such as Gallatin County, Madison Central, Scott High, Ballard, Trinity, Simon Kenton, Male, DeSales, and Oldham County. But after going 18-4 in December and January, the Titans came down to earth in February and March, going just 4-6 to end the season, getting upset by Anderson County in the 30th district finals by 4 points and knocked out of the region tournament in round 1 by Oldham County by just 7 points. One year later, the Titans figure to be a contender again – and out of the gate, they are undoubtedly the overall favorite. The scary thing for the other teams is this – last year’s Titans squad started three sophomores. Gone are last year’s top two scorers – Nick Fort (17.9 ppg /7.5 rebounds) and one of the best three point shooters the region has ever seen in Jake Feltner (14.3 ppg, 50% three point). This year, Gaither will feature two junior guards, Marcellus Vail (11.2 ppg/3.0 reb) and Dayvion McKnight (12.3 ppg / 8.1 reb). Before his career is finished, McKnight is expected to hold all the Collins career records for assists, rebounds, and points. A definite contender – and perhaps the favorite – for 8th region Player of the Year, McKnight is a big guard who can post other team’s guards down low. Amazingly quick and agile, McKnight simply beats the opponents to the glass and if they get in the way, he uses his size to outmuscle them. Vail has improved immensely since his freshman season, and – like McKnight – has logged considerable varsity minutes since his freshman year. More of a pure two guard, Vail still managed to average in double figures last year in a starting lineup full of scorers. Defense is Gaither’s specialty, and look for this year’s squad to apply more pressure than last year’s, as the team has a bit more size to guard the rim behind the guards, who will likely pressure man-to-man, but may also press out of zone looks. Last year, the team was equally adept at scoring, but this year, questions are there on the offensive end that will be answered as the season wears on. Other than McKnight and Vail, nobody returns who averaged more than 4.2 ppg last year (Tyson Turner). The bench played solid defense last season, but was never really counted on to produce points. This year, at least one or two more guys will have to step it up on the offensive end. Joining McKnight and Vail in the starting lineup will likely be 3 of the following 4: Tyson Turner (4.2 ppg), Dane Kidwell (3.0 ppg), Colby Eades (0.9 ppg) and/or senior Same Edwards. Look for a Collins team that will push the ball on the offensive end of the court and pressure it on the defensive end. The schedule will once again challenge Collins, with the likes of Louisville Trinity, Madison Central, Oldham County, South Oldham, Simon Kenton, Male, St. X, and Warren Central. 2 - Walton Verona Bearcats - 2017-18 finish: 26-6, 32nd district champs; lost region in round 1 to South Oldham – Grant Brannen finished his fifth season as the Walton-Verona head coach with his second straight 26 win season last year. In fact, Brannen has steadily improved Walton’s record each year….his first team, in 2013-14, finished with the region’s worst record at 4-20. Since then, though, the Bearcats have finished 14-14, 18-11 (district runner-ups), 26-7 (district champs), and 26-6 (district champs). Last year’s Bearcat team shared the mantle of region favorite with Oldham County all season long, and the two played an epic game in December of 2017 in Buckner, with a furious Oldham rally resulting in a 53-51 Colonel win that only left the fans on both sides eagerly hoping for a rematch. The loss of center Dieonte Miles, a 6-9 junior who had the ability to dominate the paint, hardly seemed to slow the Cats, but in the end, they wound up with a tough matchup against the South Oldham Dragons in the region, and they bowed out in round one in a six point loss. Miles – now listed at 6-10 and 210 pounds – is back for his senior season and appears no worse for the wear after last year’s season-ending labrum injury. Miles has already signed to play Division 1 ball next season for Xavier. Miles is joined for a relatively veteran squad, although the Cats will have to replace two all-region performers in Zach Clinkenbeard (10.3 ppg / 5.8 rebounds) and point guard Brennan Stanley, who led the team in scoring at 12.9 ppg and shot an impressive 48% from beyond the arc, hitting 67 threes on the year. Joining Miles will be some familiar faces to W-V fans: Kam Pardee (10.1 ppg / 6 rebounds), Garrett Jones (4.9 ppg), Grant Grubbs (5.3 ppg), and Trey Bonne (2.8 ppg) can fill multiple roles. Brannen feels Pardee is the most underrated player in the region, and if you see him play, you’ll know why. Pardee shot 53.9% from the field last season, tops on the team among players who took over 50 shots. Grubbs and Jones have seen significant varsity minutes over the last two years, and Trey Bonne was one of the most accurate shooters off the bench among all subs in the 8th Region, hitting 31 of 48 shots for 64.6%. A natural athlete, Bonne was the state high jump champion in track and field last year. The wild card for the Cats may be the play of 6-9 senior Ethan Brooke. Brooke played in 25 games last year and was a bit player, but Brannen feels Brooke has made tremendous strides over the summer and may be ready for a breakout senior year. If so, he’ll give Walton-Verona a “twin tower” look inside that few teams will be able to match. Perhaps the biggest concern for the rest of the region is the confidence Brannen has infused into his team, which allowed a region-low 47.8 ppg last year with gritty, physical defense. And the team piled up wins against top-flight competition…they won the 8th region All-A tournament, finished runner-up in the state All-A tournament, and won six games against teams that won at least 20 games. Key questions: Who will take over the role of go-to scorer on a team that averaged 64.3 ppg last season? Will Brooke be able to become the force inside that Brannen hopes he’ll be? Key games: 12/14/18 at home vs. Oldham County; 1/4/19 vs. Simon Kenton; 2/2/19 vs Scott County; 2/12/19 at South Oldham 3 – Oldham County Colonels – 2017-18 finish: 31-6, 29th district champs; 8th region champs; Sweet 16 Final Four – The Colonels enjoyed a magical season in Coy Zerhusen’s fifth year at the helm. Like the two coaches of the teams listed above, Zerhusen made an impact at Oldham County right away. His five teams have won 130 games – the most wins of any school in Region 8 over the last 5 seasons – against only 33 losses. The Colonels have won 5 straight District 29 titles under Zerhusen (part of a streak that currently stands at 8 straight titles, the second-longest such streak in KY behind Madisonville North Hopkins, who has won the 7th district 9 straight years). The Colonels had to run the gauntlet to get to the Sweet 16, beating defending champion Collins, 31st district champ Gallatin County (26-8) and county rival South Oldham to advance. Collins and South had combined to win the previous five regional titles. The 31 wins tied the school record. Now it’s time for Colonels fans to come off Cloud 9, though, as this is a totally new season and a totally new Oldham County squad. Gone are four starters, including three All-Region selections (Zach Larimore, Travis Henderson, and Jackson Gibson), along with Andre Brewer (who forever etched his name is Oldham lore when he hit six three pointers in the first half of the regional final versus South). The new Colonel squad will feature as many as four seniors in the starting lineup, but only one - Christian Harper - was a starter at one time or another last year. Harper is the leading returning starter. At about 6-5, he’s an explosive player on the glass who averaged 6.6 ppg / 3.7 rebounds as a sub last year, who took over a starting role in the second half of the season. He’ll be surrounded by players who played key roles as substitutes in Zerhusen’s 10-11 deep rotation, so all have plenty of varsity experience. But none have been counted on to be the leaders, and therein lies the question marks. Many starred on what was an extremely good JV team for Oldham last year, but we all know that success at the JV level doesn’t always translate into varsity success as players mature, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Besides Harper, other potential leaders – Cole Mesker impressed with his outside shooting ability off the bench last season, though his percentage was just 28.3%. Gavin McLarty – an undersized junior playing down low – proved remarkably adept at holding his own against bigger interior players. Matthew Teague, senior, will bring experience and length to the forward position – he shot 50% from the floor last year - and Dylan Benson will also bring experience, having played in 33 varsity games last season. Sophomore Sam Campbell impressed the coaches enough with his heady play to play him on the varsity last year as a freshman; he’s a wild card due to his youth, but not due to his talent. As always, Oldham will play a lot of kids in their uptempo, pressure-cooker style of play. Six subs to watch for: sophomores Xander Wagner and Tyler Slone, along with juniors Steven Votaw, Koby Thomas, and Nick Carter. Questions abound for this Oldham squad, but Zerhusen is excited. Despite the relative inexperience, he feels that this team can play big or small, adjusting to the opponent. And with a lot of the players featuring a “long wingspan”, we may see more zone looks than in the past. With a big learning curve – where does the leadership come from? Where is the scoring coming from? Who will get the big boards? Can this team play defense like Zerhusen demands? – this #3 ranking is probably based more on the players’ individual talent than on the bigger question of how they will play as a team. There are simply a lot of “what ifs”. This team could be very, very good – or they could turn into a slightly above average squad. It all depends upon whether this collection of solid players gel into a team or if they simply play like above average individuals. And with another brutal schedule – Oldham has to play Spencer County, Walton-Verona, Taylor County, Scott County, Gallatin County, George Rogers Clark, and Campbell County in December – the Colonels could well head into 2019 with a losing record, but finish as one of the best in the region. 2019 matchups will include Butler, South Oldham, PRP, Simon Kenton, Collins, and Covington Catholic. Time will tell. 4 – Spencer County Bearcats, 2017-18 finish: 20-8 lost in first round of District 30 to Anderson County, 44-41 I think last year was just a sampler of what coach Jason Burns will bring to the table in this, his sixth year at Spencer County. The 4 years Burns spent as an assistant at South Oldham under Steve Simpson has clearly had an influence on Burns, one of the region’s bright young minds. Last year’s team won 20 games for the second consecutive season – the first time the Bears have accomplished that feat in over 20 years. What was most impressive, was the youth movement that propelled last year’s Spencer squad that posted victories over Pleasure Ridge Park, Iroquois, and Elizabethtown, three very good teams. They barely lost to Oldham County (by 7) and South Oldham (by 1), The Bears were a tough team to defend, with five players averaging over, or very near, double figures. Who to guard?? Freshman sensation Sam Conley led the way with 13.9 ppg / 4.6 rebounds, but he got solid help from Jackson Cole (10.5 ppg), Jacob Coke (10.0 ppg/ 7.6 reb), Jacob Seawright (9.8 ppg), and Jake Whitlock (8.6 ppg). Of those five, only one – Coke – was a senior, meaning four starters return this year. Conley and Whitlock will both be sophomores this season, and Cole and Seawright will be seniors. Rounding out the starting five should be Lucas Hornback, another sophomore, who averaged 3.0 ppg / 1.5 rebounds off the bench last year. Expect Spencer to push the pace again this year, and watch for the outside shooting of Cole, who hit 88 threes last year, while hitting a 39.1% clip. As for the relative youth – 3 sophomores in the starting lineup – I wouldn’t worry if I was a Bears fan…Conley and Whitlock both already have essentially two years worth of experience at the varsity level. “Veteran youth” may be the catchphrase in Taylorsville, and I see this team likely heading back to the Roy come March. Big games: The Bears will play Oldham County at home on 12/1/18, and will play in the King of the Bluegrass tournament in late December. On January 4th, 2019, the Bears will find out how they really matchup in the 30th as they travel to play the Titans of Collins HS. Games against Walton-Verona (1/17/19 road), South Oldham (1/19/19), Gallatin County (1/25/19 at home), and PRP (1/28/19) at home follow quickly as the Bears have a challenging first two months. 5 – Simon Kenton Pioneers, 2017-18 finish (19-10, 32nd district runner-ups, lost round 1 of 8th Region tournament to Gallatin County) Coach Trent Steiner can always be depended on to send me information, but this year, I didn’t get anything from the region’s northernmost school, so I’m kind of swinging in the dark at this one. The coaches certainly feel SK has something going for them this year, voting the Pioneers as being tied for third in the region with one first-place vote. Last year’s Pioneers always seemed on the cusp of greatness, and they had their moments. A victory over Cooper on 1/9/18 was certainly an impressive victory over a team ranked in the state top 5 at the time, as was the victory over Campbell County on 2/6/18. But the team mostly seemed unable to get over the hump against the better teams, suffering single-digit losses to North Laurel, South Laurel, Walton-Verona (twice), Oldham County, South Oldham, and Gallatin County. A lot of last year’s firepower is gone. Zach Kelch, one of the region’s best big men on the offensive end of the floor, averaged 14.1 ppg and a team best 7.2 rebounds per game. Andrew Robinson – injured just before the post-season tournaments – averaged a solid 8.4 ppg / 6.6 rebounds. And Chaz Kitchens was an under-rated force who averaged a steady 10.2 ppg. That means a lot of pressure to score is going to fall on the young (sophomore) shoulders of Kelly Niece, who perhaps was the top freshman in the region last year, averaging a team high 16.8 ppg. And Niece could flat shoot the ball; he hite 53.5% of his shots overall, including 38.9% (44 of 113) beyond the arc. Don’t be surprised if Jeremy Davis is the other “big gun”, especially early. The junior is part of a large group of guards that Steiner is really high on, and who he thinks can dictate the flow of a game. Davis averaged just 6.1 ppg last season, but hit over 38% of his threes, with stats almost identical to Niece’s beyond the arc, where he hit 44 of 114. Steiner played his team about 10 deep last year, meaning this will be an opportunity for a relatively experienced player, who played in the shadows last year, to emerge. Among those candidates: Sr. Colton Lair, Sr. Jon Hensley, and Sr. Robbie Krohman, Expect this Pioneer team to be even more guard-oriented than last year, when Kelch was a constant offensive threat on the inside, setting up another dramatic “style” rivalry in the 32nd, where Walton-Verona will try to grind down SK with their physical defense, while SK tries to run the Bearcats into the hardwood with their speed. Big Games: 12/15/18 @ South Oldham 12/20 – 12/22/18 – Simon Kenton Invitational Tournament, 1/4/19 Walton-Verona, 1/8/19 – Cooper, 1/19/19 vs. Collins, 1/29/19 vs. Gallatin Co., 2/1/19 vs. Oldham County, 2/5/19 vs Campbell County, 2/8/19 vs. Scott High, and 2/12/19 vs. CovCath. (The Pioneers will face Gallatin, Oldham, Campbell, Scott, and CovCath all in a row just before ending their season on the road at Holmes!) 6 – South Oldham – 2017-18 finish (19-12), 29th District runner-up, lost in Region 8 championship to Oldham County, 71-56 I should probably know better than to pick a Steve Simpson team this low, but there are going to be a lot of legitimate questions in Crestwood this year. Still, the last six years have been remarkable for the Dragons. South has won three region titles in those six years (2013, 2014, and 2016), and finished as runner-ups last year – a year in which this ranking had the Dragons ranked at about this point throughout the season. Year after year, Steve Simpson graduates a ton of seniors. Far too many to come back as a contender (right??), and yet - year after year - the Dragons are one of the best teams come region tournament time. Last year, it was 6’7” senior guard Devin Young that willed the Dragons to the finals, scoring 25 points / 7 rebounds against co-favorite Walton-Verona in round 1, 26 points (10 rebounds) vs. Anderson County in round 2, and 28 points (7 rebounds) in the loss to Oldham County in the finals. Simpson, one of the two longest-tenured coaches in the 8th (Jon Jones of Gallatin is the longest) had done it again. The pre-season picture looks familiar again this year. No fewer than NINE seniors graduated from last year’s squad, including Young (21.9 ppg), Peyton Hicks (11.1 ppg), and Ben Johnson (7.9 ppg). Altogether, the nine accounted for 56 ppg, or 80% of the South scoring. The only returning starter, however, is a significant one. Junior Luke Morrison has been a regular in the lineup since he was a freshman, and averaged 15 ppg / 4.2 rebounds last year, while hitting 50.3 percent of his shots and 83.6% of his free throws. He will be a marked man when December starts, and don’t be surprised if the first third to one half of the season is a bit bumpy for these Dragons. And with the football team advancing (as of this writing) to the Class 5A semi-finals, Simpson is still waiting to get some players to their first practice. Still, Simpson – like all great coaches – coaches for the end of the season, and he has reason to be optimistic. It seems a cinch that Morrison, along the steady Seth Johnson and guard Jason King will be starting, with King likely taking the starting point guard role. Johnson is a heady player who makes few mistakes, and Morrison should have the consistency two years of varsity experience brings. He’s got the tools to amass a large number of double-doubles this season. The Dragons will need Morrison – especially early – to be more assertive in his offensive game; in the past, Morrison has been content to let the older players shoulder that leadership load. Now that load is his. Morrison gave a hint he might be ready during last year’s region, when he scored 22 vs. Walton-Verona, 26 vs. Anderson, and 15 versus Oldham. Over three games, he hit 25 of 48 shots – and showed an ability to hit from the outside as well, hitting six threes in three games; a weapon he had not previously used as much. Ironically, the Dragons may benefit from last year’s team misfortunes; the Dragons probably had more players miss time due to illnesses last year than any other region team, meaning many of last year’s subs have more experience than normal as we head into this season and some assume starting roles. After Morrison / King / Johnson, it’s still a bit of a crapshoot. Creighton Theneiman, a transfer from Trinity, is an intriguing prospect, and Nick Cranfill (2.4 ppg) saw plenty of varsity action last season. The other likely options to fill one or two of the final starting spots are freshman Ben Michel and Thomas Downs, but neither played any varsity minutes in 2017-18. Regardless, expect all four of those players to play extensively; Simpson’s up-tempo offense, and ever-changing defenses demand fresh legs to constantly be coming into the game. There may be new faces, but expect Simpson’s squad to do what South usually does so well: shoot the three, spread the floor to open space for the dribble-drive, and mix-up the defenses to confuse the opponent. South Oldham bottom-line: Although I’m picking South 6th, I’ve grown to know never to under-estimate Steve Simpson, one of the best coaches in the region and one of region 8’s “nice guys”. Steve’s the kind of guy you’d want your kid to play for; it seems the players absolutely love to play for this man, and as a result, Simpson has led South to 7 of the school’s 8 twenty+ win seasons and all three of their region titles. 