Last season: 18-13 (lost to Paul Laurence Dunbar in semifinals of the 43rd District Tournament)
Coach: Nate Valentine (third year)
Three key contributors
Kyle Rode: The 6-foot-6 sophomore is regarded as one of the top prospects in the state’s class of 2019. Valentine believes LCA will have five guys on the court at all times who can shoot and create plays, and it’s Rode who stirs the drink. “We’re gonna be able to do some stuff we haven’t been able to do in the past and really get out and run,” Rode said. “ ... We’re gonna have a lot of fun on the offensive end this year.”
Carter Hendrickson: The 6-6 junior is the leading returning three-point maker for the Eagles. “We’re on a mission this year,” said Hendrickson, who noted that team chemistry has improved dramatically from last season.
Austin Hall: He rounds out a trio of skilled 6-6 juniors that hope to lift LCA into the 11th Region Tournament for the first time in program history. “We don’t have a ton of athleticism compared to some of the teams that we play, but we do have height,” Valentine said. “So hopefully that’ll offset some of that quickness and we can use it to our advantage.”
Others to watch
East Jessamine transfer Nathan Harper, a senior, and Woodford County transfer Chandler Stewart, a junior, each led their respective teams in scoring last season. They’ve quickly blended in with the Eagles. Sophomore guard Isaiah Hunt is smart with the ball and feels comfortable taking on a scoring role or sitting back orchestrating the offense.
Games you gotta see
The Eagles host 11th Region favorite Scott County on Dec. 8 before heading to Dunbar on Dec. 13 (the return game is Jan. 6). The Central Bank Classic, LCA’s holiday event, will pit the Eagles against reigning 41st District champion Franklin County.
Tre King, who was LCA’s second-leading scorer behind Rode last season, would’ve been a senior but re-classified and is now part of the junior class at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. ... The Eagles have won the 11th Region All “A” Classic in 12 of the last 13 seasons but have never played in the finals of the statewide small-school finals.