Region: 5th | Record: 26-6 | Enrollment: 644
James "Boo" Brewer is in his fourth year as coach at his alma mater. He has an overall record of 98-31. Brewer was an all-state player at Bardstown in the late 1980s and went on to play at Louisville.
No. Player Ht. Yr. Ppg.
30 Eljay Cowherd 5-9 Jr. 12.6
23 Seivon Schooling 6-6 Sr. 11.9
5 Nicholas DeVillalobos 6-2 Sr. 4.0
2 Keanu Young 5-6 Jr. 10.6
10 Tavon Johnson 5-8 Sr. 9.2
Bardstown was a perennial contender in the All "A" Classic before its enrollment kept it out of the small-school tournament this year. Its consolation prize? The Sweet Sixteen. "We get to go to the big dance," Brewer said. "It's a blessing." The Tigers were toughened up by a difficult schedule, including losses to state tournament favorites Trinity and Scott County. "We got a little better each day," Brewer said, "and eventually developed the poise and chemistry we needed to win the region." Schooling is a force inside. DeVillalobos is a glue guy. Cowherd, Johnson and Young are all quick guards. Johnson gets to the foul line a lot. Quindon Litsey and Donovan Nance are key reserves. "Our strength is our defense. We really get after people," Brewer said.
Still 'Boo' the Tiger
At 45, Brewer still looks like he can play. He'll occasionally school his players. "They'll challenge me every once in a while. I'm still the best shooter in the gym," he said with a laugh. Brewer didn't make the Sweet Sixteen as a player. The closest he came was in 1988, when the Tigers, rated No. 2 in the state, lost to Hart County in the region semifinals. "That game was at Marion County, where we won the region last week," Brewer said. "So I told my guys afterward I was really thankful because that gym had bad memories for me and now it doesn't."
Player to watch
Schooling, who averages 9.4 rebounds, will be one of the best big men in Rupp Arena this week. "He's been phenomenal for us," Brewer said. "He's averaging close to a double-double, so he's doing his job on the boards, and he's also a good passer. He's really come along."
Bardstown is in the state tournament for the eighth time but has never won a game in the Sweet Sixteen. It last lost to Bullitt East in the first round in 2011.
Pleasure Ridge Park
Region: 6th | Record: 26-7 | Enrollment: 1,837
Dale Mabrey has 840 career victories, third-most in state history, in 33 years at PRP. He has 22 Sweet Sixteen victories, second only to Billy Hicks' 23. Mabrey led the Panthers to the 1989 title.
No. Player Ht. Yr. Ppg.
10 Antonio McDaniels 5-10 Sr. 12.5
15 D'Angelo Hunter 6-7 Sr. 13.0
43 Drew Glass 6-3 Jr. 4.4
21 Hunter Stevenson 6-0 So. 3.3
31 Richard Gaines 6-5 Jr. 5.7
Nobody can question PRP's ability to handle adversity. The day before the region tournament, former Panthers' player Kerry Benson was killed in a car accident. He was 24. Then in the semifinals, PRP's best player, 6-7 senior Lamontray Harris, got two technical fouls and was ejected, which meant a two-game suspension. PRP escaped that night with a 64-63 win over Doss, and they survived again in the finals, 59-56, against Bullitt East. "All the credit to the kids," Mabrey said. "They persevered through some tough moments in those games." McDaniels, who runs the point, and Hunter were especially clutch. This PRP team is capable of big things, as it showed by beating Ballard in the LIT finals. If the Panthers can stay alive without Harris one more game, they could be the team to beat in the lower bracket.
Mabrey thinks the KHSAA should change the rule that cost Harris two games. Harris got his first "T" for hanging on the rim after a dunk. The second technical was for supposedly using profanity overheard by an official. Mabrey thinks Harris' first "T" shouldn't factor into an ejection. "If it's a flagrant foul, for fighting, cussing or shoving somebody, I have no complaint. But because of a dunk? I thought this was all for the kids. This was too much of a penalty for Lamontray."
Player to watch
Nobody would have blinked if Harris had been a Mr. Basketball finalist this season. He averaged 13 points and 8.5 rebounds last season for PRP's region champs. He's increased his production to 18 points and 10 rebounds this year. "He scores, he rebounds, he blocks shots, and he's got a pretty wide body and is a pretty strong kid," Mabrey said. "We just hope we can band together and win again without him so he gets to play at least one more game in his career at PRP."Sweet history
PRP is here for the second year in a row, and 14th time overall. The Panthers were champs in 1989 and runners-up in 1986 and 1995.