Posted On: 02/27/18 3:26 PM
We are only 2 and a half weeks from the start of the KHSAA Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena. Half the schools in Kentucky have been eliminated from the postseason and by Thursday night, that number will dip to 64 teams remaining. The games get started on Tuesday night in the 6th and 7th regions before the rest of the state starts regional play on Wednesday night. We’re going to take a look at the 8 top players remaining in each region and take a shot at power ranking the remaining teams. The 14th region starts play on Wednesday night. All regional games take place at Perry County Central High School. Here’s a breakdown of the 14th region tournament and the top individual players still playing.
Elite 8 Players (in no order):
Kareem McDonald, Cordia – Averaging nearly 18 points per game for the Lions, McDonald is a volume scorer who takes a lot of shots but when he is hot, he is capable of putting a team on his back.
Caleb Bonny, Estill County – The regional player of the year, Bonny can fill it up for the Engineers. Averaging 20 points per game with shooting splits of 50/39/76, Bonny is an efficient scorer and not just a volume one.
Joe Benton, Estill County – Only scoring 8 points per game as a sophomore, Benton is a pass first point guard who makes the Engineers go. While the KHSAA doesn’t keep assists as an official statistic, Benton would be near the top of the 14th if they did.
Deven Stone, Wolfe County – One of the top shooters in the state, this Senior is averaging over 24 points per game. Deven posts impressive shooting splits of 52/41/84 and narrowly missed the 50/40/90 club.
Kyle Fraley, Breathitt County – Another big time scorer, Fraley averages nearly 19 points per game and is one of the state’s top free throw shooters at 92% on the season.
Isaac Caudill, Knott County Central – One of the top players in the region, Caudill averages 19 points and 7 rebounds per game. The senior leader of the Patriots has scored nearly 600 points this season.
Noah Back, Perry County Central – One of the top shooters in 2019 in Kentucky, Back averages 17 points per game and hits 42% of his 3 point attempts.
Payton Barnett, Powell County – Averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds per game for the Pirates, the senior leader will need to ramp up his production and get some help from his teammates if they want to shock Perry Central and make the semifinals.
1. Knott County Central – They’re the clear favorite to win the region and get to Rupp.
2. Perry County Central – The only game they lost in the region all season was to Knott.
3. Estill County – The Engineers will have their hands full with Wolfe County in the opening round.
4. Cordia – They would be a true Cinderella story if they could make it to the Sweet 16 in the same season that their school was closed.
5. Wolfe County – Their game with Estill should be the best of the 4 quarterfinals. They have the firepower to beat Estill.
6. Powell County – They’ll be a big underdog in their quarterfinal game.
7. Breathitt County – One of two teams in the regional with a losing record, they’ll need a mountain miracle to beat Knott in the opener.
8. Hazard – The other team entering the regional with a losing record, they have their work cut out for them against Cordia. The Lions beat them in the season opener in December.