Posted On: 11/18/18 11:05 AM

On November 17th, the annual Kelsey Sorrell Memorial Scrimmages took place at Simon Kenton High School. Sixteen teams from Kentucky and Ohio made the trip to Independence to compete in exhibition scrimmages. In this tournament format, eight teams from the local regions (8th, 9th, 10th) faced off against eight teams from Cincinnati, OH in a 4 quarter exhibition matchup. Below is a takeaway from each game I watched.

Game 1: Walton-Verona v. Oak Hills (OH)

Unfortunately I was only able to make it to the back end of this game. Never less, I was able to get a glimpse of this years Walton-Verona squad against a competitive Oak Hills team. One of the highlights of my evening was watching 6’10 Xavier commit Dieonte Miles and what he brings to the table this season. Miles has increased his athleticism coming off a great AAU season and he was a force on defense ending the game with several blocked shots. He also has a very strong will to get to the basket even when the defense is locked onto him. Although Dieonte was able to create almost any shot he wanted, he needs to recognize some flaws in his game, he had trouble putting himself in position to rebound which would help his team out. Walton showed some good signs tonight and had some great plays from 6’8 senior Ethan Brookwho helps WV rebound and apply pressure on defense. Dub-V excelled in the half court press and will be a force in the 8th Region this season.

Game 2: Simon Kenton 84 v. North College Hill (OH) 60

Simon Kenton returns a fairly undersized team this season and their play definitely showed that. The Pioneers offense primarily revolved around 2021 guard Kelly Niece who provided 18 points in the first half. Due to SK’s lack of size, it led to their offense putting up an abundant amount of 3 pointers. North College Hill had a team that probably had an average height of 6’3, led to SK shooting about 60% of their shots being from beyond the arch. Niece was the leader of their offense and early in the 3rd quarter he appeared to go down with a hamstring injury after attempting a layup. For what I would assume precautionary measures, Coach Steiner withheld him from the rest of the game to preserve him for their season debut on November 27th against Woodford County. North College Hill had two impressive players, 6’7 forward Cameron Harris, who is a force on offense/defense and 6’4 guard Tyree Robinson who has range and a will to get to the basket. Simon Kenton will struggle against teams this year due to their size, but teams will have trouble guarding Niece who has the upside to be one of the best players in the region as a sophomore.

Game 3: Covington Catholic 64 v. Withrow (OH) 42

Defending State Champions made an appearance at this years KAS Scrimmages and it was a pleasure to watch them compete. We are still around two weeks from the regular season and as expecting Covington Catholic appeared ready to start the season last night. Withrow was one of the better Ohio teams in the field and CCH put them away early with their fast tempo offense. A general takeaway is that Ohio basketball must go slower than Kentucky because all of the Ohio teams couldn’t handle the half court press and fast transition offense. Cov Cath put on a show in warmups and what appeared to be dunk contest between senior forwards Tyler Fleek and Jack DavinBoth of them also put up 10 points a piece during their game yesterday. One of the biggest disappointments was that CCH was without Nick Thelen who recently committed to D2 Bellarmine and it was unclear why he wasn’t playing in the scrimmage. Also our questions about Michael Mayer who recently committed to play for Notre Dame Football were answered and it looks like he will play basketball this season once football is over. Im afraid to say CCH would have ran away with this game if they had all of their team back, also we got a glimpse at junior guard Grant Disken who lit up the floor and sparked great defense. Without Thelen and late game turnovers, CCH would have blown out Withrow and it will most likely carry over into the season and put the Colonels back in position to get back to the Sweet 16.

Game 4: La Salle (OH) 66 v. Dixie Heights 51

The Red Colonels were the complete opposite of the Blue Colonels who played in the game before. Dixie Heights struggled to score the ball in the first half only putting up 25 points in 16 minutes of play. Much like Simon Kenton, this years Heights team lacks height and athleticism needed to compete for their region. Being a guard heavy team, Dixie needed to excel in transition offense and they struggled turning the ball over at least 20 times. Although I believe you can put most of Dixie’s errors on it being a scrimmage and use early season flukes, I’m worried about the Colonels this season. On the bright side, the two leaders of the Colonels offense came to play, Jamin Schumate finished with 16 points and 4 three pointers. Also senior guard Jabari Karim put up 12 points and the offense generally revolves around him. Also being a pre-season matchup, rosters were unavailable and practice jerseys are usually wrong but #31 for the Colonels comes in around 6’4 and will help Heights out with their height issue. La Salle took advantage of Dixie’s turnovers and ran the score up late game just by blowing past the Colonel defenses. Dixie Heights will have to improve from this scrimmage and be more prepared once the season starts. On November 29th the Colonels host Walton-Verona and star big man Dieonte Miles for their first game of the regular season. Coach Stainforth needs to have his team prepared because WV is ready to play.

Game 5: Scott 56 v. Roger Bacon (OH) 47 

Scott High School is a regular competitor in the KAS Memorial Scrimmages and the Eagles came ready to  compete. Roger Bacon came with one of the better teams in the Ohio field, with a 6’10 forward and two guards who could either pull up from anywhere beyond the arch or facilitate their offense. As mentioned before, my takeaway on Ohio teams are that transition offense and press defense are foreign terms to them because Scott overpowered Roger Bacon with both. Senior guard Chad Ohmer and Trey Meister sparked the Eagle offense late game, Ohmer finished with 11 points and Meister with 10. Both guards struggled knocking down shots but it will naturally come as the season progresses. A huge takeaway was how senior forwards Nathan Joyce and David Hunter who both scored 12 points played, they were huge for Scott’s success yesterday. Scott ran away with the game late, capitalizing on turnovers and beating the Spartans in transition and it will really hurt Scott’s opponents this season. This team will need to figure out to control their fast tempo offense and limit turnovers before the season starts because on the 29th, Pendleton County and Kentucky commit Dontaie Allen comes to town and both teams prepare for a fight.