7 – Gallatin County – 2017-18 season (26-8, 31st district champs, lost 8th Region Semi-finals to Oldham County, 57-36) Speaking of coaches who flat know how to win, Jon Jones has got to be in any such conversation. The Wildcats are coming off their second consecutive season with 20 or more wins, and are currently the kings of the district. The 31st definitely goes through Warsaw, and it will be no different this year as Gallatin looks to make it three district titles in a row. With the retirement of Glen Drury down in Anderson County, Jones is now the longest-tenured coach in the 8th region. Starting his 25th season at the helm of Gallatin County, Jones is on the cusp of 400 career wins (396 going into the season). Some of us who were in HS in the 1970s might remember Jon as a member of the 1979 Grant County Braves team that won the 8th region title, defeating Scott County in the championship game. Jones felt that last year’s team exceeded all expectations, and it’s hard to argue – only Oldham County (31 wins) and Walton-Verona (26 wins) did as well in the “wins” column. A team that played extraordinarily well as a unit, they were among the best shooters in the region, hitting 49.0% from the floor overall and 39.0% from beyond thee arc. Leading scorer Troy Coomer, (16.4 ppg / 5 reb / 52.4% FG%) a 6’3” senior guard, returns for his senior season, and could reach one of basketball’s toughest milestones this year: scoring over 2,000 points. Wyatt Bowen, a 5’10” senior guard, should also reach a career milestone this season, as he is closing in on 1,000 career points. Jones will build this team around these two scorers, as two of last year’s top scorers – Justin Rassman (14.4 ppg) and Jaymee Hale (9.7 ppg/7.6 rebounds) are gone to graduation. Jarin Rassman is almost certainly going to move into the starting five. The 5’10” junior guard averaged 5.4 ppg off the bench last year, and came on strong in the region, where he scored 10 against Simon Kenton in round 1 and tied his brother and Troy Coomer for scoring honors with 7 points against Oldham County in round 2. Jones is excited the Jarin Rassman’s prospects and believes he could be the best point guard in the region this year if he develops as he expects. The other two starting roles remain up for grabs, with four players likely the leading candidates. Devin McAlister (5’9” senior guard and Hayden Dickerson (5’10” sophomore guard) will battle for the off-guard slot, while Bryant Caldwell (6’0” senior) and Lukas McEntire (6’2” junior) will duke it out for the “5” spot. Jones compares this year’s team as being somewhat like South Oldham’s: playing fast, and shooting well. Gallatin should be able to keep up on the scoreboard, but the question will be on the defensive side of the ball, where the Wildcats’ lack of size – only ten of nineteen players on the overall roster are 6’0” or taller - may be an issue. However, I’m not sure I would worry about that, either. Last year’s squad was no taller than this group, yet the Wildcats’ allowed the second-fewest points in the region, giving up just 50.7 ppg. Gallatin should head to New Castle as a district champ this year for the third year in a row, but if this ranking should turn out to be halfway right, that would mean a round one matchup with one of the six teams ranked above them. A daunting task, but don’t say I didn’t tell you so if we find Gallatin playing in the semi-finals or finals. The schedule isn’t brutal, but 5 of the Wildcats’ 6 toughest region matchups will be on the road: Big games: 12/1/18 vs. Collins, 12/3/18 at Walton-Verona; 12/18/18 at Oldham County, 1/25/19 at Spencer County, 1/29/19 at Simon Kenton; 2/2/19 at South Oldham The Rest…probably at least one of these 10 will make it to the Roy L. Winchester arena in New Castle for the 8th Region Championship. The big question for most of these ten is simple: How fast will their young, inexperienced teams – four of whom have first year coaches (North Oldham, Anderson County, Shelby County, and Eminence) develop?? The Rest...probably at least one of these 10 will make it to the Roy L Winchester arena in New Castle for the 8th Region Tournament. The big question for most of these ten is simple: How fast will their young, inexperienced teams - five of whom have first year coaches (North Oldham, Shelby County, Anderson County, Trimble County, and Eminence) - develop? 8 - Anderson County – 2017-18 season (12-16, 30th district champs; lost in 8th Region semi-finals to South Oldham) It was a shame Glen Drury’s final season at the helm of the Anderson County Bearcats ended in such disappointment. The pre-season favorites by most, the Cats struggled with injuries and inexperience at point guard throughout the year. But when the tournament lights came on, Drury showed why he was one of the best in the business, changing the team style of play, slowing things down, and moving star shooting guard Cobe Penny to point. Cobe still got his points, but more importantly, the other teams struggled to score. The Bearcats upset Spencer County and Collins to win one final district title for Drury, then won their opener over Henry County in the region before falling in the semis. Bryan Hyatt takes over in Lawrenceburg, and he’s hardly a stranger. He played at Anderson County for coach Drury, graduating in 1997, Drury’s first state-bound team. And – though this is his first year as head coach, he’s been coaching at ACHS for 20 seasons, giving him a distinct advantage over other first-year coaches. Gone, though is also Cobe Penny, the guy the Cats have tied their fortunes to for the last four seasons. Penny, last year’s 8th Region Player of the Year, averaged 21.8 ppg and 6.9 rebounds. But as Hyatt points out, sometimes that’s a good thing; instead of the team depending upon Penny, everyone realizes that they all must step up. Among the candidates to lead this team in one way or another are: Tyler Rice – the sometimes starter at point guard last year never quite settled into the role, but Hyatt believes that hard work has allowed Rice to “turn himself into a good high school guard.” Hunter Rutherford – a junior swingman, Ruthford gives the Cats an inside/outside presence; a guard/forward who can shoot from the perimeter, but who also has a strong move to the basket. Jagger Gillis – saw a lot of time off the bench last year and is full of potential; his size will make him a matchup problem for most teams’ guards if his offensive game can develop. And what Anderson County team would be complete without a McKee? Not this one. Zarian McKee, a senior guard, is a solid shooter and brings length and athleticism to the court. Expect also to see a lot of Brennan Maxburry, a senior guard that played in 26 games last year. Nevertheless, at this time, Hyatt has “ten players listed as possible starters”, so there’s no telling who will be the first on the floor for ACHS when they face Henry County in New Castle to open the season on November 27th. And that – in a nutshell – may be this team’s strength; a tremendous depth on the bench. Like a few other region teams, AC is still awaiting their football players to join the team. 9 – Grant County; 2017-18 season ( 9-20, lost in the 32nd district round 1, 84-62 to Simon Kenton) Last year, the Braves had no problem putting the basketball in the hoop – it was a porous defense that held them back all season. Grant averaged 64.2 ppg, sixth-best in the region – but allowed 69.8 ppg, 16th-best in the 17 team region. Coach Joe Utter enters his third year at the school with many of last year’s weapons back. Gone are Nate Fox (4.2 ppg / 5.9 rebounds), Michael Frost (1.0 ppg), and Chase Good (12.3 ppg). Good – a tremendous outside shooter who hit 40.2% beyond the arc – will be sorely missed, but Utter returns plenty of scorers, including 6’5” junior Luke Dawalt, who just missed averaging a double-double last year with 13.5 ppg / 9.0 rebounds. Also back are a number of players who either were starters, or part-time starters: Aaron Hurley, the senior point guard who missed much of last season with a hip injury (8.4 ppg), Jonas Alger (10.0 ppg), Damion Ingguls (1.0 ppg), Ben Vickers (6.3 ppg, 35.4% beyond the arc), and Jacob Wilson (2.9 ppg). This is a team with potential, but if the defense fails to come together, this is a team that could fall rapidly in the rankings. In addition, someone will have to help out Dawalt on the glass. If the defense can get shored up, and Grant can hit the glass strong, this is a team that can make some noise. Even so, it will be tough sledding for the Braves in the 32nd, facing Walton-Verona and SK. 10 – Shelby County; 2017-18 results (6-22, lost round 1 of the 30th district to Collins, 76-53) This may be my biggest reach of this preseason ranking. Shelby suffered through one of the worst basketball seasons last year in the history of a school with a long, proud basketball tradition. Enter Coach Eddie Oakley. A coaching veteran of 21 years, Oakley has been a head coach for 14 seasons, most recently at Paul L. Dunbar in Lexington. He comes into Shelbyville eager to rebuild the tradition, and he’ll find the cupboard isn’t exactly devoid of talent. Last year, Shelby averaged a paltry 50.8 ppg, third-lowest in the region. But Oakley has some tools to sharpen; perhaps the most likely player to step forward into a leadership role is senior T.J. Robinson, who averaged 8.8 ppg to lead the team in scoring. The powerful senior also led the team in rebounding with 6.2 boards a game. If he can harness all his potential this year, Robinson could be one of the best in the region. But much of the rest of the starting lineup is still in the air. Oakley expects to go 9-10 deep, but pretty much the rest of the team was either a role player or a JV ballplayer last year, so how they will adapt to the new coach, the new style of play, and varsity caliber competition itself remains to be seen. One name on the roster should be familiar: Clark. Isaac Clark’s dad, Mike Clark, played at Shelby County HS and later was the boys’ head basketball coach. Defensively, look for a team that will mix up defenses in an effort to confuse the other team’s offense. Keys for Shelby: Team chemistry – can these individuals form a team? Scoring – other than Robinson, where does it come from? Pride – The seniors on this team have never played for a Shelby team that has been a consistent winner. Can Oakley remind this group of what it means to have “Shelby County” across the chest? Finally – shooting – The Rockets have to improve in this arena; the team shot just 40.9% from the floor and 60.9% from the line in 2017-18. 11 – Carroll County, 2017-18 season ( 9-20, lost in round one of 31st district to Henry County, 78-74 in double overtime) Carroll County did not submit any information for this write-up Not much went right for coach Brian Crank’s crew last year, but that’s generally what happens when you just can’t shoot straight. The Panthers joined the Shelby County Rockets near the bottom of the region in shooting percentages, hitting just 42.2% from the field overall, 29.8% from beyond the arc, and 64.7% at the line – all too low to be a consistent winner, and a big reason the Panthers dropped 9 of their final 12 games of the 2017-18 campaign. There is, however, reason to believe that 2018-19 will be better. The Panthers bring back three of their top scorers, including leading scorer Wyatt Supplee, who averaged 15.5 ppg and #2 scorer, David Duncan (12.1 ppg / 5.4 reb). In addition, Keishaun Mumphrey (7.1 ppg/6.1 rebounds) is back. Duncan, a 35.6% three point shooter, gives Carroll a legitimate zone-buster threat from the outside, Mumphrey is an athletic player (there have been a long line of Mumphreys at the Carrollton school, and it seems they’ve all been pretty good!!) who’s good at getting to the rim and getting fouled – and he’s the team’s best free throw shooter at 72.9%. And of course, this will be the third year under Crank, meaning the players are beginning to “get it” as they learn his style of play. The 31st District would seem to be Gallatin’s for the taking, but the runner-up position – which would also qualify for the region tournament – looks wide open. For Carroll, this just might be the year the boys’ team makes it back to “The Roy” since the 2006 tournament. 12 – Henry County; 2017-18 season (12-14; lost in the first round of the 8th region tournament, 58-45, to Anderson County) Enoch Welch is quickly becoming one of my favorite coaches. Coach Welch and I rarely see each other, have barely spoken, but I admire him for a couple of reasons 1) he always responds to Pegasus Sports when I need information (and he’s usually one of the first to respond!), and 2) I am growing more and more impressed by what he’s able to do at a smaller school with fewer kids to choose from, and his ability to turn his team’s into disciplined, hard-nosed teams that are simply hard to defeat – even if they have injury problems. I witnessed that last year when Henry County nearly upset North Oldham before ultimately falling by 9, and again in the Region 8 tourney, when they gave Anderson County fits for most of their first round matchup before the Cats finally pulled away. And that’s why I don’t have Henry lower in this ranking. Henry was one of the region 8 teams that struggled to score last season, averaging just 56.5 ppg, 12th-best in the region. That, coupled with a defense that yielded 62.5 ppg, made it really tough for the Wildcats to ever gain any momentum. It explained a lot when you looked at their record; Henry never won more than three in a row, nor did they ever lose more than three in a row. Another tidbit from their schedule: 14 of their 26 games were decided by fewer than 10 points. And Henry won 8 of those 14 games. Despite a short bench, injuries, and other obstacles, well, “grit” is the best descriptor I can think of. Henry County is just one gritty team. The good side of all those close games? Henry proved to themselves they could win the close, tough ones. The bad side? Welch wasn’t able to develop his bench nearly as much as he wanted. And that’s why Henry is ranked #12. There’s simply a lot that’s unknown about how the Wildcats will perform when the varsity lights go on. One young man that everyone expects a lot from is 6’5” sophomore Trevor Hardin, who – as a freshman – made the All Region tournament team and the all-district tournament team last year. Hardin – the team’s second-leading scorer last season as a freshman – averaged 8.8 ppg and 5.6 rebounds a game. Hardin’s a given, and he’s the guy Welch is going to build this year’s edition of the Wildcats around. The other four starters will likely come from this group: Jr shooting guard Ethan Lakford (0.3 ppg), Senior shooting guard Will Mullins (1.1 ppg), senior shooting forward Parker Stephens (1.1 ppg), senior shooting forward Colton Hinkel, and junior point guard Joe Montero (0.4 ppg). Obviously, Welch is going to have to find a couple of players who haven’t been used to scoring, and build up their offensive skills to support Hardin. With the top subs mostly sophomores and freshmen, someone will have to step up among the upperclassmen. Regardless of the offensive success or lack thereof, Welch believes he has a bench that’s plenty deep enough to keep fresh legs on the floor on the defensive end. Henry County will switch defenses a lot and try to take team’s out of their offensive rhythm by causing confusion. Player Note: Colton Hinkel is the third Hinkel brother to play at HCHS. Older brother Cody led Henry to the 2009 All-A Regional title and middle brother Zach led Henry in scoring in 2017. Challenges: Enoch Welch is one of the most underrated coaches in the region, but he’ll turn heads if he can get this young, inexperienced group to learn, grow, and mesh together by the end of the season and challenge for a second straight trip to the region tournament. 13 – North Oldham; 2017-18 season: (17-12, lost in round 1 of the District 29 tournament to South Oldham on a last-second buzzer-beating three pointer, 63-60) North Oldham did not reply to our questionnaire. North Oldham has only been in existing since the 2003-4 season, and the Mustangs have had their ups and downs. Holding them back has been a revolving door at the head coach position – no coach has served longer than four years for various reasons. Rob Burton led last year’s team to an impressive 17 win season (considering the level of competition), winning 7 of its final ten games, and they were 67-55 in his four year tenure. His 2016-17 team went 20-11, only the second Mustang team to ever win 20 or more games. But in a surprise move, North dismissed Burton just one week before basketball practice began. New coach David Levitch is quite the storyline. A former 2,000+ point scorer at North Oldham HS, he then spent four years playing for the University of Louisville. This will be his first opportunity as a head coach, and it will be a challenge. Gone are nine seniors, who took 87% of the scoring and 77% of the rebounding from last year’s squad with them. Included in that bunch was Justin Rose, an all-region performer who averaged 20.3 ppg and 6.4 rebounds. All of which means that this year’s team – from the coach to the waterboy – is going to look a lot different. Last year’s North squad was only 14th-best in scoring in the region at 55.3 ppg, but the Mustangs were extremely stingy on the defensive end, allowing just 54.9 ppg, fourth-best in region 8. I wasn’t able to speak with Levitch about his plans – goodness knows he had a lot to do and very little time to get it done – but I would expect this year’s team to be a little more uptempo than the North squads of recent seasons, at both ends of the court. But there will be a lot of new faces on the floor. That said, at least two mainstays from last year return, including senior Grant Adelson, a sharp-shooting guard who averaged 6.7 ppg off the bench last year, though it did start some games. Layne McIntosh, a muscular inside player, also returns. Also a senior, McIntosh contributed 3 ppg / 2 rebounds to last year’s cause, and is remarkably mobile for a big man. Whatever style of play Levitch chooses, he’s got a lot of raw talent to teach it to in a very short period of time, and a brutal schedule to measure his team up against: 12/4/18 vs Male, 12/8/18 vs. Ballard, 12/14/18 at Spencer County, 1/18/19 vs Oldham County, 1/25/19 at South Oldham, 2/12/19 vs. Collins. Other potential potholes in the schedule include games against Iroquois, Waggener, Bardstown, Meade County, and DeSales. 14 – Trimble County – 2017-18 season: (13-17, lost round 1 of the 29th district) Trimble County did not respond to our request for information. Another of the new 8th Region coaches is Ron Couch, a 1991 graduate of Trimble County High School, who returns to Bedford to coach his alma mater. He inherits a team that Stacy May seemed to have moving in the right direction, and will try to build on that momentum. Trimble won just 13 games last year, but finished the year strong, winning 7 of their last 11 games. Bottom-line: The Raiders have come a long way since winning just 2 games in 2015-16 and 4 games in 2016-17. Double-digit scorer Troy Grieshaber (14.3 ppg) graduated, but the Raiders retain some scorers, including senior Logan Clifford (3.9 ppg / 5.5 reb), and Reece Webster (15.5 ppg). I look for Clifford to have a breakout year after sitting back and allowing others to take that role in the past. Also missing from this year’s roster is Shane Mills, who averaged 10.7 ppg and a team-high 7.1 rebounds last year as a junior. There are several newcomers on the roster, which boasts seven seniors. Unfortunately, many of those seniors have little experience, but they’ll help May’s squad with their leadership and maturity, which may be what the Raiders need to “get over the hump” and secure a winning record. A relatively friendly end-of-season schedule puts the Raiders in a prime position to win 7 or 8 of their final ten games, creating a chance to head into the post-season with the momentum of a strong winning streak. Another step up in the win column would seem a strong possibility for the Raiders this year. Questions: Who will give Webster the scoring support the Raiders need? Clifford? Or perhaps someone new who has yet to step forward. If nobody does, and Webster turns into a one-man show, this could be a long, long season for the Raiders. 