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  1. District 1 We start with District 1, but they were the last game played in the state this week for any class. With the snow days earlier in the week, it was agree to delay the #8 Hopkinsville/#7 Madisonville-North Hopkins game until mid-day on Saturday. Tens of Tiger fans lined the home side. Unlike the first matchup where Madisonville got out to a great start, it was the Tigers who jumped out first with a long and sloooow march up the field, draining nearly 7 minutes on the game’s opening drive to take a 7-0 lead. The Tigers briefly held a 14-0 lead before settling into a 14-7 halftime advantage. Madisonville’s Jeriah Hightower had -2 yards in the second half, but immediately tied the game three minutes into the third quarter and a three yard touchdown run gave Madisonville their first lead at 21-14. Bland pushed across for his third rushing touchdown of the game to tie it at 21 with 5:29 left, but Hayden Reynolds went right up the gut for a 55 yard score to make it 28-21. The Tigers drove to the MNH 19, but turned over on downs there to give Madisonville the district title. Jeriah Hightower rushed for 174 yards in the second half along with two scores, and he was ultimately the difference maker. Javier Bland was just 14/32 for 217 yards to go with his three rushing scores, and star Reece Jesse was held in check with only two receptions for 34 yards. Madisonville may have been the #3 seed, but they ultimately were the more complete team, and enter the region final round with a 10-2 record and two losses by a combined five points. District 2 I got to take this game in personally. Franklin-Simpson has surged since an 0-4 start, entering this game at just 6-5, but winners of six of their previous seven games. For their part, Allen County-Scottsville had gotten off to four straight wins, but it was clear who was the dominant team in this one. The Wildcats won the toss and elected to receive, and they set the tone immediately. Very few offensive plays they ran on the night went for negative or even no positive yardage, and they ran, ran, ran the ball. They took a 7-0 lead on the first possession, and after the Patriots tied it to end the first quarter, Franklin scored 14 unanswered to take a 21-7 lead at the half. They unloaded in the third quarter, outscoring the Patriots 20-6 in the period, and eventually gained a running clock with the final margin of 56-20 with 6:23 left in the game. The game did feature an interesting stretch where there were 20 points scored between the two teams in 25 seconds of gametime, as a Rookstool touchdown run and Patriot kickoff return for TD were sandwiched around a 65 yard touchdown run for Franklin’s Stutzman at the end of the third into the beginning of the fourth. Stutzman racked up 195 yards and two scores on just 11 rushes, while Malik Carter added 124 yards and three scores on 20 rushes for Franklin. They held the Patriots to just 120 yards of offense in winning their fourth consecutive District 2 title. Now they face Madisonville-North Hopkins, trying to keep District 2’s run alive – the district has had a state final representative in each of the last four seasons. District 3 #3 Franklin County vs. #9 Central was one of the most highly anticipated games in the state this weekend, but the sad reality is that the game may have been determined by an event the week before. Franklin County moved to 11-0 with their win over Waggener in the first round, but lost QB Nick Broyles to injury in the game, which would ultimately keep him out against Central’s dominant defense. Broyles was 133/204 this season for 2,437 yards, throwing for 32 touchdowns against only 4 interceptions. He is not a player easily replaced. The Flyers did get out to a fast start, driving 64 yards in 6 plays to take a 7-0 lead just 2:30 into the game, capping the drive with a 5 yard run by backup QB Jayden Mattison. But that would prove to be the highlight of the night. Central scored one touchdown per quarter the rest of the way, taking their first lead 5 minutes into the third quarter and ultimately winning 18-7. Mattison was sacked three times and threw for only 98 yards on 8/17 passing. Franklin County was held to just 108 yards of offense in the contest, gaining only 44 after their opening drive. As usual, Dayshawn Mucker carried the load for Central, rolling to 200 yards on 44 rushing attempts, adding a pair of scores. 3A champions a year ago, Central has not failed to advance past the second round in any of the past 14 seasons. They are a model of consistency, and one of the greatest postseason forces in the state. District 4 Moore/John Hardin was not a heralded matchup, but provided possibly the most thrilling game in the state. When the teams met in the regular season, Moore was a surprise 22-14 winner, and ultimately leveraged that into the #1 seed. They moved out to a 10-0 lead by mid-second quarter, behind a Horatio Willis 15 yard touchdown run and a Romero 24 yard field goal. The field goal launched a flurry of scores to end the first half, as the next four drives resulted in touchdowns, leaving Moore with a 24-13 halftime advantage. But John Hardin would reel them in during the third quarter behind a field goal and touchdown (plus two-point conversion), making 24 all heading into the final quarter. The score would stay there through regulation with John Hardin securing a goal line INT late, setting up the only overtime game of the round in any class. Moore would gamble on the opening possession, as RaeVon Vaden hit DeWayne Tarver for a nine yard score – with the Mustangs going for two as Vaden ran it in to put them ahead 32-24. John Hardin scored to make it 32-30, but Xavier Boone was stonewalled at the one yard line on the conversion attempt, lifting Moore to a 32-30 victory in overtime. John Hardin, once a staple of the late rounds, has failed to advance past the second round in the last three seasons, while Moore advanced to the region final round for the second straight year. They’ll face an extremely uphill battle when they meet Central this week. District 5 Boyle County just keeps impressing, even when you think you have placed the bar as high as you can go. Their 54-7 victory over Lexington Catholic was never competitive, in the same way their regular season meeting was not competitive. Reed Lanter was clinical again, going 11/13 for 238 yards and three touchdowns. Andrew Sacco had 14 rushes for 114 yards with two scores and Reese Smith had 109 yards on six receptions with two scores. It was the seventh victory of 40 points or more for the Rebels this year, their eighth game posting 50 points or more, and their eighth game holding their opponent to single digits. The point total was the lowest score of the year for Lexington Catholic by 14 points, and that includes their game against Frederick Douglass, which has posted nine shutouts. In fact, it was their lowest score in two years. Dominance, pure and simple – nuff said. District 6 Holmes stunned Scott on the road on October 25th, winning 50-38 behind two pick-sixes. That gave the Bulldogs the #1 seed in the district in what was viewed as an upset. Scott set out to prove that they truly were the better team in the rematch this week. It certainly looked that way early, as they gained a 14-0 advantage after one, highlighted by Gus Howlett finding Nate Meyer for a 57 yard touchdown – Howlett’s only touchdown pass of the night and the only reception for Meyer. But Holmes would strike back with three touchdown runs by Quantez Calloway, staking them to a 22-20 halftime lead. They extended the lead to 29-20 after three quarters after another Quantez Calloway touchdown run, and it appeared Holmes was on their way to the next round. But as with the first game, a defensive play turned the game around. In this case, a bad snap on a punt was recovered in the end zone for a score to draw Scott within 29-27, and after forcing a three and out, Scott took the lead for good on a 10 play, 70 yard drive. An interception in Holmes territory set up one more score, and Scott advanced with a 40-29 victory, outscoring Holmes 20-0 in the final quarter. Quincy Perrin fought off cramps for Scott, and proved to be a workhorse with 35 rushes for 199 yards and two scores. Tayquan Calloway had 106 scoreless yards on 16 rushes, while Quantez Calloway had 84 yards passing and 72 yards rushing from the quarterback position. Scott’s reward? They visit #1 Boyle County next week. District 7 In their first matchup, #5 Wayne County seized the district from #6 Corbin behind a whirlwind finish, scoring a touchdown, recovering an onside kick, and kicking a game-winning field goal to take an 18-16 win and ending Corbin’s long district winning streak. The rematch would prove to be less dramatic and about a full 180 degrees in terms of offense. It was all Wayne County early, forcing turnovers and running all over Corbin, pushing to a 35-7 lead in the second quarter as Braedon Sloan ran for four touchdowns in the half along with 220 yards. Corbin would battle back and fight off a running clock, trimming the lead to 42-22 at the break. The Redhounds would continue to battle back, closing to 49-36 after Combs found Massengill for a 53 yard touchdown pass to end the third quarter. Corbin forced a punt and then made it 49-43 with 7:27 left after Combs found Patterson for a score. But just when it looked like Corbin might pull off an incredible comeback victory, Braedon Sloan appeared again, rushing for back to back scores – the last a 43 yarder for his seventh rushing TD of the night, making it 63-43 with 1:48 remaining and effectively ending the game, with the final of 63-49. The score equaled Wayne County’s highest offensive output of the season while it was their most points allowed as well. Still, the Cardinals forced five turnovers and Braedon Sloan had a game for the ages. His seven scores went with 408 yards on the ground on 37 attempts, as he literally carried them to victory. Cameron Combs was almost equal to the task in the loss, throwing for five scores and 457 yards for Corbin. Dakota Patterson posted 190 yards on 9 receptions with three scores, but it was not to be for the Redhounds. It’s their earliest postseason exit in six years – they lost to Wayne County that year too. District 8 The Johnson Central invitational came to a close in the typical fashion – a blowout Johnson Central victory, this one a 50-6 result over Harlan County. For the Golden Eagles, it marked their sixth game in their last seven where they held their opponent to less than 10 points, and it was their fourth game scoring 50 or more. Devin Johnson scored on three of his four rushes, posting 131 yards on the ground. That’s roughly 33 yards per rush, which I think is pretty good. Riley Preece was 4/6 for 102 yards and 2 scores. In total, Johnson Central didn’t even need 20 offensive plays to score 50 points. The defense held Harlan County to 138 yards, all on the ground. There really isn’t much to say as Johnson Central hasn’t been remotely challenged since August. But that may end in this next round. Unlike the other three matchups, which all project to have a heavy favorite on one side, Wayne County is a team that may actually be able to push Johnson Central. But if the Golden Eagles were to win this one in blowout fashion…. let me just say that the likely title game between Boyle County and Johnson Central would become even more of a must watch than it already is.
  2. Since Hopkinsville began their turnaround in 2014, most season’s have been filled with disappointment and/or unfulfilled promise. In 2014 it was having to forfeit three games, turning a winning season into a losing one. In 2015 and 2016, it was bowing out a round early at home, failing to close out a close game. In the last two seasons, it has been entering the season as the favorite in the district, only to fail to grab a top seed in-district and going on the road each season in the playoffs. A big reason for that is the rise of Logan County. In 2017, the Cougars announced their arrival after a 6-0 start against a soft schedule by knocking off the favored Tigers 13-12 on a last second touchdown run. The Tigers would get revenge via a blowout in the playoffs, but in 2018 there it was again – a poor start to the season and a disappointing 10-6 loss to Logan County knocked them back down to the 3 seed again. And thus, the stage was set for a Thursday night thriller in Logan County, between a 4-2 and 6th ranked Tiger team full of promise against a 6-0 and 7th ranked Logan County team fresh off of a victory over Madisonville and looking to essentially wrap up the top seed. The Cougars had success in the first quarter. An opening drive made it to the Tiger 6 before a turnover ended the threat, but an interception set Logan County up inside the Hopkinsville 10 and an Ezell TD pass to Sears gave them a 6-0 lead just before the end of the first. But that was to be the only Cougar score. A blocked punt set up a Hopkinsville scoring drive capped by a Bland TD pass to Rushing making it 7-6. Another special teams miscue by Logan County – this one a bad snap on a punt – gave Hopkinsville the ball inside the 10 yard line and Bland kept it for a 3 yard rushing TD to make it 14-6 at the break. The second half was more of the same, with the Tigers finishing with three interceptions of Ezell, who was just 15/34 for 184 yards. Star Logan County RB Gary Hardy was carted off the field, compounding the damage for the Cougars. Bland had another rushing TD for Hopkinsville to give the final 21-6 margin, lifting the Tigers to their first regular season win over Logan County in three years. That sets up an important matchup at Madisonville-North Hopkins next week. If Hopkinsville wins, they will clinch the top seed in the district, avoiding another matchup with either Logan County or Madisonville in the first round of the playoffs. If Madisonville wins, then assuming all other expected results hold, we will have a three-way tie at the top of District 1. BIG game. Other games of Note: With the matchup of two top ten teams described above and three other top 10 teams on bye, it was a very light week for big name games. #5 Corbin was in action for the first time since September 13th, thanks to a bye week followed by a rainout. The rust showed early as Lafayette got out to a 7-0 lead eight minutes in, but over the next eight minutes Corbin scored three times, all on the ground as Combs ran in from two yards, Longmire from 11, and Yaeger from one yard. That was all the scoring in the game as Corbin won for the first time since August, 21-7. #10 Central had the other competitive result in the top 10, a 14-0 shutout over Shelby County. It was the second shutout of the year for the Yellow Jackets, who have held four opponents under 10 points this season. Shelby County managed only 131 yards of offense, which Dayshawn Mucker exceeded by himself with 134 yards on the ground for Central. The highlight of the game was a Jaylen Thomas 80 yard touchdown throw to Deondre Howard on a flea-flicker. #2 Johnson Central doesn’t get much mention in this space because, frankly, their games have been pretty uncompetitive. They enjoyed a highly efficient 44-0 win over Clay County, running 28 offensive plays to rack up 387 yards. Devin Johnson had two scores on his five rushes for 119 yards. Riley Preece was a perfect 4/4 for 135 yards, and Seth Dalton took his only reception 66 yards to the house. #4 Franklin County posted their fourth score of the year of 50 points or more in a 62-0 win over North Oldham. The Flyers have been completely unchallenged since their 35-28 win in the opener at East Jessamine, and have won by an average of 40 points per game in the last six. Upcoming Game of the Week There are two clear contenders this week. Most weeks #5 Hopkinsville at #9 Madisonville-North Hopkins would be the clear choice. But the old rivalry between #1 Boyle County and #3 Lexington Catholic takes honors this week. This is almost certainly the last potential challenge of the year for a Boyle County team that has not played a game closer than 30 points. That came in their last outing, a 30-0 shutout of Highlands that represented their third shutout of the season, though their lowest point total. The Rebels have not lost a regular season game since August of 2017, and haven’t lost at home since September of 2016. Meanwhile, Lexington Catholic has not won on the road since their season opener, although they lost those two games by a combined two points to some pretty good teams in Covington Catholic and Lexington Christian. The Knights have yet to score below 21 points this season, and Beau Allen continues to rack up yards and scores, throwing for 2,034 yards (339 YPG), 22 touchdowns against just 2 INTs, and completing almost 73% of his passes.
  3. The Boyle County / Christian Academy of Louisville game was one of the most hyped games in the state last week. The matchup pitted the #1 team in 4A against the #1 team in 3A, and for Boyle County, was supposed to represent their first real test of the season. So much for that. The Rebels unloaded for 71 points and 621 yards in the 71-28 beating. QB Reed Lanter was almost perfect, throwing for 245 yards on 11/13 passing, with five of his 11 completions going for scores. Andrew Sacco averaged just shy of 10 yards per carry in posting 13 rushes for 129 yards and 3 scores. Will McDaniel averaged 13 yards per carry on 8 rushes, with 104 yards to show for it. In all, as a team Boyle County gained 13 yards per play, were perfect on third down, and gained a running clock on the top team in the class they just vacated. In every sense of the word, it was dominance. The Rebels have now won 30 of their past 31 games and haven’t lost in the regular season in two years. They dealt CAL their second consecutive loss, which hasn’t happened in 11 years. The next two games for Boyle County continue to represent their proving ground for the season as they host both Highlands and then Lexington Catholic – the latter after a bye. But after this performance, it is growing harder and harder to believe that anyone in 4A might challenge Boyle County, with the possible exception of Johnson Central. They are simply that good. Games of Note Speaking of #2 Johnson Central, they remained unbeaten by defeating their third straight out of state opponent, knocking off Bishop Sycamore (OH) 34-8. The Golden Eagles needed only 245 yards of offense to put up their points, aided by a pick-six. Sycamore Bishop is not much of a test – the school has had a lot of trouble even getting games this year – and at this rate we may not see Johnson Central take on another team that can truly stand toe to toe with them until Belfry in the last week of the season. #3 Lexington Catholic has now lost two games on the year by a grand total of two combined points, losing both via two point conversions for the lead in the waning minutes of the game. In this case, it was a 43-42 loss to 2A #3 Lexington Christian. The Knights got their usual standout play from Beau Allen, who threw just four incomplete passes on his way to 232 yards and two touchdowns, as well as rushing for three touchdowns and 142 yards. LexCath trailed by 14 at halftime before roaring back to take a 42-35 lead midway through the final quarter. Allen’s lone miscue of the night was a fumble to set up LCA’s go-ahead touchdown, and drove them into position for a 33 yard field goal that went wide right in the final seconds. LexCath gets a breather from their brutal schedule with a home game against 2-3 Tates Creek this week, then into a bye before their showdown with top-ranked Boyle County. No one can say that #8 Central dodged anyone this season, as they took on yet another power in South Warren. But they have no wins to show for their marquee matchups, falling 22-8 against the powerful Spartan defense. Central has historically been known for their ground game, but could only manage 17 yards on 18 rushing attempts, and were little better through the air, gaining only 71 yards on 3/14 passing. On a positive note, the 22 points scored by South Warren were a season low. Thankfully for the Yellow Jackets, the hard part is over. While teams like Shelby County and Waggener are capable, they are far more manageable than the Manuals, South Warrens, and St. Xs of the world. Our lone top-10 matchup was no game at all. #9 Wayne County dominated #10 Harlan County by a 55-22 margin. The Cardinals gained the running clock midway through the third quarter, and Braedon Sloan had a frankly ridiculous night. Sloan rushed for 206 yards on FIVE ATTEMPTS. And he took each of those five rushes to the house. He also had a reception for 73 yards, also a touchdown. Six touches, six touchdowns, 279 yards? That’s a good night. Brody Weaver was also economical, going 5/8 for 189 yards and three touchdown passes. Matthew Brown had 6 catches for 146 yards and a score in the losing effort for Harlan County. Upcoming Game of the Week With respect to the Boyle County / Highlands matchup, which may have flashier records, the game of the week for 4A has to be #10 Logan County at #4 Madisonville-North Hopkins. Since 2017 when Logan County began to ascend, this district has provided one of the most competitive district races in the state. The two games between these two teams have been decided by a combined six points in the last two years, and the winner has gone on to win the district both years. They enter Friday as two of the last five undefeated teams in the class. Logan County just entered our top 10 after a running-clock victory over previously unbeaten Greenwood, and has yet to score less than 35 points in a game. Senior RB Gary Hardy has rushed for over 600 yards already, and Senior QB Tyler Ezell has posted 1,210 yards and 19 passing touchdowns. Meanwhile, Madisonville has been a thresher on both sides of the ball. Their 43 points allowed on the year is just one point more than Boyle County for tops in the class. They are averaging 40 points per game. And Jeriah Hightower has already topped 1,000 yards, with 1,163 yards on 107 attempts and 14 scores. This one has everything.
  4. This week, the first rough cut, experimental, etc. version of the RPI was released on the Riherds scoreboard, giving our first view of what this potential playoff game-changer has in store for us. We’re not quite at the season’s midpoint, but this gives a fun, pre-district look at what we might expect down the road. Potential Region Finals: - Franklin-Simpson [District 2, Unranked, RPI .346] at Madisonville-North Hopkins [District 1, #4, RPI .712] -Moore [District 3, Unranked, RPI .520] at Franklin County [District 4, #5, RPI .712] There are many tiebreakers if two teams have the same RPI, but we’re going to use the BGP rank as a tiebreaker here between Madisonville and Franklin County. So far, this is what you’d have gotten from a traditional cross-bracketing setup, assuming the top team in each district won. Notably, teams like Hopkinsville (#7) and Central (#8) would be denied a shot at a region title due to having to play against Madisonville-North Hopkins and Franklin County in their district, respectively. -Scott [District 6, Unranked, RPI .493] at Johnson Central [District 8, #2, RPI .659] -Corbin [District 7, #6, RPI .551] at Boyle County [District 5, #1, RPI .648] Here we get a bit more mixing going on, as the even and odd districts get matched up. Notably, the RPI grants Johnson Central, our #2 team, the far more favorable matchup against Scott. It forces Boyle County into a rematch from the 2018 playoffs against Corbin, albeit in Danville this time. In the traditional setup, Boyle County would have hosted Scott, and as the odd numbered district representative in an odd numbered region in an odd numbered year, the Rebels would have had homefield throughout the playoffs regardless. Obviously, there are weeks for this to change, but this would be the first team negatively impacted by this setup. Potential State Semifinals: -Boyle County [RPI .648] at Madisonville-North Hopkins [RPI .712] -Johnson Central [RPI .659] at Franklin County [RPI .712] While these are probably the types of matchups we would expect in this system – with Boyle County and Johnson Central on opposite sides – this is not exactly the setup that we would anticipate. For Boyle County, that’s a nearly 3 hour trip to Madisonville when, again, they would have been expected to be at home for the entire playoffs in the old setup. It’s a relatively modest 2 hours and 16 minutes for Johnson Central to Franklin County. Aside from hosting the games, this setup probably isn’t the favorite for Madisonville or Franklin County, both of which would see their state title appearance hopes diminished by playing superior opponents. Games of Note -#3 Lexington Catholic continued their standout play with a tight 34-31 win over DeSales, the #2 team in 3A. The game started out in dominant fashion with the Knights getting out to a 24-3 lead, but DeSales came all the way back for a 31-27 lead. Beau Allen just used that to set up a come from behind drive, breaking off a 40 yard run before throwing a 5 yard pass to JD Woodall for the winning touchdown with 4 minutes left. -It was a brutal week for the back half of the top 10. #5 Corbin fell to Beechwood 26-10, managing just 212 yards of offense in the game, suffering their second straight loss. They have to tangle with Bowling Green after the bye week, a likely third straight loss. #8 Central continued their brutal schedule, getting blanked in a 23-0 result against St. X. They failed to top 100 yards rushing or passing in that one. The bad news is they have South Warren this week, but the good news is that the schedule clears up completely after that. They’ll have a chance to be 5-4 going into their game against Franklin County at the end of the season. #7 Hopkinsville had their first bad misstep of the season, falling 28-13 to a resurgent Henderson County. Javier Bland was a scud missile in this one, throwing for 247 yards but completing just 16 of 45 passes. Reece Jesse continues to be a stud though, hauling in 7 catches for 121 yards. Finally, and most importantly, #9 Knox Central fell on the road to Harlan County by a 28-21 score, and Harlan County used that result to hop into the top 10. The Black Bears fell behind Knox 21-0 in the first half, but Harlan County hammered away with a punishing ground attack led by Ben Landis (27 rushes, 170 yards) to score the win. Upcoming Game of the Week There are quite a few highlights on the schedule this week. Lexington Catholic visits rival Lexington Christian, Central hosts South Warren, and Wayne County hosts newly ranked Harlan County. But the honor this week has to go to the battle of #1s . 3A #1 Christian Academy of Louisville travels to 4A #1 Boyle County for a clash of the titans. CAL is coming off an OT loss to Ballard, which snapped an 18 game winning streak. The Centurions have not lost in consecutive games since 2011. For Boyle County, this is expected to be the first significant test of the year, and their next three games represent the proving grounds. After CAL, they host Highlands, have a bye week, then the crucial game against Lexington Catholic.
