Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 20, 2014

AARON SNYDER: Already time for All-Star picks?

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

ASHLAND —

The Point Guard's annual midseason All-Star selections take on a slightly different twist every year, it seems.
The one constant is that they're not actually released by the middle of the season. Most teams are about 60 percent of the way through, but I like to stay true to my favorite All-Star games — Major League Baseball's and the NBA's. Both of those allow a little more than just half a sample size to determine the cream of the crop.
The change this year involves who is involved. The PG is going all-inclusive on northeastern Kentucky this season, which means the entire 16th Region plus Paintsville, Johnson Central and Lawrence County are fair game.
So, of 19 schools, I've selected 16 players each for the girls' and boys' teams — the starting lineup, the first five off the bench and the next six off the bench.
This is always a nearly impossible task with indelible results, but I love it. Hey, what's wrong with dishing out some extra recognition?
So, instead of "The Dime" this week, the PG unveils his All-Stars, based on players' performance to this point of this particular season.
Remember … this is just my opinion, not necessarily a reflection of The Independent's sports staff’s thoughts.
Boys' All-Stars
Starting lineup:
PG Bobby Anderson (Boyd County) — The sophomore uses a thrifty approach and trusty scoring hand to quietly put forth productive efforts on a nightly basis. The sometimes-too-unselfish distributor averages nearly five assists per game, but he is also a deceptively good scorer.
SG Ryne Callahan (Rowan County) — After emerging last season, Callahan has continued to show abilities that keep opponents consistently mindful of where he is on the court.
SF Troy Steward (Fleming County) — He's not the best shooter in the 16th Region, but he might be the best scorer. He and Lewis County's Brett Ruckel can drop 30 or 40 on any given night.
PF Nick Miller (Ashland) — The Tomcats' best shooter is also a strong-bodied and strong-minded player who can battle with the best of them.
C Shane Hall (Johnson Central) — A potential Mr. Basketball candidate, the 6-foot-9 Marshall signee seems to be best when the spotlight is the brightest. His mild-mannered mentality and reserved personality rarely show up in the statistics.
First five off the bench: Jordan Perry (Morgan County), Steven Friley (Ashland), Brett Ruckel (Lewis County), Connor Messer (Raceland), Timmy Dalton (Lawrence County).
Next six off the bench: Robert Dalton (Lawrence County), Andrew Carroll (Fairview), Kyle Gullett (Johnson Central), Jair Jackson (Greenup County), Ross Thompson (Ashland), Braxton Blair (Johnson Central).
 
Girls' All-Stars
Starting lineup:
PG Alexis Robinson (Ashland) — How she affects defensive game plans is reason enough to be the PG's starting PG. It doesn't matter if she has an off-shooting night, the rest of her broad list of skills, which contains a good deal of court savviness, makes up for it.
SG Logan Fraley (Boyd County) — The rest of Fraley's game is often overlooked because of her perimeter prowess. She brings plenty to the table, plus she has a knack for knocking down shots at the most desperate times.
SF Taylor Wheeler (Boyd County) — The following description is frequently repeated, but never wrong. She's constant energy. Couple that with her leadership skills and you've got a player that anyone would want on their team.
PF Haley-Sue Foutch (Ashland) — Foutch is a gifted offensive post player, but her defensive approach makes her a shoo-in All-Star.
C Sarah Price (Bath County) — This was an extremely close call, as Price got the slight nod over Lewis County's Savannah Anderson. They average the exact same amount of rebounds per game (11.5), and both can block shots. But Price continues to blossom as an offensive player. Her field goal percentage and points per game are constantly improving.
First five off the bench: Kristen Mayo (East Carter), Savannah Anderson (Lewis County), Ashton Woodard (Menifee County), Emily Frye (Lewis County), Martina Lytle (Fleming County).
Next six off the bench: Maggie Jachimczuk (Russell), Haley Hall (East Carter), Faith Conn (Rowan County), Megan Stickler (East Carter), Sydney Webb (Greenup County), Lauren Delong (Johnson Central).
 
Snyder's NEKY
Super Seven
BOYS
1. Johnson Central (10-5)
2. Ashland (12-4)
3. Fleming County (12-6)
4. Lawrence County (11-7)
5. Boyd County (9-8)
6. Rowan County (11-7)
7. Lewis County (8-9)
Look who's knocking (next two in): Elliott County, Morgan County.
 
GIRLS
1. East Carter (18-1)
2. Ashland (11-4)
3. Boyd County (10-6)
4. Bath County (10-4)
5. Lewis County (8-7)
6. Johnson Central (10-8)
7. Fleming County (9-8)
Look who's knocking (next two in): Rowan County, Russell.
 
30-Point Club
Now hiring: A 30-point specialist — someone who can keep track of all the 30-point scorers in northeastern Kentucky basketball on a week-by-week basis. Pay? Negotiable.
Although there were several close calls, I'm thinking no one scored 30 this week, but I also have this strange feeling I'm wrong … any help?
 
Noteworthy
Dikembe and Montrell Dixson, formerly of Ashland, have transferred from Thomas Nelson High School to Mingo Central High School in West Virginia, according to multiple sources. Dikembe Dixson has received major Division I interest.
 
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AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.