LEXINGTON, Ky. – Madison Central’s late push was not enough to overcome a 17-point fourth quarter deficit as Ballard advances 70-61 in the KHSAA Boys Sweet 16.
Ballard (20-2) showed its speed throughout the game and won numerous statistical categories, but Madison Central wouldn’t let the Bruins run away with the game like the first two games of the day.
After Ballard’s Keno Hayden scored two of his game-high 26 points at the 5:05 mark in the fourth quarter to put the Bruins up 58-41, Madison Central went on an 8-0 run over the next two minutes.
Madison Central (21-10) would then find itself behind by 15 with 2:31 to go in the game thanks to a Hayden 3-point play with 2:31 to go, but the Indians kept fighting and cut it down to 66-61 on a 12-2 run.
Hayden closed out the game with a pair of free throws and a dunk.
Ballard led 20-16 after the first quarter and kept Madison Central from scoring over the course of a 5:06 stretch in the second quarter.
Neither team shot particularly well from the field, but the difference in the game was the Bruins being able to use their athleticism to win the points off turnovers (16-6), points in the paint (42-20) and fast break points (14-2) categories.
Ballard narrowly outrebounded the Indians by a 37-34 count as the Indians had no answer for the Bruins’ Maker Bar, who hauled in 14 boards that accompanied his 11 points.
Gabe Sisk chipped in 19 points and seven rebounds for the Bruins.
Kole Browne led Madison Central in scoring with 21 points on just 6-for-16 shooting from the field.
Browne was 2-for-7 from long range and 7-of-10 from the charity stripe.
Jalen Davis scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half and collected seven rebounds.
Will Hardin closed out the double-figure scoring for the Indians with 15 points to go along with a team-high nine rebounds.
Ballard will now set its sights on a Bowling Green team that handily defeated University Heights early in the tournament 85-57.
The Ballard/Bowling Green quarterfinal game is set to begin on Fri., April 2 at 2 p.m.
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Outstanding pressure defense forcing numerous turnovers that led to easy buckets helped Elizabethtown dismantle Knott County Central 87-59 in Game 1 of the KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16.
Elizabethtown (20-2) fell behind 8-6 just three minutes into the game, but the Panthers used a 17-0 run over 3:18 of game time to take a 23-8 lead. The run was punctuated by a Jaquais Franklin fast-break dunk that was assisted by Kam Sherrard.
Anytime Knott County Central would turn the ball over or miss a shot, the race was on for the Panthers to get the ball out and score quickly.
Knott County Central (18-8) would be hampered in the first quarter by foul trouble from their star Colby Napier.
Napier, who went into the game averaging 21 ppg, picked up his third foul with just 20 seconds remaining in the opening stanza.
The woes for the Patriots would continue just 28 seconds into the second quarter when Napier picked up his fourth foul and was forced to the bench for the rest of the first half.
Elizabethtown, who some have picked to make it to at least the semifinals, only needed seven points off the bench to easily take down the Patriots.
Franklin led all scorers with 25 points on 9-for-11 shooting with two made 3-pointers and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. Franklin would also lead the Panthers with seven rebounds and tied for the lead with Khia Sherrard in assists with seven.
Elizabethtown’s dominance in the first half shined bright in the halftime stats as the Panthers shot 57 percent from the field and only committed three turnovers while forcing KCC into 12 of their own.
The Panthers turned those opportunities into easy baskets totaling 23 points off turnovers.
Sixteen rebounds and 14 assists also spurred Elizabethtown to a 49-28 lead at the half.
KCC would show signs of life to begin the third quarter thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Napier to cut the deficit to 49-34, but the next 4:12 of game time essentially ended any hope of a comeback as Elizabethtown went on a 14-0 run to make it 63-36 with 2:43 left in the quarter.
Elizabethtown forced five turnovers during that run and 20 for the game.
One bright spot for the game for the Patriots was the play of Josh McGuire.
McGuire would be the lone Patriot to step up in Napier’s scoring absence throughout the game and led KCC with 21 points and 10 rebounds. The rest of the Patriots totaled just 12 additional rebounds for the entirety of the game.
The fourth quarter was just a formality with the Panthers edging out the Patriots by a 17-16 margin in the stanza after the Patriots were run down from chasing the Panthers down all game long.
Elizabethtown would see all five starters score in double figures including Kam Sherrard with 16 and his brother Khia chipping in 13.
Alandre Murphy added 15 points to go along with 11 from Camden Williams.
Jacob Moberly had seven off the bench for the Panthers.
