High School Basketball

Girls’ basketball preview: Henry Clay

Last season: 27-4 (lost to Franklin County in 11th Region championship game)

Coach: Eric Sanford (fifth year)

Key contributors:

1. Jordyn Jackson: Senior forward/center who averaged five points and five boards last year.

2. T’laya Lyvers: Senior guard who brings back 13 points and eight rebounds per game from last season. What does she do for her team? “Everything,” she said coyly. “Anything my team needs to win.”

3. Nakeisha Green: Senior forward/center. Averaged three points and five rebounds.

4. Anovia Byars: Senior guard/forward. Averaged six points and three rebounds. “We’re preparing to get a three-peat and we’re coming back for the region ’cause we’ve got something to prove after losing last year,” she said.

Others to watch: Braxton Price, 5-7 sophomore guard; Lexi Long, 5-8 junior guard; Cheyenne Jones, 5-9 sophomore forward; Oriona Woods, 5-9 sophomore guard; Alexis Lutz, 5-4 sophomore guard. “We are fairly young outside of my four seniors and we’ll take some growing pains but I like my young group and their determination to get better every day.”

Games you gotta see: Mercer County, whom Jackson said the Blue Devils went 1-2 against in summer scrimmaging, is expected to compete for the 12th Region crown and comes to Henry Clay on Dec. 5 as part of the Lexus Shootout Classic. The Blue Devils follow that with a home bout with fellow 42nd District contender Bryan Station on Dec. 8. A home battle with Franklin County on Jan. 7 acts as a rematch of last season’s region finals and possibly a precursor to this year’s region finals.

Fast facts: Henry Clay will be going for its third straight 42nd District title when it enters the postseason. The Blue Devils last reached the Sweet Sixteen in 2008, when it became the first public school in five seasons to advance from the 11th Region after defeating Lexington Catholic 47-43. ... Until Makayla Epps recorded one earlier this season, Henry Clay product Leslie Nichols was the only University of Kentucky women’s basketball player to achieve a triple-double in a game.

View the Blue Devils’ schedule and roster.

Bench talk

Nakeisha Green: On Henry Clay’s goals ... “Our expectation is to just get better and try to make sure that everyone knows their role. ... I’m just happy for (the season) to finally be here. It’s our last go-around.”

Jordyn Jackson: On improvements to now ... “We’ve increased a lot since our freshman year. We went from 4-23 to last year we were 27-4. We lost by two in the region finals to Franklin County. ... I want to play Franklin County so bad. We’re something worth talking about.”

On what it takes to win ... “Every team has something they need to work on but I know we can do it. ... Even if it’s me being on the bench cheering them on I’m willing to do it. Anything for the ‘W.’”

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

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