Posted On: 02/25/18 4:44 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 6th region starts play on Tuesday night with the 4 district champions hosting district runner-up teams. Here’s a breakdown of the 6th region tournament and the top individual players still playing.
Elite 8 players (in no order):
PG Stephon Franklin, Doss – One of my favorite players in the 2018 class, Franklin is a do it all point guard for the 22nd district Champions. Steph leads Doss in scoring with nearly 14 points per game. Franklin’s shooting percentages all took a slight dip this season as he shouldered the load for Doss. Franklin is a heady point who knows how to run a team and will be a great college point guard in the near future.
PF Craig Ashe, Fairdale – Ashe is a traditional power forward who does most of his damage in the post and inside the elbows. Ashe is second on the team in scoring at nearly 17 points per game and leads the Bulldogs in rebounding at 6.7 per game. The most impressive statistic is that Ashe has shot 70% from the field for the season.
SG Markelo Sullivan, Fairdale – Sullivan has been a revelation in the 6th region this season. Markelo has scored 23 points per game and will score his 700th point this season in the district opener at Doss. Sullivan also helps on the glass as he is second on the team with 6.1 rebounds per game. He’s also very clutch at the free throw line, where he shoots 81% for the year.
SG/PG Tony Rogers, Fern Creek – Rogers is a big time scorer with good size at either guard spot. It’s a mystery why his recruiting hasn’t been better than it is. Rogers has the size and skill to be an impact player in college.
PF Clint Wickliffe, Fern Creek – Wickliffe is the glue guy for the Tigers. He’s a leader on the court and his greatest impact isn’t always seen in the box score. At 6’7″, he’s going to have to match up against the top bigs in the 6th as Fern Creek makes a push to get back to Rupp Arena. Wickliffe has committed to a post graduate year at Beckley Prep next season.
SG/PG Gerald Gray, PRP – a 6’3″ combo guard for the Panthers, Gray was named first team all region after having a great senior season. Gerald averaged nearly 18 points per game on 64% shooting and 55% from 3. Gray could be the catalyst for a regional title run for the Panthers.
Wing Devin Pendergrass, Butler – Pendergrass is the most valuable player on this Butler team that has been in the top 10 in the state for most of the season. At 6’5″, Devin has the length and athleticism to guard the best player on the opposing team and has put up some monster numbers in the regular season but will need to be more consistent for the Bears to get to Rupp Arena.
PF Michael Burns, Butler – Burns is another senior for the Bears whose impact may not always show up in the box score. Burns is 6’8″ and his main job is protecting the rim for Coach Goodin’s squad. If Michael can put together his 3 best games of the year in the next week or so, Butler could be cutting the nets down at the end of the regional tournament.
6th Region Power Rankings:
1. Fern Creek– As Ric Flair says, to be the man you have to beat the man. Creek is getting healthy and getting their momentum back at the right time.
2. Doss – The guard duo of Franklin and Taye Calloway has been playing well lately. They have a tough opening matchup against Fairdale but momentum is on their side.
3. Butler – The Bears suffered only their 3rd loss of the season in the district championship. As a result, they have a tough opener on the road at PRP. If they win that one, they’ll be in good shape to make the title game.
4. Pleasure Ridge Park- The Panthers are getting healthy and starting to look like a regional threat again. Their game against Butler on Tuesday should be the best quarterfinal.
5. Fairdale – They would be higher but it’s a tall task to knock off Doss at Doss. If Fairdale plays their best game for 3 games, they are capable of getting to Rupp Arena.
6. Bullitt Central – The champions of the 23rd district have a favorable home matchup against Jeffersontown on Tuesday but their path gets very hard as they take on the winner of PRP/Butler in the semifinals if they can beat J-Town.
7. Jeffersontown – The Chargers travel to Bullitt Central on Tuesday with a chance to advance to the semifinals.
8. Moore – The only team to make the regional tournament with a losing record, Moore is likely a double digit underdog in their game at Fern Creek.