Napier would finish with 13 points despite being in foul trouble all game.
Kent Damron, Kizer Slone and Jayden Huff added five each for KCC while Drake Slone (4), Evin Eversole (4) and Scott Shepherd (2) rounded out the scoring.
Elizabethtown won nearly all facets of the game, but the most impressive stats were the offensive rebounds (17), points off turnovers (34), fast break points (26) and points in the paint (58).
Elizabethtown advances on to take on the winner of George Rogers Clark and Oldham County in the Elite 8 on Friday morning at 11 a.m.
Thanks to a second-half comeback, Highlands is in the KHSAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 2001 after defeating Conner 77-67 in the 9th Region championship game at the Evans Fieldhouse in Covington.
Sam Vinson was one of five in double figures for Highlands after shooting 6-of-12 from the field with one made 3-pointer and 8-for-9 shooting from the charity stripe.
Vinson, a candidate for Mr. Basketball and an NKU recruit, added eight rebounds, four blocks, two steals and two assists to take home Most Valuable Player honors throughout the tournament.
Highlands (25-4) trailed 40-30 early in the third quarter before going on a 14-0 run to take a 44-40 lead.
The third quarter run and eventual win for the Bluebirds was keyed by outstanding shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.
Highlands shot 15-for-38 from beyond the arc for the game including 9-of-19 in the second half.
Zach Barth, Luke Muller and William Herald drained four 3-pointers each for head coach Kevin Listerman.
Barth finished with 15 points while Muller added 14 and Herald chipped in 12. Oliver Harris closed out the double-digit scoring with 10 points for the Bluebirds.
Conner (17-6) was led by Ayden Lohr’s brilliant 18-point performance that saw him knock down 5-of-10 shots from the field including a pair of 3-pointers. Lohr was also perfect from the free throw line going 6-for-6.
The Cougars lost despite outrebounding Highlands by a 44-29 count including 15 from Cole Skiles.
Skiles, a senior forward, added 10 points to complete the only double-double by either team.
Luke Hamilton made four 3-pointers and five free throws to pitch in 17 points for the Cougars.
Highlands was able to contain Conner’s top two scorers in Riley Osterbur and Spencer Couzins, who averaged a combined 28.1 per game going into the finals.
Osterbur was held to eight points while Couzins tallied 10. The duo was just 7-for-26 from the field, 1-for-6 from beyond the arc and 3-for-6 from the free throw line.
Highlands was able to protect the ball throughout the game committing just six turnovers while forcing Conner into 11 of their own.
With Highlands ending its streak of not qualifying for the Sweet 16 at 20 years, the streak continues for Conner, which has not won the 9th Region title since 1993.
Highlands advances to face the winner of the 3rd Region in the 11 a.m. contest on Thurs., April 1.
Muhlenberg County and Owensboro Catholic face off in 3rd Region title game on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Owensboro Sportscenter.
Johnson Central withstood an early deficit before coming back and pulling away from Betsy Layne 72-55 in the 15th Region semifinals at the Appalachian Wireless Arena.
Johnson Central (21-3) advances to Saturday’s region championship game against crosstown rival Paintsville at 7:30 p.m.
The Golden Eagles were once again led by Cory VanHoose in scoring with 21 points.
VanHoose, a senior guard/forward combo, is looking to give his school its first win over Paintsville in the 15th Region finals.
The two schools have met in the title game in 1985 and 2008 with Paintsville coming out on top in both contests.
Tommy McKenzie has propelled the Golden Eagles to consistent success since taking over the head coaching reigns at Johnson Central.
McKenzie, Johnson Central’s head coach since the 2007-08 season, has now led the Golden Eagles to 11 region championship games and will be seeking his 6th trip to the Sweet 16.
If Johnson Central is to advance, the Golden Eagles will need another brilliant performance from VanHoose and his teammates as well as taking care of the ball like they did against Betsy Layne.
VanHoose hauled in 10 rebounds to complete a double-double performance in the semifinals as well as dishing out four assists and forcing four turnovers.
Isaiah May and Ryleh McKenzie joined VanHoose in double-digit scoring.
Johnson Central committed just eight turnovers on the night while forcing 18 from the Bobcats.
Betsy Layne (13-9) shot just 35.4 percent from the field including a 5-for-15 performance from beyond the arc.
The Bobcats were without Jordan Frazier, the team’s leading scorer, during the postseason.
Brady Robinson, who was the Betsy Layne’s second leading scorer with an average of 20 points per game, did all he could to keep his team in the game with 18 points and five rebounds, but the lack of another go-to scorer eventually did the Bobcats in against Johnson Central.
