Allow me to put on the Dr. Point Guard coat for a moment.
You might even be reading this in a doctor's waiting room right now. What's the matter? No more Us Weeklys on the rack?
Anyway … how do healthy individuals combat diseases such as measles, mumps and chicken pox?
By receiving an injection containing the virus in an altered form.
So, how do winning teams prevent the possibility of a postseason letdown?
Sometimes, by losing a less-meaningful game.
Losses, in small doses, can cure complacency and/or eliminate overconfidence.
So, is it best for top teams to lose before the tournament?
It's a common question among basketball circles.
The answer: It varies. Now I really sound like a doctor, right?
For instance, Fleming County may not need a loss. The Panthers could become the 21st boys basketball team in history to go unbeaten inside the 16th Region throughout the regular season and tournament — the last to do it was Elliott County in 2009. Before that? Boyd County in 1994.
The Panthers, though, may have benefitted from the loss they took from Russell on Feb. 8 of last year. It was the sole region defeat during their region championship season.
East Carter's girls had been racking up region wins until Boyd County halted their streak on Saturday.
Lady Raiders coach Hager Easterling insinuated that a loss could've been necessary.
Said the coach: "Sometimes when you win 15 games in a row, young kids think (winning) just happens … This has been coming for a while."
While the prognosis remains positive for both teams, a fair warning can be derived: Winning has its side effects.
‰The return of Darion Burns hasn't disrupted Fleming County's roll. In some cases, even the addition of a star player can shake things up for the worse, but Burns has been nothing but beneficial. The senior point guard has three games under his belt after missing the first 21 because of a torn ACL. Two of them were wins against upper-echelon teams Ashland and Rowan County.
‰Boyd County's girls aren't going away. The Lady Lions lost some quality depth from last season's region runner-up team, but the leadership of Logan Fraley and Taylor Wheeler have helped pave the way for a possible stretch run. The duo combined for 39 points in a 51-48 win over East Carter. The Lady Lions also beat Johnson Central for the second time this season.
‰Lingering back spasm issues hampered Ashland's Nick Miller on Saturday night, according to the Tomcats' radio broadcast. Miller still managed a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds, but how limited may Miller be down the stretch?
‰Don't write off Russell's boys just yet. The Red Devils have struggled throughout the year, recording just five wins and suffering from a number of injuries. However, do you remember 2008-2009? Coach Merle Kidwell and company went 5-24 that season, but they knocked off Greenup County in the first round of the 63rd District tournament in a thrilling overtime contest.
‰A.J. Youngman, a former Greenup County player and current Thomas Nelson standout, is already at 1,000 career points as a freshman. The 6-foot-5 guard, and son of coach Jim Youngman, poured in 39 points against Bethlehem on Saturday. Scholarship offers include Northern Kentucky, Portland and West Virginia at this point.
‰The team that emerges from the 16th Region boys tournament may be in trouble at Rupp Arena. Wacky things have happened in Lexington, but the region representative will likely face Scott County, of the 11th Region. The Cardinals have won 17 straight, including a defeat of No. 1 Trinity on Saturday.
‰The 57th District tournament will now be held at Johnson Central High School. Because of issues with its gym, Sheldon Clark will now host the tournament in Paintsville. Lawrence County and Sheldon Clark will lock up in the opening round — the two dueled to a 52-49 Bulldogs victory on Friday.
‰Saturday will mark the return of "Junebug" Rakes to Boyd County, as the Bullitt East assistant coach and the Chargers visit Summit. Bullitt East is leading the 6th Region with an 18-5 record.
‰As you'll notice, my rankings aren't as delicate as those in college basketball. East Carter's girls remain in the top spot despite dropping a decision. I will opine that the top four girls teams aren't separated by much.
‰On the boys side, the PG put on a juggling act. Rowan County moves up after a pair of wins and another close loss to Fleming County. Lawrence County drops down after falling to Johnson Central in lopsided fashion. East Carter slides into the Super Seven after a nice win over Morgan County and stellar efforts two weeks ago.
1. Johnson Central (16-6)
2. Fleming County (17-7)
3. Ashland (16-6)
4. Rowan County (15-9)
5. Lawrence County (17-8)
6. Boyd County (12-12)
7. East Carter (11-11)
Look who's knocking (next two in): Lewis County, Elliott County.
1. East Carter (22-2)
2. Ashland (18-5)
3. Boyd County (15-7)
4. Lewis County (15-9)
5. Bath County (13-6)
6. Johnson Central (13-10)
7. Fleming County (12-10)
Look who's knocking (next two in): Russell, Rowan County.
The song of choice in the club this week is "Black and Gold" by Sam Sparro.
Ashland's Alexis Robinson and Bath County's Sarah Price are apparently motivated by the colors. Fleming County's Troy Steward, too.
Robinson notched a career-high 31 points against Madison Central on Saturday on the strength of six 3-pointers. She recently committed to Colorado, which dons the black and gold.