15 – Owen County – 2017-18 season: (5-23, lost in semi-finals of 31st district to Gallatin County, 56-35) Devin Duvall has done wondrous things as coach of Owen County. Now entering his 13th season, he has coached a player who won KY Player of the Year, challenged in the region tournament, and returned the sense of pride in Owen County basketball. But the last couple of years have been part of that cycle all schools go through, particularly the ones with the smaller enrollments….the slump. After winning just 7 games in 2016-17, the Rebels slumped to just 5-23 last season. The Rebels managed just 48.3 ppg (16th of 17 region 8 teams), while surrendering 62.3 ppg. A youthful team was further plagued by injuries that kept Duvall from being able to develop any chemistry or consistency among his players. The 2018-19 season comes and there’s still some work to be done before Owen can climb back to the top half of the region and contend again. An extremely young team enters the season – Duvall expects to start one 8th grader, two freshmen, a junior, and a senior. The top four backups will be two juniors, a sophomore, and a freshman. Youth will be served, they say, but sometimes it takes a bit of time. Duvall is especially high on his (expected) starting 8th grader, Teagan Moore; he’ll be a player to watch. And 6’7” senior Isaac Smith, who moved in last year but struggled with the system, is expected to be a solid post presence on both ends of the floor this year. Questions: How quickly can the younger players mature? How long until a team starting players with four years difference (in age, mental maturity, emotional maturity, and physical maturity) can gel into a single unit?? Can Smith become more than just “solid”; can he turn his size advantage into a dominant force for the Rebels? 16 – Eminence; 2017-18 season (15-15, lost in the first round of the 31st district tournament to Owen County, 78-70) Eminence did not respond to our request for information. Eminence had a solid year last year. The Warriors averaged 64.3 ppg (Tied for #5 in region 8) and won 15 games. True, they gave up 65.8 ppg, but the Warriors always seemed to be “in the game” at the end. The problem, ultimately, was the schedule. Eminence played a schedule full of schools similar to them, and did very well. But when they ventured “outside their comfort zone”, they struggled mightily against the top teams: a 74-47 loss to Gallatin County, a 74-22 loss to Walton-Verona, etc. Their best game against top-flight competition came later in the year against Gallatin, when they lost in the 8th Region All-A Classic to Gallatin County by just 13 (71-58). Do you remember when Eminence was not just good, but one of the top teams in the 8th Region? The days of Mont Sleets, Vance Blades, and Gino Kirshner (sp)? Well, Eminence is a bit removed from those days, but the bottom line is the team is learning to win again. And that’s a start. A new sheriff is in town this year, as Patrick Jackson takes over as head coach of the Warriors. The schedule looks a tad more challenging, too. Walton-Verona, Gallatin County (twice), and Spencer County are all on the schedule. Unfortunately, we did not get a response from Eminence, nor has Eminence posted their roster on the KHSAA site yet. But….let’s assume for a minute…. First off, I’m hearing rumors that DeAndre Wright is no longer at Eminence. I have not been able to confirm, but if so, that would be a big blow to the program. Wright, a junior last year, has had a nice career at Eminence, and averaged 14.4 ppg and 8.8 rebounds last season. Definitely gone is Maurice Richardson, to graduation. Richardson led the Warriors in scoring last year with 16.8 ppg. Potential returnees include senior Elijah Montero, who averaged 8.4 ppg last year and hit 39.4% from beyond the arc. Another could be senior Josh Dotson, who averaged 13.5 ppg last season and a team-high 9.2 rebounds as he finished just shy of averaging a double-double. One last player to watch for is Braedin Hinkley, a senior who averaged 8.9 ppg last season. So Jackson could have some credible offensive weapons. The question this year is whether Eminence can step up its competitiveness against the top programs, and make a run at the region tournament from the 31st district. What needs to happen: If nothing else, Eminence has to shoot better than last year, when the Warriors hit just 41.3% of their field goals overall, 26.7% from beyond the arc, and only 62.3% at the line. 17 – Williamstown – 2017-18 season: (2-29, lost in round 1 of the 32nd district tournament to Walton-Verona, 94-44) Williamstown did not respond to our request for information. It was a rough year for Williamstown last year, a team with only two seniors and hardly any height. And – to add insult to injury – 19 of their 31 games were on the road or at a neutral site. The Demons started 0-27, but rallied late, winning 2 of their final 4 games to avoid a winless season. It looks a bit like last year, though, for this year’s Demons. Gone via graduation is leading scorer Brady Montgomery (15.5 ppg / 5.6 reb) and Chance Jordan (7.0 ppg). That said, Coach John Reitz – in his third year at the school – has some firepower coming back. Cole Kemper (4.0 pg / 1.7 reb), sophomore Cole Kighlinger (6.8 ppg / 2.7 reb), and 9th grader Aden Johnson, who averaged 5.1 ppg and 2.4 rebounds as an 8th grader, all return. Kemper gave a display of what he can do, offensively, in the final two games of last season, scoring 20 points against Menifee County and 16 points versus Walton-Verona in the district tournament. But the Demons have a long ways to go. Last year’s squad averaged a region-worst 46.7 ppg, while allowing a region-worst 75.6 ppg. Williamstown fans are just going to have to be patient and improvement will come. Region Predictions (Coaches’ Poll) (unfortunately, only 11 of 17 coaches voted, but a clear sense of their overall expectations was revealed. A clear favorite – Collins – emerged, but another conclusion also has to be that the coaches aren’t 100% sold on the Titans yet as six teams got significant support in the poll. The coaches were asked to pick their top 5 in the region, and Collins was the definite favorite, garnering 7 of 11 first place votes. Three other schools managed at least one first place vote. Other than the “Big 6”, Gallatin County was the only other 8th Region team to appear on a ballot. 1 – Collins First Place Votes (7) Mentioned on 10 of 11 ballots 2 – Walton-Verona (2) Mentioned on 10 of 11 ballots 3 – (TIE) Simon Kenton (1) Mentioned on 10 of 11 ballots 3 – (TIE) Oldham County (1) Mentioned on 9 of 11 ballots 4 – (TIE) Spencer County Mentioned on 10 of 11 ballots 4 – (TIE) South Oldham Mentioned on 9 of 11 ballots 5 – Gallatin County Mentioned on 1 ballot No other teams received votes. Top Ten Players in the 8th Region This is a toughie, but here’s what the coaches (who voted) think. 1 – Dieonte Miles, Walton-Verona, senior Total points 35 Probably the most dominant defensive big man in the 8th region, and still just scratching the surface of his offensive potential. Smooth moves to the basket, and grabs rebounds like they all belong to him. It will be interesting to see how he comes back from last year’s injury, but the reports out of Walton-Verona are good. 2 – Dayvion McKnight, Collins, junior Total Points 32 One of the most amazing guards to come through the 8th region in a long time. Big and strong enough to play down low; quick and smooth enough to penetrate from the outside. Outside jumper is good enough, but this guy’s ability to dominate the inside from the guard position – and to rebound like a power forward – is incredible. 3 – Kelly Niece, Simon Kenton, sophomore Total Points 22 Arguably the best freshman in the region last year, Niece is a scoring machine. Led his team in scoring as a freshman. Barring an injury, Niece should be one of the rare players to eclipse the 2,000 point mark by the time he graduates. 4 – Luke Morrison, South Oldham, junior Total Points 13 As a freshman, made his “living” crashing the offensive glass and scoring on putbacks. As a sophomore, began to develop a more dependable jumper, even hitting a fair number of threes. 5 – Troy Coomer, Gallatin County, senior Total points 10 A pure shooter, Coomer is who you want on the floor when you’re behind and the clock is running down. 6 – Marcellus Vail, Collins, junior Total Points 8 A rapidly-improving two-guard, Vail can also play point. His speed make him the ideal running mate with Dayvion McKnight, and the two may well be the best starting guard duo in the state. 7 – TIE Sam Conley, sophomore, Spencer County Total points 6 Yet another freshman sensation last year who led his team in scoring. The year of experience at the varsity level may give him the boost to lift his team back into the region tournament this year. 7 – TIE Matthew Teague, senior, Oldham County Total Points 6 Of all the players on this list, Teague may be the one who brings the most intangibles to the floor. If scoring is needed, Teague can put up double digits. If rebounding is needed, his long wingspan is a plus. And he plays well within Oldham County’s pressure defense, with quickness and anticipation. 9 – Trevor Hardin, sophomore, Henry County Total points 5 Yet another sophomore on this list that excelled as a freshman. All region tournament and all-district tournament in 2017-18. 10 – Kam Pardee, senior, Walton-Verona Total points 4 Often overlooked on a team with Dieonte Miles, Pardee is a solid performer who averaged 10 ppg / 6.0 rebounds, and hit nearly 54% of his shots last year from the floor. Others who received votes: Tyler Rice, Anderson County (1), T.J. Robinson Shelby County (1), and Cole Mesker, Oldham County (1) ColonelMike
  7. In early September of 2015, I was furious. While not out of my usual character, this was far worse. One of my sons was being bullied at school. The current atmosphere had created a depression in him that was extremely difficult to take. There had been an issue in 6th grade when a person broke into his locker and wrote an incredibly racist comment on a white board inside. Two years later, another racial insult had come his way during a church festival in August. Now in September, he was having issues again. Luckily, this was a personality clash and not outwardly racial. Either way, the totality had taken a major toll on him. He was lacking confidence, and I wanted to bring it back out of him. Little did I know that the path I chose for him would change my life way more than it changed his. I signed up to join Son of Siam in the middle of September. I had decided that my son needed to KNOW, not feel like, he could defend himself. I had also decided that I would go through everything that he went through with him. In order to that, I would need a head start. It turns out that I needed much more than that. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a gift from God. Ask anyone who is willing to stick it out for two weeks, and everyone will tell you the same thing. It is the first two weeks that kill you, as I soon found out. Check your ego at the door and learn to tap! The very first class was a cold, hard slap of reality. I held delusions of grandeur when I looked in the mirror or lifted weights. I laughed at the work outs of people in my gym. After the first 2 minutes of my first class, I was not laughing any more. I was hating life and sucking wind. Warm-ups were killing me, what would the rest of it be like? Delusion was replaced by fear. It was either going to be flight or fight. Luckily, I stuck around. After getting over the fact that I had not taken care of myself as well as I needed to, I settled in to learn. I had luckily made it into a basics review class. They were reviewing arm bars from the closed guard. The guard is a basic position in BJJ. From your back, you control the hips or balance of your opponent, some way some how. The closed guard (wrapping your legs around you opponent) is the easiest way for beginners to accomplish this. As you progress, you learn that there are numerous variations of the guard with infinite moves and combinations. Those variations were the last thing on my mind that day. The arm bar requires a person to be able to trap the arm of his opponent between pinched knees and then use the leverage of raising hips to hyperextend the elbow joint. Doing this from the closed guard requires a BJJ player to be able to swivel his hips while under his opponent. He needs to "break" the posture of his opponent with one leg, while pushing himself into an attacking angle. All of this has to be done without allowing his opponent to free his arm, which is not easy. On top of this, I am a slow learner. I'm an athlete that learns through failure. Suffice to say, I did not do well with this first drill. As would become my mantra, "You suck at this. Keep working." So, I just kept going. The first day ended with "rolling." Basically, "rolling" is 100%, full go, sparring with other people in class. A "rolling" session can last anywhere from 6 minutes to 25 minutes. You rotate from one opponent to the next for 3-minute, 4-minute, or 5-minute rounds. As you can imagine, not knowing anything is a hinderance to a successful rolling session. (So, to recap a little, you have 0 experience in a sport/martial art that centers around causing an opponent to submit....and you have to go 100%....and you are not in shape...and you have to make it through multiple opponents...and, it sucks.) When you do not know anything, you go on base instinct. I weighed 230 lbs, I had strength on almost everyone there. I was going to use that. Funny thing about strength, it fades very, very fast. Even funnier is that BJJ wants you to rely on strength. A decent beginner at BJJ will embarrass you in a 5 minute round if you rely on strength. The basis of the art is to keep you unbalanced and use leverage to overcome physical disadvantages. So, after about 25 seconds of pushing and pulling and tensing, I crapped out. I was swept (basically flipped onto my back), mounted (there is no way to describe this without it sounding weird), and choked. Awesome. Start again, get swept again, get mounted again, get choked again. Wash, rinse, repeat. Now you're thinking, "where is the fun in this?" Believe me, I was wondering the same thing. After going through the rotation and feeling like absolute misery personified, class was over. The instructor, and owner, Nathan Fitch approached me after class. He asked the obvious, "How'd you like it? Did you learn anything?" but then he asked the hard question, "Are you coming back?" Great question. I had just been thoroughly embarrassed for what seemed like an eternity. I had been submitted at least 10 times by guys that I knew that I was stronger than. I was basically rendered helpless. Was I going to come back and experience that all over again? "You bet your behind," was my response. I was hooked. If these guys could learn this art, and be this good at this stage of development (beginners mostly) I wanted in. I wanted to learn this art. I wanted to feel that, given fair circumstances, I could defend myself against people bigger than myself. I was hooked by the process of learning, by the difficulty of the movement. Oh, I'd be back! One class turned into three classes that week. As I kept coming back, I started feeling more comfortable. I stopped "freaking out" when I was mounted (it can be really tough to breath), and I started getting tapped less. Every class I learned more moves, and moving my body became a little easier. However, the best improvement was in the relationships that I began to form in the gym. I began to earn the trust of the guys. The other instructor, a black belt (it takes 10 to 15 years to get a black belt in BJJ, so the guy is a bad mother) actually learned my name. With no ego left, I began to see myself for who I truly was. The total reality of BJJ exposed me and I began to feel like a brand new person. There was no hiding behind theory, the rubber had met the road and I knew where I stood in the world. I was improving as a person. Part of improving came from pushing myself. When I felt like my heart was going to explode, I tried to go just a little more. It was paying off. By March, I weighed 220 without changing any eating habits. I could jog a couple of miles without breaking a sweat. My grip strength had gone through the roof and my confidence in myself was never higher. I decided that I wanted to compete in a tournament once the summer was over. When you start BJJ, you start for a variety of reasons. Generally, one of the top 2 reasons is to learn to defend yourself. A little further on that list is to compete for your school in a tournament. I know that it was WAAAYYY down on my list when I started. However, as I kept moving along, the seed was planted. How good was I getting? Training against the same guys every day only tells you a little bit about where you truly stand. How would I do against people I didn't know. There was only one way to find out. Beginning with the month of August, I decided that I was going to go to class with the tournament in mind. It would be at that beginning of October and I needed to improve every aspect of my Jiu Jitsu. That means technique, strength, conditioning, and understanding. I also needed to lose weight, b/c even with having lost 10 lbs, I still looked like I had chewed bubble gum under my skin. I would be competing against guys who were a very, very solid 220 plus and I didn't want any part of that. I discovered Mark's Daily Apple, and the Primal way of eating. I would eventually enter the tournament at 206 pounds. The tournament prep was a God send. It gave me a clear goal and allowed me to have a focus. It felt like I was alive again. I felt like a competitor again. It was, and still is, awesome. I worked hard. I ate right. I weighed a good weight....and I got crushed. Try as I might, I just wasn't ready. I lost 3 matches against guys I had no business losing to. Nerves took over me and I didn't perform when I need to and those guys did. One of my training partners ran through his competition, and I knew that I was fairly close to him. The taste of disappointment with the feeling of prepping has me hooked. I am going to compete again and often. After the tournament, I settled into a busy season at work. I kept at class three to five times/week. I kept getting and feeling better and better. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Vitor Oliveira of Grappling Fight Team and the owner of Ronin in Columbus came to our gym for a seminar. After the seminar, I received my 4th stripe (after the 4th stripe, the next promotion is a blue belt. Generally that takes 1 year to 18 months to achieve). I was so close to being recognized as someone other than a beginner. It just wetted my appetite. On February 18th, James Clingerman came to Son of Siam for a seminar. At the conclusion of 3 hours of learning intense pressuring leverage, we lined up to "bow out." Generally, after a seminar, there are promotions, but it did not look like any were going to happen. So, I got ready to bow out. With that, Nathan announced that two new belts would be given that day. My name was called by the black belt that had refused to learn it 15 months prior (but now is a great friend) and the sense of accomplishment that I felt, I've never felt before. I've made high school All Star teams for football, played for conference champions in college. I've graduated law school and passed the bar all while raising a young family. None of that compared to the feeling I had when I got that belt. BJJ is hard. It hurts...everywhere. You get embarrassed and beat up. You expose your soul and get shown how good or bad you truly are. Most importantly, you have to make the conscious effort every single day to block all that discomfort out and go get better. You don't HAVE to go. You choose to go. Anyway, Guru asked me if I would like to write a review of my journey so far. I gladly told him that I did. I hope that my story makes people on here want to look into joining us at Son of Siam. My experience isn't unique. Every guy at the gym has a story to tell. Let us help you create your own. - Mexitucky, AKA Kyle.
  8. The first week of the 2019-20 season is in the books. An exciting week in the 11th Region which included some "upsets" and surprising results. Our preseason #1 team has already taken a loss to a team in the region and other top teams are off to rough starts. Lets check out what happened this week! Team Rankings 1. Lexington Catholic (3-0) - The Knights got off to a great start this season. Their opening game featured a visit from top ranked Covington Catholic. The Knights were able to pull out a 1 point victory at home in a highly competitive game. To finish the week Lexington Catholic traveled to Danville and knocked off the Admirals who are a top 5 team in the 12th region then came home and dismantled Model to end the week 3-0!! Ben Johnson had an outstanding week scoring the basketball and has recently picked up his first Division 1 offer from Bellarmine! Coming up this week for the Knights are 2 tough games as they travel to Scott County and then host Paul Laurence Dunbar in crucial early season 43rd District seed game. 2. Frederick Douglass (2-0) - The Broncos are our biggest riser this week climbing all the way to #2 after knocking off our previous #1 Henry Clay and then beating a good Rowan County team over the weekend. To date the Broncos haven't posted any stats so unable to tell who has played well to start the season. The win over Henry Clay was the first for FDHS over the Blue Devils in school history. This week the Broncos host a good Woodford County team, travel to Lafayette, and then host Boyle County to end the week. Three good tests for FDHS. 3. Henry Clay (1-1) - Our preseason #1 team started the season with a surprising loss to Frederick Douglass but were able to bounce back and pick up a win over Tates Creek to salvage a 1-1 week. At post time no stats have been posted for the Blue Devils. A tough week upcoming for the Blue Devils as the host rival Bryan Station, head to Louisville to play Eastern, and then return home to face the top 10th Region team Bourbon County. 4. Scott County (1-1) - The Cardinals started off the season on the road traveling to Bullitt East and Bardstown. Scott County returned home with a 1-1 record. Congrats to Coach Tim Glenn on his 1st career victory as head coach of the Cardinals. Senior big man Terrin Hamilton is off to an amazing start averaging 30.5 points and 9.0 rebounds a game. This week the Cardinals return home to host Lexington Cathoilc, Lexington Christian, and Jeffersonville, Indiana in the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. A big week for Scott County. 5. Madison Central (2-1) - The Indians started off the season with 2 nice wins over quality opponents Pulaski County and Lafayette and dropped a tough game to the top 16th Region team, Ashland Blazer. Braeden Ray and Kole Brown have paced the Indians early this year, each pouring in 19.0 points per game. This week provides a solid test as the Indians host George Rogers Clark and Somerset. 6. Lexington Christian (3-0) - New coach Ted Hall got his tenure as LCA head coach off to a great start going 3-0 this past week. The Eagles were able to easily defeat Bluegrass United Home School, Western Hills, and Buckhorn. Not exactly a murders row of opponents but nonetheless the Eagles won 3 games they were supposed to by convincing margins. Maybe a little too high but at this point LCA was able to win games which other teams in the region have struggled to do. The competition takes a huge uptick this week as the Eagles host Tates Creek, travel to Scott County, and host Lafayette. A big week for 43rd District seeding purposes early in the year for the Eagles. 7. Paul Laurence Dunbar (1-2) - The Bulldogs got off to a less then stellar start to the season getting smashed at home by Woodford County in a game which the former 11th region team dominated from the tip. PLD bounced back by knocking off city rival Bryan Station, then dropped a close one to Newport on a neutral court. The Bulldogs start off district play this week with visits to Lafayette and Lexington Catholic. The Bulldogs cant afford to drop both games and stay in the hunt for the ever precious 1 seed in the 43rd! 8. Tates Creek (1-2) - The Commodores started the season off with a beat down victory on the road over Powell County then dropped two close ones to Henry Clay on the road and South Laurel on a neutral court in overtime. A name to remember for the Commodores is Freshmen Samuel Parrish, the freshmen has shown flashes of brilliance early on this season. This week Tates Creek travels to LCA for a 43rd District showdown then hosts city rival Bryan Station in what should be a good game. 9. Franklin County (2-1) - The Flyers finish the week 2-1 with wins over Paris and Nelson County but a big loss on the road to Spencer County. The Flyers have the pieces to be a contender this year but seem to still be looking for the right mix and chemistry. I expect this team to rise through the rankings throughout the season. This week the Flyers travel to Frankfort Christian Academy and East Jessamine. 10. Lafayette (0-2) - A rough start for the Generals who lost in a big way at the #1 ranked 12th Region Lincoln County then traveled to Madison Central and lost in overtime. Big man Ray Surratt had a good week with 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game but the Generals are struggling to find that second scoring option. This week the Generals open up 43rd District play hosting PLD and traveling to LCA and welcome city rival Frederick Douglass to Lafayette to sandwich those 2 district seed games. 11. Bryan Station (1-3) - The Defenders were true road warriors to start their season as they went on the road 4 times this week! Bryan Station was able to pick up a 1 point victory over Great Crossing on a last second tip in but dropped games to John Hardin, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Hazard. James Lindsay has paced the Defenders early averaging 14 points per game. This week the Defenders are back on the road as they head to Henry Clay, Tates Creek, and Bourbon County to play Woodford County. 12. Madison Southern (1-1) - The Eagles started the season off with a big win over Cordia and then fell in overtime by 4 to a strong Trinity team. The Eagles are without returning leading scorer Trent Moberly who suffered an ACL injury. This week the Eagles host Estill County and Woodford County then face off with Barbourville at Berea. 13. Great Crossing (0-3) - The Warhawks are off to a rough start in their inaugural season. Great Crossing opened the season losing in a big way to West Jessamine then fell on a buzzer beater to Bryan Station and lost another close one on the road to Ryle. Up next for the Warhawks is a trip to East Jessamine and a home game vs. Cambridge City Lincoln, Indiana in the KY-IN Challenge Cup event. 14. Frankfort (2-1) - The Panthers opened the season with home wins over Sayre and Carroll County then took a big loss to Mason County at a neutral site. This week the Panthers head to Burgin, host Danville, and then open up 41st District play with a trip to Western Hills. 15. Western Hills (1-2) - The Wolverines opened up the season with a big win over Owen County then dropped back to back close games to LCA and Henry County. This week the Wolverines travel to Sayre, host Frankfort, and then play Rockcastle County on a neutral court. 16. Berea (4-0) - The Pirates are off to a great start this season picking up wins over Frankfort Christian Academy, Eminence, Cumberland Homeschool Athletic Teams, and Lee County. This week Berea hosts Dayton and Pineville. 17. Sayre (1-2) - The Spartans had a rough start to the week dropping a big one to East Jessamine and then falling at Frankfort but bounced back nicely to beat Augusta this weekend. Up next Sayre hosts Western Hills and Louisville Holy Cross. 18. Model (0-3) - The Patriots are off to a rough start losing games to Whitley County, Buckhorn, and Lexington Catholic. This week the Patriots host Bluegrass United then head to Nelson County and Mercer County. 19. Frankfort Christian Academy (0-1) - The Royals dropped their only game last week to Berea. Up next they host Franklin County, travel to Walden, and host Heritage Academy. Games of the Week Tuesday December 10th Lexington Catholic at Scott County Paul Laurence Dunbar at Lafayette George Rogers Clark at Madison Central Thursday December 12th Bryan Station at Tates Creek Friday December 13th Paul Laurence Dunbar at Lexington Catholic
  9. 1. North Laurel (8-3 overall, 4-0 vs. 13th Region opponents) The Jaguars’ trio to Florida didn’t turn out the way they would have liked. After coming off wins over both South Laurel and Great Crossing, North Laurel posted a 1-2 record during this past week’s Rock Holiday Classic. Nate Valentine’s team will be teated Saturday against Pulaski County when the Jaguars compete against the Maroons in South Laurel’s Raymond Reed Classic. 2. Clay County (8-3, 3-0) After dropping three straight games last week, the Tigers have responded with three straight wins this past week. They’ll be playing John Hardin in today’s Cumberland Falls Invitational after picking up wins over Williamsburg and Knoxville Catholic. Clay County suffered a loss, though, after an injury to Raven Abner has sidelined one of the best defensive players in the 13th Region for at least four weeks. 3. South Laurel (9-3, 4-1) After dropping g two straight games with losses to both North Laurel and Lexington Christian, the Cardinals responded with three wins in its own Legacy Nissan Dribble Drive Challenge. South Laurel defeated Lynn Camp and Owen County before upending St. X, 67-56, in the title game. 4. Knox Central (8-2, 0-0) The defending 13th Region champions are winners of five straight after winning the Panther Holiday Classic this past week. Knox Central recorded wins over Halls, Tenn. and Louisville Western before defeating Gallatin County, 73-68, in the title game. 5. Harlan County (7-4, 2-1) The Black Bears dropped consecutive games to Lafayette (70-55) and Henry Clay (77-45) before defeating Leslie County (78-43) and East Ridge (63-49) in the Hyden Citizen Bank Classic. 6. Corbin (7-3, 3-2) The Redhounds are a much-improved team since their season-opening loss to Clay County. Corbin posted a 2-0 record in last week’s Big H BBQ Christmas Bash while defeating South Carolina’s Broome High School, 73-38, in its first game of the Cumberland Falls a Invitational. Tony Pietrowski’s squad fell to John Hardin, 67-66, and was scheduled to play Knoxville Catholic in their final game of the Cumberland Falls Invitational. 7. Bell County (4-6, 1-2) After getting off to a slow start, the Bobcats are beginning to show why many believe they’re going to be contenders for the 13th Region championship. After going 1-2 in the Smoky Mountain Classic, Bell County responded with an impressive 2-1 mark in South Laurel’s Legacy Nissan Dribble Drive Challenge. Brad Sizemore’s squad defeated Barren County, 67-61, and Owen County, 73-61, and dropped a close decision to St. X (61-57). 8. Oneida Baptist (6-6, 6-2) The Mountaineers have been off two weeks since posting an 0-3 record in the Smoky Mountain Classic. 9. Middlesboro (6-5, 1-3) The Yellow Jackets righted their ship by going 3-0 during last week’s M&W Shootout, but could t keep their three game win streak in tact after posting a 1-2 mark in the RW Baird Holiday Hoop Classic. 10. Barbourville (6-4, 3-1) The Tigers are winners of two of their last three games after upending Oneida, Tenn., 58-50 on Monday. Barbourville has a key road game Friday against Whitley County. 11. Williamsburg (5-6, 2-4) After starting the season 5-2, the Yellow Jackets are now loser’s of four straight games. They did turn in a stellar effort to Clay County a few days ago before losing, 74-70. 12. Lynn Camp (8-6, 2-2) The Wildcats followed a 2-2 effort in the Arby’s/KFC Holiday Classic by going 1-2 during this week’s Legacy Nissan Dribble Drive Classic. 13. Whitley County (5-7, 0-2) The Colonels’ inconsistent play continued during the Mountain Schoolboy Classic. Whitley County went 1-2 during its stay while recording its only win against Pike Central. 14. Jackson County (6-4, 1-3) The haven’t played since winning three straight games during last week’s Berea All ‘A’ Holiday Classic. 15. Pineville (4-5, 1-3) The Mountain Lions are losers of three straight, but they are much-improved from last season. Three of their losses have been by four points or less. 16. Harlan (2-7, 1-3) The Green Dragons were able to snap a three-game losing skid last week with a win and added another victory a few days ago. The big key is they’ve been able to regain the services of sophomore Jordan Akal, who has missed most of the season due to an injury. 17. Red Bird (1-8, 0-5) The Cardinals posted an 0-3 mark in the Berea All ‘A’ Classic.
  10. Week Four Review: Nothing really changed in the rankings this week. Madisonville continues to show they are far and above the rest, while Webster suffers their first loss of the season: 1. Madisonville North Hopkins – BGP #6 Season record: 11-1 The Maroons continue their dominance in the state by winning 4 out of region games. They defeated BGP#8 McCracken County 55-52 in the 5th place game of the King of the Bluegrass. They then defeated Central, Simon Kenton, and BGP#13 Bourbon County in the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic so they will play BGP#7 Lexington Catholic in the championship game on Monday night. Big game versus BGP#2 John Hardin on Jan 4. 2. Webster County Season Record: 10-1 Webster County lost their first game of the season 71-66 to Buford, GA in the Marlin Classic down in Panama City Beach, Fl. They won their first game of the Classic 67-24, and they play their last game on Monday. They will play Hopkins County Central on Jan 3. 3. Lyon County Season Record: 8-4 The Lyons had their worst week of the year as they lost 2 of 3 games at the Campbellsville High School Holiday Classic. They were able to defeat Washington County 87-52, but they dropped their game to Campbellsville 64-63, and then East Jessamine 63-50. They will faceoff against Crittenden County and Marshall County after the new Year. 4. Christian County Season Record: 4-7 Christian County took a turn for the worse this week losing 3 of 4 games. The Colonels suffered losses to Butler and Scott County in the Ashland Invitational before easily defeating Lewis County 80-57. Christian County now has to play 2 games against Paducah Tilghman with a game against University Heights sandwiched in between. 5. Henderson County Season Record: 6-5 Henderson won 2 of 3 games at the Beef O Brady/Danny Annis Memeorial Tournament. They defeated Edmonson County 83-53, and Todd County 70-50. They took a loss to Ohio County 79-75 in the final game. They will play Crittenden County before playing in the City of Middletown Holiday Classic with an opening game against Lafayette. 6. Union County Season Record: 6-5 Union went up into Illinois to play in the Duster Thomas Hoops Classic with mixed results. They were able to defeat Steeleville (IL) and Salem (IL), and lost to Carlyle (IL) and Richland County (IL). They will play BGP #9 Ashland and Lewis County this week. 7. Hopkinsville Season Record: 6-6 Hopkinsville showed some signs of improving losing in a close game to Great Crossing 53-50 and defeating Owensboro Catholic 60-55, and Grayson County 42-36. They will play Fort Campbell, and Bardstown this week. 8. University Heights Season Record:5-7 The Blazers played in the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic and pulled out two of three games. They tool a loss to Beech (TN) by 25 points, but looked much better in their wins against Somerset 63-57 and Sullivan East (TN) 71-59. They are off this coming week according to KHSAA. 9. Crittenden County Season Record: 6-3 Crittenden was scheduled to play at the Stewart County Christmas Classic, however no scores have been reported to KHSAA or in local newspapers. They will play Henderson County, BGP #8 McCracken County, and Lyon County this week. 10. Caldwell County Season Record: 4-7 The Tigers brought back down to earth after their 4 game winning streak. They lost both games at the West Ky Hoops Classic. They lost to Southwind (TN) 52-47 in game 1, and 56-39 to Northeast (TN). They will play Carlisle County this week. 11. Trigg County Season Record: 4-7 The Wildcats split their two games this week, losing 68-49 to Peabody (TN), and then snapped their 6 game losing streak to Greenfield (TN) 59-49. They will attempt to keep the winning going against Livingston Central this week. 12. Dawson Springs Season Record: 3-6 The Panthers did not play this past week. Their next game will be Dec 30 against Apollo and then Jan 3 against Evansville Christian. 13. Fort Campbell Season Record: 5-5 Fort Campbell have now lost 4 in a row. They were defeated by Walnut Hills (OH) and Upperman (TN) at the Zaxby’s Holiday Tournament in Clarksville. They play the final game of that tournament tonight, and then travel to Hopkinsville on Jan 3. 14. Hopkins County Central Season Record: 0-10 The Storm did not play any games this week. They will play Webster County on Jan 3, trying to break their losing streak to open the season. 15. Livingston Central Season Record: 0-12 The Cardinals losing streak continued and now sits at 12. They lost to Mayfield, Calloway County, and Fulton County. They play Trigg County on Jan 3.
  11. 1. John Hardin (4-0): John Hardin got 3 lopsided wins this week. They beat Fort Knox on the road 98 to 42, beat Breckinridge county 80 to 55, and beat Dupont Manual 83 to 59 at Bardstown. Mickey Pearson has continued his strong play, by leading them in scoring this week. Once John gets Witherspoon back, good luck to the rest of the region. 2. Larue County (4-0): Larue has moved up in the rankings after going 3 and 0 this week. They beat North Hardin 43 to 37, beat Hart County 72 to 37, and beat Muhlenberg county 67 to 50. Dailliss Cox and Anthony Adkins both had a big week for Larue, as they continue to show that they are 5th region contenders. 3. Elizabethtown (3-1): The panthers moved up a spot this week in the rankings despite going 1 and 1. They lost to Bowling Green 67 to 46, but bounced back in a big way, with a blowout win over district opponent Central Hardin on the road, by the score of 84 to 64. Darius Harding went off for 36 vs Central Hardin in their first district game of the year. 4. Adair County (3-2): Adair fell two spots in the rankings this week. They beat District opponent Marion County 88 to 77. They then lost big in a much-anticipated game vs Mercer County 73 to 47. Zion Harmon continues to live up to the hype, and Adair is without senior Corey Melton due to suspension. Indians were embarrassed vs Mercer, so will be interesting to see how they respond. 5. Central Hardin (4-1): The Bruins went 2 and 1 this week. They beat Grayson 56 to 54, lost to E-town 84 to 64, and beat Franklin Simpson at South Warren by the score of 69 to 61. Central Hardin continues to be a very balanced team when it comes to scoring. 6. Marion County (2-2): The knights moved up one spot in the rankings as they went 1 and 1 this week. They lost a very competitive game at Adair 88 to 77. They then bounced back with a big win at Bardstown, over Bethlehem, 87 to 51. Marion has been a pleasant surprise so far. 7. Bardstown (2-3): The tigers moved up one spot as they went 2 and 1 this week. They lost at Desales 60 to 46, they beat North Oldham 54 to 52, and beat Bullitt Central 57 to 56. If the tigers continue to improve, they could win another district title. 8. Washington County (4-4): They have moved up two spots in the rankings, as they went 1 and 2 this week. They lost to Bullitt Central 59 to 56, lost at Garrard County 66 to 69, they then bounced back and beat Thomas Nelson 73 to 55. Washington has lost 4 games, but all 4 games they lost by less than 5 points. 9. Campbellsville (2-2): The eagles moved up three spots this week after having a big program win. The Eagles upset Taylor County at Taylor, 58 to 56 to start off the week. They then lost at Meade County 72 to 56. The eagles hope the Taylor County win will give this team a lot of confidence going forward this season. 10. Taylor County (1-2): Taylor moved four spots down this week in the rankings, after the loss to rival Campbellsville 56 to 54. The team right now is really struggling, but if they get Irvin back, that could change everything. 11. North Hardin (1-4): North lost both games this week. The schedule has been brutal so far. 12. Green County (2-3): Green had a good week as they went 2 and 1. They have won their last two games. 13. Caverna (2-3): They dropped two spots, as they had a disappointing week. They lost all three games this week, but Caverna was in every single game. 14. Hart County (2-3): Hart went 1 and 1 this week, as they had a good district win, but got blown out and was never competitive vs Larue. 15. Bethlehem (2-3): Had a good week as they won two out of three games this week, and won two 5th region games. 16. Nelson County (1-4): Lost both games this week, but lost a thriller to Bethlehem in double overtime. 17. Thomas Nelson (1-5): Went 1 and 2 this week, but Thomas Nelson did end the week with picking up their first win of the year. 18. Fort Knox (0-4): Only played one game this week, and lost to the region favorite. They are still looking for that first win.
  12. Fourth Region Rankings 1) Warren Central (4-0) - 12/5 76-60 W Owensboro, 12/9 61-54 W Paducah Tilghman (at South Warren) Previous Rank: 1 This Week: 12/11 vs. #5 Glasgow, 12/12 vs. #9 Logan County, 12/14 at #11 Franklin-Simpson The Dragons stayed unbeaten by knocking off Owensboro for the ninth time in their last ten meetings before overcoming a putrid second quarter to defeat Paducah Tilghman, the #1 ranked team out of the first region. The Dragons were outscored 17-3 in the second quarter against the Blue Tornado, turning a seven point lead into a seven point halftime deficit. Skyelar Potter scored 16 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter after sitting out the first quarter due to disciplinary reasons. 2) Bowling Green (3-2) - 12/5 67-46 W at Elizabethtown, 12/7 67-44 W #11 Allen County-Scottsville, 12/9 54-64 L Ensworth (TN) Previous Rank: 2 This Week: 12/12 at #6 Greenwood, 12/15 at Hopkinsville, 12/16 vs. DeSales (at Barren County) Jarius Key continued to lift the Purples with 68 points in their three games this week, leading to two wins before out of state Ensworth snapped their three game winning streak. The win over Allen County was their 49th straight win in 4th Region play, and they'll go for #50 this week against district rival Greenwood. 3) Monroe County (4-1) - 12/5 65-63 W #6 Clinton County, 12/8 55-53 OT W at #4 Barren County Previous Rank: 3 This Week: 12/12 vs. #14 Russell County, 12/15 vs. #5 Glasgow, 12/16 vs. Shelby County (at Barren County) Barren County/Monroe County continues to be one of the best tickets you can buy. In four meetings over the past two seasons, the two teams have played seven total overtime sessions and their games have been decided by a total of 11 points. This time, after Monroe failed at the foul line on two 1 and 1s to allow Barren to tie the game and sent it to OT, Chandler Clements scored all eight in OT for Monroe to bring home a crucial district win. Earlier int he week Monroe County knocked off old district rival Clinton County. This week has yet another big district game, this against Glasgow. 4) Barren County (3-2) - 12/5 55-39 W at #11 Allen County-Scottsville, 12/8 53-55 OT L #3 Monroe County Previous Rank: 4 This Week: 12/12 vs. Caverna, 12/14 at Edmonson County, 12/16 vs. St. Xavier On the other side of that big game, Barren County could not defend their home court for the second straight time against Monroe, falling when a Brandon Reed jumper for the tie was long. Earlier in the week the Trojans overcame a lackluster first half to take down for a tenth consecutive time. This week Barren County steps out of region play with a pair of winnable games before a meeting with seventh region team St. X. 5) Glasgow (3-0) - 12/8 66-57 W at #15 Russell County, 12/9 66-61 W at #9 Russellville Previous Rank: 5 This Week: 12/11 at #1 Warren Central, 12/12 vs. Southwestern, 12/15 at #3 Monroe County, 12/16 at Shawnee The Scotties have scored 66 in all three games they've played this year, and are a bit hard to nail down, much like the rest of the region. Each of their games have been closer than one might expect - but still, they're all wins. This week they step up in class in a big way, with a pair of road games at #1 Warren Central and #3 Monroe County. The Scotties have not won at Warren Central since 1985. 6) Greenwood (3-1) - 12/5 80-76 W #15 Russell County, 12/9 69-64 W at #6 Clinton County Previous Rank: 7 This Week: 12/12 vs. #2 Bowling Green, 12/15 at #13 South Warren, 12/16 vs. Hart County The Gators have yet to have a game decided by more than 5 points this year, so they'll sure be battle tested entering a game against primary rival Bowling Green - the Gators have lost 12 in a row to the Purples. Jack Roberts poured in 28 against Russell County on Tuesday to continue to build momentum after last season's breakout. 7) Clinton County (3-3) - 12/5 63-65 L at #3 Monroe County, 12/8 63-46 W at #17 Metcalfe County, 12/9 64-69 L #7 Greenwood Previous Rank: 6 This Week: 12/12 vs. #16 Cumberland County, 12/15 at #14 Russell County, 12/16 vs. North Laurel (at Clay County) The Bulldogs have lost three of four and are 1-3 in games decided by single digits. They should coast in district play this week, but if they fall to either of those teams, then this season will rapidly take on a different outlook. 8) Todd County Central (4-0) - 12/5 75-70 W at East Robertson (TN), 12/8 82-46 W #9 Russellville Previous Rank: 13 This Week: 12/12 vs. #13 South Warren, 12/15 at #9 Logan County, 12/16 at Murray After trailing at the end of the first quarter, Todd Central UNLOADED on Russellville, gaining the running clock and remaining unbeaten. The Rebels have not made a region tournament since 2003, so gaining district wins will be vital in their pursuit of a good seed. 9) Logan County (3-2) - 12/5 82-80 W Ohio County, 12/8 57-60 L at #10 Franklin-Simpson, 12/9 54-81 L at Daviess County Previous Rank: 8 This Week: 12/12 at #1 Warren Central, 12/15 vs. #8 Todd County Central, 12/16 vs. #13 South Warren After four scorers posted double digits in a nice 82-80 win over Ohio County, the Cougars let a district win slip away at Franklin-Simpson, after leading most of the game. That was followed by a listless effort in a blowout loss to Daviess County. The Cougars will square off with top rated Warren Central, who they have not beaten since 2000, before hoping to get back on track in district play against unbeaten Todd Central. 10) Russellville (2-2) - 12/5 66-62 W at #11 Warren East, 12/8 46-82 L at #13 Todd County Central, 12/9 61-66 L #5 Glasgow Previous Rank: 9 This Week: 12/15 vs. Christian County (at Hopkinsville), 12/16 at Hopkinsville The Panthers are almost impossible to figure out so far. After gaining a strong road win at Warren East where Jacob Naylor dropped 20 points, they were absolutely destroyed by Todd Central, before bouncing back for a very close home loss to Glasgow. Just.... all over the place. 11) Franklin-Simpson (1-5) - 12/5 59-62 L #16 South Warren, 12/8 60-57 W #8 Logan County, 12/9 61-69 L Central Hardin Previous Rank: 10 This Week: 12/14 vs. #1 Warren Central, 12/15 at #15 Allen County-Scottsville Speaking of tough to figure out - Franklin lost to previously winless South Warren before playing behind the entire game before knocking off Logan County. 12) Warren East (2-3) - 12/5 62-66 L #9 Russellville, 12/8 74-68 2OT at #16 South Warren, 12/9 54-50 W Owensboro Catholic (at South Warren) Previous Rank: 11 This Week: 12/12 vs. #15 Allen County-Scottsville, 12/14 at #16 Cumberland County No game sums up how crazy this region has been more than the Raiders' win over Owensboro Catholic. The Aces jumped out to an 8-0 lead before an avalanche of Neal threes put the Raiders up entering the fourth, where they successfully took the air out of the ball to shorten the game and gain the win with some late free throws. It was honestly stunning. 13) South Warren (2-3) - 12/5 62-59 W at #10 Franklin-Simpson, 12/8 68-74 2OT L #11 Warren East, 12/9 72-49 W #14 Cumberland County Previous Rank: 16 This Week: 12/12 at #8 Todd County Central, 12/15 vs. #6 Greenwood, 12/16 at #9 Logan County The Spartans just couldn't quite scratch out a needed win over Warren East, spoiling what would have been a perfect week. Daniel Moore had 22 points in the loss, their 11th in their last 12 district games. 14) Russell County (1-4) - 12/5 76-80 L at #7 Greenwood, 12/8 57-66 L #5 Glasgow Previous Rank: 15 This Week: 12/11 at #17 Metcalfe County, 12/12 at #3 Monroe County The wins haven't come yet, but the Lakers appear to be much improved from a year ago. Tate Richardson leads the Lakers with 16.4 per game while Brayton Scales has chipped in 14.0. 15) Allen County-Scottsville (2-3) - 12/5 39-55 L #4 Barren County, 12/7 44-67 L at #2 Bowling Green, 12/8 59-39 W #14 Cumberland County Previous Rank: 12 This Week: 12/12 at #12 Warren East, 12/15 vs. #11 Franklin-Simpson The Patriots stepped up in competition and played well for stretches against Barren County and BG, but were still saddled with a pair of big losses. 16) Cumberland County (3-3) - 12/5 83-62 W #17 Metcalfe County, 12/8 39-59 L at #11 Allen County-Scottsville, 12/9 49-72 L at #16 South Warren Previous Rank: 14 This Week: 12/12 at #7 Clinton County, 12/14 vs. #12 Warren East, 12/15 vs. Marion County Back to the drawing board for the Panthers who saw a promising 3-1 start crash with unexpectedly big losses to Allen County-Scottsville and South Warren. 17) Metcalfe County (0-5) - 12/5 62-83 L at #14 Cumberland County, 12/8 46-63 L #6 Clinton County, 12/9 55-73 L at Green County Previous Rank: 17 This Week: 12/11 vs. #14 Russell County, 12/12 vs. Hart County, 12/15 at Christian Fellowship, 12/16 at Community Christian (Paducah) The Hornets are still seeking their first win since the 15/16 season.
  13. 1. Knott County Central (5-1): The Patriots continue rolling and piling up the wins. Knott Central didn’t have a problem getting past district foe, Cordia as they routed the Lions 83-65. The Patriots would pick up another win on Saturday as they defeated 15th region’s Belfry 52-49 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Shootout at Pike County Central. Knott Central travels to Breathitt County on Tuesday, hosts Letcher Central on Wednesday and will participate in the KY Bank Challenge at Rowan County this weekend where they will face Louisville Central on Friday. 2. Perry County Central (3-3): The Commodores went 2-1 last week, picking up wins over Leslie County 63-58 and Buckhorn 73-35. The Commodores, however, fell to Ashland 76-63 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Shootout at Pike County Central. The Commodores will host #3 Cordia on Tuesday, then head to Rowan County to participate in KY Bank Challenge and will face Louisville Central on Friday and George Rogers Clark on Saturday. 3. Cordia (3-4): The Lions picked up their 3rd consecutive win but that was short lived as they would fall in their very next game. The Lions would defeat district foe Letcher Central 70-63 but would fall to Knott Central 83-65. Senior guard Kareem McDonald leads the way for the Lions so far this season with 23 points a game. Cordia will travel to Perry Central on Tuesday and then head to Prestonsburg for a weekend tournament this coming weekend. Cordia will open the tournament with Pikeville, who is coming off a huge win over Paul Dunbar. 4. Wolfe County (4-3): After suffering back to back losses after starting the season off 2-1, the Wolves seem to have gotten back on track, picking up two straight wins last week, not to mention they were against district foes. Wolfe defeated Jackson City 65-60 and Breathitt County 66-64. WolfeCounty will host #5 Estill County on Tuesday and Hazard on Friday. 5. Estill County (2-5): Despite going 1-1 last week, the Engineers are starting to click on all cylinders. Estill County routed district foe Owsley County 84-55. Estill County would fall to South Laurel on Saturday 52-46 in the Bobby Keith Classic at Clay County, despite the loss, Estill County had a really good showing against a team that had routed North Laurel the night before. Estill County will travel to Campton on Tuesday to face Wolfe County and then head to Rowan County for the KY Bank Challenge. Estill County will face Boyd County on Friday and Franklin County on Saturday. 6. Breathitt County (4-4): Breathitt County has dropped two straight since picking up their 4th win on the season. The Bobcats fell to district foe Wolfe County 66-64 and 69-63 to Pike County Central in the Buffalo Wild Wings Shootout. Breathitt County will look to do the unthinkable and knock off #1 Knott Central on Tuesday, home court advantage will help the Bobcats, but will it be enough? Breathitt will host Leslie County on Thursday and will face North Laurel in the KY Bank Challenge at Rowan County. 7. Leslie County (3-3): The Eagles picked up their 3rd win on the season last week by defeating Powell County 76-66. The Win snapped their 3 game losing streak. Leslie County will host 13th region powerhouse, Williamsburg on Tuesday and travel to Breathitt County on Thursday. 8. Powell County (3-3): After a hot start to the season, the Pirates have found them selves 1-3 in the past 4 games. The Pirates are getting good production out of seniors Payton Barnett and Carlos Hernandez who are averaging 17 and 14 points a game. Powell County will look to get their first district wins this week as they host both Owsley County on Tuesday and Lee County on Friday. 9. Hazard (3-2): Hazard is starting to get things going as they’ve picked up their 2ndand 3rd wins on the season last week, cruising past Lee County 68-23 and Buckhorn 46-34. Hazard travels to Wolfe County on Friday before having the holiday off. 10. Letcher County Central (2-5): Letcher Central defeated Jenkins 65-44 this past week to stop their bleeding and end their 3 game losing streak. Letcher Central will host June Buchanan on Monday, travel to Knott Central on Wednesday and then play both Eastern and Floyd Central this Friday and Saturday in the KY Bank Challenge at Rowan County. 11. Buckhorn (2-6): The Wildcats have struggled mightly this season, having lost 5 of their last 6 games. 12. Jackson City (3-5): After starting the season off 3-1, the Tigers have lost 4 straight. 13. Owsley County (5-2): After starting the season on a 4 game win streak, the Owls have lost 2 of their past 3 games including a beat down from district foe, Estill County 84-55. 14. June Buchanan (1-5): The Crusaders have lost 3 straight since their winning their only game on the season so far. 15. Riverside Christian (2-7): The only wins the Rams have this season have been against Kentucky School F/T Deaf. 16. Lee County (0-10): The Bobcats are still getting pounded by their opponents. Not to mention, they’ve not even scored 250 points in 10 games. Bad times in Beattyville.
  14. 1. John Hardin (9-1): John had a busy week, which was successful until the last game of the week, where they had their first loss of the year. John beat Larue 76-56 which was a statement win. They then played a Christmas tourney in Oldham County. They beat Grant County 84-62, beat Desales 78-59, and lost in title game to host Oldham County 88-60. Even though they lost big their last game, beating Larue County the way they did, isn’t a good sign for the rest of the 5th region. Pearson and Wright continue to be a strong 1/ 2 punch. 2. Larue County (8-1): Larue had a good week, even though they lost to region favorite John Hardin. They lost to John at John, 76-56. The Hawks bounced back as they played at Harrison County in a Classic, by winning both games. They beat St. Henry 62-51 and beat host Harrison County, 55-36. Even though they had a tough time with John, they are still a threat in the 5th region. Larue is a balanced team, who has 3 to 4 different guys who could be the guy for them that night. 3. Elizabethtown (6-2): The Panthers continue to play well, even though they lost once this week. They blew out Shawnee at Shawnee 82-47, and they lost at Spencer County 65-57. E-town couldn’t get the offense going versus Spencer, as they have been regularly scoring in the 80’s. Darius Harding continues to look like a 5th region player of the year candidate. This panther team could beat anyone in tourney time, if they are shooting well. 4. Adair County (4-5): Indians played in Orlando this week and lost both games. Adair lost to Bishop Snider (Florida) 75-73, and got blown out versus Oldsmar Christian (Florida) 87-61. Adair really blew one first game in Orlando, when they had a 22-point lead, and ended up losing on a last second dunk. Corey Melton came back from suspension and added 19 points in the second game. Adair still must prove that they are a contender in the 5th region, even if they do have Harmon. 5. Central Hardin (6-3): Central played in the Aleris Christmas Tourney in Hancock County this week, and they had a good week losing in the finals. They beat Providence (Indiana) 68-48 and beat host Hancock County 64-47. They lost in the finals to Jeffersonville (Indiana) 93-60. Central has been a pleasant surprise, as they have played good basketball all year. The problem for Central, is that they play in the best district in the region. 6. Marion County (6-5): The knights had a tough week, as they lost all three games in the Twin Lakes Classic at Clinton County. They lost to host Clinton County 71-65, lost to South Warren 76-63 and lost to South Oldham 66-61. Big man Jamison Epps had 16 and 13 versus South Warren. Marion has still had a good start to the year, but they need to rebound after this three-game losing streak. The positive is both Taylor and Adair have struggled to start the year, so making region is very realistic for Marion. 7. Bardstown (4-5): The Tigers went 1 and 2 this week. They beat Washington in a district matchup 68-67. They then played two games at Spencer County in the Hoops for Hope Classic, they lost to Iroquois 67-59, and lost to host Spencer County 76-51. This isn’t the Bardstown teams of the past, but expect them to improve a lot throughout the year. They still are the district favorite, as well. 8. Taylor County (1-4): The Cardinals didn’t play this week. With Taylor struggling early, practice could be a good thing for them. Taylor still must find a legit second option after Trevon Smith. Good news for Taylor is, there last game was Oldham County, and Oldham County killed John Hardin. Playing so competitive with Oldham County may be the confidence that Taylor needed. 9. North Hardin (3-7): North had a good week as they went 2 and 1 in the Warren East Holiday Hoops Classic. They beat Edmonson County 54-45, they beat host team Warren East 71-62, and lost to Butler 36-29. North has been playing their best ball lately. Even though it was a loss, how close they played John Hardin is still very impressive. I have a feeling teams don’t want to see North tourney time, as they have been competitive with some good teams. 10. Green County (4-4): The Dragons didn’t play this week. Green started off rough, due to a tough schedule, but has played well lately. This is a young team, with only one senior on the roster, so expect them to get better throughout the year. Green is in a district where they can make the region if they continue to improve. 11. Washington County (5-7): Lost two heartbreakers this week, both by one point. Washington has lost their last 3 games, by an amazing 1 point each time. Washington continues to struggle in close games. 12. Bethlehem (3-4): Short week, as they only played one game, and lost to a good Glasgow team. Bethlehem, who has a new coach this year, started off sluggish, however Bethlehem has looked like a different team as of late. 13. Campbellsville (4-6): Had a successful week as they went 2 and 1 in the Smoky Mountain Christmas Classic. This team has shown they can be a very solid team, but consistency is the issue with the Eagles. 14. Caverna (3-7): Caverna went 1 and 2 in the Union County Holiday Tournament. They have struggled lately, as they have played some better competition. 15. Hart County (3-6): Hart lost all three games in the Cecilian Bank Tournament. The raiders have lost 4 straight games, after a very good start to the season. 16. Nelson County (2-8): Lost both games this week. New coach, and a lot of new players playing, so it will be a process for Nelson County this year. 17. Fort Knox (1-7): They lost all three games in the Cecilian Bank Tournament. Rough year so far, but there is a long way to go in the season. 18. Thomas Nelson (1-9): Didn’t play this week. They are hoping the week of practice will help, going forward.