Chase Mims (12) and Byron Tackett (11) were the team’s other double-digit scorers.
Johnson Central easily won the points in the paint battle by a 40-24 margin as well as a 19-15 advantage in second chance points despite being outrebounded 37-30.
Conner Lemaster sinks a three. Photo Courtesy of Golden Eagle Network
Sam Vinson’s 20 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists led Highlands past St. Henry 74-68 as the Bluebirds are now one win away from their first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2001.
Vinson, a Northern Kentucky University signee, was one of five Bluebirds to crack double digits on the night for head coach Kevin Listerman’s squad including Zachary Barth, Luke Muller, Oliver Harris and William Herald.
Barth totaled 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting including a pair of 3-pointers.
Harris and Herald netted 13 points apiece while Muller added 12.
The first quarter was close from the opening throw-in to the buzzer, but Highlands (25-4) took a 21-19 lead into the second quarter where the Bluebirds stretched out their lead to 36-27 at halftime.
Highlands would take its largest lead at 41-27 with the first basket of the third quarter and was able to eventually stave off a furious rally attempt by the Crusaders.
St. Henry (18-4) had previous defeated Highlands this season on Jan. 9 by an 82-80 score and won the All “A” Class title just over two weeks,
The Crusaders were led by Wyatt Vieth’s 22 points, five assists, three steals and two blocked shots.
Vieth, who will be joining Scotty Davenport’s Bellarmine Knights in the fall, was 9-for-19 from the field and gave his team everything he could from start to finish.
Jude Bessler notched a double=double in his final game for St. Henry with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Cory Shea turned in an awesome performance for St. Henry with 15 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals, but the Crusaders were unable to overcome a 38.6 shooting performance for the game.
St. Henry won the points in the paint battle by a 26-12 margin, but Highlands was able to better convert turnovers into points. The Bluebirds forced 12 turnovers by the Crusaders and rack up 21 points while St, Henry only got 13 points off 15 Highlands turnovers.
Cougars advance past Colonels
Landen Hamilton and Spencer Couzins tallied 19 points each as Conner easily defeated Dixie Heights 71-54.
Conner (17-6) was lights out from beyond the arc and led by Couzins and Hamilton with five made 3-pointters apiece.
Dixie Heights (21-6) won the previous meeting between the two squads by a 70-50 final on Jan. 12 and had been playing extremely well in recent weeks including a win over Covington Catholic in last week’s 34th District championship game.
The Colonels were led in scoring by Jasom Summe with 18 points and he was closely followed by Kiernan Geraci, who netted 13 points.
Conner will be playing for its first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1993.
The Cougars and Bluebirds will face off in the 9th Region title game at Holmes High School’s Evans Fieldhouse on Friday night with the game starting at 7 p.m.
The Madison Central Indians raced out to a 76-53 lead late in the third quarter before holding on to upset Lexington Catholic 101-97 in the quarterfinals of the 11th Region tournament on Tuesday night.
Madison Central (18-9) lost to the Knights 80-65 on Feb. 14 before exacting revenge en route to eclipsing the 100-point plateau for the first time since defeating John Hardin 115-108 in triple overtime on Dec. 7, 2013.
Lexington Catholic (20-3), which was had been one of the favorites to win the KHSAA Sweet 16, finished the season losing three of their final five contests with the other two at the hands of Dunbar in the regular season and the 43rd District title game last week.
Ben Johnson, who is a front runner for Mr. Basketball honors, did all he could do to keep the Knights from falling to defeat, but his 41 points on 11-for-23 shooting was not enough.
Johnson, who will be attending Bellarmine University next season, also drained 6-of-16 3-point attempts and was 13-for-15 from the charity stripe.
Lexington Catholic shot 51.6 percent from the field for the game, but Madison Central was able to use the friendly confines of their home gymnasium for one of the best shooting performances you will see.
The Indians blistered the nets from both inside and outside of the arc knocking down 70.5 percent of their attempts for the game including 77.8 percent in the second half.
Madison Central was 15-for-21 from behind the arc with Jaylen Davis draining 5-of-7 attempts and Will Hardin going 6-for-7.
Indians head coach Allen Feldhaus, Jr., saw four of his player score in the double digits with Davis leading the way with 35 points.
Kole Browne tallied 24 points while Hardin followed closely with 22. Braeden Ray finished with 10 points.
Hardin also hauled in a team-high seven rebounds while Browne led the Indians in assists with seven.
