- Special Sections
- Public Notices
High school teams have put in plenty of work this season. Teams began practicing Oct. 15. They have put in countless hours in the gym, working on shooting, rebounding and defense. Most of them had two scrimmages and then have played 25 or more games. There have been ups and downs for each and every team, but it’s gotten us to this point. So what have we learned so far this season?
Here are 10 things we think we know:
Getting offensive. How many times have you heard offense sells tickets, but defense wins championship? Probably too many too count. But the John Hardin Bulldogs might dispute that old adage. Sure, the Bulldogs are at their best when they are pressuring teams into turnovers and getting easy points off of those. But what makes the Bulldogs so dangerous is they are not reliant on one or two players to carry the offensive load. The Bulldogs have had four players score 20 or more points and have had five players lead the team in scoring this season. They have the ability to get production from every spot on the floor, which is what makes them the 5th Region favorite in many people’s eyes.
Clear as Mudd. Elizabethtown coach Tim Mudd has built the program to the point where from one year to the next the Lady Panthers still play at the same high level. They have had eight consecutive seasons with 20 or more wins. What more impression is Elizabethtown has won at least 19 games for 14 consecutive seasons and Mudd hasn’t had a losing season. Not many coaches can say that. The Lady Panthers have won seven straight district titles and 14 of the last 17. When a coach wants to see how to build a program, Mudd would be the perfect coach to emulate.
North Hardin bounces back. Last season was a horrible season for Coach Ron Bevars and the Trojans. The team dealt with injuries, suspensions and plenty of egos. The Trojans might have had the most talented team, but largely underachieved although they made the 5th Region Tournament. This season has been quite the opposite. Bevars hasn’t had to deal with any such problems. And the Trojans are better for it. It’s addition by subtraction. They might not be as talented but they are a better team. The Trojans are playing their best at the right time of the year and could be primed to make some noise in the postseason.
The Year of the Hawks. LaRue County has been dominant this season in the 18th District. The teams have combined for 41 wins this season. The Hawks have won six of their seven games against district foes, while the Lady Hawks are a perfect 6-0. Both are the top seeds in the district tournaments and it’s highly likely they will sweep the district championships for the second time in three years.
One last time for Roberts. North Hardin senior Chanel Roberts has had one of the best careers this area has seen. She is closing in on becoming the first Lady Trojan with 2,000 points and 1,200 rebounds. The reigning Area Player of the Year has put together another great season, averaging 19.1 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. She has carried the Lady Trojans to a 23-6 record. What stands out about Roberts more than the numbers is how hard see plays and her will to win.
Great guard play. Brandon Price. Ruben Gosa. Kelton Ford. Nic McDonald. Troy Squires. Price and Ford are two of the best point guards in the state, while Gosa has been playing at such a high level the last couple of weeks. Every team seems to have a great guard and some teams have more than one. John Hardin’s backcourt of Price, Patrick Anderson and Elijah Smith is outstanding. North Hardin can match it with Gosa, Nick Lewis and Tyronn King. To win in the postseason, good guard play is critical. Every team has flaws, but good guard play can help overcome them. Whoever is cutting down the nets this weekend will be the team that had the best guard play.
Is this the Lady Bulldogs’ year? The Lady Bulldogs have won four consecutive games entering the postseason and have set a school record for wins in a season with 22. Despite all the success they’ve had this season, the Lady Bulldogs still have one goal left to accomplish – get to the region tournament. It’s something John Hardin has never done. But if it is going to break that cycle, this is the year. The Lady Bulldogs have a great post player in senior Michelle Montgomery surrounded by a good supporting cast in juniors Tajah Haley, Nawdya Fletcher and Zacchea Small.
Meade County’s streak will continue. Since moving to the 11th District following the 2005 season, Meade County has sent either its boys’ or girls’ team or both to the 3rd Region Tournament. The Green Wave didn’t make the region tournament in 2010 and the Lady Waves were left out in ’09. Outside of 2011, Meade County has won at least one of the district tournaments in the last seven years. The Green Wave are having a down year by their standards, but despite being 9-19, they could still make a run at the district title. Meanwhile, the Lady Waves are a lock to get to the region tournament and could give the school another district title.
Don’t blame the refs. The officiating in the 5th Region has been questionable at best this season. I realize that. You realize that. It’s been inconsistent not only from game to game but within each game. For instance, Bardstown was whistled for six fouls before North Hardin was called for its first. The Trojans are then called for eight consecutive fouls to even it up. Or that’s how it appears to fans. What drives me crazy about how the game is called now is that a hand check or a touch foul is called on the perimeter, but then a player is hammered in the paint and no call is made. If it’s a foul 30 feet from the basket, why isn’t it the same in the lane? But every team – boys and girls — is dealing with the same thing. Therefore, if your team doesn’t win, it’s probably no fault of the three men calling the game. The games are going to be won and lost by the players.
Expect the unexpected. The postseason always seems to bring us a few surprises. Maybe it’s in the form of an upset or two or maybe it’s a player coming out of nowhere to become a star. The boys’ 17th District coaches probably are probably eating antacids like candy, because it’s hard to feel too comfortable with the number of upsets that have happened in recent years. Any team could win the tournament and it wouldn’t shock me. That’s how balanced it is and should make for an interesting tournament.
Chuck Jones is sports editor for The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.