Posted On: 11/19/18 1:20 PM

I spent my Saturday at Dunbar high school watching the annual Fayette County Hoop-O-Rama. After 6 full length games and about 10 hours of basketball, I learned a lot more about several teams in and out of Lexington. Here are my takeaways from the day at Dunbar.

  • Lafayette is going to better than I expected. After graduating Eric Powell and several other contributing seniors, I thought they may take a step back. Their pressure defense really bothered Franklin County in the first game of the day. Senior point guard Evan Dreux had a really strong game while Junior Ray Surratt played well in short stretches.
  • Franklin County played without starting point guard Jared Courtney due to a suspension. Without him running the point, I don’t know that the Flyers ran a single set all day. They had a ton of turnovers and played at a pace they didn’t seem comfortable with. Senior Kyle Stivers had to play the point more than he should so Franklin’s best scorer had to create his own offense a lot too. I’ll be interested to see Franklin again when they have all their players.
  • Tates Creek has a lot of athletes but don’t score the ball especially well. In a 4 quarter game, they only put up 56 points. I would guess their shooting percentage was in the 30s and the game never really had a flow to it. The Commodores press and run but need to improve their offensive efficiency if they want to make a run back to the 11th region tournament this season.
  • Mason County looks a lot different under new coach Brian Kirk. The Royals have been down for a few years now but they appear to be better than the team I saw a couple of times last season. And they had 4 or 5 players in sweats who could be contributors for them as well. I don’t think they’ll threaten for a regional title this year but Mason County could be on their way to turning things around.
  • Bryan Station is very small but they play hard. New head coach Nimbo Hammonds has his work cut out for him with the Defenders but his team seemed to play hard for him over the course of the game when they beat a Harrison County team that looked overwhelmed early in the game but bounced back to make the final score more respectable.
  • Federick Douglass has a chance to be greatly improved after an underwhelming first season. Last year’s Bronco team had too many players who thought they should be playing more and a lack of leadership that comes with only having one senior. This year’s team looks to be well on their way to defined roles, they’re more coachable and they play an entertaining style of play. Not to mention Dashawn Jackson looks well on his way to being a star.
  • Lexington Catholic is going to be much better than I thought. I thought losing so much to graduation would hurt Catholic. It looks more like a classic Knights team now. They ran their 2-2-1 press all game and spread the court with shooters. They ran out to a huge early lead over Douglass only to trail late but won on a last second three pointer. My expectations for Catholic were low this season but they may end up being a contender to beat Scott County in the 11th.
  • Speaking of 11th region contenders, Henry Clay probably looked the best of all the teams I saw on Saturday. Guard duo Marques Warrick and Keaston Brown are the best guard duo in the city of Lexington and Warrick was lights out for most of the game. Clay has a lot of guards but not much size. Senior Harris Hawkins is a solid stretch 4 but the lack of a true post could be the hindrance for the Devils when they play Scott County.
  • In the 12th region, Lincoln County looked better after getting some players from the football field and adding depth after having to play with only 6 players in last week’s scrimmage. Junior Riley Bodner had a really good first half for the Patriots but wasn’t nearly as good in the second half. If Bodner can turn the corner and become a double-double machine, Lincoln will have something they haven’t had in years with a true post player.
  • The last game of the day featured Louisville Central taking on Dunbar. Dunbar looks like a college team going through warmups. They have size, length and athleticism. But they were extremely underwhelming once the game started. Central just flew all over the gym making plays and generally outworking Dunbar in every aspect of the game. Central plays super hard. They’re young and well coached and shined against a team that looked like they were going to run them out of the gym early. 
  • I stayed for the final game mainly to see the new transfers at Dunbar. After watching them, I don’t see them as difference makers in the 11th region. They’re tall and long but they don’t get to touch the ball on offense and have a tendency to jump on every pump fake. It will be interesting to see them over the course of the season but if they don’t develop, their impact in the 11th region title chase will be negligible.