Madison Central used its fantastic shooting to overcome losing the rebound battle to Lexington Catholic by a 29-21 margin.
Lexington Catholic got a great performance from Ryan Russell before he fouled out late.
Russell put up 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting including four 3-pointers and three made free throws to go along with his game-high nine rebounds.
Jack Gohmann, who had a breakout season on the gridiron as the Knights’ quarterback, added 11 points of his own.
Madison Central advances to the region semifinals that will be played at EKU’s McBrayer Arena on Thursday night. The Indians will take on a Franklin County Flyers squad that defeated Henry Clay 51-44.
The Madison Central versus Franklin County game will begin at 8:15 p.m. with the winner taking on either Frederick Douglass or Dunbar in the finals.
Douglass defeated Madison Southern 62-50, and Dunbar cruised by Frankfort 78-54. The Douglass/Dunbar matchup is slate to begin at 5:30 p.m.
The 11th Region championship game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches along with the Kentucky Lyons Eye Foundation released the list of region player and coach of the year for both boys and girls basketball on Friday morning.
The individuals honored with representing their school and region as player of the year are also the finalists for the Mr. and Miss Basketball awards that will be announced on April 18..
The Mr. Basketball award was first given out in 1954 while Miss Basketball has been awarded since 1976.
Only dues-paying members of the KABC are eligible for the coach of the year award thus making their players eligible for their award.
All award winners are listed below including the runner up in each region for player of the year. The importance of that list is that those players will also be considered when selections are made later this year to fill out the roster for the Kentucky All-Stars in the annual Kentucky/Indiana All-Star Series.
2021 KABC Boys Basketball Region Player of the Year
Region 1 – Noah Dumas (McCracken County) & Zion Harmon (Marshall County)
Region 2 – Destin Allen (Webster County)
Region 3 – Nash Divine (Muhlenberg County)
Region 4 – Isaiah Mason (Bowling Green)
Region 5 – Jaquias Franklin (Elizabethtown)
Region 6 – Devin Perry (DeSales)
Region 7 – Cameron Pope (Male)
Region 8 – Kelly Niece (Simon Kenton)
Region 9 – Sam Vinson (Highlands)
Region 10 – Grant Profitt (Scott High)
Region 11 – Ben Johnson (Lexington Catholic)
Region 12 – Kade Grundy (Somerset)
Region 13 – Jevonte Turner (Knox Central)
Region 14 – Jaz Johnson (Wolfe County)
Region 15 – Isaiah May (Johnson Central)
Region 16 – Mason Moore (Rowan County)
2021 KABC Girls Basketball Region Player of the Year
Region 1 – Cayson Conner (Marshall County)
Region 2 – Sadie Wurth (Henderson County)
Region 3 – Aleigha Mucker (Breckinridge County)
Region 4 – Lucy Patterson (Warren East)
Region 5 – Ella Thompson (Bethlehem)
Region 6 – Tiarra East (Butler)
Region 7 – Taylor Price (Louisville Central)
Region 8 – Brynna Blackburn (South Oldham)
Region 9 – Brie Crittendon (Ryle)
Region 10 – Mya Meredith (Scott High)
Region 11 – Brooklyn Mile (Franklin County)
Region 12 – Macey Blevins (Wayne County)
Region 13 – Mikkah Siler (Williamsburg)
Region 14 – Lexy Lynch (Owsley County)
Region 15 – Katie Moore (Floyd Central)
Region 16 – Harley Paynter (Boyd County)
2021 KABC Boys Basketball Region Coach of the Year
Region 1 – Greg Overstretch (Paducah Tilghman)
Region 2 – Ryan Perry (Lyon County)
Region 3 – Kyle Eades (Muhlenberg County)
Region 4 – Todd Messer (Clinton County)
Region 5 – Jared McCurry (John Hardin)
Region 6 – Blake Stone (Doss)
Region 7 – Aaron Hill (Christian Academy of Lou.)
