Kentucky's chances of becoming the first undefeated NCAA men's basketball champion in 39 years are a whole lot better than Sheldon Clark's or Williamsburg's chances of becoming the first undefeated boys' state hoops champ in 67 years.
As the 2015 portion of the high school season begins, Sheldon Clark and Williamsburg, each 9-0, are the only boys' teams that have yet to lose. Brewers was the last undefeated boys' Sweet Sixteen champion in 1948.
Don't bet the house (even with Monopoly money) that either the Cardinals or Yellow Jackets will still be perfect come mid-March.
Williamsburg was the last school in the state to lose a football game last fall. The Jackets were unbeaten before losing a heart-breaker to Mayfield in overtime in the Class A finals. Corey Shelton was one of Williamsburg's football stars. He's stepping up in basketball, too. He hit a jump shot with two seconds left to give the Jackets a 64-63 victory over Corbin in the finals of the Cumberland Falls Invitational Tournament Tuesday night. Maybe he can help Williamsburg be the last school in the state to lose a basketball game this season.
■ Six girls' teams are still undefeated: Clinton County (14-0), Eastern (8-0), Holmes (12-0), Male (11-0), Paducah Tilghman (12-0) and Simon Kenton (11-0). It was only two years ago that Marion County went 39-0 on its way to the state championship.
■ Henderson County Coach Tyler Smithhart couldn't have been happier after his team upset No. 1 Trinity 57-54 in the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic semifinals. Smithhart said it "ranks up there with the best wins, but we don't want to proclaim this as the greatest win ever. Our guys understand this is just part of the process. We don't want to get too high or too low. This is all just preparation for a postseason run." The Colonels beat Lexington Catholic in the finals. Smithhart is a Henderson County grad who played college ball for Brian Lane at Transylvania and got his coaching start under Daniel Brown at Henry Clay. Henderson County senior and tournament MVP David Simmons is drawing interest from Austin Peay and Kentucky Wesleyan.
■ Trinity's loss to Henderson County might be just what Mike Szabo ordered to get his Shamrocks playing up to expectations. Remember the 2011-12 season? Trinity was seemingly invincible against in-state competition before it was upset by Madison Central 78-77 in the Joe B. Hall Prep Classic in January. Szabo got his players' attention after that, and they didn't lose again. They won 18 in a row on their way to the state championship. If the Rocks don't play harder than they did at Lexington Catholic, the 7th Region could be a minefield for them.
■ Knott County Central star Camron Justice eclipsed 3,000 points for his career during the Patriots' visit to the Beach Ball Classic. According to KHSAA records, he's the 31st boys' player in the state to reach that plateau. If Justice, who has 3,099 points, keeps up this pace, he'll have a shot at finishing among the top five all-time scorers with more than 3,500 points.
■ Apollo's Eli Wright is one of the top juniors in the state. A 6-5 left-hander, he has scholarship offers from Clemson, Indiana, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Purdue and WKU. "The big thing all the recruiters love about him is his ability to slash and finish in traffic," Apollo Coach Steve Barker said. "And he has such good quickness and great hands." Wright is averaging 24 points and seven rebounds this season. Barker knows what it's like to be a basketball star at Apollo. He and Jeff Jones were all-state teammates for Wayne Chapman's Eagles in 1978. Apollo was unbeaten and rated No. 1 going into the Sweet Sixteen, but lost to eventual champ Shelby County in the first round. "It's amazing how many people I run into who say they remember that. I'll be at a gas pump and they'll ask me, 'Are you Steve Barker? I was at that Shelby County game in Freedom Hall.'" Jones is a longtime college coach. He's now at Old Dominion.
■ Franklin County sophomore Princess Stewart had 31 points, 11 rebounds, nine steals and eight assists in a win over Frankfort last month. It was 30 years ago, almost to the week, that her dad, Prince Stewart, as a sophomore at Lafayette, hit back-to-back game-winning shots against Somerset and Tates Creek. Prince, a proud father, said it's "more of a thrill" seeing his daughter come close to a quadruple-double than remembering his glory days. "You get more pleasure watching your kids do things you used to do." Stewart's sons — Prince Jr. and Trey — played at Henry Clay a few years ago. Princess is averaging 15 points and nine rebounds.
■ Marshall County became the first girls' basketball program in the state to reach 1,000 victories a couple weeks ago. Howard Beth won 794 games and two state titles in 30 years as Lady Marshals coach. He retired in 2010, and Joseph Simmons took over.. "To be here when it happens is pretty special," Simmons told marshallcountydaily.com. "Past players, coaches and assistant coaches have all been a part of this, as well as our administrators and school system that have given us the great facilities to win championships."
■ D.J. Pigg hit 10 threes and had 38 points to lead Marshall County's boys to a 74-35 rout of Wren, S.C., in a tournament in Florida. Pigg was averaging seven points before his big game.
■ Covington Scott sophomore Jake Ohmer had a school-record 51 points in an 87-80 win over Stewarts Creek, Tenn.
■ Jenkins junior Whitney Creech, who's led the state in scoring the last two years, had 35, 39 and 45 points in a holiday tournament in Florida. She's averaging almost 39 points this season.
■ Elizabethtown junior star Erin Boley is on the watch list for the James Naismith national player of the year award. Boley is averaging 19.5 points and 10.8 rebounds for No. 1 E-town.
■ John O'Bryan (Madison Central), a junior guard at Rockford (Ill.) University, was named student-athlete of the week in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. O'Bryan averaged 29 points and hit 13 of 27 three-pointers in two games. He leads the conference in scoring (20.7 ppg).
■ Green County junior Dominique Compton had 89 points in three games in the Campbellsville Classic, the second most in tournament history. Mark Krebs of Newport Central Catholic scored 93 in 2004. Compton had 29 against Milwaukee South, 27 against Elizabethtown and 33 against Central Hardin.
■ North Laurel's Peyton Broughton, one of the top sophomores in the state, is related to Chuck Broughton, who coached Laurel County to the 1982 state title. Peyton's grandfather, Mike Broughton, is Chuck's brother. Peyton has watched the tape of the '82 Sweet Sixteen finals, and Paul Andrews' game-winning half-court shot. "I've seen it once or twice. It was a crazy game," he said. Peyton has scholarship offers from Clemson, Miami (Ohio), Samford, WKU and Wright State.
■ Katie Moore has led Leslie County to an 11-2 record. The 5-9 senior guard is averaging 25 points and eight rebounds. Her career numbers: 2,879 points, 1,065 rebounds and 550 assists.
■ If pressed to pick a favorite high school sports' moment from 2014, I'd go with Covington Catholic winning the boys' state basketball title, and seeing Colonels Coach Scott Ruthsatz and his son, senior point guard Nick Ruthsatz, share in the celebration in Rupp Arena. Nick had 91 points and 23 assists in CovCath's four victories, and earned MVP honors. "I'm so proud of Nick and how he's elevated his game to another level though old-fashioned hard work over the last three years," Scott Ruthsatz said. "This is all so special, if I keep talking about it, I will drop tears here."
■ Bill Tom Ross, one of the winningest football coaches in northeastern Kentucky, died this week. He was 68. Mr. Ross coached at Boyd County, Raceland and Johnson Central. He had an overall record of 146-108. His longest stint was at Raceland (1983-96), where his 112 victories are still the most in school history. Michael Salmons, Raceland's current coach who played for the Rams under Ross, told the Ashland Daily Independent that his mentor was "a master motivator. Any tactic he could use to win kids over, he did. It's who he was."
■ Devin Taylor (West Jessamine) earned national junior college football All-American honorable mention honors. He rushed for 1,524 yards (169 per game) and 12 touchdowns as a freshman at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas.
■ Frankfort's Sherrill Smith, who was named small public school coach of the year by the Kentucky High School Soccer Coaches Association, has earned the same honor on a regional basis — Great Lakes coach of the year — by the national coaches association. He will receive the award at the national convention in Philadelphia in two weeks.
■ Anyone interested in umpiring fast-pitch softball in the 10th and 11th regions should attend a meeting at Bourbon County High School Jan. 11 at 2 p.m., or contact J.T. Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org. No experience necessary.