With Vanderbilt representation in the crowd, Bath County's sensational sophomore Sarah Price collected 30 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocks against Rowan County.
Steward went ballistic for a career-best 47 points against Knott County Central on Sunday. Hey, whaddaya know? Fleming County sports black and gold.
Larry Conley will be honored at Tuesday's Rowan County-Ashland game for being selected to the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame's second class last summer.
While the former Ashland Tomcat star won't be at the game, his sister, Tomcat scorekeeper Linda Meyers, will be given a plaque in Larry's absence. The school will also receive a plaque for the recognition.
Conley and former Paintsville High School star J.R. VanHoose were among the second class of inductees to bring the number of the Hall of Fame Centennial Class to 33 members.
The KHSBHF will culminate its Centennial Class in 2018 with a total of 100 inductees, representing the first 100 years of Kentucky high school basketball.
Catch "Midweek Sports Shop Talk" this Wednesday at 1 p.m. live at greenupbeacon.com. Or come by Chick-fil-A and say hey. The show can also be seen at dailyindependent.com for later viewing. Greenup County boys basketball coach Harold Tackett and Morehead News sports editor MacKenzie Bates are our special guests this week.
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Follow the Point Guard on Twitter (@DindependentQB) for local sports news and scores. Follow sports writer Zack Klemme (@zklemmeADI).
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.
Allow me to put on the Dr. Point Guard coat for a moment.
- Local Sports
VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights
Fleming County defeated Lewis County, 66-58, and Ashland beat Greenup County, 81-61, on Monday night at Morehead State University to set up tonight's championship matchup. Tipoff is set for 7.
Ashland cruises past Greenup to 16th Region championship game
Tyler Stewart is known for his unrelenting hustle as one of Ashland’s glue guys.
When the senior guard can pitch in some offense too, as he did Monday in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals, that’s just one more problem for Tomcats opponents.
Stewart scored 20 points, senior Steven Friley posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Ashland outscored Greenup County 21-9 in the third quarter to break open what was a seven-point game at halftime and cruise past the Musketeers, 81-61.
Fleming battles back to 16th Region final
A healthy Wilder Williams this season has given Fleming County a whole new dimension.
Prior to his sophomore year, Williams sustained a football injury that resulted in three ankle surgeries and limited him to bench duty last season while the Panthers made their run to the 16th Region championship.
A physical 6-foot-3 player, Williams is making his presence felt around the basket as Fleming County looks to return to the Sweet Sixteen.
AARON SNYDER: Will the next hero be unmasked?
Who will the bat signal shine for tonight?
Or, should I say, the Cat signal?
In the third installment of a trilogy that might rival the Batman three-pack of “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” Fleming County and Ashland will battle in a matchup that has produced a classic clash in each of the last two 16th Region Tournaments.
If the first two collectively served as a gradual progressions to tonight’s scene, the climax could be off the charts.
Corey Gregg was Ashland’s superhero in 2012, when the senior confidently fired a perfect 3-point shot from the right corner. The triple thrust the Tomcats and Panthers into overtime, from which Ashland emerged 79-73 in a first-round game.
Central wins, Lawrence falls in 15th
The biggest concern for Lawrence County coach Josh Cook was staying out of foul trouble.
His team stayed in it all night, and it cost them a spot in the 15th Region title game.
Shelby Valley senior Tyler Carr led four players in double figures with 19 points as the Wildcats knocked off Lawrence County, 72-60, in the semifinals of the 15th Region Tournament at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
“This one hurts,” said Cook. “We’ll learn from this, and I have no doubt that our kids will get back here and finish the job.”
- Fleming hangs tough to beat Lewis Fleming County locked into another fight against Lewis County, which beat the Panthers earlier this season, before winning 66-58 on Monday in Morehead. Wilder Williams posted a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Panthers, who face Ashland on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
- GALLERY: Ashland gets by Greenup County, will meet Fleming in region final Ashland's Steven Friley scored 21 points Monday to lead the Tomcats to an 81-61 win over Greenup County in the 16th Region semifinal in Morehead.
Kittens clamoring for more at state
Ashland girls basketball coaches went the extra mile, and a whole bunch more, to get a first-hand scouting report on the Kittens’ opponent for the State Tournament.
Head coach Bill Bradley and assistant Phil Wittich drove all the way to Henderson — 5 hours, 20 minutes one way Bradley said on the way home — to take in Sunday’s Second Region championship game.
Henderson County, playing on its home floor, defeated University Heights 67-54. The Lady Colonels went unbeaten in their region this season and are 24-5 overall.
EKC hands out hardware
The Eastern Kentucky Conference handed out its 2014 awards on Monday afternoon at a luncheon at Carter Caves.
Barracudas earn kudos from coach
Ashland Area YMCA swimmers impressed coach Ryan Ferguson from start to finish in the three-day Kentucky Y Competitive Swim League State Meet.
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- VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights