I made my way to Bardstown on Saturday afternoon to check out some 5th region talent. The Tigers were hosting a tripleheader featuring John Hardin against Manual, Bethlehem facing Marion County and Bardstown taking on Bullitt Central. The day featured 2 blowouts and one nail biter and one young man breaking the school record for points. Here are some of my takeaways from the day spent in B-Town.
- John Hardin plays hard and has quality depth. Coach Jared McCurry’s Bulldogs appear to be the real deal in the 5th region. They have 4 players averaging double figures and the size to compete with many of the top teams in Kentucky. Malik Wright is their X-factor. When he’s playing well along with Mickey Pearson, the Bulldogs are tough to beat. They dominated Manual on their way to a 83-59 win. They should be undefeated when they host LaRue County on the 19th.
- Bardstown Sophomore JJ Traynor reminds everyone of a young Mickey Pearson. JJ caught my eye at the Next Up Recruits jamboree last month and continues to impress. With his length, athleticism and wing skills, Traynor resembles a young Mickey Pearson. Even Mickey’s dad agreed. Pearson developed into an A-10 player over his career (he’s signed with Saint Louis) and Traynor is a more fluid athlete than Mickey was at the same age. JJ is going to be one to keep an eye on for the next 3 years.
- Bethlehem struggled to handle the pressure of Marion County. Their game against the Knights was chaotic most of the way. The officiating allowed for a very physical game and that helped Marion to turn up their press. When the Eagles could get into the half court, they scored fairly frequently. But they didn’t handle the ball well enough to keep with with Marion. The Knights beat Bethlehem 87-51.
- If Coach Boo Brewer had any hair, he would have pulled it out. Bardstown features one of the most inexperienced groups that Coach Brewer has had in his time at the helm for the Tigers. When they closed out their 57-56 win over Bullitt Central, they had 3 sophomores, 1 junior and 1 senior on the court. Bardstown may hover around the .500 mark all season but they will be more than capable of springing an upset or two in the regional tournament.
- Mickey Pearson became John Hardin’s all time leading scorer. With a second half free throw, Mickey became the all time leading scorer for John Hardin. Pearson is averaging 30 points per game right now and should wind up well over 2,000 career points. Congrats to Mickey.