PREP BASKETBALL OPINION: A few early season surprises (12/7)

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By Chuck Jones

The basketball season is less than two weeks old, but there are a few surprises after the first few games.

Surprise No. 1: The play of John Hardin junior guard Patrick Anderson, who played in the Class 5-A state semifinals the Friday after Thanksgiving to starting the Bulldogs’ first game eight days later.

Anderson is a great athlete. There’s no denying that. But he has made such a smooth transition from football to basketball. In two games, Anderson has scored 38 points and he’s shooting 71.4 percent from the field, including 3-of-9 from behind the 3-point arc.

“It’s probably a little bit surprising,” Anderson said. “But when you play more than one sport, you have to play right away. You have to get back into it. I came into practice and really pushed myself to get back in the groove.”

John Hardin coach Mark Wells waffled back and forth when asked if Anderson’s start was surprising.

“Yes and no,” Wells said. “Patrick is such a student of the game. He’s the first guy at the gym and he works really hard. But it’s definitely surprising how well he’s played. He came in in pretty good shape, better than what we thought. He’s still not in basketball shape, so that part is surprising.”

Anderson, who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury, has given the Bulldogs a much-needed third scorer to go along with senior point guard Brandon Price and senior forward Daveon Greene. He could be much more explosive than Jeremy Harness, the one he replaced in the lineup.

Surprise No. 2: The North Hardin Trojans are off to a 3-0 start after last year’s rocky 12-18 season.

The Trojans were an unknown entering the season. They had talent with newcomers Ruben Gosa, Khalil Rasheed and Tyronn King to go with holdovers Scotty Sterusky, Nick Lewis and Tyler Landry. But how the pieces were going to fit was the big question.

Gosa and Rasheed are capable of having big nights, while Sterusky is a steady player who does all the little things right. Lewis and Landry, though, hold the key for this team. Lewis knows one speed – full throttle. He’s a tenacious defender and can get to the rim. Landry is a rebounding machine, averaging 14 a game this year, and gives the Trojans an inside presence. What has impressed North Hardin coach Ron Bevars is how hard both have worked the last two years to become part of the starting lineup.

It’s hard to judge North Hardin’s success because the teams the Trojans have beaten only have one win between them. Next week should tell us more where the Trojans are as they play LaRue County and John Hardin.

Surprise No. 3: How good is girls’ basketball this season? Elizabethtown is 4-0, LaRue County 2-0, John Hardin 3-1 and North Hardin in 2-1. Meade County is only 2-2, but its two losses are to Elizabethtown and LaRue County. The 17th District race will be fun to watch. It’s not the 12 Days of Christmas, but there are six district games in the next 11 days, starting tonight with North Hardin hosting Fort Knox.

Chuck Jones is the sports editor for The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or cjones@thenewsenterprise.com.