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PREP HOOPS: Brown, Williams in All-Star Games this weekend (06/13)

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By Nathaniel Bryan

Ivy Brown is supposed to move into her new digs on Western Kentucky University’s campus Sunday, but the former LaRue County star hasn’t gotten much accomplished as far as her packing list.

“I’ve laid my clothes on the floor,” Brown said with a laugh Thursday night, a day before the Kentucky-Indiana Senior All-Stars begin their two-game series. “I’ll pack Sunday morning.”

Brown’s been a bit busy to worry about boxes and luggage. She, along with fellow area All-Star Keon Williams of the boys’ team, were in Lexington most of this week. Monday was a scrimmage with the Kentucky Juniors at Lexington Christian, Tuesday was a camp with former Kentucky stars Kyle Macy and Jack “Goose” Givens, Wednesday was a scrimmage with the Kentucky Juniors at Bryan Station and Thursday was a dinner, radio appearance and meet and greet.

The Kentucky-Indiana senior girls face off at 5:30 tonight at Transylvania University’s Clive Beck Center, with the Kentucky-Indiana boys’ game following immediately afterward.

“It’s definitely been an exciting week and a little nerve wracking because we want to perform well,” Brown said.

On Saturday night, the teams face off again in Indianapolis. The girls play at 5 with the boys immediately following at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers.

Williams said the biggest arena he’s played in was Rupp Arena when he was with the John Hardin Bulldogs in the KHSAA Sweet 16.

“It’s gonna be fun because not a lot of people can say they have played on their court,” Williams said. “I’m going to soak it all in and be thankful and blessed.”

While Brown locked in her collegiate future a while ago, Williams is still deciding where to play. He said he could be taking visits to three NCAA Division-I schools — Morehead State, Nevada and Niagara — next week and said good performances the next two days could help one of his three suitors pull the trigger faster.

“It’s been a roller coaster, but I’ll probably be deciding in the next couple of weeks,” Williams said. “I know they have eyes down here, but I don’t know if they’ll be at the games.”

Both Brown and Williams are coming off solid games Wednesday. Brown scored 14 points in her team’s 82-74 win, while Williams had 14 points in his squad’s 87-85 victory.

Williams has been starting, but he doesn’t know if he’ll move to the bench now that the team is fully loaded. Mr. Basketball Quentin Snider of Louisville Ballard missed both scrimmages with an ankle injury, while WKU signees Justin Johnson of Perry County Central and Jordan Green of Lexington Henry Clay were in Bowling Green preparing for their freshman seasons with the Hilltoppers.

“You just have to make open shots, play solid defense and show your talent,” Williams said of his role. “I made the team for a reason, so I just have to play basketball.”

Brown has been starting as well, but that should be expected with her being Miss Basketball.

“I just try to go out there and play hard every game and play like I can,” Brown said. “I guess I could be considered the leader on the team.”

Both players like the makeup of their squads.

Brown said the girls’ team’s best assets was its athleticism and how it plays together. She likes how quickly the squad has come together, especially considering the Indiana seniors were picked last year and the Kentucky juniors have been together for more than two weeks.

“At first it was hard, but we’ve done well so far,” Brown said. “We’ve already came together a lot.”

While the Kentucky boys don’t have as many high-profile signees as the Indiana boys, Williams said he believes his team is being underestimated.

“We have a lot of good talent — I mean we have a have a lot of talent. People just don’t notice how many players on this team can play,” he said. “And I think we’ve gelled pretty well and we’ve gelled pretty quickly.”

Both players know Kentucky is behind the 8 ball when it comes to taking on Indiana, which has dominated both sides of the series recently.

“I think it will be two good games,” Brown said. “They beat us twice last year, so we are ready to come out and prove ourselves.”

“We know there’s a lot of people thinking Indiana’s gonna beat us, so you have to bust your chops and play hard,” Williams added. “But I’m excited and I think it’s going to be a fun game.”

Nathaniel Bryan can be reached at 270-505-1758 or nbryan@thenewsenterprise.com.