  5. 1) Bowling Green (10-3) - 1/2 65-59 W Spencer County (at South Oldham), 1/3 67-44 W Bullitt East (at South Oldham), 1/4 75-66 W Holmes (at South Oldham) Previous Rank: 2 This Week: 1/7 vs. #7 Barren County, 1/10 vs. #3 Greenwood, 1/11 at Muhlenberg County 2) Warren Central (7-4) - 1/2 64-50 W Bullitt East (at South Oldham), 1/3 68-72 L at South Oldham, 1/4 70-71 OT L Spencer County (at South Oldham) Previous Rank: 1 This Week: 1/6 vs. #9 Allen County-Scottsville, 1/9 at #16 Warren East, 1/11 at #7 Barren County 3) Greenwood (8-6) - 1/3 57-64 L Harvest Prep (OH) (at Holy Cross), 1/4 73-68 OT W Cardinal Stritch (OH) (at Holy Cross) Previous Rank: 3 This Week: 1/7 at #15 Todd County Central, 1/10 at #1 Bowling Green 4) Glasgow (7-7) - 1/3 52-47 W #7 Barren County Previous Rank: 4 This Week: 1/7 at #9 Allen County-Scottsville, 1/10 at #6 South Warren, 1/11 vs. #15 Todd County Central 5) Logan County (10-3) - 1/3 75-42 W #15 Todd County Central Previous Rank: 5 This Week: 1/7 at Daviess County, 1/10 vs. #14 Russellville, 1/11 vs. Shelby County (at Russell County) 6) South Warren (9-5) - 1/3 57-65 L Beech (TN) (at Graves County), 1/3 41-59 L at Graves County, 1/4 68-60 W Calloway County (at Graves County) Previous Rank: 6 This Week: 1/10 vs. #4 Glasgow 7) Barren County (7-5) - 1/3 47-52 L at #4 Glasgow Previous Rank: 7 This Week: 1/7 at #1 Bowling Green, 1/10 vs. Adair County, 1/11 vs. #2 Warren Central 8) Clinton County (11-5) - 1/3 57-53 W at #17 Cumberland County, 1/4 48-34 W at Pickett County (TN) Previous Rank: 8 This Week: 1/7 at #11 Russell County, 1/10 vs. #13 Metcalfe County 9) Allen County-Scottsville (7-5) - 12/30 65-60 W at Bullitt Central Previous Rank: 9 This Week: 1/6 at #2 Warren Central, 1/7 vs. #4 Glasgow, 1/10 vs. #12 Monroe County 10) Franklin-Simpson (6-6) - 1/3 75-44 W at #14 Russellville, 1/4 59-53 W Muhlenberg County Previous Rank: 10 This Week: 1/7 at Hart County, 1/10 at #15 Todd County Central 11) Russell County (6-7) - 1/3 44-45 OT L at #13 Monroe County, 1/4 54-41 W Buckhorn (at South Laurel) Previous Rank: 11 This Week: 1/7 vs. #8 Clinton County, 1/10 vs. #17 Cumberland County, 1/11 vs. Daviess County 12) Monroe County (4-7) - 1/3 45-44 OT W #11 Russell County Previous Rank: 13 This Week: 1/7 at #17 Cumberland County, 1/10 at #9 Allen County-Scottsville 13) Metcalfe County (7-6) - 1/4 67-69 L Butler County Previous Rank: 12 This Week: 1/7 vs. Green County, 1/10 at #8 Clinton County 14) Russellville (4-6) - 1/3 44-75 L #10 Franklin-Simpson Previous Rank: 14 This Week: 1/7 vs. Caverna, 1/10 at #5 Logan County, 1/11 vs. Edmonson County 15) Todd County Central (2-10) - 1/3 42-75 L at #5 Logan County Previous Rank: 15 This Week: 1/7 vs. #3 Greenwood, 1/10 vs. #10 Franklin-Simpson, 1/11 at #4 Glasgow 16) Warren East (1-9) - No games scheduled Previous Rank: 16 This Week: 1/6 at #17 Cumberland County, 1/9 vs. #2 Warren Central, 1/11 vs. Rockcastle County (at Russell County) 17) Cumberland County (3-10) - 1/3 53-57 L #8 Clinton County Previous Rank: 17 This Week: 1/6 vs. #16 Warren East, 1/7 vs. #12 Monroe County, 1/10 vs. #11 Russell County Notes -I knew coming into the week that the potential was going to be there for a flip between 1 and 2 with Bowling Green and Warren Central playing two common opponents in the three day showcase at South Oldham. While Bowling Green didn't play the host as Central did, the two common opponent comparison went decisively to the Purples. Bowling Green smacked Bullitt East and Spencer County around - albeit letting Spencer County come back from a large deficit to make it a six point final. Warren Central struggled with Bullitt East for a while before settling in for a 14 point win, but fell in overtime to Spencer County, and with that, this simply had to be done. -Bowling Green has now reeled off seven straight wins, and were impressive in each of their three wins this week. That contrasts with their performance in their home holiday tournament the week before, where they won every game but looked quite shaky at times. The team has experience but they're still remarkably younger experience - there's only two seniors on the team, and they are not the leaders. It appears they have settled in well, and they have scored 65 points or more in five of their last seven games. They match up with Barren County this week - the only region team outside the 14th District to beat Bowling Green in the last decade - and it is always a good benchmark for the team. Friday brings the all important rubber match with #3 Greenwood, and this one will count in the district standings. It's more important for Bowling Green than it is for Greenwood, for a loss would mean an 0-2 start in the official district standings. They haven't started 0-2 in the official district standings since 1995/96, prior to the seeded district tournament era. -For Warren Central, they need to get healthy. The team is expected to have a nine man rotation, and that rotation has practiced together one time. Brents started the year on the shelf, then Muleka got hurt in Ashland, and now Wright is likely going to miss time with an ankle injury. The team ran into a three point buzzsaw in their two losses up at South Oldham, as South Oldham and Spencer County combined to shoot 22/48 (46%) against the Dragons, the driving force behind them allowing a season-high 72 and 71 points in the two losses. They had previously not allowed more than 59 points. -Speaking of getting healthy, Glasgow got a big boost with the return of Tucker Kirkpatrick to the lineup. Kirkpatrick suffered a knee injury in the season opener, and while it remains to be seen how much floor time he can log, he came in during a the third quarter to knock down a three to tie the game against Barren County, providing a big psychological lift. Barren County led most of the game in the first three quarters, but Nik Sorrell had a personal 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter and staked the Scotties to a 46-40 lead, and the Trojans could not recover. The win moved Glasgow back to .500 and a 2-0 record in 15th District play. -One of the more interesting off the radar stories is whether or not Metcalfe County will be able to notch their first winning season in nine years. They currently sit at 7-6, and they feature two of the most prolific scorers in the region. Boston Devore is averaging 20.8 PPG, and Peyton Dial has 16.5 PPG. The Hornets have been held below 60 points only three times all year, and have topped 80 three times. They may allow a lot of points too, but they are never dull to watch.They have a big game with Clinton County on Friday, who they fell to at home by a 53-49 score on December 13th, their season-low for points. -With Russellville playing in (and losing) their first region game, Logan County is now officially the final unbeaten team in region play. They polished off Todd County Central by a 75-42 score to move to 2-0 in district play. Their road trip to Franklin-Simpson is probably their next actual region test (they play Russellville and Warren East in between), but there is a real chance they could run the region table into the postseason. Their most difficult region games remaining are likely games against Barren County, Glasgow, and Greenwood - all at home. -The games this week most likely to impact the rankings: #16 Warren East at #17 Cumberland County (1/6), #8 Clinton County at #11 Russell County (1/7), #3 Greenwood at #1 Bowling Green (1/10), #4 Glasgow at #6 South Warren (1/10), #8 Clinton County vs. #13 Metcalfe County (1/10), #12 Monroe County at #9 Allen County-Scottsville (1/10). If you can only watch one, make it Greenwood at Bowling Green. -On that Greenwood at Bowling Green game - another reminder that Greenwood has lost 13 in a row against the Purples at Bowling Green, the longest streak in the series. In fact, outside a four game span where Greenwood won all meetings from January 2006-December 2007, Bowling Green is 29-3 against Greenwood at home. They don't lose to them there very often. (Or to anyone - they're 128-18 there since early 2008.)
  6. ICYMI - Check out the All-2010s 4th Region Team here: http://bluegrasspreps.com/ky-boys-basketball/4th-region-all-386018.html 1) Bowling Green (13-3) - 1/7 47-44 W #7 Barren County, 1/10 71-63 W #3 Greenwood, 1/11 68-55 W at Muhlenberg County Previous Rank: 1 This Week: 1/14 vs. #5 South Warren 2) Warren Central (10-4) - 1/6 84-62 W #9 Allen County-Scottsville, 1/9 83-39 W at #16 Warren East, 1/11 58-46 W at #10 Franklin-Simpson Previous Rank: 2 This Week: 1/16 vs. Knox Central (at Owensboro Sports Center) 3) Greenwood (9-7) - 1/7 84-47 W at #15 Todd County Central, 1/10 63-71 L at #1 Bowling Green Previous Rank: 3 This Week: 1/13 vs. Hopkinsville, 1/17 at #14 Warren East 4) Logan County (13-3) - 1/7 72-47 W at Daviess County, 1/10 72-37 W #14 Russellville, 1/11 74-57 W Madison Central (at Russell County) Previous Rank: 5 This Week: 1/18 vs. Madison Southern (at Southwestern) 5) South Warren (10-5) - 1/10 72-61 W #4 Glasgow Previous Rank: 6 This Week: 1/14 at #1 Bowling Green, 1/17 vs. Christian County, 1/18 at Hopkinsville 6) Glasgow (9-8) - 1/7 61-42 W at #9 Allen County-Scottsville, 1/10 61-72 L at #6 South Warren, 1/11 56-37 W #15 Todd County Central Previous Rank: 4 This Week: 1/13 at #8 Clinton County 7) Barren County (8-6) - 1/7 44-47 L at #1 Bowling Green, 1/10 68-34 W Adair County Previous Rank: 7 This Week: 1/14 at #14 Warren East 8) Clinton County (13-5) - 1/7 49-45 W at #11 Russell County, 1/10 62-56 W #13 Metcalfe County Previous Rank: 8 This Week: 1/13 vs. #6 Glasgow 9) Franklin-Simpson (8-7) - 1/7 74-63 W at Hart County, 1/10 55-42 W at #15 Todd County Central, 1/11 46-58 L #2 Warren Central Previous Rank: 10 This Week: 1/14 vs. #10 Allen County-Scottsville 10) Allen County-Scottsville (8-7) - 1/6 62-84 L at #2 Warren Central, 1/7 42-61 L #4 Glasgow, 1/10 67-52 W #12 Monroe County Previous Rank: 9 This Week: 1/14 at #9 Franklin-Simpson, 1/17 at Westmoreland (TN) 11) Russell County (7-9) - 1/7 45-49 L #8 Clinton County, 1/10 52-59 L #17 Cumberland County, 1/11 66-52 W Daviess County Previous Rank: 11 This Week: 1/14 vs. McCreary Central 12) Monroe County (5-8) - 1/7 75-74 OT W at #17 Cumberland County, 1/10 52-67 L at #9 Allen County-Scottsville Previous Rank: 12 This Week: 1/13 vs. #16 Russellville 13) Metcalfe County (8-7) - 1/7 51-40 W Green County, 1/10 56-62 L at #8 Clinton County Previous Rank: 13 This Week: 1/13 at #17 Todd County Central 14) Warren East (2-10) - 1/6 73-69 W at #17 Cumberland County, 1/9 39-83 L #2 Warren Central Previous Rank: 16 This Week: 1/14 vs. #7 Barren County, 1/17 vs. #3 Greenwood 15) Cumberland County (4-12) - 1/6 69-73 L #16 Warren East, 1/7 74-75 OT L #12 Monroe County, 1/10 59-52 W #11 Russell County Previous Rank: 17 This Week: 1/16 vs. TBA 16) Russellville (4-8) - 1/7 64-73 L Caverna, 1/10 37-72 L at #5 Logan County Previous Rank: 14 This Week: 1/13 at #12 Monroe County 17) Todd County Central (2-13) - 1/7 47-84 L #3 Greenwood, 1/10 42-55 L #10 Franklin-Simpson, 1/11 37-56 L at #4 Glasgow Previous Rank: 15 This Week: 1/13 vs. #13 Metcalfe County Notes -Bowling Green picked up their eighth, ninth, and tenth consecutive wins this week, though none were all that easily come by. Against Barren County to open the week, the Purples fell behind by 12 points in the third quarter, but managed to close that entire gap and take the lead by quarter's end, and survived a potential game-tying three pointer in the waning seconds of a 47-44 win. Against Greenwood it was the opposite - the Purples were dominant in the first half, and held a 20 point lead in the third. Greenwood managed to whittle that all the way down to two points in the final minute as they eschewed their three point attack and went straight at the rim. Isaiah Mason rescued the Purples with an and-1 to restore a five point lead, and Bowling Green held on for their 14th consecutive home win over Greenwood, and second in two weeks. Finally, Bowling Green had a tough time shaking Muhlenberg County all night, but closed the game on a 13-2 run in the final four minutes for a 68-55 win. They have another big district game this week, taking on South Warren - who they have never lost to in 23 meetings. -Warren Central took the 2A Sectional crown this week, advancing with a 22 point win at home over Allen County-Scottsville, and holding off Franklin-Simpson in their second game at Franklin-Simpson this year in a 12 point result on Saturday. The latter game was of particular interest as the Wildcats gave Central trouble with their full court press, just as they did in their first game. Kobe Brents missed all of his three point attempts and Central was merely 4/16 from the perimeter in the game. Dre Boyd was hampered by foul trouble, going to the bench at the 6:22 mark of the second quarter with two fouls, and picking up his third on a charge just five seconds after re-entering just over four minutes later. And yet, the Dragons survived, and Boyd still managed his fifth straight 20+ point effort by dropping 23, playing the entire second half without a foul. They take on Knox Central in the 2A state quarterfinals on Thursday, and if they advance from there, likely will meet undefeated John Hardin in the semifinals. -Logan County has now won nine straight games, and has been lighting up the scoreboard, with five straight games over 70 points. The Cougars are doing it with balance, as five players average between 9.4 and 12.8 PPG. They're shooting over 60% from two, and are a bit of a throwback in the modern era, with a higher concentration of shots inside than outside (64:36 ratio). -Glasgow's poor injury luck caught them again. Tucker Kirkpatrick returned from a knee injury last week, but exited their loss against South Warren with a reaggravation of the injury. It was already tough to know exactly how much he'd play, and it remains to be seen what the impact of this is moving forward. Worse, starters Jaden Franklin and Landon Frasier exited and sat the entire second half. Franklin had knee soreness, while Frasier suffered a thumb injury. Those injuries, and uncertainty about the future, is a major factor in Glasgow dropping to sixth in the rankings. -The 16th District race has been an intriguing one to watch. Clinton County has already wrapped up the top seed in the district tournament, with a 5-0 district record just six weeks into the year. However, four of those five wins came by a combined 18 points, with every team in the district coming within four of a win once. That's a dangerous cocktail for that 1/4 game in the postseason. Every other seed in the district is up for grabs. Metcalfe County is 0-4, but has a game against both Russell County and Cumberland County remaining. Cumberland County is 2-2 with games against Metcalfe County and Russell County remaining, while Russell County is 1-2 with one game remaining against all district opponents. It's not inconceivable we could see a three-way tie for second place. The 2/3 game is probably most important to Cumberland County, which has not advanced to a region tournament in 11 years - their only appearance since 1999. -The All "A" Classic tournament gets going this week. With Glasgow's injury concerns, it is perhaps fair to consider them and Clinton County co-favorites. One of those teams will be gone after Monday, as they meet at Clinton County in round one. Glasgow is returning to the field for the first time since 2016, when they won the tournament. Clinton County has won the last two editions. Whichever teams survives that, they will be the only team in our top ten remaining in the field.
  7. A bit late to the party on the decade retrospectives with this, but better late than never! The 2010s were pretty good to the 4th Region, especially the back half. The region produced five state semifinalists, two state runners-up, and the state champions in 2016/17 when Bowling Green brought home the hardware. There was plenty of talent to come through the region, especially in that same 2016/17 year. Some members of the first team were no-brainers, but there were some tough choices to be made. A note - consideration for this team was judged solely on the time the player spent in the region. I note that in particular because Zion Harmon is not on this list. There is no doubt that he is one of the most talented players to play in this region in the past quarter decade, if not THE most talented. But his 8th grade year was the sole year spent playing in the region, and is the only year considered for this, which is not enough. I also was not a slave to the traditional position format, but loading up a team with too many forwards or guards was a bit of a tiebreaker in one case. With that said, the list: First Team Chane Behanan, F, Bowling Green - Player of the Decade Behanan is an obvious choice for this list and player of the decade. An imposing, physical player, Behanan could also shoot from range. Behanan was named a McDonald's All-American in his senior season, as well as being named to the Parade Magazine All-American second team. He was rated as a top 30 player nationally his senior year, and was twice selected as first team all-state by the Courier-Journal, Herald-Leader, and AP, as well as an all-region first team selection in each year. The only thing he didn't get was a region crown, but I will make the argument that BG may not have even been truly competitive with Warren Central in those years if not for Behanan, and he led them to the 2010 district title. Behanan went on to play two years for Louisville, where he won a national title (despite what the NCAA would have you believe). George Fant, F, Warren Central The other half of the legendary matchup in 2009-10 and 2010-11, Fant emerged as the third leading scorer in the history of Warren Central, and led the team to two region titles and a state quarterfinal finish his junior season. I've always made the argument that while Behanan gained more accolades than Fant, that it was beneficial to have Behanan in the region for George - it pushed him to greater heights. Fant was nationally rated as a top 150 player by Rivals.com his senior season, as well as being named to the first team all-state by the Courier-Journal, Herald-Leader, and AP that year. He was a second team selection his junior year. Fant was all-region first team in his last two seasons, and was a Kentucky All-Star in 2011. Fant was such a natural athlete that he managed to transform his body to ultimately play pro football as an offensive tackle despite not playing a down from 8th grade until his fifth year of college, and that's where he is today. That followed a highly successful career at WKU on the hardwood. Terry Taylor, F, Bowling Green The second Purple on the first team got something Behanan didn't - a region title. In fact, he got four of them, and capped those with a state title in his final game of his high school career. Taylor was named the Sweet 16 MVP for the 2017 tournament, and was a Sweet 16 All-Tournament Team selection his final three seasons. He was named to the Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader's first team all-state his senior year and second team all-state his junior season. Taylor was an all-region first team selection his junior and senior seasons, and was named to the third team his sophomore year. Taylor was a scoring and rebounding monster, finishing his career with 1,704 points and 1,130 rebounds. A true nightmare to match up with, his length was tough to defend inside, but he could also shoot the three. Those four region champion teams were very talented, but they don't all happen without Taylor's ability - maybe none of them. Taylor has risen to become the star of the OVC conference at Austin Peay (aside from some Morant guy), and appears to be well on his way to POY honors in the conference. Tavin Lovan, G, Franklin-Simpson Lovan was one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the region, and ultimately finished as the career leading scorer at Franklin-Simpson - a program that has been around for 75 years and has competed at very high levels for most of them. He did that despite missing the majority of his sophomore year, when he still led his team in scoring with 26 PPG and 260 points in just ten games. He averaged 26.3 PPG as both his junior and senior seasons. Lovan was named 4th Region POY his senior season, and was named to the all-region first team in each of his last three years, in addition to being a second team selection his freshman year. He was the only player in the decade to be named to the all-region teams in all four years of high school. He was named to the Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader's all-state first teams his senior year, the second team for the Courier his junior year, and the second team for the Herald-Leader that same year. His senior year, the Wildcats lost only seven times - three were to eventual state champion Bowling Green, and two others were in the prestigious King of the Bluegrass tournament. Lovan is currently at UAB, where he seems to relish making WKU pay for seemingly ignoring him in their recruiting efforts. Jackson Harlan, G, Clinton County Harlan finished his prep career with 2,128 points, good enough for second all-time at Clinton County. He averaged 23.9 PPG his senior season, and earned his way onto both the Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader's all-state 1st teams for the 2018-19 season while taking home player of the year honors for the 4th Region. Harlan was also named to the Herald-Leader's all-state third team for his junior season. Jackson was twice named to the all-region first team (in his junior and senior seasons), and was named to the third team in his sophomore year. He was also selected to the Kentucky All-Star team for 2019. The Bulldogs advanced to the region semifinals in two of his final three seasons, playing at Diddle Arena, where he is currently playing for WKU. Second Team DeAndre "Pedro" Bradshaw, F, Russellville Bradshaw was a phenomenal ball-handler for a player of his length, and was a star for Russellville. He finished his career as the school's all-time leading scorer (1,938 points) and rebounder (1,169 rebounds). He was named to the all-state 1st team for both the Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader his senior season, and was a Kentucky All-Star in 2017. He was also named to the all-region first team twice, and the second team once. He had the misfortune of being a star in a class filled with stars in the region, though he did lead the Panthers to a region final in his senior year, their first in 16 years. Skyelar Potter, F, Warren Central The region POY his senior season, Potter led the Dragons to their first region title in five years and the most wins in the history of the program. Skyelar averaged 23 PPG as a senior, and finished as the program's fifth leading career scorer. Potter was twice named to the all-region first team, and was a member of the Sweet 16 All-Tournament team in 2017-18. He was also a second team all-state selection by the Courier-Journal, and a third team all-state selection by the Herald-Leader, in addition to being named to the Kentucky All-Star team in 2018. Tyler Robertson, G, Russell County Robertson scored over 2,000 points in his prep career, and led his Laker squad to the region finals in 2013, their only appearance in the finals as a member of the 4th Region. Tyler was twice an all-region first team selection, and was named the region's player of the year in his senior year. He was selected to the Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader's all-state second teams for the 2012-13 season. Keifer Dalton, G, Clinton County Dalton is the all-time leading scorer at Clinton County, with 2,158 points in his prep career. He also finished as the school's career leader in assists and steals. Keifer was named the region's player of the year in his junior season - a rare honor for a junior - and was twice an all-region first team selection, and once a second team selection. Dillon Geralds, G, Monroe County Geralds was twice named as an all-region first team selection, in 2013-14 and 2014-15. In his senior season, he was named the player of the year for the region while averaging 17 PPG - that was actually down from 19.5 PPG as a junior. His Falcon squad advanced to the region semifinals in each of his junior and senior seasons, providing just the third and fourth region tournament victories for the program.
  8. 1) Bowling Green (14-3) - 1/14 66-46 W #5 South Warren Previous Rank: 1 This Week: 1/20 vs. #2 Warren Central, 1/21 vs. Christian County, 1/24 at #14 Warren East 2) Warren Central (11-5) - 1/16 83-59 W Knox Central (at Owensboro Sports Center), 1/18 47-85 L John Hardin (at Owensboro Sports Center) Previous Rank: 2 This Week: 1/20 at #1 Bowling Green, 1/21 vs. #5 South Warren, 1/24 at #3 Greenwood 3) Greenwood (11-7) - 1/13 61-48 W Hopkinsville, 1/17 71-52 W at #14 Warren East Previous Rank: 3 This Week: 1/21 vs. #7 Franklin-Simpson, 1/24 vs. #2 Warren Central, 1/25 vs. LaRue County (at John Hardin) 4) Logan County (14-3) - 1/18 65-58 W Madison Southern (at Southwestern) Previous Rank: 4 This Week: 1/21 vs. #14 Warren East, 1/24 at #7 Franklin-Simpson 5) South Warren (11-7) - 1/14 46-66 L at #1 Bowling Green, 1/17 57-50 W Christian County, 1/18 64-70 L at Hopkinsville Previous Rank: 5 This Week: 1/21 at #2 Warren Central, 1/24 at #12 Russell County 6) Barren County (9-6) - 1/14 72-40 W at #14 Warren East Previous Rank: 7 This Week: 1/20 at #13 Monroe County, 1/21 vs. Ohio County, 1/24 vs. #11 Allen County-Scottsville, 1/25 at #7 Franklin-Simpson 7) Franklin-Simpson (9-7) - 1/14 47-41 W #10 Allen County-Scottsville Previous Rank: 9 This Week: 1/21 at #3 Greenwood, 1/24 vs. #4 Logan County, 1/25 vs. #6 Barren County 8) Clinton County (14-6) - 1/13 48-36 W #6 Glasgow, 1/16 50-52 L #13 Metcalfe County (at Cumberland County) Previous Rank: 8 This Week: 1/21 vs. #12 Russell County 9) Glasgow (9-9) - 1/13 36-48 L at #8 Clinton County Previous Rank: 6 This Week: No games scheduled 10) Metcalfe County (12-7) - 1/13 83-64 W at #17 Todd County Central, 1/16 52-50 W #8 Clinton County (at Cumberland County), 1/17 51-38 W #12 Monroe County (at Cumberland County), 1/18 69-60 W Adair County Previous Rank: 13 This Week: 1/23 vs. Louisville Holy Cross (at Eastern Kentucky University) 11) Allen County-Scottsville (9-8) - 1/14 41-47 L at #9 Franklin-Simpson, 1/17 66-38 W at Westmoreland (TN) Previous Rank: 10 This Week: 1/24 at #6 Barren County 12) Russell County (8-9) - 1/14 60-45 W McCreary Central Previous Rank: 11 This Week: 1/21 at #8 Clinton County, 1/24 vs. #5 South Warren, 1/25 at Pulaski County 13) Monroe County (7-9) - 1/13 51-48 W #16 Russellville, 1/16 76-69 W at #15 Cumberland County, 1/17 38-51 L #13 Metcalfe County (at Cumberland County) Previous Rank: 12 This Week: 1/20 vs. #6 Barren County, 1/24 vs. Taylor County 14) Warren East (2-12) - 1/14 40-72 L #7 Barren County, 1/17 52-71 L #3 Greenwood Previous Rank: 14 This Week: 1/21 at #5 Logan County, 1/24 vs. #1 Bowling Green, 1/25 vs. #15 Cumberland County 15) Cumberland County (4-13) - 1/16 69-76 L #12 Monroe County Previous Rank: 15 This Week: 1/24 vs. Hart County, 1/25 at #14 Warren East 16) Russellville (5-9) - 1/13 48-51 L at #12 Monroe County, 50-48 W Whitesville Trinity Previous Rank: 16 This Week: 1/21 at #17 Todd County Central, 1/24 at Edmonson County 17) Todd County Central (3-14) - 1/13 64-83 L #13 Metcalfe County, 66-47 W Friendship Christian (TN) Previous Rank: 17 This Week: 1/21 vs. #16 Russellville, 1/23 vs. Jo Byrns (TN) Notes -Bowling Green has now won 11 straight overall, which allowed them to move to the top of the region ranks a couple of weeks ago and keeps them marching up the BGP rankings. That's their longest winning streak since they won 29 in a row during their state title run in the 2016/17 season. It's the longest winning streak of the Derrick Clubb era. -Speaking of Bowling Green streaks, their 20 point win over South Warren moves them to 24-0 all-time against the Spartans. There is some hope for the Spartans, who dropped their first matchup by 35 a season ago before closing to 4 and 6 in their latter two matchups. It's the 11th time out of the 24 matchups that Bowling Green won by 20 or more. -Bowling Green will look to add to their other incredible winning streak this Friday - that being the 50 straight wins they have over Warren East. I understand the Raiders have had hard times over the years, but honestly, that might be the most impressive streak I've ever encountered. I've mentioned this before, but it becomes even more impressive when you consider that Warren East led the series by a 41-35 margin when the streak began. Bowling Green has now won more games in a row over East than East has ever won against them period. -Warren Central experienced a "best of times, worst of times" trip through the 2A Classic in Owensboro. On Thursday, the Dragons were nearly flawless, so long as you exclude their inexplicable third quarter where they blew a 14 point lead. Warren Central was 16/31 from three in that game, winning the rebound battle by 13 rebounds, and winning the 1st, 2nd, and 4th quarters by a combined 38 points. On Saturday against #1 John Hardin, they hit 16 shots again. That's shots, not threes - 16 shots total as they suffered their worst loss in nine years and put up their season low score of 47. They are a better team than they showed that day, but John Hardin absolutely reaved their souls in that game. -Warren Central has to refocus fast, as I do not think it is an exaggeration to call this their most important week of the year. This week they take on Bowling Green, South Warren, and Greenwood - their three primary rivals in the 14th District. The Bowling Green and Greenwood games are on the road. The Dragons cannot afford to let the John Hardin game hang in their minds. A 3-0 trip through the week with the two big rivals coming to Central later on would set them up nicely for the #1 seed in the postseason. 0-3 would be disastrous, putting them at risk at sinking to the 4/5 game. They split with all three teams a season ago. Central has won the first matchup of the year with Bowling Green in each of the last two seasons, but have won only once in their last five games against the Purples at Bowling Green. -Moving beyond the top two teams, most of the rest of the top ten was fairly static. Glasgow took a hit as they fell to Clinton County 48-36, and posted their lowest score since falling 94-32 to the state champion Bowling Green team in 2016/17. Landon Frasier did return to score two in this matchup, but Jaden Franklin and Tucker Kirkpatrick remained out of the boxscore. Nick Sorrell had his worst game of the year, going just 1/7 from the field and posting only seven points. It's just hard to keep them ranked higher when there's so much uncertainty about their personnel. If they get healthy for a stretch run, the record really won't matter, but honestly, it feels almost like a cursed season. -Metcalfe County surges back into the top 10 thanks to their run to the All "A" region title, surpassing last season's 11 win total in the process to grab their most wins since the 2010/11 season. They won the All "A" region title that season too. Incredibly, they are 0-4 in their official district standings thanks to increasingly stunning losses to Cumberland County and Russell County, and they were swept by Clinton County. No matter, they grabbed some revenge on Clinton County with a 52-50 win in the All "A" semifinals. That 2010/11 team was their last winning season, and the Hornets appear increasingly likely to refresh that. That team won 16 games, and Metcalfe County looks to have a very good shot of getting past that win total - their previous high above that was 21 games in the 07/08 season. -The 16th District tournament will be one to watch this year. Clinton County has clinched the #1 seed, but their six games against district opponents have now been decided by a combined average of 5.5 PPG. And that includes a 13 point win over Cumberland County - remove that and the other five games were decided by an average of 4 PPG. A lot to shake out in the 2-4 positions there, but a lot can happen. -Logan County and Franklin-Simpson tangle this Friday. Logan County is still unbeaten in region play, but will make the trip to Franklin for a game that will basically clinch them the #1 seed. In actuality, they could lose it based on tiebreakers if either Todd County Central or Russellville were to win out in the district and Logan County were to lose their remaining games after Franklin (one each against Todd County Central and Russellville), but come on, that's not going to happen. If Franklin-Simpson were to deal the Cougars the loss, then it is likely those two will come down to a coin flip for the top spot at the end of the year. -Glasgow still leads District 15 with a 3-0 record, and thankfully for them, they still have another 12 days before they have their next district contest, the crucial road game against Barren County. If all goes as planned for the Trojans, they will enter that game at 4-1 in district play, and looking to clinch at least a tie for the top spot. -Games this week most likely to affect the region rankings - 1/20 #2 Warren Central at #1 Bowling Green, 1/21 #7 Franklin-Simpson at #3 Greenwood, 1/21 #5 South Warren at #2 Warren Central, 1/24 #4 Logan County at #7 Franklin-Simpson, 1/24 #2 Warren Central at #3 Greenwood, 1/25 #6 Barren County at #7 Franklin-Simpson. In other words, you can scarcely go wrong with a Franklin-Simpson or Warren Central game this week.
  9. 1) Warren Central (6-2) - 12/27 90-52 W Lewis County (at Ashland), 12/28 55-59 L at Ashland, 12/29 62-51 W Boyd County (at Ashland) Previous Rank: 1 This Week: 1/2 vs. Bullitt East (at South Oldham), 1/3 at South Oldham, 1/4 vs. Spencer County (at South Oldham) 2) Bowling Green (7-3) - 12/26 68-42 W North Hardin, 12/27 55-46 W Station Camp (TN), 12/28 58-53 W #2 Greenwood Previous Rank: 3 This Week: 1/2 vs. Spencer County (at South Oldham), 1/3 vs. Bullitt East (at South Oldham), 1/4 vs. Holmes (at South Oldham) 3) Greenwood (7-5) - 12/23 44-46 L at #11 Franklin-Simpson, 12/26 55-53 W #4 Glasgow (at Bowling Green), 12/27 59-40 W #6 South Warren (at Bowling Green), 12/28 53-58 L at #3 Bowling Green Previous Rank: 2 This Week: 1/3 vs. Harvest Prep (OH) (at Holy Cross), 1/4 vs. Cardinal Stritch (OH) (at Holy Cross) 4) Glasgow (6-7) - 12/26 53-55 L #2 Greenwood (at Bowling Green), 12/27 67-49 W North Hardin (at Bowling Green), 12/28 58-48 W #11 Franklin-Simpson (at Bowling Green) Previous Rank: 4 This Week: 1/3 vs. #7 Barren County 5) Logan County (9-3) - 12/27 68-38 W Daviess County, 12/28 66-54 W #8 Clinton County, 12/29 80-74 W Great Crossing Previous Rank: 5 This Week: 1/3 vs. #15 Todd County Central 6) South Warren (8-3) - 12/26 73-70 W Owensboro (at Bowling Green), 12/27 40-59 L #2 Greenwood (at Bowling Green), 12/28 51-49 W Station Camp (TN) Previous Rank: 6 This Week: 1/3 vs. TBA (at Graves County), 1/4 vs. TBA (at Graves County) 7) Barren County (7-4) - 12/27 61-67 OT L Bell County (at South Laurel), 12/28 59-66 OT L Roger Bacon (OH), 12/29 74-51 W #9 Russell County Previous Rank: 7 This Week: 1/3 at #4 Glasgow 8) Clinton County (9-5) - 12/27 46-38 W Grayson County (at Logan County), 12/28 54-66 L at #5 Logan County, 12/29 57-59 L Louisville Collegiate (at Logan County) Previous Rank: 8 This Week: 1/3 at #17 Cumberland County, 1/4 at Pickett County (TN) 9) Allen County-Scottsville (6-5) - 12/23 74-58 W at #16 Warren East, 12/27 60-68 L at Hancock County Previous Rank: 10 This Week: 12/30 at Bullitt Central 10) Franklin-Simpson (4-6) - 12/23 46-44 W #2 Greenwood, 12/26 45-47 L Station Camp (TN) (at Bowling Green), 12/27 73-71 W Owensboro (at Bowling Green), 12/28 48-58 L #4 Glasgow (at Bowling Green) Previous Rank: 11 This Week: 1/3 at #14 Russellville, 1/4 vs. Muhlenberg County 11) Russell County (5-6) - 12/27 43-52 L Owen County (at South Laurel), 12/28 58-63 L Lynn Camp (at South Laurel), 12/29 51-74 L #7 Barren County (at South Laurel) Previous Rank: 9 This Week: 1/3 at #13 Monroe County, 1/4 vs. Buckhorn (at South Laurel) 12) Metcalfe County (7-5) - 12/26 78-89 L Breathitt County (at Williamstown), 12/27 78-61 W Burgin (at Williamstown), 12/28 67-62 W Whitesville Trinity (at Williamstown) Previous Rank: 12 This Week: 1/4 vs. Butler County 13) Monroe County (3-7) - No games scheduled Previous Rank: 13 This Week: 1/3 vs. #11 Russell County 14) Russellville (4-4) - 12/27 74-69 W Beth Haven, 12/27 49-59 L Carlisle County Previous Rank: 14 This Week: 1/3 vs. #10 Franklin-Simpson 15) Todd County Central (2-9) - 12/27 46-77 L at Ohio County, 12/27 50-70 L Henderson County (at Ohio County), 12/28 41-68 L Edmonson County (at Ohio County) Previous Rank: 15 This Week: 1/3 at #5 Logan County 16) Warren East (1-9) - 12/23 58-74 L #10 Allen County-Scottsville, 12/28 59-65 L Meade County Previous Rank: 16 This Week: No games scheduled 17) Cumberland County (3-9) - 12/23 90-53 W Caverna (at Warren East), 12/27 65-67 L Green County (at Russellville), 60-72 L Murray (at Russellville), 12/28 93-80 W Beth Haven (at Russellville) Previous Rank: 17 This Week: 1/3 vs. #8 Clinton County Notes -The craziness that has plagued this region so far this year mostly took a hiatus this week - primarily because the majority of region teams played out of region teams and/or the ones that did play other region teams went as expected. The enigma that is Greenwood was the lone exception. The very day I released my last rankings, they fell to Franklin-Simpson. That would be the 4-6 Wildcats who were outside of the top ten at the time. They followed that by winning a razor-thin game against Glasgow, pummeling South Warren again, and then losing to Bowling Green on the road - where they haven't won in a decade and play again in 11 days. The Gators are 3-1 in play against Bowling Green and Glasgow. They're 5-1 against the top 6 teams. They're 1-3 against the region teams below that point. It's honestly baffling. -Perhaps one insight into why Greenwood has so much variance is that they have won several games on the back of their defense. They are holding opponents to 56.75 PPG, but are scoring just 60.58 PPG themselves. They haven't topped 60 points in their last five games, and have gone over 63 just once in their last 10 games. It's not an easy task to win games when you score so low. -Bowling Green still had their shaky moments, but the win over Greenwood was a needed boost, and won them their home tournament in the process. They still may fall to Greenwood again when they meet on the 10th, but falling to them twice in the matter of 11 days when they hadn't lost to them in years would have been a psychological blow. The Purples managed to overcome 12/23 shooting from three by Greenwood by doing what they do best - get inside. The Purples were 15/29 in the paint, and made enough from three (5/13) to do enough to open everything up. Bowling Green used only a nine man rotation in that game, perhaps a sign of things to come - keeping their studs on the floor for longer stretches. -Logan County has kept on trucking along, winning their fifth straight game in taking their Christmas tournament title. The Cougars are one of only two unbeaten teams in region play (Russellville has yet to play one), and appear to be the a solid front runner in the 13th. Logan County is tied with Clinton County for the most wins overall in the region (in two less games) and is averaging a 13.16 margin of victory. What players are leading them in scoring is a mystery - they barely ever report stats. Yes, it upsets me. -South Warren had better hope it's just a mental block that is getting them against Greenwood. They're out to one of their best records in years - they're five games over .500 for the first time since their first season in 2010/11 - but they have lost to Greenwood by an average of 20 PPG in their two matchups. Considering they've never beaten Bowling Green and they have only defeated Warren Central once in the history of the program, that's not a positive sign for their region aspirations. We're still two weeks from finding out how they do against Bowling Green. -This week features the first of two monster games in the 15th district between rivals Glasgow and Barren County. The first matchup is at Glasgow this Friday. Last season, their games were decided by five, two, and five points, with the last one going to overtime. It's always a must watch. -The rest of the region is light in marquee games this week, though Warren Central and Bowling Green both travel to South Oldham to take part in the South Oldham Classic. Bowling Green will meet solid teams in Spencer County and Bullitt East, while Warren Central will face the same pair while also taking on host South Warren. These are great benchmarks for the two.
  10. 1) Warren Central (20-6) - 2/14 60-52 W #5 Greenwood Previous Rank: 2 This Week: 2/18 at #10 Allen County-Scottsville, 2/21 at LaRue County 2) Bowling Green (22-5) - 2/11 62-61 W at Owensboro, 2/14 74-47 W #14 Warren East Previous Rank: 1 This Week: 2/18 vs. Hopkinsville, 2/21 at Ballard 3) Logan County (23-3) - 2/11 75-66 W #5 Greenwood, 2/15 77-49 W #10 Allen County-Scottsville Previous Rank: 3 This Week: 2/18 at Ohio County, 2/20 at #15 Cumberland County 4) Barren County (19-8) - 2/11 70-63 W #11 Russell County, 2/14 93-61 W at #15 Cumberland County Previous Rank: 4 This Week: 2/18 vs. #13 Metcalfe County, 2/20 at #6 Clinton County 5) Greenwood (15-13) - 2/11 66-75 L at #3 Logan County, 2/14 52-60 L at #2 Warren Central Previous Rank: 5 This Week: 2/18 vs. #12 Monroe County, 2/21 vs. Edmonson County 6) Clinton County (20-6) - 2/11 54-48 W at McCreary Central, 2/14 59-53 W at #12 Monroe County Previous Rank: 7 This Week: 2/17 vs. #8 South Warren, 2/20 vs. #4 Barren County 7) Franklin-Simpson (12-13) - 2/10 64-70 L at Butler County, 2/13 78-74 W at #6 South Warren Previous Rank: 8 This Week: 2/18 vs. #14 Warren East, 2/20 at #9 Glasgow 8) South Warren (14-13) - 2/11 76-50 W at #14 Warren East, 2/13 74-78 L #8 Franklin-Simpson Previous Rank: 6 This Week: 2/17 at #6 Clinton County, 2/21 vs. Butler County 9) Glasgow (12-13) - 2/10 64-65 OT L #10 Allen County-Scottsville, 2/11 71-49 W at #13 Metcalfe County, 2/14 66-52 W at Caverna Previous Rank: 9 This Week: 2/18 vs. #15 Cumberland County, 2/20 vs. #7 Franklin-Simpson 10) Allen County-Scottsville (13-13) - 2/10 65-64 OT W at #9 Glasgow, 2/13 89-78 2OT W Metcalfe County, 49-77 L at #3 Logan County Previous Rank: 10 This Week: 2/18 vs. #1 Warren Central, 2/20 at #17 Russellville 11) Russell County (13-14) - 2/11 63-70 L at #4 Barren County, 2/14 61-45 W Adair County, 2/15 60-47 W Jackson County Previous Rank: 11 This Week: 2/18 at Danville, 2/21 at Rockcastle County 12) Monroe County (10-15) - 2/11 59-50 W #15 Cumberland County, 2/14 53-59 L #7 Clinton County Previous Rank: 12 This Week: 2/18 at #5 Greenwood, 2/20 at #14 Warren East 13) Metcalfe County (14-13) - 2/11 49-71 L #9 Glasgow, 2/13 78-89 2OT L at #10 Allen County-Scottsville, 2/15 87-78 W #17 Russellville Previous Rank: 13 This Week: 2/18 at #4 Barren County, 2/21 at Caverna 14) Warren East (4-19) - 2/11 50-76 L #6 South Warren, 2/14 47-74 L at #1 Bowling Green Previous Rank: 14 This Week: 2/17 at Caverna, 2/18 at #7 Franklin-Simpson, 2/20 vs. #12 Monroe County 15) Cumberland County (6-18) - 2/11 50-59 L at #12 Monroe County, 2/14 61-93 L #4 Barren County Previous Rank: 15 This Week: 2/18 at #9 Glasgow, 2/20 vs. #3 Logan County 16) Todd County Central (6-18) - 2/14 80-78 2OT W at #17 Russellville Previous Rank: 16 This Week: 2/17 at Hopkins County Central, 2/18 vs. Muhlenberg County, 2/21 at Dawson Springs 17) Russellville (6-18) - 2/11 76-78 L Edmonson County, 2/14 78-80 2OT L #16 Todd County Central, 2/15 78-87 L at #13 Metcalfe County Previous Rank: 17 This Week: 2/18 vs. Fort Campbell, 2/20 vs. #10 Allen County-Scottsville Notes -In a true rarity, all the district matchups are set without requiring tiebreakers - everything settled on the court. The only tie across all four districts was for the 2 seed in the 16th District - Russell County won the coin flip with Cumberland County for that - but that didn't alter the matchup. In the 13th at Russellville, it will be Logan County (6-0) vs. Russellville (0-6) and Franklin-Simpson (4-2) vs. Todd County Central (2-4). In the 14th at South Warren, South Warren (2-6) will open with Warren East (0-8), with the winner facing Warren Central (7-1) - Bowling Green (6-2) will face Greenwood (5-3) in the 2/3 game. In the 15th at Allen County-Scottsville, Barren County (5-1) will face Monroe County (0-6), while Glasgow (4-2) will take on Allen County-Scottsville (3-3). Finally, in the 16th at Russell County, Clinton County (6-0) will face Metcalfe County (0-6) with Russell County (3-3) hosting Cumberland County (3-3). It all makes life easier on the district tournament managers. -The highest drama of the week came in battles for the top seed in the 14th and 15th. Glasgow hosted Allen County-Scottsville on Monday, needing a win to tie Barren County to push that to a coin flip. The Scotties finally had the services of their full team, and jumped out to a five point halftime lead on AC/S. But they were unable to hold it as Mason Shirley began an assault that would see him score 32 of the final 45 points for ACS en route to a (then) career-high 35 points. The game would go to extra time tied at 56, and Shirley would draw a questionable foul with 2 seconds remaining, hitting a pair of free throws to give them a 65-64 OT win, pulling Glasgow into the 2/3 game with them. Meanwhile in the 14th District on Friday, Greenwood visited Warren Central, hoping to get a road win and force a three-way tie for #1 along with Bowling Green. The first half was not a pretty sight as both teams saw huge stretches of time with difficulty making shots. Central jumped out to a 14-4 lead with 1:45 left in the first, and then scored only four points in the next 12 minutes of game-time. Greenwood took a while to take advantage, before grabbing a 19-18 lead after scoring five straight to start the third quarter. A Dragon three ended the run and the Gators never led again, frequently trailing by between 8-12 points in the second half. They whittled it down to four at 52-48 with just over a minute remaining, but a pair of Tay Smith threes pushed it back to ten, and that was that. It gave Warren Central their first outright #1 seed in six years, and pushed them back to our #1 for the first time since December. Greenwood would have needed some luck plus the win over Warren Central to grab the #1 seed, but with that loss, Warren East in 2013 (beneficiaries of a three-way tie that broke for them) remains the only team besides Warren Central or Bowling Green to be the #1 seed since it began in the 14th District in 1999. -Mason Shirley had a career week in an overtime week for the Patriots. Following that thriller against Glasgow, they needed two overtimes to knock off Metcalfe County. Shirley posted a double double in that one, with a new career high of 39 points to go with 11 rebounds. His 39 was just three shy of the school record. It's not been quite as good a year from Shirley as was expected after his breakout sophomore campaign a season ago, but those two games this week raised his scoring average by two full points, and they'll look to build some momentum going into a home district tournament meeting with Glasgow. They had won four in a row prior to dropping a matchup at Logan County on Saturday. -Logan County moved to 23-3 by knocking off Greenwood on Tuesday 75-66 and AC/S 77-49 on Saturday. Though they still have a matchup with Cumberland County, realistically, the matchup with Greenwood was their last hurdle between them and a perfect region record. With wins over Barren County and Greenwood under their belt, it adds some legitimacy to that record, despite not playing Warren Central or Bowling Green this season. They're 13-0 in region play, 13-1 at home, and carry a 19 game winning streak. If they clear Ohio County on Tuesday, they will almost certainly enter the region tournament in a few weeks on a 23 game winning streak and with their best record overall since 1984. -Bowling Green pushed their winning streak against Warren East to 52 with a 74-47 win on Friday. The stat is so large it literally numbs you to how impressive it is. FIFTY-TWO. The Raiders haven't beaten Bowling Green in the entire seeded era of the 14th District. They haven't been within single digits of the Purples in six years, and haven't lost by less than five in eight. With the win, Bowling Green closed their regular season region slate at 11-2 in region play, 7-2 against District 14 teams (with an extra win over Greenwood coming in their Christmas tournament). They have a layup on Tuesday in hosting Hopkinsville, before a daunting trip to Ballard on Friday. -Not much else of note happened during the week, as we've touched on the games that decided postseason seeding. The region now has four teams with 20+ wins with a week to go. Barren County should join them as soon as Tuesday, but it will be a longshot for anyone else to be added. Greenwood is the next highest total at 15 - they will need multiple postseason wins to reach the threshold. They are seeking their first 20-win season since 2011/12. -Both Greenwood and South Warren have endured a difficult stretch against a challenging schedule. Greenwood is now just 3-6 in their last nine games, with four losses against the #1, #3, and #4 teams in our rankings. South Warren is 3-7 in their last ten games, dropping a pair of games against Warren Central, and falling to Bowling Green, Greenwood, and Franklin-Simpson in-region as well. Both teams remain dangerous, but both are also in serious need of some momentum going into tough postseason games. The Spartans have the tougher schedule this week, and will need to win both to guarantee themselves their second winning record in the past seven seasons, though in all likelihood a split would do it given they'll be favored over Warren East in their first postseason game. If they can reach 17 wins, it would be the second highest total in program history.
  11. 1) Bowling Green (19-4) - 1/28 84-57 W at #7 Franklin-Simpson, 1/31 55-61 L at #2 Warren Central, 2/1 79-65 W #11 Allen County-Scottsville Previous Rank: 1 This Week: 2/4 at #5 South Warren, 2/7 vs. John Hardin 2) Warren Central (15-6) - 1/28 79-74 W at #5 South Warren, 1/31 61-55 W #1 Bowling Green Previous Rank: 2 This Week: 2/3 at Christian County, 2/5 vs. Hopkinsville, 2/7 vs. #14 Warren East, 2/8 vs. Lafayette Jefferson (IN) 3) Logan County (19-3) - 1/28 50-49 W #6 Barren County, 1/31 82-54 W at #17 Russellville, 2/1 72-61 W #9 Glasgow Previous Rank: 3 This Week: 2/4 at McLean County, 2/7 at #16 Todd County Central, 2/8 vs. #11 Russell County 4) Greenwood (14-9) - 1/28 72-68 W at #11 Allen County-Scottsville, 1/31 67-54 W #14 Warren East Previous Rank: 4 This Week: 2/4 vs. #6 Barren County, 2/7 vs. #5 South Warren, 2/8 vs. Bardstown (at Warren Central) 5) South Warren (13-10) - 1/28 74-79 L #2 Warren Central, 1/31 69-72 L Ohio County, 2/1 76-51 W #13 Monroe County Previous Rank: 5 This Week: 2/4 vs. #1 Bowling Green, 2/7 at #4 Greenwood 6) Barren County (16-7) - 1/27 73-58 W at Hart County, 1/28 49-50 L at #3 Logan County, 1/31 80-63 W #9 Glasgow, 2/1 73-49 W at #16 Todd County Central Previous Rank: 6 This Week: 1/27 at Hart County, 1/28 at #3 Logan County, 1/31 vs. #9 Glasgow, 2/1 at #16 Todd County Central 7) Franklin-Simpson (10-11) - 1/28 57-84 L #1 Bowling Green, 1/31 63-39 W #16 Todd County Central Previous Rank: 7 This Week: 2/4 at #10 Allen County-Scottsville, 2/7 vs. #17 Russellville 8) Clinton County (17-6) - 1/27 56-44 W at Campbellsville, 1/31 59-56 W at #11 Allen County-Scottsville Previous Rank: 8 This Week: 2/7 vs. Madison Southern, 2/8 vs. Breathitt County 9) Glasgow (9-12) - 1/28 39-62 L LaRue County, 1/31 63-80 L at #6 Barren County, 2/1 61-72 L at #3 Logan County Previous Rank: 9 This Week: 2/4 vs. #12 Monroe County 10) Allen County-Scottsville (9-12) - 1/28 68-72 L #4 Greenwood, 1/31 56-59 L #8 Clinton County, 2/1 65-79 L at #1 Bowling Green Previous Rank: 11 This Week: 2/4 vs. #7 Franklin-Simpson, 2/7 at #12 Monroe County 11) Russell County (10-12) - 1/27 56-46 W at #15 Cumberland County, 1/31 78-56 W Casey County Previous Rank: 12 This Week: 2/4 vs. #13 Metcalfe County, 2/7 vs. Breathitt County, 2/8 at #3 Logan County 12) Monroe County (9-12) - 1/27 67-62 OT W #10 Metcalfe County, 1/31 70-61 W Adair County, 2/1 51-76 L at #5 South Warren Previous Rank: 13 This Week: 2/4 at #9 Glasgow, 2/7 vs. #10 Allen County-Scottsville 13) Metcalfe County (13-10) - 1/27 62-67 OT L at #13 Monroe County, 1/31 51-79 L #15 Cumberland County Previous Rank: 10 This Week: 2/4 at #11 Russell County, 2/7 at Casey County 14) Warren East (3-16) - 1/31 54-67 L at #4 Greenwood, 2/1 36-70 L at Marshall County Previous Rank: 14 This Week: 2/4 at #17 Russellville, 2/7 at #2 Warren Central 15) Cumberland County (6-16) - 1/27 46-56 L #12 Russell County, 1/28 63-60 W at #16 Todd County Central, 1/31 79-51 W at #10 Metcalfe County Previous Rank: 15 This Week: 2/6 vs. Caverna 16) Todd County Central (4-17) - 1/28 60-63 L #15 Cumberland County, 1/31 39-63 L at #7 Franklin-Simpson, 2/1 49-73 L #6 Barren County Previous Rank: 16 This Week: 2/4 at Montgomery Central (TN), 2/7 vs. #3 Logan County 17) Russellville (6-13) - 1/28 58-53 W at Fort Campbell, 1/31 54-82 L at #3 Logan County, 2/1 48-58 L Caverna (at Adair County) Previous Rank: 17 This Week: 2/4 vs. #14 Warren East, 2/7 at #7 Franklin-Simpson Notes -It was right around the time that Bowling Green was finishing their 12-0 run to take their largest lead of the game against Warren Central in the first half that I made my decision that even if the Dragons came back, I was keeping Bowling Green as the top team in the rankings. It was the end of a 15 game win streak, but Bowling Green remains the team with the more impressive resume and the more impressive win in the two games between the two. The first half took a bit different route to Bowling Green getting a big run (threes), but at halftime, the game was eerily similar to how the first one played out. They couldn't hold the win, but it was impressive enough to keep them at the top. -That being said, that was a critical win for Warren Central. They needed the confidence boost, because at halftime, it sure was beginning to feel like they just simply weren't on the same level as Bowling Green. Few teams are, the way Bowling Green shot early. Bowling Green is a team that wants to get to the rim and finish in close. That has been their identity for years. IMO the goal in any game is to make them beat you from the outside. Well, they shot 4/5 from three in the first quarter and 6/11 for the first half - they were beating them from the outside. When you saw that they were only 5/14 from inside the arc (they shot 75% inside the first game), then you start to get a picture of how things might go wrong. Sure enough, they were just 1/5 from three in the second half, and while the percentage improved from two (6/14), it wasn't enough. It was a better defensive effort for Central this time, and Bowling Green was held to only seven points in the fourth quarter. Dre Boyd had a performance for the ages in the third quarter, dropping twenty points to close the deficit for Central. The Kobe Brents' three were the only points in the quarter for the Dragons that didn't come from Boyd. -The fallout from the game means that Warren Central has the inside track to the outright #1 in the district. All they have to do is beat Warren East and Greenwood to clinch. If they were to lose to Greenwood, depending on how the other games played out, it may be a three way tie at the top between those two and Bowling Green. -With Bowling Green's loss, the best record in the region and the longest winning streak belongs to Logan County. The Cougars have won 15 in a row, and only a ten point loss to Eastern has set them back in their last twenty games. Their 19-3 record is the best overall in the region, and they remain the only unbeaten team in region play, moving to 11-0 with three region wins during the week. Their 50-49 win over Barren County to open the week was a close shave, but made impressive when you understand that the team is without junior Rooster Woodard, one of the region's top players and their leading scorer and rebounder prior to suffering an injury. Nyekan missed a shot at the buzzer that would have given the Trojans the win, but Logan County survived. -The 16th District continues to be inexplicable, as Cumberland County dropped the house on Metcalfe County, winning by a 79-51 margin in a game that set the postseason pairings in the district in stone. Despite having the second best overall record in the district and winning the region's All "A" Classic tournament, Metcalfe County is officially 0-5 in the district and locked into the 4 seed. They will take on top seed Clinton County, who had a perfect 6-0 record in the official standings this season, but did fall to that same Metcalfe County team in the All "A". Russell County and Cumberland County will meet, having split their regular season matchups. -Logan County's win over Russellville made their #1 seed in the postseason official, while Franklin-Simpson locked into the 2 seed. Todd County Central needs a win and a Russellville loss to clinch the 3 seed. They play Logan County on the 7th while Russellville plays Franklin-Simpson that same night, while the two teams then meet on the 14th. -Barren County's 17 point win over hobbled Glasgow finished their district slate at 5-1, clinching at least a tie for the district's top spot. Glasgow is 3-1, and must beat both Monroe County on the 4th and Allen County-Scottsville on the 10th to prevent Barren County from getting the top spot outright. A win in either of those games will clinch at least the 2 seed for Glasgow. The Scotties remain without Jaden Franklin, who has been out for weeks now. Franklin is the team's second leading scorer and leading rebounder. The Scotties have lost all three games in his absence, as part of a four game losing streak. No word has been given on his long-term prognosis.
  12. The six class system has given us many years of poor matchups in all playoff rounds. This year, we saw the debut of the new RPI version of the region finals, and as expected, it was terrible. Essentially, it flipped the games that we’d normally see in the region finals into the second round, and vice versa. In this year’s second round, five of the eight games were decided by 14 points or less, with two games decided by a single score – one in overtime. The average margin of victory for the round was 21.5, and even that high margin owed a lot to the 47 and 44 point victories by Boyle County and Johnson Central, respectively. That gave way to an atrocious region final round that was decided by an average of 34 points per game, and only one game closer than 29 points. In my opinion, that serves up the failure of the intra-district format perfectly. If you can say anything for the RPI format, it’s that the higher rated team won every game, so… I guess that part works? The only game that was truly competitive matched a pair of familiar foes. #7 Madisonville-North Hopkins and Franklin-Simpson met for the third straight postseason, and had squared off in seven of the previous nine playoffs. Franklin had won the previous season’s matchup by a mere 12-10 score, en route to their second straight state title. Madisonville had been entrenched in close games for weeks, with their previous three games and five of their previous seven games decided by 7 points or less. They found themselves in a similar situation against Franklin. After the teams traded scores in a 7-7 first quarter, Franklin-Simpson pulled ahead, and took a 24-20 lead into the half. That too was a familiar situation for the Maroons, who trailed at the half in each of their victories in the first two rounds. The third quarter’s first drive would provide the turning point of the game. Madisonville received, and drove to the Wildcat 30. Per @FSfan, a shotgun snap on 2nd and 1 was low and rolled past Reynolds. He dove on the ball, but it squirted free, eventually being recovered by the Wildcats. However, the officials, thinking that Reynolds had recovered it, blew the play dead for the dreaded inadvertent whistle. That meant no fumble recovery for Franklin. It meant not even a devastating loss to make it third and long. No, it was 2nd 1 right back on the 30 – and Jeriah Hightower took the next play straight into the end zone. The Maroons never trailed again, running off 25 straight before coasting in for a 45-31 victory. It was a bitter end to Franklin-Simpson’s back to back title defense, but they still closed strong with a 7-2 finish after an 0-4 start, claiming their fourth consecutive district title. With their loss, the District 2 champion will not make the title game for the first time since 2014. For Madisonville, this is their first region title since 1971, when they advanced to the state title game. Jeriah Hightower was stupid good in the game, running 37 times for 324 yards and SIX touchdowns. Hightower is up to 2,817 yards on the season, and will face a stiff test to try to get to 3,000 when he faces Johnson Central, but it’s a distinct possibility. The rest of the games, it must be said, were horrendous. #2 Johnson Central/#5 Wayne County had real potential, but QB Brody Weaver was lost after the very first offensive play of the game for the Cardinals, robbing them of one dimension of their attack. Braedon Sloan became 100% of their offense, taking snaps at QB and running for 101 yards, but Johnson Central was just way too much, advancing to the state semifinals yet again in a 36-7 victory. The Golden Eagles didn’t put the ball in the air a single time, running 35 times for 364 yards and five scores. Devin Johnson was his usual efficient self, with 121 yards on just 10 rushes, scoring twice. #9 Central hosted Moore and posted their eighth game giving up less than 10 points in holding the Mustangs down in a 46-8 victory. For Central, that equaled their highest score of the year, fueled by Jeremiah Thornton’s 273 yards and four scores on the ground. Thornton entered the game with just 145 on the year. The loss ended a seven game win streak for Moore, finishing an 8-5 campaign. Finally, the favorite and #1 Boyle County kept it rolling in a 55-0 domination of Scott. That was their fourth shutout of the season, and ninth time holding an opponent to seven points or less. The 55 point offensive output was only their sixth highest of the year – that’s how good they’ve been. They have the top scoring offense and defense in the class. Reed Lanter was perfect on the night, going 11/11 for 257 yards and five scores for the Rebels. Reese Smith had four receptions for 87 yards and converted two of them into scores. They still have not played a single game that was decided by less than 30 points. They’ll host Central this week, which should be their toughest test of the year thus far. All in all, it was pure chalk in a year (and playoff system) that seems designed for it. Only five road teams have won in the 28 playoff games played so far in 4A – two of those came from Madisonville-North Hopkins which entered each game higher rated than their opponent, relegated to the third seed only because of a Hail Mary loss during the regular season and a three-way tiebreak that went against them. We don’t figure to see upsets this week either. Central and Madisonville-North Hopkins are both very capable teams, but they’re up against true monsters in Boyle County and Johnson Central. In Madisonville’s case, the 300+ mile trip to Johnson Central – where a Kentucky team hasn’t beaten the Golden Eagles since 2016 – won’t help.
  13. DragonFire trying to figure out how to rank these teams 1) Warren Central (4-1) - 12/16 48-49 L #3 Glasgow, 12/19 71-59 W at #9 Franklin-Simpson Previous Rank: 1 This Week: 12/27 vs. Lewis County (at Ashland), 12/28 vs. TBA (at Ashland), 12/29 vs. TBA (at Ashland) 2) Greenwood (5-3) - 12/17 54-42 W #2 Bowling Green, 12/20 73-52 W at #5 South Warren, 12/21 58-55 W North Hardin (at South Warren) Previous Rank: 8 This Week: 12/23 at #11 Franklin-Simpson, 12/26 vs. #4 Glasgow (at Bowling Green), 12/27 vs. TBA (at Bowling Green), 12/28 vs. TBA (at Bowling Green) 3) Bowling Green (4-3) - 12/17 42-54 L at #8 Greenwood, 12/21 66-51 W Christian County (at South Warren) Previous Rank: 2 This Week: 12/26 vs. North Hardin, 12/27 vs. TBA, 12/28 vs. TBA 4) Glasgow (4-6) - 12/16 49-48 W at #1 Warren Central, 12/20 60-71 L Manual (at PRP), 12/21 61-76 L DeSales (at PRP), 56-55 W Paintsville (at PRP), 12/22 64-73 L Owensboro (at PRP) Previous Rank: 3 This Week: 12/26 vs. Greenwood (at Bowling Green), 12/27 vs. TBA (at Bowling Green), 12/28 vs. TBA (at Bowling Green) 5) Logan County (5-3) - 12/17 78-37 W Apollo, 12/20 84-47 W Taylor County (at Clinton County), 12/21 61-71 L Eastern (at Clinton County), 12/22 65-39 W Hopkins County Central, 12/22 65-56 W at #10 Clinton County Previous Rank: 4 This Week: 12/27 vs. Daviess County, 12/28 vs. TBA, 12/29 vs. TBA 6) South Warren (6-2) - 12/16 67-51 W at #15 Todd County Central, 12/20 52-73 L #8 Greenwood, 12/21 81-53 W Apollo Previous Rank: 5 This Week: 12/26 vs. Owensboro (at Bowling Green), 12/27 vs. TBA (at Bowling Green), 12/28 vs. TBA (at Bowling Green) 7) Barren County (6-2) - 12/16 81-51 W at Edmonson County, 12/17 74-40 W Caverna, 12/20 61-46 W at #7 Allen County-Scottsville, 12/21 65-35 W Meade County (at South Warren) Previous Rank: 6 This Week: 12/27 vs. Bell County (at South Laurel), 12/28 vs. TBA (at South Laurel), 12/29 vs. TBA (at South Laurel) 8) Clinton County (8-2) - 12/17 67-54 W #16 Cumberland County, 12/20 54-48 W Taylor County, 12/21 46-32 W Hopkins County Central, 12/21 61-59 W Eastern, 12/22 56-65 L #4 Logan County Previous Rank: 10 This Week: 12/27 vs. Grayson County (at Logan County), 12/28 vs. TBA (at Logan County), 12/29 vs. TBA (at Logan County) 9) Russell County (5-3) - 12/16 57-54 W at #12 Metcalfe County, 12/19 73-62 2OT W Claiborne (TN) (at Gatlinburg-Pittman), 12/20 70-74 OT L at Gatlinburg-Pittman (TN), 12/21 58-46 W Buckhorn Previous Rank: 11 This Week: 12/27 vs. Owen County (at South Laurel), 12/28 vs. TBA (at South Laurel), 12/29 vs. TBA (at South Laurel) 10) Allen County-Scottsville (5-4) - 12/17 65-62 W at #17 Warren East, 12/20 46-61 L #6 Barren County, 12/21 37-74 L St. Xavier (at Warren East), 12/21 69-30 W #16 Cumberland County (at Warren East) Previous Rank: 7 This Week: 12/23 vs. TBA (at Warren East), 12/27 at Hancock County 11) Franklin-Simpson (2-4) - 12/16 64-62 W at #17 Warren East, 12/19 59-71 L #1 Warren Central Previous Rank: 9 This Week: 12/23 vs. #2 Greenwood, 12/26 vs. TBA (at Bowling Green), 12/27 vs. TBA (at Bowling Green), 12/28 vs. TBA (at Bowling Green) 12) Metcalfe County (5-4) - 12/16 54-57 L #11 Russell County, 12/17 80-72 W Hart County, 12/19 93-86 2OT W at Edmonson County, 12/20 64-74 L Thomas Nelson (at Edmonson County), 12/21 62-60 W Green County (at Edmonson County) Previous Rank: 12 This Week: 12/26 vs. Breathitt County (at Williamstown), 12/27 vs. TBA (at Williamstown), 12/28 vs. TBA (at Williamstown) 13) Monroe County (2-7) - 12/19 64-77 L Cordia (at Berea), 12/20 78-64 W Bluegrass United (at Berea), 12/21 67-70 L Menifee County (at Berea) Previous Rank: 13 This Week: No games scheduled 14) Russellville (3-3) - 12/17 62-68 L Butler County, 12/20 41-79 L at Caldwell County Previous Rank: 14 This Week: 12/27 vs. Beth Haven, 12/28 vs. TBA, 12/29 vs. TBA 15) Todd County Central (2-6) - 12/16 51-67 L #5 South Warren, 12/17 49-54 L at Caldwell County, 12/20 41-55 L Owensboro Catholic (at Butler County), 12/21 35-71 L Murray (at Butler County), 12/21 62-68 L at Butler County Previous Rank: 15 This Week: 12/27 at Ohio County, 12/27 vs. Henderson County (at Ohio County), 12/28 vs. Edmonson County (at Ohio County) 16) Warren East (1-7) - 12/16 62-64 L #9 Franklin-Simpson, 12/17 62-65 L #7 Allen County-Scottsville, 12/21 85-60 W Caverna, 12/21 53-80 L Ohio County Previous Rank: 17 This Week: 12/23 vs. TBA, 12/28 vs. Meade County 17) Cumberland County (1-7) - 12/17 54-67 L at #10 Clinton County, 12/21 30-69 L #7 Allen County-Scottsville (at Warren East), 12/21 43-58 L St. Xavier (at Warren East) Previous Rank: 16 This Week: 12/23 vs. Caverna (at Warren East), 12/27 vs. TBA (at Russellville), 12/27 vs. Murray (at Russellville) Notes -Holy cow what an unsatisfying endeavor it was trying to decide how I wanted to rank these teams this week. There are now only two teams that are undefeated in region play. One is Russellville, who hasn't been beaten in region play because they have not yet played a game in the region. The other is Logan County, at just 2-0 inside the region, and 3-3 outside it. With that much chaos, there really wasn't a good, iron clad way to rate everyone. -I believe you saw about as bad a game as Warren Central can play when they hosted Glasgow on Monday. The Dragons are shooting 45.5% from three in their four wins, averaging 11.5 makes per game, and have an effective field goal percentage of 57.8% overall in those games. Against Glasgow, that dipped to 27.8% from three on 5/18 shooting and just 35.2 effective field goal percentage. They shot 32.6% from two, 27.8% from three, and 35.7% from the foul line. They lost by one. And they lost by one on a finger roll that refused to crawl over the rim at the buzzer. Glasgow deserves a lot of credit for their play, including perimeter defense, knocking down free throws, and the way they were able to battle back after blowing a lead, but it is hard to imagine that Central shoots that poorly again and the fact remains that as atrocious as they were, they were literally that close to winning anyway. I've got bias, but I believe if that game were played again tomorrow, the Dragons win comfortably. Still, it was a signature win for Glasgow, which won at Warren Central for the first time since 1985, and first time anywhere since 2006. -I probably would have made the same argument for keeping Bowling Green #2 if not for what Greenwood has done otherwise. Unlike Glasgow, which currently has a losing record, Greenwood has played very well outside of a week that now appears even more inexplicable. Greenwood knocked off BG by double digits and demolished South Warren. They throttled Glasgow earlier this season. If they hadn't been basically inexplicable against Russell County and Allen County-Scottsville, they'd be my clear #1. Those other games are why I elevated them above Bowling Green while I did not do the same for Glasgow over Central, along with the margin. That win snapped a 16 game losing streak for the Gators against the Purples. -The win over South Warren pushed Greenwood to 2-0 in the district for the first time since 2011/12 when they finished as co-district champions of the regular season, but that 2-0 start featured both wins over South Warren. It's their first 2-0 start in the district since 06/07 with one of those wins coming over Bowling Green. It's a crucial start as they pursue a region title. They have never been a #1 seed in the 14th District tournament, and historically that is a direct path to the region. -Barren County is also out to a 2-0 start in district play after winning by 15 at Allen County-Scottsville. Aden Nyekan and Will Bandy are both averaging over 14 PPG for the Trojans, whose current four game winning streak is their longest since winning 11 in a row in the 2017/18 season. They play in a holiday tournament at South Laurel this week, ahead of a very big in-region week to start the new year when they visit rival Glasgow. -Bowling Green was 1/16 from three and 5/9 from the foul line against Greenwood. They shoot just over 39% from three otherwise. I believe they are a better team than they showed that day. Several local teams are in the Bowling Green Christmas tournament, so perhaps they'll get a chance to prove it much sooner than later. One of those teams - Greenwood. -Logan County dropped a game to Eastern, but their tiebreakers put them into the title game of Clinton County's holiday tournament, knocking off the hosts by 9 today to take home the title. The Cougars do a very poor job of reporting stats, so we only have them from their first three games, but it appears a big reason for their success is more balance than expected in their scoring. Jose Nazario and Jay Hardison join Anthony Woodard in providing double digit scoring thus far, a key element for the team as Woodard is considered a superstar in the region. -Russell County already has five wins after notching only seven in the entire season a year ago. They've already avenged their loss in the district tournament at Metcalfe County a season ago, have knocked off Greenwood and played Glasgow to a two point result. It's safe to say the results have been much more positive this go around for the Lakers.
  14. This week was the week we finalized all the district seedings in 4A – well, outside of District 1 at least. Most notably, there were three districts that would be decided with head to head matchups for the outright #1 seed, two of which featured a pair of top ten teams. #5 Corbin entered their game with #6 Wayne County with several things appearing in their favor. They were the home team, the higher-ranked team, and they hadn’t lost a district game in six years – 27 straight district wins. But as I noted last week, they felt a bit like the underdog despite that. Wayne County had the longer winning streak, the better record, and had seemed to have less trouble with their fellow district teams. A steady, pouring rain greeted the two teams, and neither were able to get anything going in the first quarter. Wayne County struck first on a Radilla field goal in the opening minutes of the second quarter, and the back and forth that would last the rest of the night began. The Cardinals made the lead stand up for almost 8 minutes before Cameron Combs found Jake Steely for a 79 yard touchdown to give Corbin a 7-3 lead they’d take to half. Halfway through the third quarter stud RB Braedon Sloan put Wayne County back ahead 9-7, but the try was no good. That allowed Corbin to go back ahead 10-9 with a field goal, taking that lead into the fourth. Combs pushed the lead to 16-9 with a one yard rush, but the try was missed. That set the stage for a wild final minute. First, Brody Weaver found Carson Simpson for a 22 yard touchdown pass to make it 16-15 Corbin with 53 seconds left. Wayne County decided to play for the win, going for two – but the Redhounds stood strong and the try failed. With the game seemingly sealed, Wayne County lined up for an onside kick, and improbably, recovered it with 51 seconds left. After moving swiftly downfield, Radilla put through his second field goal of the game to give the Cardinals an 18-16 win, ending Corbin’s district reign – at least until they likely meet in the second round. Braedon Sloan had 207 yards on 38 rushes to lead the Cardinals in the win. Cameron Combs and Jacob Steely drove the offense for Corbin. Combs was efficient, completing only 5 of his 10 pass attempts, but thanks in part to the long touchdown completion, he put up 165 yards on those completions. Steely hauled in four catches for 149 yards. The result means Wayne County will host Lincoln County when the first round begins in two weeks - who they knocked off 55-21 on the road two weeks ago – while Corbin gets the more difficult task in taking on a Knox Central team they beat 38-21. Meanwhile, in Louisville, the #10 Central Yellow Jackets were looking to close out their regular season with a five game winning streak and a #1 seed as they hosted the undefeated #3 Franklin County Flyers. The Flyers came into the game averaging 45.625 PPG, while Central had allowed only 106 points all season – an average of 11.77 PPG. It was a true matchup of strength against strength, and ultimately, the defense won out with only 394 yards of offense combined between the teams, even though that didn’t lead to the team known for their defense winning. Central started fast, using only two plays and 31 seconds to cover 54 yards, capped by a Mucker 12 yard run to put Central up 6-0. The PAT failed, an even that would prove significant. That was all the scoring for the first quarter, but the Flyers would find paydirt when they started at the Central 15 yard line three minutes into the second quarter. The “drive” lasted 3 plays and 49 seconds, as Nick Broyles found Braedyn Tracy for a 15 yard score, putting the Flyers ahead for what would ultimately be for good, 7-6. As time expired on the half, Broyles found Fred Farrier for a 28 yard score and it was 14-6 at the half. That was the score entering the fourth quarter as neither team could move the ball in the third. A Deondre Howard interception set up Central for their final scoring drive, as the Yellow Jackets would use 10 plays to drive from their own 45, with Hathaway punching in for a 1 yard score at the 5:21 mark of the fourth quarter. Mucker would attempt a rush for the game-tying two point attempt – necessitated by the earlier PAT miss – but it was no good. After forcing a stop, Central’s last chance was ended by a Gavin Hurst INT, and Franklin County’s undefeated season carried on. The Flyers are used to a lot more points and yardage, but were led by Broyles’ 129 passing yards on 11 completions. Fred Farrier was his top target with 5 catches for 67 yards. Central actually outgained Franklin County, led by Dayshawn Mucker’s 137 yards on 33 attempts, but it ultimately wasn’t enough. It was the sixth time this year that Central was held to 14 points or less – they’re just 1-5 in those games. Franklin County will host Waggener in two weeks for the first round of the playoffs. Franklin County defeated them 37-20 on October 18th. Meanwhile Central will host Shelby County, which clinched the #3 seed with a 34-26 defeat of Waggener on Friday. Central survived a tough test on the road at Shelby County on October 4th, with their 14-0 win being the one win out of the six games of 14 points or under I mentioned above. Decidedly less-heralded was the final winner-take-all head to head matchup between Scott and Holmes. Scott entered as a team that had flown under the radar while putting up a quietly impressive 6-2 record entering the game, and had rolled through district play with an average margin of victory of nearly 27 points per game. Holmes had enjoyed a more modest 13.67 margin, and had just the week before survived an 8-7 result against a Harrison County team Scott had dominated. I made no bones about it last week who I thought was going to win this one, but that’s why they play the games. Scott’s Quincy Perrin and Holmes’ Tayquan Calloway were the stars of the early going, as Perrin had a pair of touchdowns including a 57 yarder, while Calloway was impressive on both sides of the ball, sprinting for a 51 yard score and then hauling in a 71 yard pick-six. The two teams traded blows in the first half, with Holmes holding a narrow 16-14 advantage at the break, before Scott took the lead 22-16 to open the third. And at that point, Holmes seized complete control of the game. The Bulldogs posted 28 points in a row over the next quarter and a half to take a 44-22 lead with just 5 minutes remaining in the game. They were almost all big plays, as Calloway scored on an 82 yard run, Tyelon Tate hauled in a 97 yard back-breaking score from Quantez Calloway, and Demario Foster gave Holmes their second pick-six of the night with a 22 yard INT return. Scott managed to battle to a 44-36 margin after a touchdown pass, onside kick, and Perrin run, but after a failed attempt on another onside kick, Tayquan Calloway iced the win for Holmes with a 37 yard touchdown run. Tayquan Calloway finished with what may be the top performance in the state for the week, with 203 yards on 14 rushing attempts and three scores, in addition to his 71 yard pick-six, and another INT for good measure. Scott got standout performances from Quincy Perrin (203 yards on 25 rushes, 3 TDs), Cameron Patterson (180 yards on 6 receptions, 1 TD), and Gus Howlett (16/35, 324 yards, 2 TDs), but it ultimately was not enough. For Holmes, it gave them their first top seed since 2010, though they’ll tangle with the same Harrison County team they had just survived. Scott will match up with Rowan County, who they beat 54-28 in the last week of September. Other games of Note: -#1 Boyle County and #2 Johnson Central both made it official in blowout victories, scoring the top seed in their district via a 53-13 win over Bourbon County and 48-0 win over Letcher County Central, respectively. There still hasn’t been a single 4A team that has shown they can play with these two. -#8 Hopkinsville and #9 Logan County also locked in the three-way tiebreak in District 1 with their 55-13 win over Hopkins County Central and 46-7 win over Calloway County, respectively. Logan County still maintains the tiebreak lead with 14 points, and unless Madisonville-North Hopkins beats Mayfield or Hopkinsville beats Paducah Tilghman, they will likely get the coveted #1 seed. Madisonville can probably grab that top seed with their win, but Hopkinsville would probably still need help from Kenwood (TN) to be able to overtake Logan County. In one week, we’ll know. -Franklin-Simpson clinched their spot atop District 2 with a thoroughly dominating 48-21 win over Warren East. The Wildcats have now won five in a row, which was expected after their tough early schedule. The win over Warren East is probably their most impressive yet, as they posted 435 yards of offense, with 381 on the ground. The Wildcats are getting healthier, but they still will face an uphill climb back to the state finals. Upcoming Game of the Week Everyone is playing out of class this week, and in the top 10, we have an impressive six games against teams that are ranked from other classes. #2 Johnson Central against 3A #2 Belfry has the marquee rankings, but this feels like another year where Johnson Central should have the game in hand. The first meeting between #4 Lexington Catholic and 5A #2 Frederick Douglass should be a big ticket, even if it feels likely that Frederick Douglass will likely have the win. At the very least Lexington Catholic should be able to put an end to the astounding seven game scoreless streak Frederick Douglass has put on their opponents. All of the matchups between District 1 teams and their opponents carry great significance thanks to the tiebreaker, as #9 Logan County visits 5A #5 South Warren, #7 Madisonville-North Hopkins hosts 2A #3 Mayfield, and #8 Hopkinsville hosts 3A #10 Paducah Tilghman. It is that last one that I am going with this week for the GotW. The Tigers badly need a win to have a realistic shot at hosting a playoff game, possibly working themselves into the top spot. Of the three games featuring District 1 teams, I consider this the most realistic shot at a win, though none are favored. But add to that, these two are rivals on a historic scale. We’re talking decades worth of games. The old Western Kentucky Conference rivals aren’t in the same district or even class as they were for some many years, so it is nice to see a game of importance between the two, even if it is mostly on Hopkinsville’s side. The Tigers knocked off Tilghman 16-9 two years ago, but the Blue Tornado came back in a big way last year with a 47-13 win.
  15. When Lexington Catholic played Covington Catholic to a 39-38 result on September 6th behind an incredible Beau Allen performance (455 passing yards, 5 touchdowns), it appeared that perhaps the two-horse race in 4A might be expanded into something more. Their result at Lexington Christian two weeks later (a 43-42 loss) took some of the shine off of that, but their matchup with Boyle County last Friday was still anticipated to show whether or not there was true hope of someone besides Johnson Central to challenge Boyle County’s supremacy. With apologies to Franklin County, that hope is all but extinguished now. The Knights entered the game with two losses by a single point each. Boyle County dropped a season-worst 64 points on them via a running clock, winning 64-28. It would be fair to call the performance surgical. QB Reed Lanter was 24/28 for 494 yards, throwing five touchdowns. Reece Smith hauled in three of those scores, with 8 catches for 275 yards! In all, the Rebels averaged 13.13 yards per play run, racking up 617 yards of offense. In defeat, Beau Allen still threw for 385 yards and three scores, but completed less than 50% of his passes after entering the game completing just under 73%. Put another way, he had 20 incompletions in the game – he had 52 for the season (6 games) coming in. For Boyle County, it all but clinched the top seed in the district in terms of what we expect. Their closest game of the year remains their 30-0 victory over Highlands, and every other game they have played they have gained the running clock on their opponent, winning by 36 or more. At this point, it appears that no one will be able to slow them in 4A with the possible exception of Johnson Central. For Lexington Catholic, they have still yet to win two games in a row since August, though they’ll be favored to win their next two. They’ll take on a Bourbon County team this week that surprised Anderson County in a 35-34 result last Friday. It’s a good bounce back spot, but they know the challenge that will be in front of them mid-November, a likely trip back to this same Boyle County team. The other blockbuster game took place a few hours westward when Madisonville-North Hopkins hosted Hopkinsville. Hopkinsville entered the game with a chance to clinch the top seed in the district after a dominant 21-6 victory over Logan County eight days prior – a Logan County team that knocked of Madisonville at the end of September. The Maroons lost that game on a last second hail mary pass, and were eager to work themselves back into the top of the district mix. Madisonville set the tone immediately, taking advantage of a bad snap in the first minute of the game to set up at the Tiger 31, and cashed in just over two minutes later with a Marquise Parker touchdown reception. On their next drive, Jeriah Hightower continued his Mr. Football candidacy (he’s up to 1,870 yards on just 186 attempts) with a 32 yard touchdown run to give Madisonville a 14-0 lead just 8 minutes into the game. That was all for the first half, but Madisonville extended the lead to 20-0 midway through the third quarter to seemingly clinch the game. The Tigers showed their resiliency, getting a Bland to Jesse touchdown three minutes later, then a Bland to Rushing touchdown as the third quarter ended to make it 20-12. That set the stage for dramatics in the final minute of the game, as Hopkinsville reached the one yard line, took a sack, got more downs on a roughing the passer penalty, and then finally saw Bland and Jesse hook up on an inside slant with less than 20 seconds left to make it 20-18. But for the third time on the night, they could not convert on the two point try, and the Maroons held on for the critical victory. Bland was 21/44 for just 200 yards on the night, though he did throw for the three scores. Hopkinsville actually outgained Madisonville 263-254, but it wasn’t enough. So that leaves us with a three way tie for the top of District 1. Barring something truly remarkable, those three teams will remain deadlocked to end the season. In terms of the postseason implications of the game, Logan County is likely the biggest beneficiary. They currently hold the edge in the three-way tiebreaker, which uses the win total of the top 4 teams beaten by each team, assigning a point for each win. Games among the tied teams do not count. Logan County currently has 12 points, owing primarily to wins over Greenwood and Warren East. Those two teams are highly likely to add three more wins between now and the end of the season to push their total to at least 15. Muhlenberg County (currently 2) and Russellville (currently 1) have one likely win and three possible wins (possible being my judgment) between them. It is conceivable Logan County could get their total as high as 20 without even having to beat South Warren at the end of the season, who would likely add 8 by then – but it is highly unlikely Logan County could win that game. Both Hopkinsville and Madisonville-North Hopkins currently sit at 9 points total, but Madisonville is in the more favorable position from teams they have currently beaten. Union County gives them four points, and they’re likely to add two more with wins over Trigg County and Calloway County. Daviess County and Marshall County add two apiece, and they have three possible wins between them. Ballard Memorial’s 1 rounds out their current total, and it is possible they could add two more with their remaining opponents. In all, it’s conceivable they could get as high as 16 points from those teams. But the real x-factor is their game against Mayfield to end the year, at which point Mayfield will have 8 wins. A win there, and Madisonville is likely to win the district. That leaves Hopkinsville. They currently have only three wins that are generating points, and their fourth one over Christian County will likely stay a zero. Caldwell County has six wins, are highly likely to add a seventh, and possibly could grab an eighth against Murray. Kenwood (TN) has two wins, and I have no idea as to the likelihood of their two remaining games. Let’s say for argument’s sake they get both. With Calloway County unlikely to add to their total of one, that would leave Hopkinsville with a max total of 13 in all likelihood. Their season closer is against Paducah Tilghman – a winnable game. Paducah is likely to have seven wins at that point. That could potentially push them as high as 20 points, which might be enough to grab the district. But without beating Paducah, they’re almost certainly going to be the 3 seed and hitting the road for a tough first round game. I can’t lie – I love three-way tiebreaks because of all these scenarios. It’ll be interesting to see it play out. If you’re curious how the RPI would play it – Madisonville currently has the top RPI of .627, followed by Logan County at .606, with Hopkinsville just behind at .599. Other games of note: #2 Johnson Central just continues to roll along, moving to 7-0 with a 49-6 win over Perry County Central. With the departure of Ashland from the district, this part of the schedule does not provide much resistance for the Golden Eagles, and at this point it looks like they are not likely to face any difficulties until the state semifinals at the earliest. The word I’d use for the performance in games like this is efficient. Riley Preece threw three passes – completed three passes. Two of them were touchdowns. Devin Johnson rushed twice for 93 yards total. Both rushes were touchdowns. #6 Corbin jumped out to a two score lead in the first quarter over Knox Central, but led just 14-7 at halftime. No worries, the Redhounds grinded out 24 points in a row to take a 38-7 lead before Knox tacked on a pair of scores to make the score a respectable 38-21 final. Dakota Patterson hauled in five catches for 100 yards and a score, with Nick Yeager rushing 18 times for 129 yards and a score. Corbin had some rough luck with a bye week and a cancelation causing a three week hole in their schedule, but appear to have settled back in. They visit Lincoln County this Friday before a likely district-deciding battle with Wayne County on October 25th. #7 Wayne County won their fourth in a row 55-21 over that Lincoln County team last Friday behind Braedon Sloan’s 362 yards rushing on just 23 attempts with five touchdowns. Sloan is averaging 13.5 yards per carry this season. #10 Central fell behind twice in the opening half against Waggener, trailing 6-0 just two minutes into the game after a 54 yard Sickles touchdown pass to Allen, and again midway through the second quarter at 14-6 when Sickles found Coleman for a 10 yard score. But the Yellowjackets followed that score with a 13 play, 64 yard drive that consumed the rest of the half, capped by a Duncan 1 yard score as time expired in the half, tying the game at 14 all. A Mucker three yard score gave them the lead for good six minutes into the third, and Bush had a scoop and score to clinch the game five minutes into the fourth, giving Central the 26-14 victory. As usual, defense ruled the day for Central. The two touchdown passes were two of only three completions for Waggener, and the Yellowjackets held them to 178 yards of offense while forcing three turnovers. Central will tune up with North Oldham this week before their big showdown with Franklin County on October 25th. RPI Update Right now, your projected region finals using solely RPI would be: Warren East at Franklin County Moore at Madisonville-North Hopkins Scott at Boyle County Wayne County at Johnson Central Projected state semifinals would be: Johnson Central at Franklin County Madisonville-North Hopkins at Boyle County Upcoming Game of the Week After a few weeks with very high-drama options, this week is a bit of a letdown. A lot of the top 10 features games that are likely not even going to be contests. The game that figures to be the most potentially intriguing is Waggener at #3 Franklin County. Waggener saw their five game winning streak snapped in their loss at Central, unable to overcome the tough Central defense. Still, it was a competitive 26-14 game. Franklin County is one of three remaining unbeaten teams, and has been unchallenged since their unexpectedly close 35-28 result against East Jessamine to open the year. They have their game against Central the next week, so there is the danger of getting caught looking forward in play as well. At the very least, this game should give us a good read on what to expect in that crucial matchup on the 25th.
  16. Last week when I looked ahead at the schedule for week 9, I found the slate to be rather underwhelming, and it made it difficult to designate a game of the week. That pretty much bore out. There were nine games featuring top 10 teams – none against another ranked team – and those games were won by an average of 28.89 points, with all but one being decided by 15+ points. But two did stand out in their surprisingly close margins given what was expected, and it seems no coincidence that the winning team in each are going to play this week – perhaps each got caught peeking. #5 Corbin entered their road matchup with Lincoln County at 4-2, prohibitive favorites against a Patriot team that was 3-4 and had just endured a 34 point beatdown by Wayne County. I personally saw the game as a measuring stick to give us a read on what was anticipated to be a district title game on October 25th between Corbin and Wayne County. And while that ultimately would have still been a title game even if Corbin had lost, it would have lost a bit of its suspense and luster. Lincoln County employed long drives and ball control all night long to aid them in an upset effort, grabbing leads at 7-0 and 14-7 before falling behind 20-14 at the half. Clayton Davis was a star on the night for Lincoln County, hauling in eight passes for 134 yards and two scores from the arm of Nick Harris, the second of which staked the Patriots to a 21-20 lead midway through the third quarter. Jake Steely would provide the answer for Corbin on an 80 yard rushing score to give the Redhounds a 26-21 lead at the end of the third, a score that would stand up for the final. Corbin found great difficulty staying on the field in the second half, with that Steely run proving to be their only play run in the third quarter, and turnovers handing Lincoln County multiple chances to take the lead. But the fourth quarter would be defined by Corbin’s defense, forcing a turnover on downs, a punt, and an interception to seal the 26-21 victory. Cameron Combs was 7/7 for 91 yards and a touchdown pass in the win for Corbin, while the team averaged 10 yards per carry in accruing 224 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, 1-6 Knox Central was visiting #6 Wayne County, where the Cardinals were seeking their fifth straight win. This game saw the underdog jump out fast as well, as Knox Central went up 7-0 less than one minute into the game. Wayne County game right back with a 62 yard drive to tie the game at 7 all two minutes in. And the back and forth tone was set. It was 14-7 Knox Central after one, and 21-14 Knox at the half with the Panthers never trailing. After Braedon Sloan tied the game on a kickoff return to open the half, Knox Central again answered, jumping out to a 28-21 lead just over three minutes into the third. But that was to be their swan song, as the dam finally broke. Wayne County would score twice more in the third to take a 35-28 lead, and a scoop and score by Carson Simpson on a punt block made it 42-28 seconds into the fourth. The teams would trade scores after that for a 49-34 final. Braedon Sloan was everything for the Cardinals in the game, with 25 rushes for 249 yards and five touchdowns in addition to the kickoff return, adding four catches for 58 yards. Knox Central rang up 420 yards of offense, including 249 yards passing from the arm of Brady Worley. Seth Huff added three touchdowns on 155 yards rushing. District Breakdown We’re entering the last week of the district slate, so let’s recap where the district races stand and the implications of this week: District 1 – I went into much greater detail about this last week - http://bluegrasspreps.com/ky-football-high/class-4a-notebook-382669.html – and nothing has changed. Madisonville and Logan County both took care of business while Hopkinsville was on a bye. For Madisonville, their district run is over. Hopkinsville needs only beat Hopkins County Central and Logan County needs only beat Calloway County to trigger the three-way tie. Logan County currently has 14 tiebreaker points and realistically could get as many as 19 without beating South Warren. Madisonville and Hopkinsville both have 10 points. Madisonville could get as high as 16 realistically without beating Mayfield (which would probably take them as high as 21). Hopkinsville probably can’t get higher than 13 based on what they have currently, and so their game against Paducah to end the year is critical, which would likely add 7 to their total to take them to 20. It’s probably Logan County’s to lose based on potential results. I think Hopkinsville would be my greater dark horse because I find them more likely to be able to beat Paducah to make things interesting. Calloway County has already locked up the 4 seed via a win over Hopkins County Central two weeks ago. Prediction – 1 – Logan County, 2 – Madisonville-North Hopkins, 3 – Hopkinsville, 4 – Calloway County District 2 – It was anticipated that Franklin-Simpson and Warren East would be squaring off in an undefeated in-district showdown for #1 this week, but Allen County-Scottsville threw a wrench into the works with a 27-10 stunner at East on Friday. So that means with a win, Franklin-Simpson clinches #1 (which was going to be true anyway). If Franklin-Simpson and AC/S both win, it’s a clean 1-2-3-4 with Franklin, AC/S, East, and Russell County going in that order. Warren East can clinch #1 with a win and an Allen County-Scottsville loss to Russell County, winning a head to head tiebreak with Franklin-Simpson. If Warren East and AC/S both win, it will create a three way tie at the top of the district. In that scenario, Warren East has the others dominated. Wins in the tiebreak don’t count, and outside of the district, East has beaten Russellville (Franklin’s only non-district win currently) as well as Edmonson County, who add three wins with potential for another. They also have a winnable game with Daviess County (3 wins currently) to close the year. Franklin-Simpson closes with Glasgow – a certain loss. AC/S has no current non-district wins (their total is actually currently zero as Warren Central has not won any games), but could add Monroe County’s 4 or 5 wins at the end of the year. In that grouping, East likely wins #1, AC/S has realistic control of their destiny for #2, and Franklin-Simpson would be best served by just winning this week to clinch. If Franklin-Simpson and Russell County both win, it will create a three-way tie for second-place. Russell County has quantity there, but their four out of district wins amount to only four points – shy of East’s current five – and their best hope will be an East loss to Daviess County and a win over LaRue County (four current wins) in their season closer, where they will not be favored. AC/S once again would need to beat Monroe to have any hope, and in this scenario, there’s a real possibility that it would be East at the 2, Russell County the 3, and AC/S falling all the way to the 4. Warren Central is already eliminated from the postseason. Prediction – 1 – Franklin-Simpson, 2 – Allen County-Scottsville, 3 – Warren East, 4 – Russell County District 3 – This one is crystal clear. Moore has already clinched the top seed in the district, sitting at 3-0 with wins over John Hardin and Spencer County, who meet this Friday and each sit at 2-1 in district play. The winner of that game will be the 2 seed, the loser is the three seed. They’ll meet in the playoffs, with the host the only thing up for grabs here. Valley is locked into the fourth seed with a 1-3 record in the district, clinching the playoffs ultimately via a 12-6 win over Marion County on October 3rd. Marion County plays Moore this week, but even the unlikeliest of wins there would push them only into a tie for fourth, where they’d lose the head to head tiebreaker. Prediction – 1 – Moore, 2 – John Hardin, 3 – Spencer County, 4 – Valley District 4 – Another fairly clear one. Central hosts Franklin County this week to decide the top seed. Each team is 3-0 in district play currently. The winner is the #1 seed, the loser the #2 seed. Waggener hosts Shelby County on the same night, with each sitting at 1-2 in district play. The winner of that game will be the #3 seed, the loser the #4 seed. North Oldham has already been eliminated, winless in district play. Prediction – 1 – Franklin County, 2 – Central, 3 – Waggener, 4 – Shelby County District 5 – Realistically, we all know Boyle County is going to be the #1 seed. They do have to make that official with a home win over Bourbon County this week. If Bourbon County were to win that game, they could clinch the #1 seed via head to head tiebreaker if Lexington Catholic were to lose to Anderson County as well. If Boyle County and Lexington Catholic both win, Boyle County is the #1, LexCath the #2, Bourbon County the #3, and Anderson County the #4. If Boyle County and Anderson County both win, it will create a three way tie for second, and if Bourbon County and Lexington Catholic both win, it will create a three way tie for first. I could go into the scenarios here, but I’m going to be blunt – the possibility is so remote that it doesn’t even make sense to discuss. It’s going to be Boyle County and Lexington Catholic winning this week. Prediction – 1 – Boyle County, 2 - Lexington Catholic, 3 – Bourbon County, 4 – Anderson County District 6 – The least heralded and visible of the eastern districts, the top seed in the district will be decided when Scott hosts Holmes this week. Both enter the game at 3-0 in the district, though the margin of victory in their games against the rest of the district strongly suggests Scott will take the #1 seed and Holmes the 2. Rowan County can clinch the #3 seed with a win at Boyd County this week, which would officially put Boyd County out of the playoffs and push Harrison County to the 4 seed. If Boyd County can pull the upset, then it will create a three way tie for third place. Each team would currently have four points in the tiebreaker system, with Rowan County perhaps having the inside track thanks to a winnable game against Montgomery County in their season finale to add some points. Boyd County would be basically all-in on Bath County picking up additional wins, which would seem to make them the most likely to be on the outside looking in. Prediction – 1 – Scott, 2 – Holmes, 3 – Rowan County, 4 – Harrison County District 7 – Corbin hasn’t lost a district game since 2013, and will face the last team to defeat them in a district match, Wayne County. The winner is the 1 seed, the loser gets the two. Lincoln County and Knox Central each enter their game at Knox Central at 0-2 in the district – it’s the same scenario, winner gets the higher seed, in this case the 3, while the loser goes down to the 4 seed. Simple as it gets. Prediction – 1 – Wayne County, 2 – Corbin, 3 – Knox Central, 4 – Lincoln County District 8 – This is the only district where the seeds top to bottom are totally locked in. Johnson Central has already claimed the 1 seed in the district, and will visit Letcher County Central just to complete the formality of an unbeaten slate. Harlan County is 2-1 in the district, and has the 2 seed. If they were to lose against Perry County Central and Letcher County Central were to pull a historic upset against Johnson Central, then there would be a three way tie for second place with Harlan County, Letcher County Central, and Clay County. However, Harlan County would own the tiebreaker, having beaten both the other two head to head already – the same head to head advantage applies if Letcher County Central were to lose and it was just a two way tie between Harlan County and Clay County. Clay County (2-2) is locked into the 3 seed because in a three way tiebreaker after Harlan County claimed the 2 seed, it would revert to straight head to head, where Clay County has the advantage having beaten Letcher County Central. If Harlan County and Letcher County Central won to make it a two way tie between Letcher County Central and Clay County for third, the head to head advantage would apply there too. In reality, Letcher County Central is going to lose to Johnson Central, so really, the tiebreakers are extremely unlikely to even reach that far. Which leaves Letcher County Central at the 4 in those scenarios, and Perry County Central out of the playoffs. Perry County Central is 0-3 in district play, and a 1-3 mark would at best tie them with a 1-3 Letcher County Central, who owns the head to head tiebreak. No prediction, this is locked in: – 1 – Johnson Central, 2 – Harlan County, 3 – Clay County, 4 – Letcher County Central Upcoming Game of the Week The Franklin County at Central game is a real contender, because while Franklin County is the favorite, Central is the team with the greater pedigree, and they’re at home. But Corbin vs. Wayne County is the choice here. As mentioned, it has been six years since Corbin has lost a district game, but despite their higher ranking and homefield advantage, they feel a bit like an underdog here. Wayne County has seemed to have a bit more juice in their common opponents, and Corbin is coming off a much tougher than expected win against Lincoln County. I will be glued to updates to see how the Redhounds defend their crown and field.
  17. 1) Bowling Green (20-5) - 2/4 72-64 W at #5 South Warren, 2/7 51-66 L John Hardin Previous Rank: 1 This Week: 2/11 at Owensboro, 2/14 vs. #14 Warren East 2) Warren Central (19-6) - 2/3 56-35 W at Christian County, 2/5 79-38 W Hopkinsville, 2/7 82-35 W #14 Warren East, 2/8 67-64 W Lafayette Jefferson (IN) Previous Rank: 2 This Week: 2/14 vs. #5 Greenwood 3) Logan County (21-3) - 2/4 79-56 W at McLean County, 2/8 81-45 W at #16 Todd County Central Previous Rank: 3 This Week: 2/11 vs. #5 Greenwood, 2/15 vs. #10 Allen County-Scottsville 4) Barren County (17-8) - 2/4 74-69 W #4 Greenwood, 2/7 48-67 L Central Hardin Previous Rank: 6 This Week: 2/11 vs. #11 Russell County, 2/14 at #15 Cumberland County 5) Greenwood (15-11) - 2/4 69-74 L #6 Barren County, 2/7 65-60 W #5 South Warren, 2/8 61-68 L Bardstown (at Warren Central) Previous Rank: 4 This Week: 2/11 at #3 Logan County, 2/14 at #2 Warren Central 6) South Warren (13-12) - 2/4 64-72 L #1 Bowling Green, 2/7 60-65 L at #4 Greenwood Previous Rank: 5 This Week: 2/11 at #14 Warren East, 2/13 vs. #8 Franklin-Simpson 7) Clinton County (18-6) - 2/8 66-44 W Breathitt County Previous Rank: 8 This Week: 2/11 at McCreary Central, 2/14 at #12 Monroe County 8) Franklin-Simpson (11-12) - 2/4 55-56 L at #10 Allen County-Scottsville, 2/7 78-49 W #17 Russellville Previous Rank: 7 This Week: 2/10 at Butler County, 2/13 at #6 South Warren 9) Glasgow (10-12) - 2/4 63-61 W #12 Monroe County Previous Rank: 9 This Week: 2/10 vs. #10 Allen County-Scottsville, 2/11 at #13 Metcalfe County, 2/14 at Caverna 10) Allen County-Scottsville (11-12) - 2/4 56-55 W #7 Franklin-Simpson, 2/7 66-56 W at #12 Monroe County Previous Rank: 10 This Week: 2/10 at #9 Glasgow, 2/13 vs. Metcalfe County 11) Russell County (11-13) - 2/4 67-46 W #13 Metcalfe County, 2/7 60-64 L Breathitt County Previous Rank: 11 This Week: 2/11 at #4 Barren County, 2/14 vs. Adair County, 2/15 vs. Jackson County 12) Monroe County (9-14) - 2/4 61-63 L at #9 Glasgow, 2/7 56-66 L #10 Allen County-Scottsville Previous Rank: 12 This Week: 2/11 vs. #15 Cumberland County, 2/14 vs. #7 Clinton County 13) Metcalfe County (13-11) - 2/4 46-67 L at #11 Russell County Previous Rank: 13 This Week: 2/11 vs. #9 Glasgow, 2/13 at #10 Allen County-Scottsville, 2/15 vs. #17 Russellville 14) Warren East (4-17) - 2/4 71-70 W at #17 Russellville, 2/7 35-82 L at #2 Warren Central Previous Rank: 14 This Week: 2/11 vs. #6 South Warren, 2/14 at #1 Bowling Green 15) Cumberland County (6-16) - No games Previous Rank: 15 This Week: 2/11 at #12 Monroe County, 2/14 vs. #4 Barren County 16) Todd County Central (5-18) - 2/4 47-41 W at Montgomery Central (TN), 2/8 45-81 L #3 Logan County Previous Rank: 16 This Week: 2/14 at #17 Russellville 17) Russellville (6-15) - 2/4 70-71 L #14 Warren East, 2/7 49-78 L at #7 Franklin-Simpson Previous Rank: 17 This Week: 2/11 vs. Edmonson County, 2/14 vs. #16 Todd County Central, 2/15 at #13 Metcalfe County Notes -It was a bit more difficult for me to leave the status quo at the top two this week. Bowling Green and Warren Central now sport almost identical records (20-5 to 19-6). Both have similar losses to quality teams, with Bowling Green having three of their five losses to BGP top-20 teams and Warren Central having four of their six in the same category (one is BG themselves). Central has the worst loss (Glasgow), but now has the best win, that coming on Saturday against Lafayette Jefferson (IN), a team that is rated 11th in all of Indiana by MaxPreps and the Sagarin ratings. If both teams hold serve this week, then likely I will move Warren Central ahead next week. But let's see what Greenwood does with the Dragons. The two teams meet at Warren Central, where the Dragons have beaten them two straight years after losing three straight to them in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. Those are the only three Gator wins at Warren Central in the past 20 years. -Speaking of that, a crowded scenario at the top of District 14 has played out. South Warren did their best to muddy the waters this week, rallying from 27 down against Bowling Green to draw within four with the ball before falling by eight, and then holding a four point lead at Greenwood late before allowing the Gators to score the final nine of the game to fall by five. We are left with Warren Central alone at the top with a 6-1 district record, and both Bowling Green and Greenwood at 5-2 apiece (in official standings). Bowling Green will meet Warren East at the end of the week, which, that's a win, let's just be honest. That means that if Greenwood were to win at Warren Central, all three teams would be 6-2 in the district, and we'd go to a three-way tiebreak, where any of the three teams could end up matched with one of the others in the 2/3 game. You'd hear the cheers of the region if Bowling Green and Warren Central were matched in the district semifinals. -Logan County keeps humming along, and they have extended their winning streak to 17 games, second only to Ashland's unbeaten record for longest streak in Kentucky. It's the longest win streak for Logan County in the Riherds scoreboard era (since 1998), and my guess is that it's their longest since they won the state title in 1984 - if it wasn't then, it's their longest ever. They completed their district slate at a perfect 6-0, and their 7 point win over Franklin-Simpson in December was their only district game that was even close. There is no team in the region as much a lock for the region tournament. In all likelihood, their matchup with #5 Greenwood on Tuesday and a road trip to Ohio County on February 18th are the only barriers to them taking this win streak into the postseason. -Barren County's week ended with a thud on Friday when they dropped a 19 point decision at Central Hardin, but prior to that, they had run off 10 wins in 11 games, with the lone loss coming at Logan County by a single point. They have quietly rounded into shape the last month, beginning with close calls with a healthier Glasgow and Bowling Green right before that 11 game stretch. The Trojans were 7-6 on January 8th, and now with a run through the 16th District coming up, look like they will enter the postseason with 20 wins at least. Aden Nyekan has pushed his average up to 16.8 PPG, and dropped 27 in a road win over Greenwood on Tuesday, going 13/22 from the field. The sophomore is one of the best of the best in the region. -Glasgow remains an intriguing team. They're still without Jaden Franklin, but Tucker Kirkpatrick has been back on the floor, helping the Scotties end their four game skid in staying alive for the top seed in the 15th District with a 63-61 win over Monroe County. They have seen their record dip under .500 thanks to a 2-5 stretch, but if they were to get fully healthy, they could be very dangerous. Nick Sorrell had 19 points in the win over Monroe County, right at his 19.1 PPG average for the season. -Allen County-Scottsville locked themselves into the 3 seed in the 15th District with a ten point win over Monroe County, pushing the Falcons to an 0-6 slate in-district for the season, and locking them into the 4 spot. AC/S can pull Glasgow into the 2/3 game with them by winning on the road on Monday. If the Scotties win, then there will be a coin flip for the 1 seed.
  18. Final Rankings and Postseason Preview 1) Warren Central (22-6) High Rank - 1, Low Rank - 2, Average Rank - 1 The season experienced a bit of a lull at its midpoint, but ultimately two-time defending region champion Warren Central ended up where it began – at the top of our rankings and as the region favorites. The Dragons raced out of the gates with a 3-0 start, knocking off preseason 3rd Region favorites Owensboro and showing off the three-point attack that would come to define their offense. Then came the lull, beginning with their worst loss of the year, falling 49-48 at home to Glasgow on a buzzer beater. Central would ultimately stumble through an 8-6 stretch against tough opponents, bottoming out in two blowout losses to John Hardin and Bowling Green. But the latter loss remains their last to date. Central has reeled off 11 consecutive wins, their longest streak in six years, and were the outright regular season district champions for the first time since that same 2013/14 season. The Dragons put up a lot of points, averaging 68.79 PPG – their highest season total since the 2012/13 season. The crux of that approach is a steady stream of three-point attempts. The Dragons average 24 attempts per game, accounting for roughly 45% of all their shots. Both Tay Smith and Kobe Brents rank in the top 25 in the state for three point makes per game at 2.9 and 2.8 respectively. Six different Dragons have made 17 or more three pointers on the season. When it’s not a three going up, it is usually region player of the year Dre Boyd doing the scoring – his 161 makes inside the perimeter are the most on the team by 93. His 18.4 PPG average is among the highest in the region, and he almost single handedly brought the Dragons back in their win over Bowling Green in late January, scoring 20 in the third quarter alone. Geovonni Floyd also does his damage inside, and is in the top 10 in the state for field goal percentage among qualified players. The Dragons are talented, veteran, and deep – and playing their best ball of the year. They are definitely vulnerable when they are unable to make their three-point shots, going 7/40 in their losses to John Hardin and Bowling Green, and one of the key parts of their lull was a sudden lack of defense. In four of their six losses, Central allowed over 70 points. Still, the Dragons have the profile of a frontrunner. They open the district with the winner of South Warren and Warren East. The tournament is at South Warren, and the host is expected to be their opponent, which may prove a little tricky. But ultimately, our prediction is that Central wins the region for the third straight year, and ends Bowling Green’s six year stint as district champions. 2) Bowling Green (22-7) High Rank - 1, Low Rank - 3, Average Rank - 2 Unlike Central, which bookended a rough patch with strong play, the Purples were the exact opposite. Their 15 game winning streak from mid-December to late-January was their longest since their state title campaign in 2017, but the bookends combined for just a 7-7 record. That includes a rare losing streak entering the postseason. The Purples lost their final two games of the regular season for the first time in 16 years. The loss to Ballard was understandable, but the home loss to Hopkinsville was definitely a head scratcher. Despite that, Bowling Green is a solid #2 and near co-favorite for the region crown. Averaging nearly 65 PPG, the Purples feature a mold that you could practically find in any of the last 13 years. They play aggressive defense, frequently with full-court pressure, and use their transition game to fuel their offensive attack, looking to get to the rim. Bowling Green attempts a three on only 28.18% of their field goals, choosing instead to go inside, where they hit nearly 52% of their shots. First-team all-region selection Isaiah Mason (a top selection for the second straight year) leads the way, averaging 16.2 PPG. Still just a junior, Mason has a strong mid-range game, and with his length he is tough to match up with properly. His 9.3 rebounds per game leads the team and rates him in the top 40 for the state. Junior Cobi Huddleston is a stronger defensive presence than offensive, but in a region without a lot of big men in the post, he has been known to bully his way to the basket when given the chance. When Bowling Green does shoot outside, sophomore Turner Buttry (11.8 PPG) has proven deadly accurate. A third-team all-region selection, Buttry is shooting 52.6% from three. Third-leading scorer Conner Cooper (10.8 PPG) compliments well from outside as well, knocking down a 42.4% clip. Perpetually young in the last few years, the Purples still don’t have a strong veteran presence, with only reserve Dorian Morrison seeing significant time. With the loss of Jordan Dingle to preseason surgery, Bowling Green typically is only going about 8 deep, so if a team can get into their depth by drawing some fouls, it can cause more problems than years past. Bowling Green lost only a pair of region games, but one was to their district semifinal opponent, Greenwood. That was way back in December, on the road, and their 42 points in that game represented a season low. They proved much more resilient in two home matchups with the Gators (one in a Christmas tourney), scoring 58 and 71 in winning both games. The Purples were just 1/16 from three in their loss, falling behind early and never recovering. A strong start will be crucial for BG, but they are rarely lulled into that many attempts from the perimeter, and if they attack the rim, another trip to the region tournament should be in the offing. They have made six consecutive region finals, and as mentioned each year (until it doesn’t happen), they have not failed to make the finals of a region tournament they advanced to since 2004 – 12 straight appearances. The 2012/13 season when they lost to Warren Central in the district semifinals is the only season they didn’t make the region finals in the last 12 seasons. Our prediction is that they keep that streak alive, reaching the finals, but falling to Central for the third straight year. 3) Logan County (25-3) High Rank - 3, Low Rank - 7, Average Rank - 4 With apologies to Warren Cunningham, who won the KABC COY award for the region, John Tinsley’s job with this Cougar team demanded that recognition, and it was a shame he didn’t get it. Logan County started the year 4-3, but reeled off 21 wins in a row entering the postseason, good enough for the second longest streak in school history. The streak they’re chasing, a 24 game win streak that ran the final 22 games of their state title season in 1983-84 into the start of the next year, is in real jeopardy. The Cougars are overwhelming favorites in District 13, going 6-0 in district play and winning all but one of their matchups by double digits. Their 70.32 PPG leads the region, as does their 17.39 PPG average margin of victory. They went 15-0 in region play, the only unbeaten team in region play – no one else even had as few as one loss. The only game in which they did not score at least 65 points during their winning streak was a 50-49 win over Barren County on January 28th, where they were missing 1st Team all-region selection Anthony Woodard. The Cougars score, they play defense, they win. They are very balanced, with three players averaging between 13.2 and 14.0 PPG, and three others averaging between 8.6 and 9.5 PPG. Jay Hardison leads the team with 14.0 PPG and his 3.7 three pointers per game is #4 in the entire state. He leads the team in three-point percentage (44.8%) despite attempting 125 more than any other player on the team. And he wasn’t even one of the all-region selections. Aforementioned Anthony Woodard comes in at 13.6 PPG. The combo guard-forward is most definitely the most talented player on the team, and the most likely to see the ball in a crunch-time situation. Second-team selection Jose Nazario, a transfer from Puerto Rico, may prove to have been the missing link for the Cougars in their pursuit of a region title. The guard is third on the team with 13.2 PPG, and gave the team yet another strong scoring option, making just under 58% of all attempts. Nazario also leads the team with 8 rebounds per game. Scoring inside, scoring outside, and strong scoring depth – that’s very much a region contender. Their run to the region semifinals last year may prove critical to get them the experience in the tournament atmosphere they need. It also helps that they have easily the clearest path to the region tournament of any team in the region, facing a Russellville squad they beat by 35 and 28 this year. If there is any knock on the Cougars at all, it is that we haven’t seen what they can do against Warren Central or Bowling Green, as neither were on their schedule this year. Logan County fell against both last season, and have lost 14 in a row against the Dragons and 9 in a row against the Purples. Logan County did take down the other three District 14 teams – all at home – culminating with a 75-66 win over Greenwood on February 11th. Even without facing the favorites, it is clear to see that this team is for real, and probably the only team outside the 14th District that I’d feel comfortable in saying I can really see them cutting down the nets. It would help the Cougars greatly if they saw only one District 14 opponent (or hey, NONE), or if they had to face both, if they didn’t have to do it back to back. Given the right circumstances, the Cougars can make a run to the title or at least a runner-up appearance, but our prediction is that they will bow out in the region semifinals against one of the two teams above. 4) Barren County (21-8) High Rank - 4 Low Rank - 7, Average Rank - 5 Now, even though I’d have given the COY to John Tinsley, actual winner Warren Cunningham has done a splendid job with this Trojan team. A preseason dark horse, the Trojans started just 7-6, but closed with 14 wins in their final 16 games. One of those two losses was a one-point road loss at Logan County. They turned a five-point loss to Glasgow just prior to that run into a 17-point victory against the wounded Scotties at the end of the month, riding momentum to a 5-1 record in the 15th District and ultimately, the top seed in the district tournament. Barren County averages a healthy 65 PPG, and has not lost the entire season when they hit that mark. The team is led by first-team all-region selection Aden Nyekan. Last year we tabbed Nyekan as the future star for the team – the sophomore has arrived. Nyekan carries a 16.7 PPG average, leading the team with 7 rebounds per game as well. Nyekan has a strong inside presence, making almost 54% of his shots. Joining him in inside attack is senior Will Bandy, adding 13.5 PPG and 6.3 rebounds per game as well. Bandy is not afraid to step outside and shoot from the perimeter as well, leading the team by percentage with 44.9% accuracy from three. Jacob Shaw is the biggest volume shooter from three for the Trojans, leading the team with 48 makes and 39.3% accuracy. Like Bowling Green, their focus is much more on getting to the rim with more of a post focused attack. Barren County boasts one of the region’s top scoring defenses, holding opponents to just 53 PPG. The Trojans are looking to return to the region tournament for the first time since 2017, and will open with Monroe County. Barren County knocked off the Falcons in both meetings this season, winning by 10 at home in December before gutting out a 47-45 victory on the road on January 20th. That game was won on an Aden Nyekan buzzer beater layup. Barren County has really come on since that matchup, but it is a reminder that though they are the top seed, they are not an unimpeachable favorite. We expect them to win their, take the district, and bow out in the region semifinals on their return to the region tournament. 5) Greenwood (17-13) High Rank - 2, Low Rank - 8, Average Rank - 3 There are many years that Greenwood can be said to be up and down, but this season, they were almost inexplicable at times. The Gator starting lineup may well be the most talented in the entire region. Three of their starters were named to the all-region team. And yet….. they are just 17-13. They announced their presence with an 85-70 win over Glasgow in the second game of the season, and then promptly lost to a Russell County team that is frankly, not supposed to be in their league. They followed that with a loss to Allen County-Scottsville, and then reeled off four straight wins, including a road win over Clinton County and knocking off Bowling Green for the first time in seven years. And then they lost to Franklin-Simpson. All of that was in the first nine games – a microcosm of their entire year. Like many recent years, Greenwood seems destined to be the team you most believe could win the region tournament outside the favorites – if only they could get out of their own district tournament. Cade Stinnett, yet another super soph in the region – leads the team with 15.3 PPG. An athletic guard and second-team all-region selection, Stinnett leads the team in field goal percentage, making 50.3% of his attempts. He has been easily the most consistent scorer for the team. Some of that is due to the focus paid to Ben Carroll. The big man has been the team-leader, and is second on the team with 12.6 PPG. Also a second-team all-region selection, Carroll leads the team in rebounding, and they are at their best when the offense flows through him. That doesn’t always mean he is taking the shot, but Carroll is a talented distributor, a consistent outside threat (39.4%), as well as one of the best ball-handlers. That being said, the team might never be more dangerous than when Noah Stansbury is on fire. A third-team all-region selection, Stansbury is what you expect out of a coach’s son. He’s a good shooter (75/196 from three), a fantastic free throw shooter (85.3%), and plays with high basketball IQ. It’s not an accident that in their victory over Bowling Green that he came out on fire, burying the Purples with four threes and dropping in 24 points. He dropped 26 in their second meeting on 8/10 shooting from three, making fully half of the shots Greenwood made in a game they struggled. If he can get hot from three, anything can happen. Of course, the Gators allow 60 PPG as well – very uncharacteristic of the team over the year. It’s not likely at all they can beat Bowling Green allowing that many. They’ll open the postseason with the Purples, a team they’ve beaten just twice in the last 11 years, and both of those were at home. It’s our prediction that they are unable to get the job done in the postseason away from home, falling in the district semifinals. But if they can find their way past that game, there’s a great chance Greenwood could make their way to the region finals. Or lose in the first round of region. Seriously, it’s all possible with Greenwood. 6) Clinton County (21-7) High Rank - 6, Low Rank - 12, Average Rank - 8 The final team in these rankings with 20+ wins, Clinton County’s journey was much like that of Barren County. They had a bit of a rocky start, entering the new year with a 9-5 record, but closed strong with 12 wins in their final 14 games. The early part of the year can perhaps be chalked up to the lack of Jackson Harlan, the prolific scorer who graduated after taking POY honors last season. In his absence, the Bulldogs have been winning almost exclusively on the back of defense. Their 55 PPG average is well below that of their 20-win peers, but they lead the region in scoring defense, allowing only 49.42 PPG. They have won 15 of their 21 games scoring less than 60 points, a bit of an oddity in the modern game. It’s incredibly impressive, but it also makes them vulnerable. That allowed them to take losses such as a 46-45 result against Franklin-Simpson in December, and an almost unthinkable 52-50 loss to Metcalfe County in the region’s All “A” Classic in January. That loss was their only one to a district opponent, though it did not count in the official district standings. They wrapped up the top seed in the district before that game was even played. Chase Stines leads the team with 15.7 PPG, the only Bulldog averaging in double digits. He also leads the team with 5 rebounds per game. In a bit of an oddity, they will end up playing Metcalfe County in the 1/4 game, matching them against the only team that beat them in the district – a win that ultimately was Metcalfe County’s only win in the district. The Hornets have not looked great lately, making it rather unlikely that the upset will be pulled twice. Our prediction is that Clinton County wins their district, but exits in the region semifinals – unless they happen to face one of the above teams in the first round. Which, Clinton County has a habit of finding poor region draws. 7) Glasgow (14-13) High Rank - 3, Low Rank - 9, Average Rank - 7 Finally, the sad story of Glasgow. Their high hopes for the season took an almost immediate detour when Tucker Kirkpatrick suffered a knee injury in their season opener against Monroe County. It was a harbinger of things to come. Kirkpatrick was just the first of several Scotties to deal with ailments over the season, as starters Bowen Haney and Jaden Franklin have also missed time – Franklin missed nearly a month. Everyone is back now, though Kirkpatrick is clearly limited. This all led to a 1-3 start for Glasgow that snowballed until they were 10-13, falling at home to Allen County-Scottsville to fall to #2 in the district standings. They have rebounded with four straight wins and finally as healthy as they could hope to be, but their development and flow has been completely shot. They are the most likely of any team to come from completely off the radar to make a run due to their talent, but they may never get the chance, having to open at Allen County-Scottsville in the district tournament. The team did place two on the all-region squad, with Jaden Franklin making the second team while Nick Sorrell got his second straight nod on the first-team. Sorrell averaged 19.1 PPG this year, trying to single-handedly lift the team as everyone around him got hurt. It was Sorrell who hit the game winner in their road win over Warren Central, the shining moment of the season to this point. The Scotties have the talent to do something, but it’s hard to see it coming together now. Our prediction is a district runner-up finish to Barren County, and a region quarterfinal exit. 8) Franklin-Simpson (13-14) High Rank - 7, Low Rank - 11, Average Rank - 9 The Wildcats have felt like they were “this close” at times this season. Franklin has had some top-notch wins, knocking off Clinton County, Greenwood, Owensboro, and South Warren. They’ve not really had a terrible loss since falling to Monroe County in the season opener, but the games they’ve lost, they’ve often been completely obliterated. That includes a three game home stretch that saw them lose to Logan County, Barren County, and Bowling Green by 14, 27, and 27. Franklin features a full-court pressure attack that can get them back into games, as it did in a double digit comeback at Clinton County back in a 46-45 win in December. The Wildcats don’t shoot particularly well, making just 42.7% of all shots and just over 29% from the perimeter. DeMarco Chatman was a third-team all-region selection, averaging 12.4 PPG and leading the team in rebounds with 6.4 per game. Kyjuan Stutzman leads the team with 14.7 PPG, owing to his volume from three. Franklin has only had one real winning streak, winning four in a row to open January. They are 4-3 in their last seven games, but other than that win streak, have won two in a row only one other time. They should have little trouble with Todd County Central in their district opener, winning their first two matchups by 13 and 24, but they should finish as runner-up to Logan County and exit in the first round of region. 9) South Warren (15-14) High Rank - 5, Low Rank - 9, Average Rank - 6 I’ve frequently described South Warren as a dangerous team – and they are very much in the same way that Greenwood can be. But they are every bit as inconsistent as the Gators. The only thing consistent about the Spartan program is their .500 play. The team enters the postseason at 15-14, needing just a win over Warren East in the 4/5 district game to grab their second winning season in the last seven years. But this is a team that hasn’t entered the postseason with less than 14 losses since their opening season 9 years ago. They haven’t won more than 16 games in a season since then either. Six of the previous eight seasons for South Warren have seen them within two games of .500 in either direction, and the other two were way on the losing side. It’s hard to explain, because this program has real talent. Jace Carver averages 15 PPG, and shoots 39.2% from three. When he gets hot, as he did in a furious near-comeback over Bowling Green, they can be a real load to handle. Caleb Mitchell-Franklin (13.2 PPG) has really impressed me each time I’ve seen South Warren in person. The team has strong guard play, always has one of two guys with size, but never seems to put it all together. This year is no different, as the team has lost 8 of their last 12 coming into the postseason. Big plus for the squad – they host the district tournament. They open with Warren East, and will easily win that game, but then will face a surging Warren Central squad. South led at the end of the first quarter and at halftime of their home matchup with Central, ultimately falling by five. If they can get into a rhythm, they can absolutely pull the upset. But for a team that has never won a district semifinal, you really can’t predict that happening until you see it the first time – especially not against the region favorites. 10) Allen County-Scottsville (14-14) High Rank - 7, Low Rank - 11, Average Rank - 10 The Patriots suffered some big graduation losses from last year’s surprise success team, and while they’ve flashed at moments, has mostly been a middle of the pack team for the region. Third-team all-region selection Mason Shirley has been a consistently good player for the Patriots, leading them with 15.7 PPG. But the junior hasn’t quite taken the leap forward that was expected after a strong sophomore campaign, likely owing to increased attention. He is joined in double digit scoring by Jax Cooper (12.4 PPG) and Owen Stamper (10.4 PPG). But the team will go as Shirley goes. Against Glasgow, he scored a then-career high 35 points to steal a road victory in overtime, pulling the Scotties into a district tournament matchup with them. Three days later, he dropped 39 on Metcalfe County in a double overtime victory. He had just five in a 34-point loss to Warren Central five days later. Shirley will likely need to be superhuman again for the Patriots to beat Glasgow. I just don’t think it happens. 11) Russell County (13-16) High Rank - 9, Low Rank - 14, Average Rank - 11 Russell County saw an improved season after last year saw them miss the region tournament for the first time, but the Lakers remain far off the radar for contenders. Scott Hamm (14.4 PPG) and Briley Hadley (11.9 PPG) lead an offensive attack that averages 56 PPG. They’ll host a Cumberland County team that they split the regular season with, with each team winning their road matchup. This game will be at tournament host Russell County, which despite the unusual road team trend in their regular season series, bodes well for the Lakers. It seems unlikely they would lose twice at home to the Panthers, so the prediction is for Russell County to get back to region. But that’s all they’ll do. 12) Monroe County (10-17) High Rank - 10, Low Rank - 13, Average Rank - 13 The Falcons have their work cut out for them against Barren County, though they did play the Trojans to a 47-45 decision when they last met in January. The Falcons have closed out the regular season with just three wins in their final 12 games, and have fallen in three straight. Grayson Rich leads the team with 16.2 PPG, with Kale Hagan chipping in 11.1 PPG. The Falcons have frequently had trouble generating offense, with only one game in their last seven topping 70 points. Six of their ten wins this year came at home – our prediction is that they cannot pull the upset of Barren County away from the friendly confines. 13) Metcalfe County (15-14) High Rank - 9, Low Rank - 13, Average Rank - 12 The last month of the season derailed what was looking like a really great story for the Hornets. It’s still a good story, but one goal I was personally hoping for them – their first winning season in nine years – appears to be a longshot with Clinton County looming. The Hornets have fallen to this position with just two wins in their last nine games, turning 13-7 into 15-14. This will still be remembered as a year that Metcalfe County upset Clinton County and captured the 4th Region All “A” title, winning a game in the state tournament as well, even if the other goals don’t fall into place. Junior guard Boston Devore worked his way into a second-team all-region selection, posting 18.6 PPG to lead the squad. Peyton Dial (14.7 PPG) also averages in double figures. Metcalfe County features a three-point heavy attack, averaging almost 21 attempts per game, so if they get hot, they can be giant slayers. But it looks like they’ll bow out against Clinton County in the district semifinals. 14) Warren East (6-20) High Rank - 11, Low Rank - 17, Average Rank - 14 Warren East is seeking their first region tournament appearance in 23 years, but it’s all but an impossibility. The Raiders have stumbled to their worst record in almost a decade, going winless in district play and reaching 20 losses for the first time since 2010/11. Kaleb Matlock (10.5 PPG) and Isaiah Andrews (10.0 PPG) are the only players averaging in double figures for East. They fell by 22 and 26 to their first opponent South Warren, allowing 83 when they played South Warren on the road, which is where they’ll be in this one. With 19 straight district losses, there is no realistic way to believe they’ll win two straight now. 15) Cumberland County (6-20) High Rank - 15, Low Rank - 17, Average Rank – T-15 Dawson Smith leads a Cumberland County squad that averages 58.2 PPG, with Smith chipping in 16.9 per game. He averages a double-double, with his 10.1 rebounds per game coming in as tops in the region. The Panthers went 4-13 in region play, but 3-3 in their district. That included a surprising sweep of Metcalfe County, and a split with district tournament opponent Russell County. Their win was a 59-52 result at Russell County, who also hosts them in the district tourney. While that all sounds good, it seems unlikely the Panthers would be able to do that twice, and they enter at 2-8 since that win over Russell County on January 10th. Their road ends here. 16) Todd County Central (6-21) High Rank - 15, Low Rank - 17, Average Rank - 17 The Rebels just couldn’t get much going this year, winning their first two games but then losing 14 in a row afterwards. They did manage to knock off Russellville twice, getting two district wins, with the last an 80-78 win in double overtime. They fared worse against district tournament opponent Franklin-Simpson, dropping those games by 13 and 24. They’ll lose again here to close their season. 17) Russellville (6-20) High Rank - 14, Low Rank - 17, Average Rank – T-15 The Panthers won their first three games of the season, but have not won two in a row since, and enter the postseason on a nine game losing streak. Russellville went 0-6 in district play, and 0-10 in region play. Jaquis Todd has been a bright spot, averaging 16.3 PPG, but there is no scenario where Russellville upsets first round opponent Logan County, even at home. The Cougars started Russellville’s losing streak with an 82-54 result on January 31st. This will likely be more of the same. Top Players in the 4th Region 1. Dre Boyd, G, Sr. (Warren Central) – Voted the POY by both the 4th Region coaches and the KABC. Boyd is physical on both offense and defense, and is deadly when he gets inside. 2. Isaiah Mason, G, Jr. (Bowling Green) – Mason is as steady as they come, leading the Purples in scoring and rebounding. 3. Nick Sorrell, G, Sr. (Glasgow) – Finished as one of the best scorers in the region despite a revolving door in his supporting cast this season. Sorrell is a player whose desire to win is always apparent. 4. Ben Carroll, F, Sr. (Greenwood) – Carroll may not have the flashy scoring average, but he possesses all the intangibles while providing the ability to do anything you want on offense and defense. 5. Aden Nyekan, F, So. (Barren County) – This is your future POY in the region. Nyekan is just a joy to watch play basketball. 6. Turner Buttry, G, So. (Bowling Green) – A deadly marksman from three and an incredible distributor, Buttry may actually be the key to Bowling Green’s success. 7. Anthony Woodard, F, Jr. (Logan County) – Woodard is just so smooth on the court, and an incredible athlete. 8. Tay Smith, G, Sr. (Warren Central) – One of the top three-point shooters in the state, Smith has an incredibly quick trigger from the perimeter, and his length is great for defense and rebounding. 9. Jose Nazario, G, Sr. (Logan County) – Nazario’s addition to Logan County pushed them from good to great. 10. Cade Stinnett, G, So. (Greenwood) – Another talented sophomore, Stinnett will be Greenwood’s go-to guy the next two seasons.
  19. 1) Bowling Green (17-3) - 1/20 79-62 W #2 Warren Central, 1/21 64-50 W Christian County, 1/24 70-41 W at #14 Warren East Previous Rank: 1 This Week: 1/28 at #7 Franklin-Simpson, 1/31 at #2 Warren Central 2) Warren Central (13-6) - 1/20 62-79 L at #1 Bowling Green, 1/21 61-45 W #5 South Warren, 1/24 70-63 OT W at #3 Greenwood Previous Rank: 2 This Week: 1/28 at #5 South Warren, 1/31 vs. #1 Bowling Green 3) Logan County (16-3) - 1/21 76-43 W #14 Warren East, 1/24 65-51 W at #7 Franklin-Simpson Previous Rank: 4 This Week: 1/28 vs. #6 Barren County, 1/31 at #17 Russellville, 2/1 vs. #9 Glasgow 4) Greenwood (12-9) - 1/21 54-51 W #7 Franklin-Simpson, 1/24 63-70 OT L #2 Warren Central, 1/25 52-76 L LaRue County (at John Hardin) Previous Rank: 3 This Week: 1/28 at #11 Allen County-Scottsville, 1/31 vs. #14 Warren East 5) South Warren (12-8) - 1/21 45-61 L at #2 Warren Central, 1/24 77-46 W at #12 Russell County Previous Rank: 5 This Week: 1/28 vs. #2 Warren Central, 1/31 vs. Ohio County, 2/1 vs. #13 Monroe County 6) Barren County (13-6) - 1/20 47-45 W at #13 Monroe County, 1/21 63-61 W Ohio County, 1/24 57-45 W #11 Allen County-Scottsville, 1/25 77-50 W at #7 Franklin-Simpson Previous Rank: 6 This Week: 1/27 at Hart County, 1/28 at #3 Logan County, 1/31 vs. #9 Glasgow, 2/1 at #16 Todd County Central 7) Franklin-Simpson (9-10) - 1/21 51-54 L at #3 Greenwood, 1/24 51-65 L #4 Logan County, 1/25 50-77 L #6 Barren County Previous Rank: 7 This Week: 1/28 vs. #1 Bowling Green, 1/31 vs. #16 Todd County Central 8) Clinton County (15-6) - 1/21 60-41 W #12 Russell County Previous Rank: 8 This Week: 1/27 at Campbellsville, 1/31 at #11 Allen County-Scottsville, 2/1 vs. Jackson County 9) Glasgow (9-9) - No games Previous Rank: 9 This Week: 1/28 vs. LaRue County, 1/31 at #6 Barren County, 2/1 at #3 Logan County 10) Metcalfe County (13-8) - 1/23 48-47 W Louisville Holy Cross (at Eastern Kentucky University), 1/24 55-67 L Murray Previous Rank: 10 This Week: 1/27 at #13 Monroe County, 1/31 vs. #15 Cumberland County 11) Allen County-Scottsville (9-9) - 1/24 45-57 L at #6 Barren County Previous Rank: 11 This Week: 1/28 vs. #4 Greenwood, 1/31 vs. #8 Clinton County, 2/1 at #1 Bowling Green 12) Russell County (8-12) - 1/21 41-60 L at #8 Clinton County, 1/24 46-77 L #5 South Warren, 1/25 43-79 L at Pulaski County Previous Rank: 12 This Week: 1/27 at #15 Cumberland County, 1/31 vs. Casey County 13) Monroe County (7-11) - 1/20 45-47 L #6 Barren County, 1/24 50-84 L Taylor County Previous Rank: 13 This Week: 1/27 vs. #10 Metcalfe County, 1/31 vs. Adair County, 2/1 at #5 South Warren 14) Warren East (3-14) - 1/21 43-76 L at #5 Logan County, 1/24 41-70 L #1 Bowling Green, 1/25 59-50 W #15 Cumberland County Previous Rank: 14 This Week: 1/31 at #4 Greenwood, 2/1 at Marshall County 15) Cumberland County (4-15) - 1/24 61-64 L Hart County, 1/25 50-59 L at #14 Warren East Previous Rank: 15 This Week: 1/27 vs. #12 Russell County, 1/28 at #16 Todd County Central, 1/31 at #10 Metcalfe County, 2/1 at McCreary Central 16) Todd County Central (4-14) - 1/21 65-62 W #16 Russellville Previous Rank: 17 This Week: 1/28 vs. #15 Cumberland County, 1/31 at #7 Franklin-Simpson, 2/1 vs. #6 Barren County 17) Russellville (5-11) - 1/21 62-65 L at #17 Todd County Central, 1/24 60-67 L at Edmonson County Previous Rank: 16 This Week: 1/28 at Fort Campbell, 1/31 at #3 Logan County, 2/1 vs. Caverna (at Adair County) Notes -The early season struggles for Bowling Green seem a distant memory now. Even as recently as their matchup with Barren County on January 7th, there were signs of weakness. But the Purples are now the owners of a 14 game winning streak, third longest in the state. Since the Barren County game, they have not scored less than 64 points, and have won those six games by an average of 16.8 PPG. That includes their 79-62 win over Warren Central, which marked a season high for points, and kept them in control of their own destiny for the #1 seed in District 14. The Purples shot 65.9% from the field in that game, and were 17/23 from the foul line. It cemented their status as the top team in the region, at the very least until their rematch at Warren Central this Friday. If they win that rematch with Central, then they become a virtual lock for the top spot in the district. They'd need only beat South Warren and Warren East in their final two district games. They've never lost to South Warren, and they just finished polishing off their 51st straight victory over East, this week by a 70-41 score. -The Purples have now won 19 of 20 at home, encompassing the past two seasons. It is likely that the only hurdle they have between them and a perfect season at home is their matchup with John Hardin on February 7th. -For Warren Central, the loss to Bowling Green was a gut check, the second straight in blowout fashion after getting their heads handed to them by John Hardin. They found a way to a fairly easy win against South Warren on Tuesday despite having a short bench due to illness and injury, but the jewel of the week was a critical overtime victory over Greenwood by a 70-63 score. The Dragons trailed by 8 in the fourth quarter and by six with less than two minutes left. But after starting a ghastly 3/25 from three, they finally found the touch, going 4/5 in the final six minutes of basketball, and never trailed in overtime. They too control their own destiny in District 14, needing only to win out to take the top seed. Their schedule is slightly more difficult than Bowling Green, because in addition to playing the Purples, Central still has a mid-February return date with Greenwood, albeit both coming at home. -Greenwood is a hard luck loser out of the #3 spot, dropping to #4. By almost any measure, they should have won the game against Warren Central, which would have kept them in a stronger position for chasing the top spot. Greenwood repeatedly missed free throws as they tried to close the game out, missing six of their last seven attempts. Two of those misses came from an ill Noah Stansbury, who had missed only seven free throws all year entering the contest. The last three misses came with a 58-56 lead, and that margin allowed Dre Boyd to drive the lane and draw a foul, tying the game with two free throws. Ben Carroll missed a fadeaway 18 footer at the buzzer that would have given them the win, and the rest was history. Their game against LaRue County hardly factors, as they were missing three starters with the flu in the game. -Meanwhile, it is finally time to move Logan County up. The Cougars are 16-1 after starting the year 0-2, and are the last unbeaten team in games against 4th Region opponents. They have not scored less than 65 points since their last loss on December 21st, and after a 14 point win over Franklin-Simpson, they need only a single win against Russellville or Todd County Central to clinch the top seed, or a single loss by Todd County Central. In other words, they've clinched the top spot. The team remains remarkably balanced, with four players averaging in double figures, led by Anthony Woodard's 13.3 PPG. I've mentioned this previously, but I consider it a legitimate possibility that they don't lose another game before the postseason. Their only truly daunting matchups are home games against Glasgow and Greenwood, and a road trip to Ohio County on February 18th. -Barren County had a strong week, bringing home four wins, including two District 15 wins to move them to 4-1 in district play. That sets up this week's matchup with Glasgow at Barren County as a very, very big game. Glasgow remains 3-0 in district play, but would have to win against both Monroe County and Allen County-Scottsville should they falter against Barren County, while the Trojans would be in the clubhouse with a 5-1 record. It also means that Glasgow will clinch the top spot if they can win on Friday. Barren County has won six in a row since they failed to hold on to a double digit lead against Bowling Green on January 7th. -Clinton County finished off their 6-0 district record (not counting their All "A" loss), but they'd already clinched the 16th's top spot. This week may sort out the rest. Tomorrow, Russell County will travel to Cumberland County. Russell County sports a 1-3 district record, while Cumberland County is 2-2. If Cumberland County wins, they will assure themselves of no worse than the #3 seed, staying away from Clinton County. If Russell County wins, it means that either of the two teams plus Metcalfe County could end up anywhere from 2-4. Metcalfe County will join the action as they host Cumberland County on Friday. -There aren't quite as many top tier games this week as there were last week, but several of great importance. The games this week most likely to change rankings: 1/27 #12 Russell County at #15 Cumberland County, 1/31 #1 Bowling Green at #2 Warren Central, 1/31 #9 Glasgow at #6 Barren County, 1/31 #8 Clinton County at #11 Allen County-Scottsville.
  20. 1) Warren Central (1-0) - 12/3 72-56 W Wayne County Previous Rank: 1 This Week: 12/10 vs. Owensboro, 12/14 vs. Henderson County (at Barren County) The back to back region champions opened with a win in their home opener for the fifth straight season, knocking off the always game Wayne County Cardinals by a 16 point margin. Dre Boyd fouled out but had a co-team high 18 points. Tay Smith also had 18 points, fueled by a 5/12 performance from three. 3rd Region favorite Owensboro should provide a much better opponent this week. 2) Bowling Green (1-1) - 12/3 61-69 L at Madisonville-North Hopkins, 12/7 63-46 W Bardstown (at Muhlenberg County) Previous Rank: 2 This Week: 12/10 at #4 Glasgow, 12/13 vs. South Laurel (at Jackson County), 12/14 vs. Pikeville (at Jackson County) The Purples were hampered by a significant size disadvantage in their opener against BGP-top 10 opponent Madisonville, and fell behind by as many as 16 before rallying to make a game of it. They received a couple of reinforcements on Saturday when they took on Bardstown, as football players Conner Cooper and Dez Wilson returned. The Purples weren't particularly sharp offensively in that one, but locked down everyone but Traynor, coasting to an easy win. This week they'll have a top matchup on paper with Glasgow, who they haven't lost to in 11 years. 3) Greenwood (1-1) - 12/3 70-76 L Owensboro Catholic, 12/6 85-70 W #3 Glasgow Previous Rank: 4 This Week: 12/10 at #14 Russell County, 12/12 vs. #8 Allen County-Scottsville, 12/14 at #12 Clinton County Cade Stinnett and Noah Stansbury got the Gators out to a great start to the season. They fell short in a comeback attempt against Owensboro Catholic, but Stinnett dropped 20 and Stansbury dropped 19 in that one. They reversed roles in their win over Glasgow, as Stansbury poured in 21 points and was 3/5 from behind the arc - Stinnett had 17. The Gators absolutely walloped Glasgow from the perimeter, going 10/25 from three, and were never seriously challenged. Greenwood had four players in double digits in each game, with Ben Carroll and Marc Grant joining Stinnett and Stansbury. The Gators are for real, and the teams ahead of them will surely take notice. 4) Glasgow (1-2) - 12/2 51-45 W at #12 Monroe County, 12/6 70-85 L at #4 Greenwood, 12/7 81-83 OT L at Campbellsville Previous Rank: 3 This Week: 12/10 vs. #2 Bowling Green, 12/13 at #14 Russell County The week was no positive for Glasgow. They struggled in their district win over Monroe County, and lost sharpshooter Tucker Kirkpatrick to a knee injury - one that may eliminate him for the season. That means Nick Sorrell and Jaden Franklin will have to carry even more of the load - Sorrell had 33 against Greenwood and Franklin had 22. They will desperately need a third option to emerge. They don't get a respite as they host Bowling Green on Tuesday - it will take them time to regroup. 5) South Warren (2-0) - 12/3 87-68 W #10 Allen County-Scottsville, 12/6 73-64 W at Barren County Previous Rank: 8 This Week: 12/10 at #11 Franklin-Simpson, 12/13 vs. #13 Warren East, 12/14 at #7 Logan County No one in the region had a better week than South Warren. We thought they could be a dark horse, but they made statements immediately. Jace Carver was relentless in the opener, with 24 points and shooting 4/9 from outside. Tayshaun Jones also posted a strong 20 point effort. The Spartans exploded for 31 points in the first quarter of that one, racing out to a 19 point lead and never leading by less than 12 after. Against Barren County, they weren't quite as dominant early, falling behind by seven in the first quarter and still down five at the half. South slowly reeled them in, taking advantage of some Trojan foul trouble to seize the lead entering the fourth quarter, and closing the game out from the foul line. It was South Warren's first win over Barren County since their inaugural season, breaking a seven game losing streak in the series. They open district play this Friday when they host Warren East, and have a nice benchmark game against Logan County on Saturday. 6) Barren County (1-1) - 12/3 85-47 W Green County, 12/6 64-73 L #8 South Warren Previous Rank: 5 This Week: 12/13 vs. #10 Monroe County, 12/14 vs. Hopkinsville The other side of the coin in that big game, the Trojans opened with a big win over Green County, as expected. Against South, Bandy had 24 points to lead the Trojans, but missed a huge portion of the third quarter along with other primary scorer Aden Nyekan, and that's where Barren County lost control of the game. Barren especially struggled on the boards in that one once those two went to the bench. Jacob Shaw has proven to be a strong addition through two games, transferring in from Glasgow Christian. The Trojans will look to rebound in district play against Monroe County on Friday. 7) Logan County (0-2) - 12/3 57-68 L Muhlenberg County, 12/7 63-67 L Bullitt East (at Campbellsville) Previous Rank: 6 This Week: 12/13 vs. #11 Franklin-Simpson, 12/14 vs. #5 South Warren It was not a strong open for the Cougars, who started last season 6-0 (or 5-1 if you count the actual result they had that was wiped by forfeit). Woodard had 24 to lead Logan County in their opening loss to Muhlenberg County, complimented by Jose Nazario's 18 points. They posted a strong effort against a Bullitt East team that had knocked off Scott County earlier in the week. They'll face the first of two crucial district contests with Franklin-Simpson before a tough back to back with a stronger than expected South Warren squad. 8) Allen County-Scottsville (0-2) - 12/3 68-87 L at #8 South Warren, 12/7 76-78 L at LaRue County Previous Rank: 10 This Week: 12/10 vs. Adair County, 12/12 at #3 Greenwood, 12/13 at #17 Cumberland County The Patriots were on the wrong side of that opening blitz against South Warren, getting as close as 12 points in the second half with five minutes remaining in the contest. Michael Smith was a perfect 7/7 from the field in the game to lead the Patriots with 17 points. Mason Shirley, widely expected to lead them in scoring this season, chipped in with 16. They had better luck in a tight loss to LaRue County as they scorched the nets for 59% shooting in the first half. The problem was that the Hawks shot 61% themselves. They trailed by 14 entering the final quarter but were right there at the end. Jax Cooper had 22 and Owen Stamper had 21 in that one. 9) Metcalfe County (2-0) - 12/3 69-61 W #11 Warren East, 12/6 58-54 W #12 Monroe County Previous Rank: 13 This Week: 12/10 at #17 Cumberland County, 12/13 vs. #12 Clinton County Dating back to last season, the Hornets are no 7-6 in their last 13 games. That may not seem like a big deal, but for a program that was 4-25 just two seasons ago, it very much is. Their opening win over Warren East snapped a seven game losing streak to the Raiders. Peyton Dial led the Hornets in that contest with 24 points, and Boston Devore chipped in 18. They followed that with their first win over old district rival Monroe County since 2011, a span of 14 straight losses. That, combined with losses by some of the other teams ranked around them, catapults them into our region top 10 for the first time ever. They have a big week ahead with two district games - especially that game against Clinton County. If the Hornets can win that one, then we can take them seriously as a real threat to win that district. 10) Monroe County (1-2) - 12/2 45-51 L #3 Glasgow, 12/3 67-59 W #7 Franklin-Simpson, 12/6 54-58 L at #13 Metcalfe County Previous Rank: 12 This Week: 12/10 at #12 Clinton County, 12/13 at #6 Barren County, 12/14 vs. Edmonson County (at Barren County) It was an up and down week for the Falcons. They shot only 30.6% from the field in their opening loss to Glasgow, which was a tight game, so a slight moral victory. They followed that with a bit of an upset over Franklin-Simpson. Grayson Rich had 19 in that one as they rebounded to shoot 48.8% overall and 6/12 from three. But the closing loss to Metcalfe County was a surprise - as mentioned they had not lost to Metcalfe County in nearly nine years. They face their rival from their old district when they visit Clinton County, but of far greater importance is their current district matchup against Barren County on Friday. 11) Franklin-Simpson (1-1) - 12/3 59-67 L at #12 Monroe County, 12/6 46-45 W at #9 Clinton County Previous Rank: 7 This Week: 12/10 vs. #5 South Warren, 12/13 at #7 Logan County Franklin-Simpson almost had a REAL bad week. Andreyous Miller was dominant in the loss to Monroe County, dropping 33 points, shooting 11 of 17 from the floor. They then visited Clinton County and trailed 38-12 with just over 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Suddenly, they flipped a switch and flipped the script, stunning the Bulldogs with a 34-7 run and completing the comeback when Miller scored on a putback with 4 seconds remaining. Put another way, Franklin-Simpson averaged .55 points per minute in the first 22 minutes of the game. They increased that by nearly seven times (3.4) in the last ten minutes. They won't be able to get away with that in two tough games this week, including a crucial road trip to Logan County. 12) Clinton County (2-1) - 12/2 56-46 W at Casey County, 12/6 45-46 L #7 Franklin-Simpson, 12/7 54-44 W North Hardin (at Central Hardin) Previous Rank: 9 This Week: 12/10 vs. #10 Monroe County, 12/13 at #9 Metcalfe County, 12/14 vs. #3 Greenwood That loss to Franklin really spoiled a solid week, as the Bulldogs still emerged with a winning record in their first three games. However, the scoring is clearly going to be a concern. They had only eight games out of 32 played a year ago where they failed to score more than the 56 point total that they have as a season-high through three games. They lost a lot of scoring to graduation, and at least early, it appears they are struggling to find a spark. 13) Warren East (0-2) - 12/3 61-69 L at #13 Metcalfe County, 12/6 54-58 L Daviess County Previous Rank: 11 This Week: 12/10 vs. North Hardin, 12/13 at #5 South Warren The Raiders have had documented issues with their record from January on, but they have rarely started poorly in December lately. This is just their second 0-2 start since the 2010/11 season. Ryan Carter (15.5 PPG) and Kaleb Matlock (13.5 PPG) are off to solid starts, but one area of issue that is glaring is the three point shooting. The Raiders shot 33.6% from the perimeter last season, but are just 11/38 (28.9%) from outside so far. They face district foe South Warren on Friday - they have lost 11 in a row in district play. 14) Russell County (1-1) - 12/3 50-66 L at Somerset, 12/7 60-30 W Garrard County (at Mercer County) Previous Rank: 14 This Week: 12/10 vs. #3 Greenwood, 12/13 vs. #4 Glasgow The Lakers lost 10 of their last 11 games last year, failing to reach the region tournament for the first time as a member of Region 4. Ryan Coffey (17), Briley Hadley (15), and Scott Hamm all reached double figures in their loss to Somerset, but the team had a terrible night from the field (36.5%), three (21.4%), and the line (52.9%). They face possibly the toughest region slate this week. 15) Russellville (2-0) - 12/2 57-45 W Greenbrier (TN), 12/7 56-54 W Adair County Previous Rank: 16 This Week: 12/12 at East Robertson (TN), 12/14 at McLean County New head coach Carlos Quarles is unbeaten as the top man, as his Panthers start the year 2-0. The team won only eight games all of last season and started 0-4, so already, things have improved. The Panthers moved away from their traditional scheduling practices this year, and won't play a district game until January. They'll look to solidify some momentum before tackling the important games. 16) Todd County Central (2-0) - 12/2 62-43 W Hopkins County Central, 12/6 60-57 W at Ballard Memorial Previous Rank: 17 This Week: 12/14 vs. Whitesville Trinity Similarly, Todd County Central is already off to a much better start than a season ago under returning HC Dennis Pardue, who coached the team back at the beginning of the 2000s. They won just five games a year ago, so already they have to be psyched with a 2-0 mark. That snapped a 15 game losing streak overall. They too have time to build some momentum, with no district games until January. 17) Cumberland County (0-3) - 12/3 57-69 L at Adair County, 12/6 59-70 L at Campbellsville, 12/7 58-62 L Edmonson County Previous Rank: 15 This Week: 12/10 vs. #9 Metcalfe County, 12/13 at #8 Allen County-Scottsville The news is not so positive for Cumberland County. They fell in their final six contests a season ago, and now extend that streak to nine straight losses. They'll get a chance to turn that around as they open district play on Tuesday.