  15. BluegrassPreps.com 1st Region Boys Basketball Preview Region 1 probably had the best championship game of all regions last year watching upstart Mayfield and favorite Graves County go into overtime. Graves came out on top but Mayfield put the whole region on notice that they will be back for the 2017-18 season as they return two of the top players in West Kentucky in the Guthrie brothers. A lot of teams were hit pretty hard by graduation this offseason. There are quite a few teams that will be starting over and others that are rising to the top. Region 1 has a few senior players to watch in Reed, Wilson, and Jewel. However the real talents in Region 1 are in the junior class. Some of the top teams in the region all seem to have great talent in the class of 2019. That means the top teams this year will be around for round two next year as well. So here is the rankings and preview for the 14 teams in Region 1. 1. Paducah Tilghman – Coach Roderick Thomas 2016-17 record: 20-11 Key Losses: DeCoven Grubbs (9.3 ppg) Key Returners: Jerome Reed (14.8 ppg/6.3 rpg), Rodriguez Thomas (13.8 ppg/ 41% from 3 pt), Joe Workman (11 ppg, 39% from 3 pt.) The Blue Tornado will be looking to finally get over the hump to win Region 1. This is something they haven’t been able to accomplish since the 2009-10 season. Tilghman always seems to have a good team, just not the best team. This may be the year that is different. They will be the favorite to win region 1 going into the season even though Mayfield who beat them in the Region 1 tournament last year will be strong again too. . This year’s Tornado team will look very similar to last year’s team. They only lost one starter (Grubbs) and return their 3 top scorers for another year. Reed and Workman are seniors and this will be their last chance. Reed is a force to be reckoned with down low. Now that Chris Vogt has moved on, Reed would be considered the premier big man in region 1. He averaged almost 15 points a game and 6.3 rebounds a game last year and he should improve on both of those. A stat line approaching 20 ppg and 8 rpg is not out of the question. Reed is complimented by two fantastic guards. Thomas and Workman both handle the ball well and shoot very well from 3 point range. Thomas is better at driving inside than Workman, but both can score off the dribble. Reed will get some help inside from Michael Laster. Laster had a respectable freshman year averaging over 8 ppg and 5 rpg. He could easily up that do 10 ppg and 6 rpg. If everyone improves on their play from last year, Paducah Tilghman will be very tough to beat. Paducah’s out of region schedule is just as impressive as last years. They will play games against Christian County (2x), Apollo, North Hardin, and Henderson Co. This should help prepare them for the level of play they will need to compete for the region 1 title. They have the ability, will this be the year they get it done? 2. Mayfield – Coach Chris Guhy 2016-17 record: 23-11 Key Losses: Anton Lumson (13.8 ppg) Key Returners: Carson Guthrie (15.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 38% from 3 pt), Connor Guthrie (16.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 45% from 3pt.), Kent Tray Matthews (9.2 ppg). The Cardinals were last year’s biggest mover in Region 1. They started off slow but came on strong and almost took the region losing to Graves County 77-71. Next to Paducah Tilghman, the Cardinals bring back the most talented team in Region 1. The Guthrie brothers were a force to be reckoned with last year and they were only sophomores. This year Connor and Carson may be 1,2 in the region for scoring. Carson has good size for a guard and is a great ball handler. He will be the leader on the court for the Cardinals. He can play inside or outside and has a great basketball IQ. Connor is more a pure scorer who can scorch the nets from the outside. Almost 60% of his shots came from beyond the arc last year, and he made 45% of those. Good luck to all region 1 teams having to guard these two. Add to that Kent Tray Matthews who averaged almost 10 ppg last year, and should improve on those stats with Lumson leaving. Because of Mayfield’s success in football, their season won’t get started until Dec 7. Carson and Kent Tray both are starters for the Cardinals football team as well as some other key players. It may take them a couple weeks to find their niche like last year. Once they are rolling on all cylinders, they can win this region. The only knock against them is their schedule. They do not play a single out of region game that will challenge them other than the All A Classic. They should win the Region 1 easily and then be challenged at the state tournament. They will need to draw from that experience for the Region 1 tournament and beyond. 3. Graves County – Coach Joshua Frick 2016-17 record: 27-8 Key Losses: Vogt Key Returners: Ryan Mathis (13.3 ppg), Jordyn Noranjo (11.4) Nobody in the region was hurt more by graduation than the Eagles. Not having Chris Vogt, the 6’11” big man in the middle will be tough to overcome. He has been a mainstay for Graves County for the past 4 years and the whole game plan has been centered around him. Now that the Region 1 POY is gone, Eagle basketball will have to be played a little different. Good news is, they have Ryan Mathis and Jordyn Noranjo. Mathis and Noranjo will be the go to guys for Graves this year. Both are fully capable of producing for the Eagles. Mathis will be the leader for this team. After an injury last year, Mathis had to sit out 6 weeks but came back just in time for the Region 1 playoff run. Mathis is a quick guard who plays tough defense and can score from anywhere on the floor. He has a great basketball IQ and can be a real game changer. He will have to figure some new ways to do that now that the focus will be on him instead of his 6’11” teammate. Noranjo blossomed last year when Mathis got hurt. He stepped right into his shoes and the Eagles didn’t miss a beat. In fact, when Mathis came back, he got better. He was the difference maker in Graves County winning the Region 1 title last year. He scored 28 points including 5 for 5 from beyond the arc. The biggest knock against both Mathis and Noranjo is free throw shooting. Both will need to shoot better than 70% this year if they want the chance to win Region 1. Graves schedule for 2017-18 is not as strong as last year, but they still have some good competition. They play at Hopkinsville and Hopkins County Central. They will host Ohio County and Muhlenberg County. They also have a few holiday tournaments where they could see some tough competition. 4. Marshall County – Terry Birdsong 2016-17 record: 21-11 Key Losses: Houston Harvey Key Returners: Dylan Walters (11.3 ppg), Aaron Reed (12.3ppg), Matthew French (8.0 ppg) The Marshalls had some very exciting games last year. They played the top 4 teams in the region very well and hope to improve this year. They played much better the beginning of the year than towards the end, especially against better teams. They are hoping they can play well from start to finish this year with no huge losses leaving and the core of their starting lineup back. The three seniors, mentioned above, will be called upon to lead the Marshalls to this task. All 3 improved from their sophomore year to their junior year, and Coach Birdsong is hoping that will be the case this year. Coach Birdsong, hired in the offseason, is hoping his first year at Marshall will be even more successful than last year. Birdsong should be a great fit for Marshall County, being that he has coached in Region 1 for the majority of his career. Asked about the upcoming season, Coach Birdsong stated “We’re going to work our tails off to create that toughness, that sense of pride that I felt as a player. It’s not about me, this program is 1,000% about these young men.” The Marshalls have some talent, but they are not as talented as some of the other teams in the Region so they will have to work extra hard to overcome. If they can improve from last year and keep the success going the entire season, they have a chance to do well. Marshall has one of the better out of region schedules this year. They play Lex Catholic, Holmes, Ohio Co., Warren Central, and a Florida Holiday tournament. Those are pretty good games against some good teams. 5. Carlisle County – Coach Brian O’Neil 2016-17 record: 12-17 Key Losses: none Key Returners: Trey Wilson (17.4 ppg), Michael Thomason (12.0 ppg) Coach Oneill has got to be happy last year is over. After losing their entire starting 5, the Comets went from 22-9 to 12-17. This year is the opposite. They really didn’t have any key losses to their lineup. Last year they actually performed above expectations and found a gem of a player in Trey Wilson. Wilson emerged as a scoring machine and teammate Michael Thomason made his mark as well. Now in 2017-18, these two have expectations for the Comets to make strides to competing at a higher level. Wilson and fellow contributor Reese Anderson are both underclassman and have a great opportunity to build a foundation. Thomason and Trevor Elder are both seniors and can lead through their maturity on the floor. This years team has much higher expectations than last years. They had a whole season to gel together and learn how to play as a team. They showed flashes of that last year, especially during their mid to late season run where they won 8 out of 10 games before falling in their lost 5. Coach Oneill is really looking forward to see what this team can do this season. Carlisle has a better out of region schedule than last year, but nobody that is overwhelming which is actually a good thing. They will play Ohio Co, Campbellsville, Livingston Central, Lyon Co., and a holiday tournament. 6. McCracken County – Coach Burlin Brower 2016-17 record: 25-9 Key Losses: Sivils, Tyce, Ellington, Hagan Key Returners: Cameron Cartwright (10.2 ppg, 39% from 3 pt), Nathan Stonecipher (8.6 ppg) McCracken had its ups and downs last year, but played very well for the most part. Even though the Mustangs didn’t have a superstar last year, they had a lot of contributors. Unfortunately they lost quite a few of those contributors and will have to reload for this year. The Mustangs will be led by Cameron Cartwright and Nathan Stonecipher. Cartwright was the second highest scorer for McCracken and the senior guard will be looking to vastly improve on his scoring. He shoots very well from the outside, but will need to push into the middle to open things up for his teammates since he will be the focal point. Nathan Stonecipher is the other senior who will have to give some leadership to this team. He plays with real grit and that can be contagious, especially for a young team. Jackson Sivils is a sophomore that showed some promise last year. Look for him to make some noise as he gets more playing time. Especially if he can keep up his 3 point shooting. Last year he hit nearly 50% of his 3 point attempts. The Mustangs have a strong out of conference schedule this year again. They will play Henderson County, Christian County, Apollo and Hopkinsville. I don’t see McCracken County competing for the region 1 title this year, but the Mustangs always seem to put a solid team on the floor that plays their hearts out, so anything can happen. 7. Hickman County – Coach Jimmy Long 2016-17 record: 12-15 Key Losses: Grant Davis, Logan Pittman Key Returners: Dalton Jewel (19.3 ppg, 9.2 rpg), Parker Estes (8.3 ppg) Hickman Co won the 1st District last year, so they ended the season on a positive note before losing to a very good Mayfield team. The Falcons will rely heavily on Dalton Jewel, the teams leading scorer last year. Jewel has the ability to dominate in the paint, especially now that Chris Vogt has moved on. He can shoot from the outside, but its not where Coach Long would really want him to be. He really needs to improve his free throw shooting. He went to the line over 230 times last year, but made just 146. Parker Estes will running the team from the top. He averages almost 9 ppg last year and truly could improve that to 12-13 ppg. He can shoot from the outside, but needs to work on taking good shots. Betweent the two, if they can work inside and out, they have a great chance of winning the 1st district again, and moving further in the regional tournament. Hickman mainly will play region 1 teams with the exception of a holiday classic and Dawson Springs. 8. Murray – Coach Dior Curtis 2016-17 record: 16-13 Key Losses: Preston English, Zach Flener Key Returners: Hunter Utley Murray has a new coach this year, Dior Curtis. Curtis is not unfamiliar with Murray’s program as he has been the assistant coach for the Tigers for a while. He has a challenge in front of him however. The Tigers lost talented guard Preston English who would have won the Region 1 POY if it weren’t for some guy named Vogt. English averaged nearly 24 ppg and 10 rpg. Those are some huge shoes to fill. Have that and the loss of Zach Flener (11 ppg) and it makes the mountain even higher. Coach Curtis has two contributors returning from last year, Hunter Utley (6 ppg) and Wil Lovins (5 ppg). Those are the only two players returning who had any significant contribution for the Tigers. The good news, the entire team is pretty young. There is only two seniors on the roster this year. This will give Coach Dior the opportunity to shape the team the way he wants it. Things may be a frustrating year at times this year, but if the Tigers can pull together and get good solid fundamental play, they can setup things for a good run next season. One step at a time. Murray out of region schedule isn’t too shabby and will have some difficult games. They will play Bullitt Central, Todd Co., and UHA. This teams hopefully will only help them learn and become better. 9. Calloway County – Coach Brad Cleaver 2015-16 record: 21-11 Key Losses: : Kamden Price (18.1 ppg), Payton Johnson (11.0 ppg/ 7.5 rpg) Key Returners, Jeremy Darnell (7.4 ppg) Calloway had a good run last year winning the 4th district over Marshall County. Then their coach went to Marshall County and they have hired Brad Cleaver. Cleaver appears to have had a great basketball career at Calloway and Morehead State, but this will be his first head coaching opportunity. Unfortunately, like some other region 1 teams, the Lakers will be starting over again. They have lost their two top contributors from last year in Price and Johnson. They will return only two starters, Jeremy Darnell (Sr.) and Garrett Scott (Jr.). Other than a handful of seniors, this team is another young team made up of a lot of sophomores. Coach Cleaver will have the opportunity to build a program in the way he wants. Region 1 isn’t very strong this year after the first few teams, so a winning record isn’t out of the question, but winning the 4th district will be very difficult. The Lakers out of region schedule has the team playing Muhlenberg, Todd, Trigg, and Caldwell. 10. Fulton City – Coach Jon Dillard 2016-17 record: 12-17 Key Losses: Areon Ferrell Key Returners: Devontae Alexander (10.3 ppg/6.0 rpg), Branden Walker (16.9 ppg) The Bulldogs are one of the few teams in the region who did not lose a lot. They will return almost their entire starting lineup. The problem is they haven’t had a ton of talent to compete with other teams in region 1. However, that may change this year since the Region seems to be weaker than in years past. Walker and Alexander have proven they can score last year. If they can improve on that and on the defensive end, they can make some great strides this season. They should at the very least garner a winning record this season. They probably won’t compete for the Region title, but they can still have a successful season. Fulton City should be better than most teams in the bottom half of the region. They have a very weak out of region schedule that will help their wins totals this year. 11. Fulton County – Coach Jamie Madding 2016-17 record: 11-19 Key Losses: Davis Major, Kahari Miller Key Returners: Andreous Smith (13.8 ppg/ 5.9 rpg), Caleb Kimble (7.5 ppg) The Pilots had a tough go of it last year, and unfortunately this year won’t be any easier for Coach Madding. Fulton County loses two of its top scorers in Major and Miller. They will have 3 starters returning, but only Smith and Kimble had major contributions last year. The good news for the Pilots is that really started to play better at the end of last year and made games closer than they should have been. They still lost, but showed tremendous improvement. That is the hope of what will take place this year for FC. They are a very young team with mostly freshman and sophomores, but if they can gel and get some good play from Smith and Kimble, they can win some games and make things close. 12. Ballard Memorial – Coach Marla Cooper 2016-17 record: 7-21 Key Losses Jamarrion Williams Key Returners: Chandler Bradley (8.6 ppg), Dequin Donlow (7.7 ppg) The Bombers had a tough season last year, and coach Cooper knew that would be the case going in. They had a great 3 game stretch heading into the region 1 tournament where they won 3 games. Coach Cooper is hoping that this year the team can pick up from that success. There are six seniors on the roster this year. They are led by Chandler Bradley and Dequin Donlow. Both of them will be relied upon to pick up their game and doing some scoring. The Pilots lost top scorer Jamarrion Williams, so they will rely on the duo to pick up the slack. They will also look to Matthew Grogan and Ramon Heard to pick up some slack and make bigger contributions this year. Look for the Pilots to improve upon last year’s record, but hold expectations in check. It will be difficult for them to get that .500 mark, but they may surprise some. 13. St. Mary – Coach Greg Overstreet 2015-16 record: 12-17 Key Losses: John MacCauley, Aaron Higgins Key Returners: Hale Sims The Vikings lose the second leading scorer in the Region, John MacCauley, who averaged 20 ppg. They also lose Aaron Higgins who averaged just under 10 per game. This is significant because St. Mary only averaged 50 ppg. When over half of your scoring is gone, it can make for an unpleasant season. St Mary does have Hale Sims returning so they don’t lose all of their scoring. And they could have another MacCauley show up and play a big game. MacCauley came out of nowhere to lead the Vikings in scoring. Coach Overstreet can hope for another MacCauley this year, but if that doesn’t happen, it could be a very long season indeed. 14. Community Christian Paducah – Coach Daniel Durrett / Rhet McMullen 2015-16 record: 0-30 Key Losses: Logan Browning Key Returners: Jonathan Rogers Going winless over the course of a 30 game season is pretty difficult. Things won’t get any easier for the Warriors this year after they lose their leading scorer who averaged almost 16ppg in Browning. Community Christian just can’t field enough talent to compete with most of the teams in Region 1, although their closest game last year was a 7 point loss to Fulton City in the All “A” Classic. Unfortunately for CCA, this may be another tough year, but hopefully wins won’t elude them as much. There is always the possibility of some guys rising to the challenge and growing in their skills with hard work. This team always plays hard and lays it all out every game, even though they don’t match up well. Top Players to Watch in Region 1 Jerome Reed, Paducah Tilghman (Center/Forward) Senior Arguably the most talented player in Region 1, Reed had another great summer and looks to be the leader for the Tornados this year. When he is on, he seems unstoppable, but he will need to cut down on fundamental mistakes. He will dominate smaller teams and will hold his own against bigger ones. Exciting to watch and most likely will play at the next level if he continues to improve throughout the year. Team him up with Rodriguez, and he could average close to a double/double on the season. Connor Guthrie, Mayfield (Guard) – Junior Conner is probably the best shooter in the region and should be considered one of the best in the state. He lives for the outside shot. Last year he took over 200 shots from 3 points range making 45% of them. He doesn’t have to be set to hit the shot either. He is just as good taking the shot off the dribble and he is setting up and hitting from the outside. He is decent ball handler, but he would be the guy that will hit the big shot when you need it. Pressure doesn’t seem to get to him and he has a chance to play at the next level the way he can shoot. Carson Guthrie, Mayfield (Guard/Forward) - Junior Carson is the brother of Connor and probably the more complete player. He has the ability to play inside or outside. He can shoot, rebound, pass, and handle the ball with ease. He is as complete a player in Region 1 as there is, and he is only a junior. He had a huge game in AAU this summer where he carried his team with 32 points and 12 rebounds including 6 three pointers. He compliments his brother’s game and that is what makes the two of them so dangerous. There is a good possibility Carson averages close to 20 ppg and 10 rpg this season…it would not be a surprise if it happens. Ryan Mathis, Graves County (Guard) Junior Mathis had been known in Graves as the 2nd best player on the team. Now that Vogt is gone, he is indeed now the best player on the team. Ryan has good ball handling skills, adequate range from 3 point, but he simply is smart for his age and will continue to improve. He seems to excel in big games. He led the Eagles in scoring multiple times last year and was a huge leader on the floor. When he went down in late January because of an off court injury. He recovered quicker than expected and was able to play in the region 1 playoffs and beyond. He should continue to grow and mature. Rodriguez Thomas , Paducah Tilghman (Guard) Junior Thomas is a very good player with a pretty good work ethic. He can handle the ball well and is good at penetration. He has a pretty good outside shot, but shoots better from a set position than he does off the dribble. He knows his way around the basket and moves well away from the ball to get open. He still makes some silly mistakes and needs to cut down on those mistakes. He has a pretty high upside. He really needs to make the most of his time with Reed this year. Dalton Jewel, Hickman County (Center/Forward) Senior Dalton Jewel is the best big man in the Region next to Jerome Reed. He has great presence around the basket. He rebounds well and shoots well in the paint. He is not as quick as some of his counterparts, but he makes up for that with some savy play on the inside. Really don’t want him straying to far from the basket, but he will shoot from 3 pt range, but it is not advised (25%). It would be really interesting to see what he could do if he was on a higher caliber team. He very well may lead the Region in scoring this year after finishing 3rd last year (19.8 ppg). He also could average a double/double for the season after coming so close last year (9.2 rpg). Trey Wilson, Carlisle County (Guard) Senior Wilson is a scrappy player who knows his way around the floor. He is quick and keeps his head up while handling the ball so he has good vision of where his teammates are. He penetrates well and makes good decisions with the ball. He can shoot from the outside. He has a good set shot and is decent shooting off the dribble. He could really use another scorer on his team to take pressure off of him. Jordan Noranjo, Graves County (Guard) Junior Noranjo had an opportunity to show what kind of player he was last year when Ryan Mathis went down with injury. He didn't dissapoint. He also carried Graves County to the Region 1 championship with 28 points. He can score from anywhere on the floor, but relies a lot on his jump shot and quickness when getting to the basket. Joe Workman, Paducah Tilghman (Guard) Senior Workman was a little of a surprise last year. It was a pleasant surprise for the Tornados. Workman, who wasn't on the team in 2015, scored 27 and 19 points in his first two games. He hit over 38% of his threes last year and he is a nice compliment to Reed and Rodriguez. He can handle the ball well and sees the floor well too. He will play a big part in Tilghman's tournament run this year. Andreous Smith, Fulton County. (Guard/Forward) Senior Smith averaged almost 14 points and 6 rebounds per game last year as a junior. Smith has a better inside game than outside. He still shot over 115 times from 3 point range, only hitting 24 of them. If he can shoot better from the outside this year, and continue his work inside, he will have a very nice year, even if playing for an inferior team.
  16. 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.
