I had the opportunity to run over to Lexington Christian Academy and check out the second round of games from the Central Bank Jim Rose Classic. The tournament featured 8 teams from all over the state with Central, Letcher County Central, Beechwood, Madisonville-North Hopkins, Conner and Lexington schools Fredrick Douglass, Tates Creek and host LCA. The tournament was ultimately won by the host school in a blowout. I left with some questions about the top teams and players that were in the tournament.
- Can Frederick Douglass find a consistent rotation? Coach Kurt Young is playing a lot of kids right now. Douglass has a roster stacked with underclassmen. The only senior is Justin Mitchell, who leads them in scoring. There are 6 other players averaging 6-7 points per game. In order for Douglass to turn the corner in their inaugural season, some of the young players need to step up and become more consistent. There is a ridiculous amount of raw talent on that bench. Hopefully some of the young players start to separate themselves soon.
- Is Tates Creek capable of winning a district tournament game? It’s early but it looks like Tates and Dunbar are going to play the 4 vs 5 seed game when postseason starts. Coach Jarrod Gay has Commodore basketball on the upswing. They keep improving. But Tates Creek hasn’t won a district tournament game since February of 2011. Tates plays host to Dunbar on January 9th and that will serve as a good measuring stick for how good Tates can play when the postseason starts.
- Is Beechwood a realistic threat to beat Newport Central Catholic in the 9th Region All “A”? NCC has been ruling the 9th Region All A for the last several years. However, NCC is down this year (compared to the last few) and Beechwood, while not setting the world on fire, can score the ball. Could this be the year that “The Wood” knocks off NCC and makes it to the state All A tournament?
- Can Madisonville get to Rupp before Kenny White and Ksuan Casey graduate? It’s unlikely that the Maroons will win the region this season but they have two of the top players in the state in 2020 with 6’9 Casey and 6’7 White. Over the next 3 seasons, they will have their shot to knock off Hopkinsville and Christian County to win the 2nd region. It would be a shame for the two talented big men to not get a shot to prove their mettle at the state tournament.
- Will this be the best chance for Lexington Christian to win the 11th? From all appearances, it’s now or never for the Eagles. With Kyle Rode and Carter Hendricksen, they have 2 D1 talents. With Austin Hall they have another senior who is going to be playing college basketball a year from now. In order for the Eagles to beat teams like Lafayette, Madison Central and Scott County to get to Rupp Arena, they’ll need all 3 to be healthy and effective. They’ll also need role players like Pierce Dalton and Zeke Grier to step up and provide some scoring. Coach Valentine’s team figures to be a factor in the 11th region title chase and are capable of winning the region when they’re firing on all cylinders.