High school notebook: Turning up the heat on basketball season

Herald-Leader staff writerFebruary 6, 2014 

Scott County Ballard

Scott County's Trent Gilbert, center, attempts to drive through thee defense of Ballard's Rijad Kovacevic, left, and Kelan Martin at Ballard High School, Louisville, Ky. Monday December 2, 2013. Photo by Timothy D. Easley

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  • All "A" attendance

    Bad weather was a factor in smaller crowds at this year's All "A" Classic in Frankfort. Total attendance was 29,397, second-lowest in the tournament's 23-year history.

    Year Attendance Location

    2014 29,397 Frankfort

    2013 31,703 Frankfort

    2012 34,781 Frankfort

    2011 34,008 Richmond

    2010 37,654 Richmond

    2009 24,147 Richmond

    2008 44,470 Richmond

    2007 41,584 Richmond

    2006 42,227 Richmond

    2005 47,124 Richmond

    2004 48,081 Richmond

    2003 46,895 Richmond

    2002 49,859 Richmond

    2001 47,831 Richmond

    2000 46,284 Richmond

    1999 45,911 Richmond

    1998 50,619 Richmond

    1997 48,453 Richmond

    1996 44,353 Richmond

    1995 48,328 Richmond

    1994 48,449 Richmond

    1993 51,013 Lexington/ Richmond

    1992 42,414 Lexington/ Richmond

    1991 33,598 Lexington

  • Basketball this weekend

    Jock Sutherland Classic Saturday at Lafayette

    2:30 p.m. — Augusta vs. Paul Laurence Dunbar

    4:15 p.m. — Knott Co. Central vs. Wayne Co.

    6 p.m. — Scott Co. vs. Trinity

    8 p.m. — Lexington Catholic vs. Lafayette

    Joe B. Hall Prep Classic Sunday at Montgomery Co.

    1 p.m. — Fleming Co. vs. Knott Co. Central

    2:30 p.m. — Hopkinsville vs. Perry Co. Central

    4 p.m. — Montgomery Co. vs. Wayne Co

    5:30 p.m. — Henry Clay vs. Southwestern

We've suffered enough.

Polar vortex. Bone-numbing cold. Overheated TV weathermen. Icy roads. Power outages. Super Bore XLVIII. Shoveling snow (My aching back!). Velveeta shortage (Cheesepocalypse!).

Old Man Winter has had his fun. How about a weekend without wicked weather so the basketball shows — the Jock Sutherland Classic at Lafayette on Saturday, and the Joe B. Hall Prep Classic at Montgomery County on Sunday — can go on.

■ A showdown between No. 1 Trinity and No. 3 Scott County will highlight the Jock Sutherland Classic. It will be their first meeting since the Shamrocks socked Scott County 71-53 in the 2012 Sweet Sixteen finals. Scott County's Trent Gilbert, a Mr. Basketball finalist, is averaging 26.4 points. He's hit 83 of 215 three-pointers (39 percent), and 187 of 206 foul shots (91 percent). He's trying to become only the fifth boys' player in state history to hit 90 percent of his free throws (100 minimum) in a season. Bret Jones of Paducah Tilghman set the record. He hit 161 of 171 (94 percent) in 2000-01.

■ No. 8 Wayne County, the only unbeaten team in the state, will have to work hard this weekend to keep its record perfect. The Cardinals play No. 13 Knott County Central in the Jock Sutherland Classic, and No. 21 Montgomery County in the Joe B. Hall Prep Classic. Wayne County Coach Rodney Woods said weeks ago he expected his team's winning streak to come an end sooner or later. It's getting to be later. It's been 25 years since any team reached the boys' state tournament undefeated. Clay County did it in 1989. The Tigers took a 33-0 record into the Sweet Sixteen, then lost to Marshall County in the first round.

■ Knott Central junior Camron Justice had 36 points in a victory over 14th Region rival Cordia, pushing him past 2,500 points in his career. Justice, who withdrew his commitment to play at Tennessee last week, is averaging 24 points. If he keeps up that scoring pace through next season, he has a shot at becoming only the fifth boys' player in state history to reach 3,500 points. Wayland's King Kelly Coleman tops the list with 4,337, followed by Flat Gap's Charlie Osborne (3,647), Earlington's Harry Todd (3,567), and Tollesboro's Chris Harrison (3,542).

■ No. 5 Hopkinsville, which plays Perry County Central in the Prep Classic, is undefeated (16-0) against Kentucky competition. Hoptown is hoping to three-peat as 2nd Region champion.

■ Henry Clay will be without star Jordan Green when it plays Southwestern in the Prep Classic. Green dislocated his left elbow against Lafayette last Friday and could be out two weeks with a mild sprain. Blue Devils Coach Daniel Brown said he hopes the 6-foot-5 senior will be fully recovered in time for the 43rd District Tournament. Green is averaging 19.6 points and 7.2 rebounds. He's closing in on 1,600 career points and 660 rebounds.

■ Southwestern Coach Steve Wright will be at South Laurel on Friday night, not to coach but to be honored. South Laurel will raise a banner in tribute of Wright, who coached Laurel County (two years) and South Laurel (21 years) to almost 600 victories and seven region titles, highlighted by South Laurel's state championship in 2005. "I had a lot of really good players and assistant coaches, and a supportive administration," he said. "I feel blessed and fortunate." Wright is most proud of the fact that South Laurel won the title after Laurel County was split into North and South. "I don't know if anybody else has won it at a school that came from being divided, not consolidated," he said. "That's pretty neat."

■ Fairdale will honor its 1990, '91 and '94 state championship teams before Friday's game against Butler. Fairdale is the only school since 1931 to win three boys' state titles in five years. No team has won back-to-back titles since the Bulldogs did it 23 years ago.

■ Clark County High School's Hall of Fame will honor Letcher Norton and Linville Puckett at halftime of the Cardinals' game against Mason County on Friday night. Norton was the coach and Puckett the star player on Clark County's 1951 state championship team.

■ Fleming County's Troy Steward had a career-high 41 points in a win over Boyd County last week. The Panthers' Darion Burns, rated one of the top 25 players in the state, is expected to make his season debut Friday at Rowan County. The 5-10 senior has been recovering from knee surgery.

■ Whitley County senior guard Brandi Smith set a school record with 14 assists against Rowan County earlier this season.

■ Newport Central Catholic was impressive in winning the boys' Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic. The Thoroughbreds shot 52 percent (102 of 195) over four games. The 9th Region should be a battle among No. 4 NewCath, No. 5 Holmes and No. 7 Covington Catholic. They have a combined record of 58-7.

■ Glasgow's girls won the All "A" this year. Glasgow's boys won the small-school title in 2001 when Bart Flener was the Scotties coach. Flener, now women's coach at Asbury, sat next to the Glasgow girls' bench during Sunday's finals and wore his championship ring for good luck. Glasgow Coach Justin Stinson said he had Flener speak to his girls after they beat defending champ Owensboro Catholic in the semifinals Saturday.

■ Four schools have won both boys' and girls' All "A" titles: Bishop Brossart, Glasgow, Hazard and NewCath.

■ All "A" tournament director Stan Steidel wasn't pleased when a Franklin circuit judge granted a restraining order on Friday afternoon that allowed two Cordia players to be eligible. Josh Ortiz and Richard Chapman had been ruled ineligible by the KHSAA after moving to Kentucky from out of state before the season. "It's unfortunate that we go to the trouble to have rules that we all agree to when we join (the KHSAA), we go through the state department of education, we go through the state legislature, and then we have judges make rulings like this," Steidel said. "They say they're worried about being fair to this youngster or that youngster, but while they're doing them a great favor, they're being unfair to a whole lot of people that follow the rules." Steidel quipped that the All "A" championship games were "unique. We had two public schools (Glasgow and Danville in the girls' final), a private school and a prep school (NewCath and Cordia in the boys' final). Cordia is a prep school. That's what they want to be and that's what we ought to call them." Steidel said he'd like to "believe that everything is on the up-and-up with Cordia. But I'm having a hard time accepting that, and I don't care who knows that."

■ Longtime Lexington Catholic assistant football coach Mike Engler, who was hired as Ryle's head coach this week, said one of the toughest things he had to do was tell Reese Ryan he was leaving the Knights. Ryan, one of the top quarterbacks in the state, will be a senior at Lexington Catholic next season. As the Knights' offensive coordinator, Engler was a part of two state titles. They totaled 809 yards and 98 points in beating Bowling Green in the 2005 finals and Lone Oak in the 2007 finals.

■ Rob Bironas, who was the kicker on Trinity's 1994 state championship football team and is now with the Tennessee Titans, is engaged to Rachel Bradshaw, daughter of former four-time Super Bowl champ and quarterback and current NFL TV analyst Terry Bradshaw. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Terry Bradshaw joked about having a kicker in the family: "I have no choice. It is a matter of the heart. If that is who she picks, that is who she picks."

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Email: mfields@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.

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