Waggener wears down North Hardin at McCurry Classic


Posted On: 01/29/18 2:55 PM

The 5th Annual Nathan McCurry Classic at John Hardin high school featured a loaded field with quality games. The penultimate game of the day featured the Wildcats of Waggener making the trip from Louisvulle to take on the Trojans from North Hardin High. The game was seemingly never in doubt as Waggener controlled the pace and turned North Hardin over at least 25 times with their pressure. In the end, Waggener won 64-56 and headed back to Louisville 14-6 while North Hardin fell to 7-15 on the season.

1. Waggener won without getting much from JJ Kalakon. JJ is one of the best 2019 players in the state but he was fatigued and only played about half the game on Saturday. Kalakon only had 2 points on 2 shots but did have close to ten assists and controlled the pace of the game. Coach O’Neill has to be encouraged that his team could control the game for 32 minutes without getting the usual production from his junior star.

2. North Hardin’s talent level is way down. But that’s to be expected after graduating Tony Jackson (now at D1 UMKC) Trace Young (now at Mount Zion Prep) and Gavin Root (now at Transylvania). Having said that, there are 6 freshmen currently dressing varsity. After seeing Elizabethtown, and all 3 Hardin County schools on Saturday, it could be a rough next year or two for North while they wait for the freshmen to grow up.

3. Waggener sophomore Dallas Rufus played very well in the win. After our last rankings update, the 6’2 sophomore quote tweeting our rankings and claimed he was being slept on. On Saturday Dallas looked better than I’ve seen him play before. Rufus was an efficient 4 of 7 from the floor and 2 for 3 from 3. More importantly, he did more than just score the ball to affect the game. Hopefully he continues his improved play and can help propel Waggener into a deep run at the 7th region tournament.

4. Coach Bryan O’Neill was in no mood for laziness. While the Wildcats controlled the game for most of the 32 minutes, they started the second half very lethargic. After about 3 lazy possessions, Coach O’Neill pulled his starting 5 and replaced all of them with bench players. The message was sent and received. The bench players maintained the lead and when Coach O’Neill started putting starters back in the game they were more effective.

5. North Hardin is capable of springing an upset in the district in 3 weeks. While North is not supremely talented, they do play hard and their zone did cause Waggener problems. If they catch Elizabethtown, John Hardin or Central Hardin on the right night, they are capable of winning and knocking off a more talented group than theirs. After surprisingly losing in the district opener last season, North Hardin could return the favor and knock someone off.