High School Basketball

Adair County one of state’s biggest surprises in boys’ basketball this season

Only one boys’ or girls’ basketball team in Kentucky has suffered one loss this season. That might have been one too many.

“To be honest, our whole goal going into the year was to be undefeated in the regular season,” said Adair County boys’ coach Deron Breeze, whose Indians were 27-1 entering their regular-season finale versus Hart County on Friday. “But I mean, we didn’t think we’d do it but that was our goal. We thought if we played our best every day we had a shot at it.”

Adair County’s only loss this season came Dec. 19 to Collins, 78-75 in the Warren East Holiday Hoops Classic.

OK, so Adair County — ranked 15th overall in the latest Cantrall Ratings — will probably have to settle for a one-loss record heading into the 20th District Tournament, in which it will be heavily favored. The Indians bring a 19-game win streak, second only to No. 4 Bowling Green’s 20-game streak heading into the postseason, into their regular-season finale. Should Adair County get to the regional tournament unscathed, it will reach 30 wins for the first time in program history.

On Jan. 7, Adair County defeated North Hardin, the coaches’ preseason favorite and Cantrall’s current favorite to win the 5th Region, 81-76 in a New Year’s kickoff at Central Hardin. Senior Kel Stotts, a transfer from Russell County, made six three-pointers and scored 35 points for the Indians in that upset.

Stotts, who played at Adair County as a middle schooler but was at Russell County from his freshman year through last season, has scored 1,000 points for both programs. He is one of two players known to have accomplished that feat, the other being current Perry County Central Coach Shannon Hoskins (who played at M.C. Napier and Clay County).

When Adair County was in Lexington this week to take on Bryan Station, Stotts was sidelined with a groin strain that had kept him out for the last couple of weeks. The senior, who has an offer from Lafayette College in the Patriot League, will be good to go for the postseason.

“We’re getting up and down the court more, we’re more athletic,” Breeze said of how this edition of the Indians compares to the program’s teams that reached the Sweet Sixteen in 2007 and 2009. “ ... When we were playing North Hardin, that night one of my assistant coaches said we were shooting too many transition threes. I said, ‘Shoot, we’re 13-1 ’cause we do it. We’ll hit ’em in the second half.’”

Those previous Adair County teams played better half-court defense than these Indians, Breeze said, but that’s an area in which his team has improved greatly since his debut season last year. He arrived at Adair after one season at South Warren and had previously coached at Bracken County and Bath County.

Breeze knew that Bryan Station would press his team, something Adair likely won’t face in the district tournament but will see if it meets Bardstown (the third-ranked team in the 5th Region) in the regional tournament. The Indians fared well, upending the Defenders 66-47.

“It was good coming up here,” Breeze said. “Hopefully we’ll make another trip later in the year.”

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

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