- Special Sections
- Public Notices
The 17th District boys’ basketball coaches don’t like to think about seeding for the upcoming postseason tournament too early.
But with a bunch of a district games in a short period – 15 in the next 31 days – coaches understand how important each and every game is.
“We’ve talked about seeding,” North Hardin coach Ron Bevars said. “Usually the higher seed you are the better. If you can stay away from the best team, you usually have a good shot. Seeding is important.”
Elizabethtown coach James Haire is one of those who downplays the significance of seeding. He said it’s more important to be peaking at the right time of the year.
“You would like to get the one seed and either play the fourth or fifth seed in that first game,” Haire said. “If you don’t get it though, you have to be confident in your play to go out and advance. You want to play the best schedule you can to prepare you for the postseason and you want to be playing your best at the end of the season. If you don’t get that top seed, you don’t want to feel like you’re out of it.”
John Hardin (9-3) is currently in first place with a 3-0 district mark. The Bulldogs are coming off two tournaments where they won the T.J. Samson Community Hospital Holiday Classic and went 2-2 in Lexington Catholic’s Republic Bank Classic despite senior point guard Brandon Price spraining an ankle in a win over Ohio County. Price’s status for Friday night against Meade County is up in the air.
“I really wasn’t expecting us to do as well as did,” John Hardin coach Mark Wells said. “We played really well against really good competition. I think we held our own. I think we defined some roles. We talked about by the end of the holiday tournaments we hoped to have roles defined and I think we left knowing what our roles are.”
Central Hardin and North Hardin are tied for second with identical 1-1 records. Both teams lost to John Hardin in December, but both showed considerable progress during the Christmas break.
The Bruins (6-4) lost to Perry County Central, 59-58 before finishing third in the Campbellsville University Holiday Classic at Campbellsville.
“I think the break was real helpful,” Central Hardin coach J.C. Wright said. “We played different styles of teams. We progressed well. I was really pleased defensively with how we executed. We still have work to do rebounding the ball. We still have dry spells offensively. But that’s part of the growing process, but I feel like we’re improving.”
Meanwhile, North Hardin (9-5) went 1-3 in Oldham County’s Best in Hoops. The Trojans played without senior Ruben Gosa, who was sick for most of the tournament. Gosa played in Southwestern’s Lake Cumberland Hoops Classic and the Trojans finished second.
“We played good teams,” Bevars said. “We played without Ruben, but I still thought we were in every game and we competed. We played good competition at Southwestern and we played better. We’re coming along. We’re progressing.”
Central Hardin hosts North Hardin tonight at 7:30 in what will be the first of the onslaught of district games. The Bruins won both meetings last year, but Wright said the Trojans are a different team this season.
“With the addition of Gosa, he’s a leader and a good shooter,” Wright said. “(Tyler) Landry and (Scotty) Sterusky rebound aggressively. Landry has improved a lot. We have to limit them on the offensive glass as much as we can and we have to take care of the ball.”
The Bruins are coming off a 73-62 victory over Marion County, but they’ve only won back-to-back games once this season. Bevars knows exactly what to expect from the Bruins.
“They are going to play hard,” Bevars said. “They are one of the hardest working teams. They always are. They are playing better than most people expected them to after what they lost (from last year). They are playing well.”
Elizabethtown sits in fourth place at 0-1 in the district, while Fort Knox is last at 0-2.
Since losing to Central Hardin on Dec. 7, the Panthers (7-2) have won six consecutive games, including three to claim the Campbellsville University Holiday Classic championship despite playing without junior guard Nic McDonald, who has been nursing a toe injury. Haire has been pleased with his team’s progress but would like to see more consistency.
“I’ve been happy with how we’ve improved, but we still have a long way to go,” Haire said. “We’re working hard and they get along with each other. We’ve been reducing the number of turnovers. We were around 25 a game earlier this season and it’s been under 10 the last couple of games. We’re not shooting the ball as well as I’d like and we have long stretches where we struggle to score. But we’re getting better.”
Chuck Jones can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or email@example.com.