Saturday afternoon I made my way to Nicholasville for the annual Jaguar Classic. The Classic is an all day affair. The first game tipped at 1145 in the morning and the last buzzer sounded after 10 pm. I could only stay for 2 and a half games. Pendleton County toppled Frederick Douglass 63-56, Corbin knocked off Lincoln County 70-57 and I left after a quarter of action between Tates Creek and host East Jessamine. Here are a few of my observations from the event.
- Frederick Douglass lacks on court leadership. This is the 4th time I’ve seen the Broncos play and this was a time that their lack of leadership hurt them. Pendleton County should have lost to Douglass by double figures if you only looked at the two teams and had to judge off of appearances. But the Wildcats persevered through a series of Douglass runs in the second half to win the game. There were multiple possession where the Broncos took terrible shots or turned the ball over in transition when they badly needed a bucket. With district tournaments about a month away, Coach Kurt Young’s team will greatly benefit from better leadership on the floor.
- Dontaie Allen had a quiet 20/20 game. The 6’6 junior guard scored 21 points and pulled down 21 rebounds while playing all 32 minutes for the Wildcats. Allen had a subpar shooting game, going 0/4 from 3 and only 7/12 from the free throw line. But Dontaie affected the game in other ways. He had several assists and probably 5 blocks for the game. It’s pretty remarkable that a player can have an off game and still go for 20 and 20 but that’s how it goes for Dontaie Allen, one of the top players in the state.
- Without Andrew Taylor, Corbin looks very average. Senior point guard Andrew Taylor was out for Corbin on Saturday as he served the first of a three game suspension. Without Taylor, Chandler Stewart stepped up to score 33 points but the Hounds looked very average in beating an overwhelmed Lincoln County team. Many of the possessions looked like a team full of kids waiting for their turn to shoot. Many of the possessions consisted of one pass and one shot. Taylor will be back in a week or so and things should return to normalcy but if Saturday was a preview of life without Taylor, Corbin could see a major drop off next season.
- Lincoln County won’t be a factor in the 12th region this year. This group of Patriots is just too young and inexperienced. Coach Jackson started an 8th grader, a freshman, a sophomore, a junior and a senior. Only senior Chase Phillips had significant playing time before this season. I saw their first game of the year back in November and seeing them on Saturday, they just haven’t improved enough to make me think they’re capable of winning a regional tournament game next month. I would not be shocked if Lincoln is knocked out in the district semifinals this season. The future is bright as they will only graduate one senior and 8th grader Jaxon Smith looks like a future stud but it’s going to be at least a year before Lincoln has a say in who wins the 12th region.
Tates Creek Sophomore Amari Taylo
- Amari Taylor looks healthy but isn’t playing for Tates Creek yet. The heralded sophomore from Tates has been out since breaking his wrist back in November. But Taylor went through warmups in uniform and even did some extended ball handling work. When the game started, Amari made his way to the end of the bench. While it’s possible that he still isn’t ready to play, Amari looked good in warmups and getting him back could be the difference in the Creek winning a district tournament game this season. Hopefully he returns soon and can make an impact before the season ends.