The All “A” Classic, the unofficial boys’ and girls’ state tournaments held for the 120 schools with the lowest enrollments, tips off Wednesday.
For the first time since 2011, the small-school showcase will be held at McBrayer Arena in Eastern Kentucky University’s Alumni Coliseum. EKU was home to the event for 20 years before it was moved to Frankfort in 2012.
Here are some fast facts about the tournament, which has been held in its current form since 1990.
▪ Lexington Christian Academy for the second year in a row is the top-rated boys’ team in the field and one of only two ranked in the top 25 of the Cantrall Ratings. LCA is eighth overall in the state while Walton-Verona is 19th overall. The Eagles have won the 11th Region All “A” title in 13 of the last 14 seasons but have never reached the finals of the statewide tournament; they lost to eventual champion Paris in the semifinals last January.
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Carter Hendricksen, a North Florida signee, leads the Eagles, averaging 19.9 points and 9.4 rebounds.
▪ University Heights, LCA’s opening-round opponent, is the only school in the boys’ field that has won an All “A” Classic state title. KyKy Tandy, a Blazers junior who has offers from Florida, Oklahoma and Western Kentucky, is second in the state at 32.5 points per game.
▪ Murray’s girls are a big favorite to win their second All “A” Classic state championship in the last three seasons. The Tigers, who lost in the 2015 finals and won their first title in 2016, are the only girls’ team ranked in the Cantrall top 25. If the first round goes as expected, Murray would play Covington Holy Cross — the second-highest ranked team — in the quarterfinals. A semifinals matchup with Monroe County — which upset the Tigers in last year’s quarterfinals en route to the state title — is a possibility.
Likely Miss Basketball candidate Macey Turley averages 16.4 points and shoots 48.6 percent from behind the three-point line for Murray.
▪ Brennan Stanley, a 5-foot-6 senior guard at Walton-Verona, recently joined the 2,000-point club. He’s averaging 15.1 points on 51.9-percent shooting for the Bearcats, who are 14-4 despite playing most of the season with star junior Dieonte Miles on a minutes restriction because of a shoulder injury. Miles on Jan. 6 suffered a second shoulder injury and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season; Walton-Verona is 3-0 since then, a stretch that includes a win at Campbell County, the 10th Region frontrunner.
▪ Robertson County’s boys will play in the All “A” state tournament for the first time in program history. Brandon Dice knocked down the go-ahead three-pointer with 5.1 seconds left to give the Black Devils a 59-57 victory over Paris in the 10th Region finals.
▪ Scotty Draud leads Beechwood, another first-time participant, with 21.8 points per game. He’s the only freshman in the state who ranks in the top 20 for scoring average other than Adair County star Zion Harmon (who leads the state with 34.4 points).
▪ Lynn Camp rounds out a trio of boys’ All “A” Classic newcomers. Dinky Phipps, who coached at Barbourville for 34 seasons, is in his third season leading the Wildcats and has 672 career wins, which is good for 11th all-time and fifth among active coaches.
▪ Cassidy Rowe is only in eighth grade but she’s already a star for Shelby Valley, the third-highest rated team in the girls’ tournament. She was ranked as the second-best player in the 15th Region by its coaches in the Courier-Journal’s preseason poll and attended Big Blue Madness in October.
▪ Somerset’s boys advanced out of the 12th Region for the first time since 2014, ending a three-year streak of appearances by Danville. The Briar Jumpers have appeared in the All “A” 15 times — more than any other 12th Region team — but have never won the event (neither has any other team from the region). First-year coach Jeron Dunbar, a former baseball and basketball star for Russell County, was previously an assistant at Madison Central for four years.
▪ Lexington Christian’s girls are in the field for the first time since 2012, which was the last of 12 straight appearances that included three championship runs. Bethany Selby leads the Eagles with 17.1 ppg.
▪ Green County and Walton-Verona are the only schools other than LCA with teams playing in both tournaments.
▪ Four boys’ teams are in the field for the first time since 2013: Clinton County, Collegiate, Knott County Central and Pikeville.
▪ Mayfield and Raceland were the last teams to punch their tickets after their respective region finals were delayed to Monday because of winter weather. Raceland reached state for the first time since 2001 with a 46-41 win over Bath County in the 16th Region finals while Mayfield will represent the First Region for the second season in a row.
ALL ‘A’ CLASSIC
When: Wednesday through Sunday (girls’ first round begins Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.; boys’ first round starts Thursday at 8:30 a.m.)
Where: McBrayer Arena in Alumni Coliseum, Eastern Kentucky University
Boys’ bracket: bit.ly/2ructDb
Girls’ bracket: bit.ly/2DZmQBu
ALL ‘A’ CLASSIC CANTRALL RATINGS
Records through Monday
1. Lexington Christian (13-6), 81.2
2. Walton-Verona (14-4), 78.0
3. Mayfield (15-4), 74.5
4. Owensboro Catholic (13-6), 70.9
5. University Heights (13-4), 70.0
6. Somerset (17-3), 69.2
7. Pikeville (14-3), 69.0
8. Knott Co. Central (13-4), 68.0
9. Clinton Co. (14-7), 63.3
10. Beechwood (12-8), 62.7
11. Louisville Holy Cross (12-7), 61.3
12. Lynn Camp (15-2), 60.8
13. Raceland (10-5), 55.9
14. Robertson Co. (13-6), 53.0
15. Green Co. (8-9), 52.8
16. Collegiate (17-4), 47.6
1. Murray (18-2), 85.1
2. Covington Holy Cross (12-7), 74.9
3. Shelby Valley (16-3), 72.8
4. Edmonson Co. (17-3), 72.6
5. Green Co. (15-3), 68.8
6. Walton-Verona (14-5), 68.3
7. West Carter (16-2), 66.8
8. Danville (9-10), 61.6
9. Monroe Co. (11-9) 58.7
10. Nicholas Co. (14-5), 57.0
11. Lee Co. (10-8), 55.5
12. Williamsburg (13-7), 55.3
13. Lyon Co. (12-5), 48.7
14. Lexington Christian (8-12), 48.2
15. Presentation (8-11), 45.7
16. Brown (13-4), 44.5