Tuesday night I headed up the interstate to Georgetown with high hopes for a close game between the 11th region favorite and one of the top teams in Louisville. I only got that for about a quarter. The game’s pace was fast and furious throughout but Waggener couldn’t keep up with the depth of Scott County and wilted in the second half. Coach Hicks’ Cardinals led by double figures for most of the game and ended with a 97-82 final score that handed the Wildcats their first loss of the season. Here are some quick takeaways from the game.
- Waggener is going to press all game, no matter what. Early on, their 1-2-1-1 pressure was effective but Scott County quickly adjusted and the Cardinals were basically doing layup lines the rest of the game. Michael Moreno continued to catch the inbounds and throw an outlet for an east 2 on 1 opportunity. Waggener kept pressing even after the deficit ballooned to 25 in the 3rd quarter. The Wildcats are long and athletic but I’d like to see them guard in the half court more frequently.
- Michael Moreno and JJ Kalakon are Alpha dogs. Michael Moreno led Scott County with 24 points and 8 rebounds. JJ Kalakon had 21 points to lead Waggener. Both are ranked in the top 6 in our 2019 class rankings. More than once, JJ was guarding Moreno and there was no shortage of trash talk on the floor between the two. One trend I notice in Division I recruits is a big time competitive fire. Both Kalakon and Moreno possess that fire and that drive is a large part of why both hold multiple D1 scholarship offers.
- Bryce Long is the offensive X-Factor for Scott County. So far this season, Junior Bryce Long hasn’t been as effective as I had expected from him in his junior season. Long’s scoring is slightly down but he had a good game against Waggener. Bryce had 16 points and 5 rebounds in the win. The Junior sharpshooter is going to be the 3rd scorer that Scott needs to make it to Rupp Arena in March.
- Lorenzo Williams is defensive X-factor for Scott County. Lorenzo is a pitbull on defense. He usually guards the ball in the half court and makes plays all over the place when the Cardinals are in the full court press. Williams is averaging 9 points and 3 rebounds on the season but his impact is greatest on the defensive end. I’m not sure if Williams will be a college player in 2 years but he is capable of being a really good high school player over the next two seasons.
- Waggener will get better from this loss. Coach Bryan O’Neill set up a gauntlet for his team this week. They started with Tuesday’s game at Scott. They play at Holmes on Thursday night. They head to Rowan County for the Kentucky Bank Challenge where they play against 10th region favorite George Rogers Clark. It’s a tough stretch on the road but scheduling like that is what makes teams ready for anything in February and March.