  21. Rankings 1) Warren Central (3-0) - 12/10 68-59 W Owensboro, 12/14 78-41 W Henderson County (at Barren County) Previous Rank: 1 This Week: 12/16 vs. #3 Glasgow, 12/19 at #9 Franklin-Simpson 2) Bowling Green (3-2) - 12/10 64-60 W at #4 Glasgow, 12/13 64-71 L South Laurel (at Jackson County), 12/14 62-45 W Pikeville (at Jackson County) Previous Rank: 2 This Week: 12/17 at #8 Greenwood, 12/21 vs. Christian County (at South Warren) 3) Glasgow (2-3) - 12/10 60-64 L #2 Bowling Green, 12/13 51-49 W at #14 Russell County Previous Rank: 4 This Week: 12/16 at #1 Warren Central, 12/20 vs. Manual (at PRP), 12/21 vs. DeSales (at PRP) 4) Logan County (2-2) - 12/13 64-57 W #11 Franklin-Simpson, 12/14 63-48 W #5 South Warren Previous Rank: 7 This Week: 12/17 vs. Apollo, 12/20 vs. Taylor County (at Clinton County) 5) South Warren (4-1) - 12/10 60-55 W at #11 Franklin-Simpson, 12/13 83-61 W #13 Warren East, 12/14 48-63 L at #7 Logan County Previous Rank: 5 This Week: 12/16 at #15 Todd County Central, 12/20 vs. #8 Greenwood, 12/21 vs. Apollo 6) Barren County (2-2) - 12/13 63-53 W #10 Monroe County, 12/14 59-63 L Hopkinsville Previous Rank: 6 This Week: 12/16 at Edmonson County, 12/17 vs. Caverna, 12/20 at #7 Allen County-Scottsville, 12/21 vs. Meade County (at South Warren) 7) Allen County-Scottsville (3-2) - 12/10 46-44 W Adair County, 12/12 72-63 W at #3 Greenwood, 12/13 62-51 W at #17 Cumberland County Previous Rank: 8 This Week: 12/17 at #17 Warren East, 12/20 vs. #6 Barren County, 12/21 vs. St. Xavier (at Warren East), 12/21 vs. #16 Cumberland County (at Warren East) 8) Greenwood (2-3) - 12/10 53-64 L at #14 Russell County, 12/12 53-64 L #8 Allen County-Scottsville, 12/14 60-53 W at #12 Clinton County Previous Rank: 3 This Week: 12/17 vs. #2 Bowling Green, 12/20 at #5 South Warren, 12/21 vs. North Hardin (at South Warren) 9) Franklin-Simpson (1-3) - 12/10 55-60 L #5 South Warren, 12/13 57-64 L at #7 Logan County Previous Rank: 11 This Week: 12/16 vs. #17 Warren East, 12/19 vs. #1 Warren Central 10) Clinton County (4-2) - 12/10 68-49 W #10 Monroe County, 12/13 53-49 W at #9 Metcalfe County, 12/14 53-60 L #3 Greenwood Previous Rank: 12 This Week: 12/17 vs. #16 Cumberland County, 12/20 vs. Taylor County, 12/21 vs. Hopkins County Central, 12/21 vs. Eastern 11) Russell County (2-2) - 12/10 64-53 W #3 Greenwood, 12/13 49-51 L #4 Glasgow Previous Rank: 14 This Week: 12/16 at #12 Metcalfe County, 12/19 vs. TBA (at Gatlinburg-Pittman) 12) Metcalfe County (2-2) - 12/10 83-86 OT L at #17 Cumberland County, 12/13 49-53 L #12 Clinton County Previous Rank: 9 This Week: 12/16 vs. #11 Russell County, 12/17 vs. Hart County, 12/19 at Edmonson County, 12/20 vs. Thomas Nelson (at Edmonson County), 12/21 vs. Green County (at Edmonson County) 13) Monroe County (1-5) - 12/10 49-68 L at #12 Clinton County, 12/13 53-63 L at #6 Barren County, 12/14 65-75 L Edmonson County (at Barren County) Previous Rank: 10 This Week: 12/19 vs. Cordia (at Berea) 14) Russellville (3-1) - 12/12 68-67 W at East Robertson (TN), 12/14 44-62 L at McLean County Previous Rank: 15 This Week: 12/17 vs. Butler County, 12/20 at Caldwell County 15) Todd County Central (2-1) - 12/14 56-57 L Whitesville Trinity Previous Rank: 16 This Week: 12/16 vs. #5 South Warren, 12/17 at Caldwell County, 12/20 vs. Owensboro Catholic (at Butler County), 12/21 vs. Murray (at Butler County), 12/21 at Butler County 16) Cumberland County (1-4) - 12/10 86-83 OT W #9 Metcalfe County, 12/13 51-62 L at #8 Allen County-Scottsville Previous Rank: 17 This Week: 12/17 at #10 Clinton County, 12/21 vs. #7 Allen County-Scottsville (at Warren East), 12/21 vs. St. Xavier (at Warren East) 17) Warren East (0-4) - 12/10 44-75 L North Hardin, 12/13 61-83 L at #5 South Warren Previous Rank: 13 This Week: 12/16 vs. #9 Franklin-Simpson, 12/17 vs. #7 Allen County-Scottsville, 12/21 vs. Caverna, 12/21 vs. Ohio County Notes -It's official: The 4th Region is a little crazy. Several of these results were out of nowhere. Russell County beats Greenwood? Cumberland County beats Metcalfe County? Even South Warren losing to Logan County was a little surprising, especially the margin. Through two weeks, the only clear things seem to be that Warren Central and Bowling Green are at the top, and that below them just about anything can happen. We'll find out tomorrow when Warren Central hosts Glasgow if we should expand that to the top as well. -Warren Central is now the last unbeaten team in the region after South Warren was knocked off by 15 against Logan County. -South Warren had equaled the best start in school history at 4-0. In failing to get to 5-0, they still have not been five games over .500 at any point in a season since their first year. -Glasgow was missing two starters when they took on Bowling Green (counting Kirkpatrick who may be out the whole season), so to lose by only four, even if it included a decent comeback, was a bit of a moral victory. Nearly losing to Russell County later that same week was..... odd. -Logan County seized control of the 13th district with their win over Franklin. Then again, the Cougars won the early round last season as well before Franklin-Simpson won the January rematch. -I expect it will eventually be better for Barren County, but right now they're doing the exact thing they did a season ago, winning a game, losing the next, always balancing. The Trojans were never two games above or below .500 last year, and they are 19-19 in their last 38 games. -I don't know what to make of Greenwood. They absolutely crushed Glasgow in their game last week, and then completely flatlined against Russell County, including going 4/14 from the foul line. They went 11/13 from the charity stripe when they faced ACS, but lost that one too when they shot 39.3% from the field. They play Bowling Green on Tuesday - they have lost 16 straight and 25 of 26 against their rivals. They need to find the game that led them to a win over Glasgow. -That Cumberland County result was extremely surprising. The Panthers hit 7/14 from three and 29/53 from the field in the OT win, led by Dawson Smith's 28 points. It was the first district win for Cumberland County in two seasons, and ended a 7-51 stretch for the team, including nine straight losses. -This week's schedule highlights are #3 Glasgow at #1 Warren Central (12/16), #2 Bowling Green at #8 Greenwood (12/17), #8 Greenwood at #5 South Warren (12/20), and #6 Barren County at #7 Allen County-Scottsville.
  22. Much like Thanos – this was inevitable. When the season began, Boyle County and Johnson Central were pegged as 1 & 2, and though the chairs behind them were filled by different teams from time to time as the season went on, those two never budged and remained on a collision course. Last Friday did nothing to change that. We were, however, treated to a rare event not seen this season – Boyle County received a little push. The #1 Rebels hosted #9 Central in a game many thought we’d see in the 3A finals last year, but Corbin crashed that party. Boyle County entered the game having not played a game decided by less than 30 points all season. It became clear right away that this would not be as easy as those, as Central actually held Boyle County to a scoreless tie in the first quarter, then took a 6-0 lead just seconds into the second quarter on a Vernon Duncan QB keeper on 4th and inches, completing a 96 yard drive. But that would prove to be the highlight of the night for the Yellow Jackets. After the Rebels took the lead on the ensuing possession, Duncan was knocked from the game and stretchered off the field. Reese Smith would haul in a 24 yard touchdown pass on 3rd and 13 at the quarter’s midpoint to provide a 14-6 margin at the half. That lead was extended to 24-6 entering the final quarter before a Hathaway 56 yard run and subsequent two point conversion made it 24-14. McDaniel would slam the door shut for Boyle County with a 42 yard touchdown run with just under 8 minutes left, providing the final 31-14 margin. It was an admirable effort from the Yellow Jackets, worthy of their championship pedigree. They held Boyle County to 379 yards of offense, and believe me, with how the Rebels have played, I mean it when I say the “held” them to that. Hathaway led the Yellow Jackets with 90 yards rushing on 8 attempts, as along with Duncan, the two QBs accounted for all of Central’s scoring. Reed Lanter threw just his third INT on the season in the game, but was still 11/18 for 187 yards and two scores for the Rebels. Will McDaniel carried a heavy workload with 190 yards and two scores on 25 rushes, while Reese Smith kept up his stellar play with four receptions for 102 yards and a score. It was just the fifth time all year that Boyle County allowed more than 7 points to an opponent, and one of only two games where they did not gain the running clock. It was a strong tune-up for the championship to come. Things were much more business-as-usual for #2 Johnson Central. The Golden Eagles were all over #7 Madisonville from the jump, racing out to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter and 29-7 at the half. The Maroons were never closer than two scores from there (after a score to open the third quarter to make it 29-14), and ultimately Johnson Central scored 23 straight to close the game out and gain yet another running clock. On the year, they have played only two games that didn’t feature a running clock margin, and none of those have come since September. Devin Johnson was looking to make a statement in the contest, posting 280 yards on 21 attempts with two scores as he squared off with one of the best rushers in the state on the other side of the field in Jeriah Hightower. Johnson won the contest on the scoreboard and in the statbook. Dillon Preston had a strong game as well, with 11 carries for 114 yards and a score. For Madisonville, Jeriah Hightower did have a strong game with 184 yards on the ground on 31 punishing attempts, but failed to find the end zone. He closed his career with 6,343 yards, good enough to enter the top 20 on the all-time rushing list. He crossed the 3,000 yard threshold against Johnson Central, finishing with 3,001 on the season, a top ten all-time effort in the state and the record for the proud Maroon program. Madisonville’s all-time leading rusher will be missed, both by the program and by those lucky enough to watch him. That leaves us with #1 Boyle County squaring off with #2 Johnson Central. For Johnson Central, it is their fifth straight state title game appearance, but they’re seeking just their second title during that run. For Boyle County, they return to the title game after failing to make it in an upset in 2018 – they won the 2017 3A title. The Rebels are winners of 39 of their last 40 games and take a perfect 14-0 record into the contest. Johnson Central has won 27 of their last 28 games and are also a perfect 14-0 for the first time in school history – their 14 straight wins are a school record. The game will feature two contrasting styles. Johnson Central has rushed for over 4,000 yards this season, led by Devin Johnson and his 12.45 YPC along with a touchdown on every 6.5 attempts. Riley Preece has been economical in completing 74% of his passes, but only attempting 65 on the season. Meanwhile, no Rebel has rushed for more than 827 yards this season, but Reed Lanter has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the state in a pass-heavier attack for Boyle County. Lanter is 161/220 for 2,977 yards on the year. He has thrown only three interceptions against 39 touchdowns. Reese Smith is a stud at WR, with 1,353 yards receiving – he has a touchdown on every 2.7 of his 51 receptions for 19 this season. There will be stars all over the field and two dominant programs squaring off – I highly recommend you find your way to Kroger Field to take it in. As for a prediction, my playoff preview had it Boyle County 35 Johnson Central 21 – I think I’ll stick with it, but a flipped result would not be the most surprising thing ever.
  23. Lexington Catholic has been viewed as a solid team, but a team that is outside the elite tier that features Boyle County and Johnson Central. Last week when I made their matchup against 5A #2 Covington Catholic our 4A Game of the Week, I said if a statement was available to made this week, it was right here. And boy, did Lexington Catholic make that statement. After Covington Catholic took an early 7-0 lead, the air barrage began by Beau Allen. Allen found Bracken for a 12 yard touchdown and then Gohmann for a 19 yard score to put the Knights on top after the first quarter. After CovCath drew within 14-10 on a field goal, Allen hit Busson for an 80 yard bomb to make it 21-10 midway through the quarter. LexCath would continue to control the game into the second half, holding 14 point leads twice, including at 38-24 with 8:16 left. It looked like the Knights might pull the big upset, but CovCath scored to draw within 38-31 before the biggest play of the night. On 3rd and 5 with 5 minutes remaining, Allen found a wide open Nichols to move the chains. Only he didn’t – the pass was dropped, giving the Colonels the ball. With 2:43 remaining, Caleb Jacob bulled into the end zone for a two yard score, and Mr. Football candidate Michael Mayer secured a two point conversion to put Covington Catholic up 39-38. Allen tried to keep it for a 4th and 1 conversion on the ensuing drive, but was stuffed, allowing Covington Catholic to escape with the victory. Still, it was an incredible statement by Lexington Catholic that they are a legit contender for the state crown. Covington Catholic entered having not allowed a single point. Beau Allen scorched them for 448 yards and five touchdowns on 23/32 passing. With Corbin dropping a game to a Pulaski County team that LexCath had already beaten, the Knights now look to be the most likely team to challenge the supremacy of Boyle County and Johnson Central. Other games of note: Of the nine top ten teams that were in action this week, four of them took losses, including Lexington Catholic. #3 Corbin fell for the first time this season, dropping a 23-22 nail-biter against Pulaski County, the #8 team in 5A. It was a tug of war game, with Pulaski securing a 7-0 halftime lead, before Corbin came back to go ahead 14-7 at the start of the fourth. Pulaski went back up with a touchdown plus two point conversion to make it 15-14, then Treyveon Longmire had the answer with a 94 yard kickoff return to make it 20-15. But that would be the last true score for Corbin on the night. Pulaski would have an answer again, going up 23-20 with 4:30 left, and after forcing a three and out followed by a Pulaski fumble, the Maroons grabbed an INT on their own 10 with less than a minute left. They took a safety at the end of the game rather than give the ball back to Corbin. Meanwhile, #6 Central took a shockingly large 34-14 loss to 6A #7 Fern Creek. Both teams had lost by one score to Manual, leading one to believe we were in for a tight game. And it was, for one half. Central used a 94 yard scoop and score to go up 14-7 just before halftime, but Fern Creek would return the ensuing kickoff for a score, kicking off 27 unanswered points and a dominating 20 point victory. The Dark Side defense was gashed for 294 yards on the ground, managing only 167 themselves. Finally, #8 Anderson County looked like they were going to overcome the odds to sneak out a win over Mercer County. After seeing their 7 all tie broken midway through the fourth quarter, Jagger Gillis found Sam Herrod for a score to draw within 15-13. But their two point conversion failed, necessitating an onside kick that they improbably recovered at the Mercer 22. But on third and goal, Gillis threw an interception that would seal a 15-13 loss. #10 Hopkinsville’s 42-14 win over 2A #7 Caldwell County was the other standout result from the top 10 this week. The Tigers proved their mettle in a close loss to Mayfield that they led most of the way, and they followed that up with this strong result. Hopkinsville never trailed, jumping out to a 7-0 after one, and led 14-7 at the half. It was 28-14 entering the fourth, and Bland’s fourth touchdown pass of the night made it 35-14, effectively ending the game with Dillard tacking on a 21 yard run late for the final margin. Bland threw for 265 yards on 17/27 passing, and no one benefitted more than Reece Jesse, who posted a monster 210 yards on 12 catches, with three touchdown receptions. Upcoming Game of the Week There are some solid options this week. I was tempted to go with Lexington Catholic vs. DeSales, and Corbin at Beechwood is also a marquee matchup. But I’m going with one that may have the most effect on our rankings, #6 Franklin County vs. Anderson County. The two teams have met every year since 2011, and Anderson County has won three in a row in the series, holding a 5-4 edge this decade. But they fell out of the rankings this week, leaving Franklin County as the favorite coming in. The Flyers have settled in after a 35-28 win over East Jessamine in the opener, blowing the doors off Western Hills and Collins by a combined 101-13. With a win, Franklin County may find their perfect record relatively untested until matching up with Waggener in mid-October.
  24. When Johnson Central fell at home to Capital (WV) last season by a 28-21 score, it was their first loss before the month of October in six seasons, and their first loss in a season opener in eight. That didn’t stop them from reeling off 13 straight victories to reach the state title game, but still, it may have been sticking in their minds entering this week. Capital entered as the #3 team in their class in West Virginia, and looked to be a challenge. The Golden Eagles were more than equal to the task. While the 28-13 final appears to be relatively close, the Johnson Central defense made certain it never truly would be. They held Capital to a mere 59 yards. The two Capital scores came on an 11 yard TD run after a very short punt set Capital up deep in Johnson Central territory, and the last an 85 yard punt return score to draw within 8 with about 10 minutes left in the game. Johnson Central opened up the scoring with an 80 yard drive in seven plays, capped by a Riley Preece 14 yard touchdown run. Capital tied it up at the 2:50 mark of the same quarter with the aforementioned short field TD. Preece hit Seth Dalton for a 76 yard TD pass to answer and give them back the lead for good, and Preece found Pelfrey for a 15 yard score just before the half to make the score 21-7. No one found a score in the third before Capital’s punt return made it 21-13. Johnson Central responded with a 13 play drive for 84 yards, grinding six and a half minutes off the clock before Preece punched in a two yard score with 3:12 left to put the game on ice. It was a strong answer to last year’s result, and when paired with the win over Lafayette in week 1 – who just turned in a much more competitive effort against 5A power Scott County – is a strong statement to the class. The Golden Eagles are very much still the real deal, and are making their case for the top spot. Other games of note: There appears to be a divide between the top six in the class and those below it. We will probably see a mere rearranging of the chairs in the weeks to come. #1 Boyle County, #4 Madisonville-North Hopkins, #5 Lexington Catholic, and #6 Central won their games by a combined 166 points. #3 Corbin went deep into the night to polish off a nice 35-17 win over Notre Dame (TN). Some tougher games are coming for these teams, but right now they appear to be the class of this class. #7 Franklin-Simpson fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2013 when they dropped a 26-21 decision to Meade County. Their three games against Meade County since 2017 have all been won by the road team, and have been decided by a total of 11 points combined. It was a better performance for Franklin than the week before, as they held a 21-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but they failed to hold a lead for the second consecutive game. They are almost certainly staring down their first 0-3 start since 2006 with South Warren coming to call on this next Friday. Two off the radar teams may have had the most paradigm changing results for the class this week. Harlan County knocked off a tough Hazard team 22-20. Hazard entered as the #7 team in 1A. Harlan County led much of the night, but Hazard tied the game up at 20 all with 3:44 left in the game. Harlan County drove down for the potential winning score, but threw an interception at the 1 with 1:22 remaining. The defense stepped up and got it done for the team, grabbing a game-winning safety. Meanwhile, Hopkinsville was tangling with Mayfield, the #1 team in class 2A and pound-for-pound one of the toughest (if not THE toughest) programs in the state. The Tigers have been a bit of a question mark entering this year given their propensity in recent years to start out hyped and fall off after massive injuries, but they’re showing out early. They led most of the night and outgained Mayfield 433 to 380, but fell just short 27-22. Expect them to make the leap into the top ten this week. Upcoming Game of the Week There are some very good games on tap this week. Central matches up with Fern Creek, Hoptown takes on Caldwell County, and Corbin becomes the latest 4A team to go against Pulaski County. I was sorely tempted to give the nod to the rivalry game between Boyle County and Danville, but ultimately, I’m going with Lexington Catholic’s visit to Covington Catholic. The Colonels out of 5A have been completely untested as of yet, outscoring Ryle and Campbell County 86-0 in their first two games. Lexington Catholic comes in scoring 32 points per game behind stud QB Beau Allen. If there is a statement available to made this week by a 4A team, it would be here.
  25. A quick snapshot of the matchups in the 4th Region tournament: Game 1: March 3rd – Bowling Green (14th District Champions) vs. Allen County-Scottsville (15th District Runners-Up) -Series at Region: Bowling Green leads 1-0 -Last Region Meeting: Bowling Green 61 Allen County-Scottsville 54 – 1984 4th Region Quarterfinals Bowling Green is into the region tournament yet again, securing their seventh consecutive region tournament appearance – all of them via a district championship. This time they knocked off top seed Warren Central by a 57-51 result, tying their district record for most consecutive district titles, previously set from 1939-1945. They weren’t particularly sharp offensively during that contest, shooting only 43.4% from the field, but defensively, they forced the Dragons into just a 36.2% night. It was the fewest total points Bowling Green allowed to a team not named Warren East in over a month. That earned them the right to take on a familiar opponent, albeit one they don’t see at region often. It’s actually hard to believe that this is just the second meeting at region between the Purples and Allen County-Scottsville, with the last coming back in 1984. Bowling Green has won 13 straight against the Patriots overall, last losing during the 06/07 season. They carry a 37-11 all-time mark against AC/S. Bowling Green won 79-65 when the two teams met at the start of February, getting an extremely balanced attack, with five players in double digits and seven players scoring between 8 and 15 points. They also went 10/18 from three, leaning on that more than normal. The Purples have the second-best record in the region at 24-7. They are favored in this game, but they also probably got as difficult a draw as was available to them, matching with arguably the most dangerous district runner-up they could, and drawing Logan County on their side. The Patriots could not ride recent momentum to a 15th District title, but they have definitely been on an uptick since that meeting with Bowling Green on February 1st. The team has gone 6-3 since, with their only losses coming to Logan County, Warren Central, and Barren County – all teams at the upper echelon of the region. Much of it has been on the back of Mason Shirley. The junior willed the Patriots to two victories over Glasgow, dropping 35 on the road in a mid-February matchup to pull them into a district tournament matchup, and then scoring 25 of Allen County’s 51-point total in a 51-48 district semifinal matchup to give them a berth in the region tournament. They were rewarded with what is arguably the worst draw of any team in the tournament, pulling the top-rated district champion out of the gate, and if they pull that upset, the #2 rated district champion likely waiting in the semifinals. It’s not a positive sign for a program seeking its first region tournament win since 2005, falling in seven straight contests. Incredibly, they haven’t drawn a 14th District team since 2006 – their 1995 win over Warren Central in the region quarterfinals is their only victory over a 14th District team in ten all-time meetings with a rep from that district. Game 2: March 3rd – Logan County (13th District Champions) vs. Cumberland County (16th District Runners-Up) -Series at Region: First Meeting Despite playing in the region together for 38 years, this will be the first region tournament meeting between these two programs. The closest you’d get to a previous meeting was a 1982 64-57 victory by Auburn in the region quarterfinals. Logan County comes into the game as the holders of the second longest current winning streak in the state, and the second longest winning streak in the history of the Cougar program. Logan County has won 23 in a row since falling to Eastern by a 71-61 score on December 21st. They remain the only region team to not drop a game against the rest of the 4th Region, and they outlasted Franklin-Simpson for their second consecutive district title – a feat that they have accomplished only once before, in their first two years as a school. In their 71-21 win over Russellville, they posted the largest margin of victory in a 13th District tournament game in 25 years, and held Russellville to the lowest score in a district tournament game for that district since the 1940s. The Cougars are going to be a very tough out, and will be overwhelming favorites in the opening round. The only thing potentially working against them is a scenario where they may have to beat two 14th District teams on consecutive nights in the semifinals and finals. But it’s entirely possible that Logan County is a co-favorite with both Bowling Green and Warren Central. Meanwhile, Cumberland County has the worst record in the field by a lot, with their 7 wins coming in at just half the 14 that Franklin-Simpson has. The Panthers lost plenty this year, but did go 4-4 overall in 16th District play, winning the ones they needed to. That included overcoming a nine point deficit against Russell County, forcing overtime at the home of the Lakers and sprinting away in the extra session, securing a 67-61 OT victory and reaching their first region tournament since 2009. The Panthers hosted Logan County just two weeks ago, falling 66-50. The combined win totals of the three non-16th District teams Cumberland County beat this year are not even as many as Logan County has on their own – to call them an underdog would be understating it. It would be completely shocking for the Panthers to pull an upset. Game 3: March 4th – Barren County (15th District Champions) vs. Warren Central (14th District Runners-Up) -Series at Region: Warren Central leads 6-1 -Last Region Meeting: Barren County 58 Warren Central 53 - 2016 4th Region Semifinals For the third straight year, the 15th District champion draws Warren Central. The previous two led to defeat for the 15th District rep, while Central went on to win the region title. Barren County does have a win from the last time these two met at Diddle, knocking off the Dragons en route to a region runner-up finish. That’s the only time Warren Central has lost before the final in the last nine region tournaments they’ve made. No players from that team may remain, but Barren County is not likely to be as bright eyed as some might be playing the Dragons. The two teams did not meet this year, as their regular season game was a casualty of Central’s 2A Classic run. Barren County comes in with 16 wins in their last 18 games, and winners of six in a row. They really turned a corner at the start of January, putting a road scare into Bowling Green just prior to the run. The Trojans are a highly capable team, averaging 65 PPG while allowing only 53 PPG. They carry a 16-4 region record, losing only to Glasgow, Bowling Green, Logan County, and South Warren. Their strength is in the interior, where Aden Nyekan and Will Bandy combine to average 30 PPG. The Trojans aren’t going to be favored in this one, but if they can get past it, they become a real threat to take the whole region, as they would not be expected to have as difficult a semifinal as a potential region final opponent would have. Warren Central has had to scratch and claw in each of the two previous seasons in the first round before getting to breathe in the semifinals. If they advance past this one, there’s a good chance that will repeat. While not as difficult a projected first opponent as Logan County, Barren County is a very dangerous draw for the Dragons, starting out with the region’s #4 team entering the postseason. Central saw a 12 game winning streak end in the loss to Bowling Green in the district finals, and it is now their sixth district runner-up finish in the last seven years. Their 51 points in that contest were their least since the 85-47 beating they took at the hands of John Hardin in December. They will need to bounce back immediately on that end, and they will need to do better than the 3/24 three point shooting performance they had against Bowling Green to do it. While Barren County is a difficult draw, it is nevertheless true that Central got about as good a draw as they could hope for with Logan County on the other side with Bowling Green. Central remains the region favorite, and if they get past this difficult opener, they should be extremely favored to reach the finals. Game 4: March 4th – Clinton County (16th District Champions) vs. Franklin-Simpson (13th District Runners-Up) -Series at Region: Franklin-Simpson leads 1-0 -Last Region Meeting: Franklin-Simpson 80 Clinton County 51 - 2002 4th Region Quarterfinals Another matchup without a deep history at the region tournament, this is just the second meeting between these two teams in a region tournament. The two teams do have a history this season, meeting at Clinton County on December 6th. That matchup was a rather strange one, as Clinton County was all over Franklin, leading 38-12 with just over 2 minutes left in the third quarter. Franklin-Simpson unleashed their press and stunned Clinton County with a 34-7 run to win the game 46-45. Clinton County is known for their defensive strength, allowing just under 50 PPG, which leads the region. That’s what made that outburst all the more unexpected. They’ve had some hiccups here and there since, but in typical Bulldog fashion, they reached 20 wins, won the 16th District, and reached the region tournament for the ninth straight year, the current longest streak in the region. They are 14-2 in the 2020 calendar year, falling only to Metcalfe County in the All A Classic, and dropping an overtime heartbreaker to Barren County. They have to be considered the favorite here due to recent play and the total body of work, even with that home loss way back when. The Bulldogs will look to work it down low to Chase Stines, their leading scorer with 15.6 PPG. Clinton County has not won a region tournament game against a 13th District representative since 1982, knocking off Olmstead. They have made the region semifinals in two of the last three region tournaments, but they have never advanced to the region semifinals in consecutive region tournaments. Meanwhile, Franklin-Simpson fits more of the enigma type. The Wildcats played very few games out of region this year. They hovered just above or below .500 for much of the year, and won more than two games in a row only one time, that coming at the start of January. In the district tournament they did as expected with Todd County Central, winning by 20, but gave an unexpectedly strong effort against Logan County, pushing them into the fourth quarter before faltering late. The Wildcats don’t shoot well from the perimeter, but they’re also not afraid to throw up those attempts – the classic live by the three, die by the three approach. That can make them dangerous, as does a full court pressure attack that rates as one of the best at creating turnovers in the region. If they can get hot from three early, and create turnovers with pressure, there’s a pretty good chance of them springing the upset. They are 17-4 all-time against teams from the 16th District, though they did lose their last meeting with a 16th District team, falling to Russell County 53-38 two years ago.
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