Region 8 – Jason Burns (Spencer County)
Region 9 – Matthew Otte (Conner)
Region 10 – Brian Kirk (Mason County)
Region 11 – Brandon Salsman (Lexington Catholic)
Region 12 – Denny Webb (Boyle County)
Region 13 – Michael Jones (Harlan County)
Region 14 – Allan Holland (Hazard)
Region 15 – Tommy McKenzie (Johnson Central)
Region 16 – Shawn Thacker (Rowan County)
2021 KABC Girls Basketball Region Coach of the Year
Region 1 – Lyndon Dunning (Graves County)
Region 2 – Shannon Hodge (Crittenden County)
Region 3 – Chad Moorman (Breckinridge County)
Region 4 – Piper Lindsey (Barren County)
Region 5 – Amber Courtney (Bardstown)
Region 6 – Michael Prichard (Pleasure Ridge Park)
Region 7 – Maurice Ponder (Male)
Region 8 – Clay Birdwhistell (Anderson County)
Region 9 – Justin Holthaus (Cooper)
Region 10 – Steve Brown (Scott High)
Region 11 – Nick Runyon (Paul Laurence Dunbar)
Region 12 – Mark McKinley (Wayne County)
Region 13 – Eddie Mahan (North Laurel)
Region 14 – Travis Smith (Owsley County)
Region 15 – Justin Triplett (Floyd Central)
Region 16 – Mandy Layne (Russell) & Pete Fraley (Boyd County)
2021 KABC Region Player of the Year Runner Up
Boys: Eli Brown (Paducah Tilghman)
Girls: Madison Calvin (Ballard Memorial)
Boys: KJ Crump (University Heights)
Girls: Shannon Hodge (Crittenden County)
Boys: Brady Dame (McLean County)
Girls: Kassidy Daugherty (Apollo)
Boys: Mason Shirley (Allen Co.-Scottsville)
Girls: Jacqueline Jackson (Greenwood)
Boys: Anthony Bowen (John Hardin)
Girls: Kayra Freeman (Elizabethtown)
Boys: Tony Moss (Doss)
Girls: Dynastee White (Butler)
Boys: Ethan Hodge (Trinity)
Girls: Sydney Raque (Christian Academy of Louisville)
Boys: Sam Conley (Spencer County)
Girls: Sophie Smith (Anderson County)
Boys: Scott Draud (Beechwood) & Wyatt Vieth (St. Henry)
RICHMOND, Ky. – Winning championships takes a total team effort and that is exactly what the St. Henry boys and Bethlehem girls basketball teams got in their effort to repeat as All “A” Classic state champions.
St. Henry (15-2) defeated upstart Clinton County 74-57 for the Crusaders’ third All “A” crown in school history and second in as many seasons.
Bethlehem (20-4) bested Walton-Verona 53-43 for the team’s second straight All “A” title victory over the Bearcats.
St. Henry found itself trailing Clinton County 16-14 despite Wyatt Vieth scoring 10 in the opening quarter.
Both teams battled for control early in the second quarter with St. Henry going up 23-20 with 6:02 remaining in the quarter before Vieth picked up his second foul with 5:35 to go in the second quarter.
Head coach Dave Faust would sit his star player until less than a minute left in the half, but the Crusaders came together and extend their lead to 35-28 during that stretch without their leader on the court.
St. Henry would shoot 8-for-12 from the field in the second quarter and would the rest of the game.
Vieth would lead all scorers with 27 points on 12-of-16 shooting including 1-for-1 from 3-point range as well as 2-for-3 from the charity stripe on his way to winning Most Valuable Player honors.
Jude Bessler, Ryan Butler and Cody Teten would join Vieth on the All-Tournament team for the Crusaders.
Bessler scored 13 points and was followed by Teten’s 11.
Clinton County (18-3) was led by Nick Delk’s 19 points and five rebounds.
Blake Melton came back on Saturday morning after sitting out most of the second half of the Bulldogs’ semifinal win due to an injury.
Melton tallied 11 of his 17 points in the second half. Nick Brown also joined in the double figures scoring column for head coach Todd Messer’s crew with 10 points.
Bethlehem had four players score in double digits and gave up just five turnovers on their way to winning the girls All “A” title earlier in the morning.
Ella Thompson would be named the MVP of the tournament scoring 12 points and hauling in seven rebounds in the finals.
Xaviara Smalley also scored 12 points and grabbed 8 rebounds off the bench for the Banshees.
Bethlehem would lead by seven multiple times in the first quarter, but Walton-Verona (15-7) would keep fighting and would eventually gain a 24-22 lead with 5:15 left in the second quarter.
The Bearcats’ lead was short as Smalley’s jumper 10 seconds later would tie the game at 24-24.
Walton-Verona went cold and did not score again until 0:49 remaining in the half.
The Banshees would take a 38-31 lead into the fourth quarter and knocked down 7-of-11 free throws to seal the victory.
Walton-Verona’s Maggie Buerger led all scorers with 14 points and Haylee Neeley notched 12 points on four 3-pointers.