  17. 1. John Hardin (12-2): John went 3 and 1 this week in the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic. Started it off with a 72-70 win over Paducah Tilghman in overtime. They lost to Pulaski 82-76, beat Clay County 93-67, and beat Dupont Manuel 63-53. John played a lot of good teams, and their one loss was to a very good Pulaski County team. Mickey Pearson had a 47 and 15 game vs Clay County. He continues to show why he is a Mr. Basketball candidate. If John could get Witherspoon back, good luck to the rest of the 5th region. 2. Larue County (11-1): The Hawks continued their winning ways as they went 3 and 0 in the Magnolia Bank Holiday Classic. They beat Grayson 66-42, beat Cumberland 92-33, and beat Livingston Central 68-44. Larue dominated their competition, as their big 3 Adkins, Cox, and Goode continue to be giving teams fits, at what they do. Larue has had a great start to the season, but there are some questions about them. Larue hasn’t had a signature win yet, so we will learn how good they are very soon. 3. Elizabethtown (7-4): Panthers didn’t have the best week, as they went 1 and 2 in the City of Middletown Holiday Classic. They lost to Male 76-55, beat Russel 96-71, and lost to North Oldham 71-64. Lost to a good Male team, but losing to North Oldham was a surprise. Darius Harding had 24 in the win versus Russel. E-town has shown that they can contend in the 5th region. There biggest question mark is inside play and rebounding. 4. Adair County (6-6): The Indians went 2 and 1 this week in the Rafferty’s/ Double Dogs Caveland Classic. They beat Edmonson 66-58, they beat Franklin Simpson 80-60, and lost to Jeffersontown 83-70. The Indians had a decent week, the one toss up game they had ,they lost. They did get a 20-point game from Hunter Cundiff versus Edmonson. Harmon got hurt versus J-town, but seems to be fine going forward. The Indians have beat who they were supposed to beat, but they have yet to have a good win this year. 5. Central Hardin (8-4): Central went 2 and 1 this week in the NAS Tournament. They beat Clinton County 55-54, lost to Southern 59-55, and beat Carroll County 65-61. Central Hardin has some nice wins as they beat a solid Clinton County team. This is a team that isn’t talked about a lot for 5th region, but they have been as good as most teams this year. Any given night, you never know who will lead them in scoring. Central’s big problem is, that district is so tough. 6. North Hardin (4-9): North went 1 and 2 in the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament. They beat Sheldon Clark 75-63, they lost to Knox Central 77-65, and lost to Mercer County 62-61. North played some great teams in this tourney and was competitive in every game. North only has 4 wins, but they have lost to all good teams. Most districts, North would be a favorite, but in the 17th making region is a tough task. 7. Marion County (8-6): The Knights went 2 and 1 this week in the Nelson County Classic. They beat Caverna 89-65, beat Shelby County 61-44, and lost to Nelson County 74-61. Losing to Nelson was a big surprise. Marion has had some injuries lately, but I didn’t see that loss coming. Mason Sullivan had 16 versus Caverna. When Sullivan and Epps are playing well inside, it helps Means not have to do as much. If Marion can get healthy, they can be a top team in the 5th. 8. Bardstown (7-5): Bardstown went 3 and 0, and won the Campbellsville High School Holiday Classic. They beat Lincoln 65-62 in overtime, beat Danville 63-53, and beat Campbellsville in finals 59-58. The tigers started off slow, but they have improved all year. JT Galloway led Bardstown in the finals with 17 points. This is a very balanced Bardstown team. This isn’t the normal Bardstown team when it comes to talent, but I’d still pick them in their district. 9. Taylor County (2-7): Taylor went 1 and 3 in the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic. They lost to Lafayette 71-31, beat Pikeville 78-56, lost to Franklin County 63-50, and lost to Elliot County 65-54. Taylor has continued to struggle, but the Pikeville win was a very good win for the Cardinals. Trevon Smith has continued to be great as he scored 36 vs Pikeville. He has been the 3rd best player in the region so far, this year. 10. Bethlehem (5-5): They went 2 and 1 in the NAS Tournament. They beat St. Francis 66-52, beat Carroll County 52-45, and lost to Southern in the championship game 59-52. This is a team that has continued to get better. Jacob Taylor had 28 and 14 versus St. Francis. With having a new coach, things are different, but this is a team to watch out for as the season continues. Improved as much as anyone in the region from the start of the year. 11. Green County (5-6): Went 1 and 2 in the Campbellsville High School Holiday Classic. Both games they lost was one possession games. Continue to be very competitive. 12. Washington County (6-9): Went 1 and 2 in the Campbellsville High School Holliday Classic. Continues to struggle in close games as they could easily have double digit wins by now. 13. Campbellsville (6-7): Went 2 and 1 in the Campbellsville High School Holliday Classic. The Eagles played well and was very close to winning the tourney. They have won 3 out of their last 4 games. 14. Hart County (6-7): Won all 3 games in the Louisville Collegiate Classic. Hart had been struggling, but they may have turned the corner after this classic. 15. Caverna (5-8): Went 2 and 1 in the Nelson County Classic. Played well in the tourney, and Jobby Howard scored at least 30 in every single game in the Classic. 16. Nelson County (4-9): Went 2 and 1 in the Nelson County Classic. Had a big win with the upset of Marion County. Nelson will try to build off that win. 17. Thomas Nelson (2-11): Went 1 and 2 in the Louisville Collegiate Classic. They have been competitive, but would like to add some more wins than what they have. 18. Fort Knox (1-7): They did not play this week. It hasn’t been a good year so far, but for a team like Fort Knox, you must try to get better as the season goes on.
  18. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 19, 2017 Baseball and Softball fans will have additional content available at KHSAA.org this season as a result of the Association’s new partnership with MaxPreps. Statistical leader reports for each sport will be compiled every morning from data provided by MaxPreps, the official source for statistics of all KHSAA contests. In addition, individual game stats will be incorporated into the KHSAA/Riherds.com Scoreboard, which remains the official source for all KHSAA scores, schedules and rosters. Member schools are solely responsible for submitting statistical information through MaxPreps, and maintaining rosters, schedules and scores through the KHSAA/Riherds.com Scoreboard. Those failing to meet the requirement to enter stats, maintain rosters and schedules, or report scores in a timely fashion are subject to penalties from the Commissioner’s office, including fines and other actions within the constraints of Bylaw 27. If a school or individual is omitted from the stat leaders report, or information is not updated, that means the team in question did not update its statistics prior to that morning’s automated update (7 a.m. ET). More information on entering stats through MaxPreps can be found at
  19. Basketball season is almost here. The Cardinals of Taylor County won their 3rd straight region title last year. This year, my top 4 teams was the last 4 standing last year. Those teams are John Hardin, Taylor County, Adair County and Larue County. The region has some great individual talent this year, and it should be an exciting season. Preseason 5th Region Rankings 1. John Hardin (23-11): The Bulldogs look to be the favorite in the 5th region this year. They had a good year last year, but this year expectations are even higher. They return a great player in Mickey Pearson, a Saint Louis commit. They return another all 5th region player in Anthony Witherspoon. He provides toughness to the team. They added a transfer from Mississippi, Malik Wright. He is expected to start, and be a major player in the region. A player to watch for them is sophomore center Preston Murrell, at 6 foot 9. With his size, he could make John scary. 2. Taylor County (20-15): The Cardinals have won 3 straight region titles, and last year may have been the most impressive. The cards are trying to win a remarkable 4th straight region title this year. They return 4 starters, with one of them being standout player Trevon Smith. Smith had a great sophomore year and the lefty looks to be even better now. He's not a big name statewide, but he should be. Another player to watch for them is Dejhon Irving. His stats won't blow you away, but his quickness and athleticism are really elite for the 5th region. Irving and Smith provide a really good one two punch. 3. Adair County (32-2): Adair had a fantastic year end on a bad note, when they lost to rival Taylor in the region final. They also lost 4 starters, but with the addition of freshman Zion Harmon from Bowling Green, things look bright for Adair. Harmon is the number one player nationally in the 2021 class. Adair does have senior Corey Melton back who was an all-region performer last year. Another player to watch for them is sophomore Dre Boyd. He also came from Bowling Green. Boyd, a 6 foot 3 guard/forward, will be relied on inside where Adair lacks interior depth. 4. Larue County (26-8): Larue had a good year last year, and this year should be no different. They return 2 of their top 3 scorers in big man Mark Goode and point guard Shane King. Goode is the best traditional big man in the region. If he gets the ball in the paint, it's almost a guaranteed basket. King is an athletic point guard, and when he is making jumpers, he can be an elite player in the region. Also, a player to watch for Larue is Anthony Adkins. He will be expected to have a bigger role after the graduation of Embree. 5. Elizabethtown (14-16) : This is a team that has gotten better over the last two years. They have their top 3 scorers back from last year, and this is a very experienced team. This team is led by Darius Harding; the senior was an all-region player last year. With this team being an experienced group they could be a tough out for anybody in the region. The player to watch is Tyler Durbin. Durbin is probably more known as QB of the Panthers, but the kid is a really good player and a very good shooter. 6. Bardstown (22-8): The tigers graduated their six leading scorers from last year. For most teams, you would say that team has no shot at contending. But with James Brewer coaching them, I wouldn't count them out, as he tends to get the max out of his players. 7. Central Hardin (14-17): The Bruins graduated seven seniors last year. However, they do not have a good piece to build around in 6 foot 8 Hobbs. They graduated some good talent, but Central should be very competitive in the 5th region. 8. Marion County (15-15): Marion returns their top three scorers from last year. Leading scorer Lez Means, who can really shoot it. Look for them to be even better than they were last year. 9. North Hardin (23-9): Trojans graduated six players and lost a key transfer from last year. It looks to be a rebuilding year for North, though a North rebuilding year could still be a solid year for most teams. 10. Washington County (19-12): Washington will have to replace the regions leading scorer last year in DT Yocum. However, they do return two players Cameron Willis and Drew Yates, who averaged double figures. They have a very good shot to make region. 11. Hart County (5-22): Hart's record wasn't good last year, but Hart has optimism. They have all-region player John Shoulders back. Hart also has their top 9 scorers from last year back this year. So look for a much improved team. 12. Bethlehem (20-9): New coach Chris Taylor replaces Artie Braden. His son, Jacob Taylor, is the leading returning scorer. Bethlehem graduated six seniors, so a lot of younger guys will get opportunities. 13. Green County (15-13): Green returns their second leading scorer last year in Isaac Young. Green graduated 3 seniors. This is a young team that will get better game by game. 14. Campbellsville (7-24): The eagles return leading scorer Tyrion Taylor. Eagles have a good mix of youth and experience on this year's team. Look for the record to improve from last years. 15. Caverna (12-18) : Leading scorer Jobby Howard returns. Caverna graduated some good talent, but will have seven seniors on this year's team. It will be tougher to make region this year. 16. Nelson County (12-17): Zach Allendar takes over the program this year. He will have his work cut out for him, as Nelson graduated a crazy 10 players last year. Looks like a rebuilding year for the Cardinals. 17. Thomas Nelson (3-25): Generals have a new coach in Chris Toliver. They had a rough year last year, but return two of the top three scorers from last year. Expect them to be much more competitive this year. 18. Fort Knox (10-19): Fort Knox graduated seven seniors last year. Four of five leading scorers graduated last year, so this will be a very inexperienced team. Fort Knox has won 10 games in the past two years, but will be a challenge to do so this year. TOP 10 Players 1. Mickey Pearson (Sr John Hardin): The 6 foot 7 senior averaged 22 and 9 last year. He's a Saint Louis commit who can dominate the game on both offense and defense. His shooting ability, at his size, really makes him impossible to guard. 2. Zion Harmon (Fr Adair County) : The 5 foot 10 freshman is the number one ranked player in the 2021 class. He averaged 17 points a game at Bowling Green last year. He's everything you want in a point guard, great shooter, good passer, and a very poised player. 3. Trevon Smith (Jr Taylor County): The 6 foot 3 senior averaged 17 points for the region champions last year. He really came out of nowhere, as he became a top player in the region. He is a kid who can score in a variety of ways, as he will be the guy at Taylor this year. 4. Darius Harding (Sr Elizabethtown): The 6 foot 3 senior averaged 18 and 6 last year. He plays a very physical game and is a really good slasher. If he can consistently hit the outside shot, he's a nightmare for opponents. 5. Malik Wright ( Sr John Hardin): Wright is a 6 foot 3 senior who transferred from out of state. He will make a very good John Hardin team even better. Wright will be one of the best athletes in the region, if not the best. 6. Mark Goode (So Larue County): The 6 foot 6 sophomore averaged 14 and 6 last year. He is the best back to the basket big in the region. Goode has great hands and has great touch around the basket. 7. Anthony Witherspoon (Sr John Hardin): The 6 foot 3 senior averaged 11 and 7 last year. Stat's don't tell it all with Witherspoon. He can guard multiple positions, and is a nightmare for opponents because of his physical precsence. 8. John Shoulders (Jr Hart County): The 6 foot 1 junior averaged 21 and 5 last year. He does it all for Hart County. He's a good overall player who can score in many ways, not a big name, but a very good player. 9. Corey Melton (Sr Adair County): The 6 foot 2 senior averaged 18 and 6 last year. Melton can really score, and he's a good offensive rebounder. With the addition of Harmon, look for Melton to get a lot of great looks. 10. Jobby Howard (Sr Caverna): The 5 foot 8 senior averaged 22 points a game last year. He may be small, but Howard can score and score a lot. Don't be surprised if Howard leads the 5th region in points this year.
  20. The City of Covington will proclaim “Kenney Shields Day” on Saturday, August 26 during a ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. at Behringer-Crawford Museum in Devou Park. Mayor Joseph U. Meyer will issue the proclamation honoring the long-time basketball coach, who grew up in Covington, worked for the city recreation department and helped conduct youth basketball leagues at Covington Turners Hall for more than 30 years. The public is invited to Saturday’s ceremony. There will be no admission charge to enter the museum. Free parking will be available in the lot adjacent to the museum. Shields compiled a 766-427 record coaching high school and college basketball in Northern Kentucky during his 39-year career. He recently published a book, Nothing More, Nothing Less, Nothing Else, about his life and coaching accomplishments. Autographed copies of the book will be sold for $15 during Saturday’s ceremony. Items from several people mentioned in the book will also be on display. There will be a raffle for a basketball autographed by Shields and a Split the Pot drawing. One of the guest speakers on Saturday will be Dr. James Claypool, professor emeritus at Northern Kentucky University. He prepared a few words about the growth of the university while Shields was head coach of the Norse men’s basketball program. Shields will give a short talk, introduce his new book and then be available for autographs. A cable television crew from TBNK will interview attendees about their past experiences with Shields for a program to be televised at a later date. The book, written by Dave Schabell, covers Shields’ life before, during and after his remarkable basketball coaching career. The reader learns about him growing up in an Irish Catholic family and the boyhood teammates who became life-long friends. The ups and downs of his high school and college coaching career that he shared with his wife, Marie, are a major part of the story line. The book’s title is taken from a speech Shields often gave before a big game. He told his players: “Go out and do your best … nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.” One year after he graduated from college, Shields started his head coaching career at St. Thomas, a small parish high school. He spent 10 years there before becoming the boys’ head basketball coach at Highlands, where he won 261 games and five 9th Region championships in 13 seasons. His record of success on the high school level led to him becoming the men’s head basketball coach at Northern Kentucky University. After a few rough years, he took NKU teams to the NCAA Division II national championship game in 1996 and 1997. The Norse were still considered one of the top Division II teams in the country when Shields retired in 2004 with a 306-170 record in 16 seasons. A portion of the money from book sales will go to the Kenney Shields Scholarship Fund that was established at NKU for men's basketball players. For more information or to set up an interview, please contact Terry Boehmker at terryboe@yahoo.com or 859-653-8129. The book is available online at shieldsbook.com.
  21. 2017-2018 12th Region Weekly Updates It was a short week of basketball last week. The first winter storm of 2018 wiped out the end of the week’s games either canceling or postponing some big matchups. However, there were still enough games played to cause some movement in this week’s rankings. Take a look and see how your team fairs this week in the 12th Region. 12th Region Rankings: 1) Pulaski County Maroons (12-3) – The Maroons extended their winning streak to eight games last week as they beat Somerset 87-62 and Lincoln County 60-53. In the win over Somerset, Steven Fitzgerald scored 33 points to lead all scores. Fitzgerald was out with an injury against Lincoln County but Jacob Combs stepped up with 17 points and Danny Butt added 16 points to lead the Maroons in the win over the Patriots. This week the Maroons start the week hosting Casey County. They will then hit the road to play George Rogers Clark in the Tim Short Automotive Classic and play Pleasure Ridge Park in the Jaguar Classic at East Jessamine. 2) Mercer County Titans (12-4) – Last week the Titans were going to take a trip to Nashville to play in the Music City Classic but instead they got a week off due to the snow. This week the Titans gear up for a big Friday night rivalry game as they travel to West Jessamine for a 46th District showdown. They will then host Whitley County the following night. 3) West Jessamine Colts (11-2) – Last week the Colts only played one game and they lost to Lexington Christian 63-88. In the loss, Drew Cook led the way with 24 points and Dalton Bruner added 20 points. This week the Colts will really challenge themselves as they travel to Madison Central, host district rival Mercer County, then finish off the week in the Jaguar Classic playing Lexington Catholic. 4) Boyle County Rebels (9-4) – The Rebels picked up a big win last week over 45th District and cross-town rival Danville 42-35. The other big gave versus Lincoln County was postponed due to the snow. In the win over Danville, Jason Alexander led the way with 17 points while Reese Smith added 12 points. This week the Rebels host Collins then travel to Garrard County. 5) Somerset Briar Jumpers (15-3) – The Jumpers only game last week was a loss to cross-town rival Pulaski County 62-87. Trae Harmon led the Jumpers with 14 points while Kade Grundy and Kross Grundy added 12 apiece. This week the Jumpers are focused on the All A Classic. It has been four years since the Jumpers won the 12th Region All A and to win it this year they first have to get through Danville Tuesday night at Somerset. 6) Southwestern Warriors (8-6) – The Warriors lost to Perry County Central 37-44 in the only game they played last week. The big cross-town rivalry game versus Pulaski County was postponed due to the snow. This week the Warriors host Russell County then travel to McCreary Central for a 48th District challenge. 7) Lincoln County Patriots (9-9) – The Patriots lost to Pulaski County in a close game 53-60 in the only game of the week due to weather. In the loss, Spencer Baird and Chase Phillips each scored 16 points for the Patriots. This week the Patriots travel to Garrard County, host Madison Central, and then travel to East Jessamine to play Corbin in the Jaguar Classic. 8) Wayne County Cardinals (10-8) – The Cardinals was perfect last week as they beat Taylor County 50-45 and McCreary Central 54-48. In the win over Taylor County Jakson Baker led the way with 15 points. In the win over McCreary Central, Stetson Simpson was high scorer with 19 points. This week the Cardinals are on the road as the travel to Rockcastle County then go to Scott County to play LaRue County in the Toyota Classic. 9) Danville Admirals (6-10) – The Admirals lost the only game they played last week and it was to cross-town rival Boyle County 35-42. In the loss, Zach Thorton led with 12 points while Jared Southerland added 11 points. This week the Admirals are focused on returning to the Class A State Tournament for the 4th straight year. However, to do that they have to travel to Somerset to win the 12th Region All A title first. 10) McCreary Central Raiders (6-10) – The Raiders lost both games they played last week. They lost to Russell County 59-64 and Wayne County 48-54. John Cash was leading scorer versus Russell County with 15 points and Hunter Jones had 18 points in the loss to Wayne County. This week the Raider look to get back on track as they host Bell County and Southwestern before traveling to East Jessamine to play Eastern in the Jaguar Classic. 11) East Jessamine Jaguars (5-13) – The Jaguars lost to Western Hills 49-57 in the only game they played last week. This week is a busy week for the Jaguars as they host Lexington Catholic, travel to Casey County, return home to play Thomas Nelson, then finish the week hosting Tates Creek in the Jaguar Classic. 12) Garrard County Golden Lions (4-13) – The Golden Lions only played one game last week and it was a loss to Estill County 41-67. This week Garrard County will play Boyle County and Lincoln County at home then travel to Hazard to end the week. 13) Rockcastle County Rockets (4-13) – The Rockets lost both games they played last week. They lost to North Laurel 63-81 and to Casey County 63-69. This week the Rockets will host Wayne County for their only game schedule. 14) Casey County Rebels (1-16) – The Rebels finally picked up their first win of the season as they defeated Rockcastle County 69-63 in a 47th District showdown. They lost earlier in the week to Anderson County 37-80. This week the Rebels travel to Pulaski County, host East Jessamine, then go to Lee County to end the week. 15) Burgin Bulldogs (5-8) – The Bulldogs were snowed out last week and did not play any games. This week they get to travel to Somerset to play Washington County in the 12th Region All A Classic. 16) Kentucky School f/t Deaf Colonels (0-13) – The Colonels lost in a close game to Oneida Baptist Institute 61-63 in the only game they played last week. This week the Colonels travel to Alabama to play in the 66th Annual Boys Mason-Dixon Tournament. 12th Region District Standings: 45th District Boyle County 2-0 Lincoln County 1-0 Danville 0-2 Garrard County 0-1 KSD 0-0 46th District Mercer County 2-0 West Jessamine 1-1 East Jessamine 0-2 Burgin 0-0 47th District Somerset 4-1 Pulaski County 3-0 Rockcastle County 1-4 Casey County 1-4 48th District Southwestern 1-0 Wayne County 1-1 McCreary Central 0-1
  22. 1. Knott County Central (16-5): The Patriots remain #1 this week as they went 3-1 this past week. They got things started with a 61-49 road win over district foe, Letcher County Central. The Patriots made their way to Richmond to EKU’s McBrayer Arena for the state all “a” state tournament. The Patriots opened up the tournament in a big way as they would cruise by Owensboro Catholic 46-33. The Patriots would advance to the quarter-finals where they would face and beat Beechwood, seemingly with ease, 51-33. The Patriots would go on to the semi-finals where they would fall to eventual all a tournament champion, Lexington Christian 54-44. The Patriots have 4 big games this week, Tuesday night home vs Powell County, Wednesday night home vs Cordia, Friday at home vs Perry Central and Saturday at home vs Wolfe County. 2. Estill County (14-6): The Engineers picked up two big district wins last week, defeating Lee County 93-43 (without starter Caleb Bonny), Powell County 64-55. Estill County would also get past Fleming County seemingly with no trouble 65-37. The big story for Estill County for the week, was defeating #11 state-ranked, Pulaski County 81-67. Game was back and forth until the final 8 seconds where Pulaski County would melt down, including 3 technical fouls called on the Maroons. Kevin Richardson would make 7/8 FT’s to give Estill the 81-67 win. That was Estill’s first win against a state ranked team since the Engineers defeated Scott County years ago. The Engineers will be on the road this week, at Buckhorn on Tuesday and Powell County on Friday. 3. Perry County Central (13-5): Perry Central picked up back to back wins last week on back to back days, defeating Wolfe County, seemingly with ease, 85-66 and Powell County 68-60. Perry Central will travel to Knott Central on Friday for a big region showdown and Letcher Central on Saturday. 4. Cordia (12-10): Cordia split their two games last week, defeating June Buchanan, 70-45 but falling to Franklin County 67-55 over at GRC. Cordia will have two huge games this week, at Knott Central on Wednesday and on Saturday, they will, again, travel to Central KY, this time to Lafayette, where they will face West Jessamine in the Jock Sutherland Classic. 5. Leslie County (11-8): The Eagles slipped last week, losing both games, a 77-68 loss to Barbourville and a 67-59 loss to district foe, Hazard. The Eagles will just have one game this week, Saturday, at Buckhorn. 6. Powell County (12-8): Powell County went .500 last week, defeating Lee County 78-34 and Menifee County 81-73 but falling to Estill County 64-55 and Perry Central 68-60. Powell County will be on the road Tuesday night at Knott Central and at home on Friday hosting Estill County. 7. Wolfe County (11-11): The Wolves seem to have things going in the right away for them at the right time. The Wolves had struggled all season but have won 3 straight including a 30 point road win at district foe, Breathitt County 78-48. Wolfe County defeated Riverside Christian 67-31 and Owsley County 82-61. Wolfe County will be at home this week, hosting Jackson City on Tuesday, on the road at Hazard on Thursday and at Knott Central on Saturday. 8. Hazard (8-7): Hazard finally picked up back to back wins this past week, defeating Leslie County 67-59 and Sheldon Clark 83-54. Can the Bulldogs keep this momentum up this week, when they travel to Barbourville on Monday, host Wolfe County on Thursday and Friday and vs Lee County on Saturday at Buckhorn? 9. Breathitt County (8-14): Despite going.500 last week, the Bobcats are still struggling. Defeating Lee County and Buckhorn are wins but that’s it, when you lose by 30 to your district foe and then lose 12 on your own home court to a small Lexington school like Sayre, that’s a totally different thing and collapse. Can Breathitt re-group this week when they host Newport on Friday and vs Barbourville on Saturday at Buckhorn? 10. Letcher County Central (6-16): The Cougars were another team that went .500 last week, picking up wins over Jenkins 77-46 and Buckhorn 57-53 but falling to Knott Central 61-48 and Eastside VA 61-55. The Cougars will be on the road Tuesday at Harlan Ind, and Wednesday at June Buchanan and will be home on Saturday hosting Perry Central. 11. Buckhorn (4-16): Buckhorn has now lost 6 straight games. 12. Owsley County (9-10): The Owls have had a great seasons for a school of their size but still haven’t been able to win the big games like they once did. 13. Jackson City (5-17): The Tigers have lost 4 straight but theirs good news on the horizon for the young Tigers, they have a couple winnable games coming up within the next few weeks. 14. June Buchanan (5-14): The Crusaders losing streak has reached 4 straight games as well. Much like Jackson City, the Crusaders have a few winnable games coming up on the schedule over the next few weeks as well. 15. Riverside Christian (2-16): The Rams losing skid has reached 136 straight games and the sad part is, they may not win another game this season. 16. Lee County (0-21): The bobcats are still getting destroyed in all of their games. One would have never thought they’d see any Lee County team struggle this badly since all the dominant years they had under coach Danny Wright.
  23. Covington Catholic's record book has seen a few notable changes since head coach Scott Ruthsatz took over the school's basketball program in the 2011/12 season - most notably due to the presence of players Cole VonHandorf and Nick Ruthsatz. Not only are they the #1 and #2 scorers, respectively, in the school's 1,000 Point Club, but the two of them also combine for possession of nine of the Colonels Basketball Program's thirty-one total individual records. That should come as little surprise if you take into consideration the fact that Nick and Cole were both absolutely integral in leading Cov Cath to their 2014 basketball state championship. Most Free Throws (Single Game) - 19; Nick Ruthsatz; 2012 vs. Louisville St. Xavier Most Points Scored (Single Season) - 763; Nick Ruthsatz; 2013/14 Most Points Scored (Career) - Cole VonHandorf; 2014-17 Highest PPG Average (Career) - 19.8; Nick Ruthsatz; 2011-14 Most Field Goals (Career) - 809; Cole VonHandorf; 2014-17 Most Free Throws (Career) - 515; Nick Ruthsatz; 2011-14 Best Free Throw % (Career) - 83.9%; Cole VonHandorf; 2014-17 Most Games Played (Career) - 141; Cole VonHandorf; 2014-17 Most 3-Pointers (Career) - 213; Nick Ruthsatz; 2011-14 It's also worth noting that Bo Schuh (2012-15) is yet another member of the 2014 state championship team to make his way into the Covington Catholic 1,000 Point Club, with his 1,089 career points. This season, Cov Cath has found their place among the top 5 boys basketball teams in the state for the majority of the season. Once again, rising out of that success, there are two new members to the school's 1,000 point club: Iowa Hawkeyes commit CJ Fredrick, and Christian Brothers commit Aiden Ruthsatz. An addition to those two making the millenium mark, once again, Covington Catholic has basketball records looking to be broken: Single-Season records on pace to be broken: Jake Walter has gone 117-157 on field goals this season – good for 74.5%. That would shatter the current Cov Cath single-season record of 62.9% held by Jay McCoy (1984/85). Nick Thelen is also on pace to best the current field goal percentage mark. He’s 65-101 on the season – good for 64.4%. CJ Fredrick is on pace for 98 made 3-pointers this season (35 games, assuming they play in the regional final) that would pass up the current single season record of 89 held by Nick Shipley (1992/93). Aiden Ruthsatz is just on the fringe of also surpassing the made 3-pointers number. He is on pace for 88 made 3’s. Aiden Ruthsatz is currently 89-99 from the foul line this season. That’s 89.9%, and would best the current single season mark of 88.5% also held by by Nick Shipley (1992/93). Career records in jeopardy: Jake Walter’s current career field goal percentage is 64.0% (235-367); this would best Jay McCoy’s record of 61.1% (1984-86). Aiden Ruthsatz is on pace to take over record for career free throw percentage. He’s currently 222-261 or 85.1%. The current mark is held by Cole VonHandorf at 83.9% (2014-17).
  24. One week to go and the real fun begins in post season when a ranking will not matter because only one team will be left heading to Rupp. This past week produced a couple of key games that determined the rankings shift ever so slightly. Here is the rankings heading into the final games left from the regular season 1. Butler (24-2): Butler took care of Doss to earn the #1 seed in district play last week and for good measure they also beat Fairdale and John Hardin. That was a great week and they have proven without a doubt they are the #1 ranked team in the 6th region. They finish with Southern and JTown so they will enter post season with a glossy 26-2 record. 2. Doss (19-6): The Dragons did lose to Butler in a great game, but they also beat PRP & Collins to finish the week strong. Doss will be the 2nd seed in districts, but they are looking for the rematch with Butler to prove they are the best team in the region. Not much separates these two teams who stand atop the rankings. Doss finishes the regular season against Valley. 3. Fern Creek (20-6): For now Fern Creek looks a little behind the top 2, but they are not far behind. The loss to St. Xavier was concerning as they looked like they had turned the tide after a rough patch in January. A good game with Fairdale ends the regular season for both on Friday night. The winner of that game will be right behind Butler and Doss as the favorites entering post season play. 4. Fairdale (19-8): Fairdale went 2-1 last week, beating Valley to win the #1 seed in the district tourney but lost to Butler in a close game or they could have vaulted into the top 3. They have clearly made a mark and are now a very real threat in the region. A great finish for Fairdale lies ahead as they play Fern Creek on Friday. 5. Valley (18-8): The Vikings may have lost the #1 seed to Fairdale, but not much separates the two teams in the tough 21st district. Valley was up 24 heading into the final period and ended up losing in OT on a last second shot. Valley ends the season against Doss on Friday. With the loss to Fairdale they must take on PRP in a big district semi final game to determine who advances and whose season ends once district play begins. 6. Pleasure Ridge Park (16-10): The Panthers lost to Doss last week in a close game and made a statement that they should not be counted out once post season begins. They finish the season with Moore and North Bullitt so they should end up with a bit of momentum as they face Valley. 7. Iroquois (16-10): Iroquois plays in a very tough district, one of the best in the state. Despite coming in 4th, don't count them out. They play Valley in the last week of the season and everyone should keep a close watch on that outcome as it should be a great game. 8. Bullitt East (15-13): Bullitt East had a good week with only a close loss to Fairdale stopping them from being on a 5 game winning streak going into the final week when they play both John Hardin and Etown. 9. DeSales (13-13): DeSales had a bad loss to Western or they would have held on to their #7 ranking. DeSales finishes with North Oldham before playing Doss in districts. 10. Jeffersontown (14-10): Jeffersontown stays in the Top 10 despite two losses to teams ranked ahead of them. Who has a tougher last week of the season facing both Doss and Butler? 11. North Bullitt (12-14): The Eagles finish the season against PRP. 12. Southern (11-11): The last week includes Butler and Iroquois. 13. Bullitt Central (16-10): Leap over Holy Cross after an overtime victory over them. Finish with Spencer County 14. Holy Cross (14-11): Tough game this week versus St. Xavier for the Cougars. 15. Moore (6-18): Good win for the Mustangs over Western but the last week has PRP and Fairdale on the schedule. 16. Western (3-21): Kudos for the win against DeSales last week. 17. Whitefield Academy (12-12): Bullitt Central on February 15th. 18. Beth Haven (6-18): Beth Haven finishes against Ft. Knox. 19. Evangel Christian (3-18): Two wins last week to have their best week of the season.
  25. The victory train keeps rolling (mostly) for the region's top dogs. It's February, and the district tournaments are right around the corner. The Eagles are the new Super Bowl champions - will a bird represent the 10th at Rupp Arena in a few weeks? Here's a quick peek at last week. 1. Clark County (22-3, 10-1 region). The Cardinals ran their win streak to a dozen with a trio of wins. First was a surprisingly close 66-62 triumph over district for Bourbon County in which they lost most of a 20-point lead. Ryan Cooper had a team-high 19 in the game, Will Philpot had a dozen and Brennan Canada pitched in with a "dozen double-double" (12/12). The Cards then entertained South Laurel and prevailed in a 55-51 slugfest in which Canada was the squad's only double-digit scorer with 17. The Royals of Mason County didn't prove to be a problem on Friday, with Philpot, Canada, Cooper and Jordan Graham all reaching double figures in the Cards' 78-45 win and outrebounding the Royals by 20. The streak will in all likelihood hit 15 by this week's end with Madison Southern, Montgomery County and Bracken County gracing the schedule. 2. Campbell County (20-4, 9-0 region). The Camels won both of their games last week, hit the 20-win mark; and remain the only unbeaten team in tenth region play. First was a hard-fought ten-point win in Cynthiana over Harrison County, followed up by a 73-54 decision over Highlands that saw the Camels eventually pull away. Reid Jolly averages a double-double at 18/10. This week will be challenging with games at Simon Kenton and hosting Pendleton County on successive nights. 3. Pendleton County (19-5, 12-2 region). It's been almost a month since the Wildcats dropped a nailbiter to Scott, and they haven't lost since. Junior swingman Dontaie Allen has been on fore and so have Coach Belcher's charges. Last week featured a pair of easy wins sandwiched around a thriller. Cody Sullivan lit up the nets with 32 points and set a school record for threes (10) in a game in a 96-71 win over a feisty Calvary Christian quintet. The Thursday matchup against Bishop Brossart was another story, as Allen needed every one of his 42 points to put the 'cats over the top 73-72, with a critical blarge call looming large. There were no such nervous moments the next night as Allen went off for 42 and 13 (and Grant Walsh adding 26) in a 70-49 romp over Bracken County; and extending their winning streak to 8. Campbell at Campbell, Montgomery and Grant at home this week. 4. Scott (16-7, 5-3 region). The Eagles switch places with Pendleton after dropping a pair of games last week. The 70-51 loss to Covington Catholic was expected; the 72-71 loss to NewCath probably was not. Nathan Joyce has a team-high 23 and Chad Ohmer chipped in a dozen against CovCath. Scott fought back to take a late lead against NewCath but fell late. Kyren Simpson had a career-high 23 for the Eagles in this one. Scott hosts Ryle and Conner this Tuesday and Friday. 5. Paris (17-6, 10-4 region). Paris is on a nice 6-game streak of their own after wins over Dunbar (52-51), Montgomery County (73-56) and Bourbon County (59-49) last week. Travis Strings had an impressive 23-10, and dependable Eric Johnson filled the stat sheet with 18 pints, 10 boards, 5 steals, 4 assists and 3 blocks against district rival Montgomery. The Hounds were never seriously headed in the Bourbon County contest, maintaining a double-digit lead for pretty much the entire 4th quarter. Augusta, Harrison and a long trip to Lawrence County are on this week's slate of games. It gets to be something of a crapshoot from here on. Throw the next seven teams in a hat. 6a/6. Bishop Brossart (12-11, 5-4 region). While a pair of losses may not justify moving up in the rankings to some, The Mustangs showed well in a 22-point win over Augusta and in respectable losses (73-73 to Pendleton at home and 72-56 to NewCath on the road. J.D. Schumacher had a career-high 23 against Augusta with Zach Hamberg adding 17 with a handful of trifectas. Ethan Eilerman had 25 against Pendleton. The 'stangs fell behind early in the NewCath game and never recovered; Eilerman and Hamberg led the way with 19 and 17. The road is a little less bumpy this week - Calvary Christian and Bracken County. 6b/7. Robertson County (16-8, 10-2 region). The Devils fell to Nicholas County 73-70 in their only action last week (but did win the 10th district freshman tourney). The game marked the return of Bobo Swanson in limited action. St. Patrick and Model are on this week's schedule. 6c/8. Mason County (14-10, 5-5 region). The new-look Royals went 3-1 last week, starting with a 58-52 win over Montgomery County and followed by a 28-point rout of Bracken County led by Malkolm Devine's 20 (with five threes), Leevi Dunaway with 16, Jaylen Lofton with 11 and Xylon Frey with 10. Dunaway and Devine had 16 apiece in the blowout loss in Winchester, and Dunaway, Lofton Devine and Carson Brammer all reached double figures in the senior day win over Western Brown (OH). The Royals host Ashland and Harrison County this week. 9a/9. Montgomery County (11-12, 4-7 region). The Indians went 2-2 last week, defeating Bracken County in a close one at home, falling to Mason County and Paris, and finally routing Fleming County. Busy week with Nicholas, Clark and Pendleton this time around. 9b/10. Nicholas County (9-11, 5-8 region). The Jackets were victorious over Robertson County in their only game last week, 73-70, with four in double figures - Brady Switzer, Sam Hamilton, Spencer Morris and Andrew Planck. This week will be much busier - Montgomery County, Sayre, Western Hills and Menifee County. 9c/11. Bourbon County (9-15, 5-8 region). While the Colonels fell in all four of last week's games, they were competitive in all of them, including 1 6-point loss at Mason County and a 2-point loss at Franklin County. Frankfort and East Jessamine away this week. 9d/12. Harrison County (7-14, 3-6 region). The Breds are on the wrong end of a 5-game skid, with their best showing last week probably being a 10-point loss to Pendleton at home with Spencer Free pouring in 23. Extremely busy week coming up - Holmes, Williamstown, Paris, Mason County and Breathitt County. 13. Augusta (10-12, 4-9 region). The Panthers bounced back from the Brossart defeat to notch wins over Ripley (OH) and Owen County. Coach Brian Kirk returned to the bench for the Ripley game that saw Austin Eichenberger score 22. Paris, Bath County and Villa Madonna up this week. 14. Calvary Christian (16-10, 3-8 region). The Cougars won three straight after the loss to Pendleton, including a 63-44 drubbing of St. Patrick. Sophomore guard Mason Rusch is averaging over 26 PPG. Silver Grove and Villa Madonna this week. 15. St. Patrick (10-15, 2-7 region). Saints went 1-2 last week, losing guard Isaiah Garrison to a shoulder for the next couple of games or so. Robertson County, Silver Grove and Ryle this week. 16. Bracken County (3-19, 0-13 region). A close loss to Montgomery was followed by expected double-digit losses to Mason and Pendleton. Brossart, Fleming and Clark County this week. 17.. Silver Grove (2-17, 0-5 region). Five-game skid for the Trains, with this week's action featuring Calvary, Latin, Ludlow and St. Patrick. Player of the week: Two receive the coveted honor this week - Dontaie Allen and Brennan Canada. Games to watch: Pendleton County @ Campbell County, 2/7 Harrison County @ Mason County, 2/9 Montgomery County @ Nicholas County. 2/6 Campbell County @ Simon Kenton, 2/6
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