Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

February 10, 2014

AARON SNYDER: Medical advice from the PG, M.D.

ASHLAND — 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 Dime

‰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.

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