High School Sports

Boys’ basketball: Lexington fields four teams in Holiday Classic

Lexington Catholic’s Luke Johnson (10) scored two of his 25 points in the host Knights’ 63-62 loss to Paul Dunbar on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015.
Lexington Catholic’s Luke Johnson (10) scored two of his 25 points in the host Knights’ 63-62 loss to Paul Dunbar on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. mcornelison@herald-leader.com

The boys’ Traditional Bank Holiday Classic features five straight days of basketball, four teams from Lexington, three preseason region favorites, two out-of-state participants and one player averaging nearly 40 points per game.

First-round play tips off at noon Saturday when Western Hills and Buckhorn take the court in Lexington Catholic’s Bueter Gym. Overlapping games in the tournament will be played in Lexington Catholic’s Alumni Gym.

Paul Laurence Dunbar, the coaches’ selection to come out of the 11th Region and a state-title contender, will look to come out of the left side of the bracket. It gets Fayette County (Ga.) before a possible second-round date with Perry County Central (the Commodores received a bye). Budding star Taveion Hollingsworth leads the Bulldogs (8-2) with 25.5 points per game along with 6.7 rebounds.

Also in the Bulldogs’ bracket are Cordia — which features 7-foot sophomore Oumar Keita — Bryan Station, a Murray team whose only loss is to 1st Region favorite Paducah Tilghman, and West Jessamine.

The Defenders, coming off a 2-1 performance in the Woodford County Invitational, would have to get past Kentucky Country Day before seeing Lawton Chiles (Fla.) in the second round. From there they would get either Cordia, Frankfort, or Henderson County before a possible early-season rematch with Dunbar.

On the other side, a possible quarterfinals meeting between Louisville Trinity and Henry Clay, both of whom got byes into Sunday’s second round, would be a treat for basketball fans. Trinity would first have to get by either Lawrence County (the coaches’ 15th Region pick) or Newport Central Catholic, while the Blue Devils will get either Bullitt Central or Caverna.

Both the Cougars (3-5) and Colonels (4-6) have gotten out to slow starts, but a battle with Caverna seems more likely thanks to their standout senior Mason Faulkner. The Northern Kentucky University commit is averaging a state-best 38.8 points, which includes a 52-point effort at 5th Region-favorite Taylor County.

Lexington Catholic, also owners of a second-round bye, will play either Danville (5-3) or Knott County Central (6-3). The Knights (3-5) will aim to use their home tournament as a positive building block heading into January. Should they get past the second round they’d get the Western Hills-Buckhorn winner or Holy Cross before a semifinals meeting with, most likely, Trinity or Henry Clay.

Trinity handed Dunbar its first loss during last weekend’s King of the Bluegrass tournament (they lost their second game to Evanston, Ill., in the same tournament). Trinity started 9-0 before following to Brentwood (Tenn.) in the finals. If Dunbar were to get an early rematch, it would happen in the championship.

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

Traditional Bank Holiday Classic

What: Boys’ basketball tournament (with consolation bracket)

Where: Lexington Catholic’s Alumni Gym and Beuter Gym

When: Early rounds, various times Saturday through Tuesday; semifinals, 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday; championship, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

Tickets: $8