Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

March 22, 2014

Sweet Sixteen notebook: Central senior class goes out with bang

LEXINGTON — With Johnson Central’s 64-55 loss to Scott County in the quarterfinals of the Sweet Sixteen on Friday, the Golden Eagles will say goodbye to their winningest class in school history.

Don’t think that means they don’t expect to challenge for a fourth straight 15th Region Tournament title and trip to Rupp Arena next March.

Johnson Central loses a five-man senior class of Shane Hall, Slade McPeek, Nick McKenzie, Tyler Compton and Braxton Hensley.

Hall, a Mr. Basketball finalist and Marshall signee, leaves as the all-time school leader in rebounds (1,147), double-doubles (71) and triple-doubles (five), and with the second-most blocked shots in state history (474) and fourth-most points in Golden Eagles lore (1,756).

Hall finishes his career with 220 dunks — including his first bucket as a freshman against Bath County, and his last field goal on Friday.

McPeek departs as Johnson Central’s career steals leader, with 281. McKenzie also played big minutes off the bench. The senior class totaled 93 wins over the past four seasons, the most in school history. The next closest was the 1985 class, with 86 victories.

“Really proud of what they’ve meant to our program the last three or four years,” Golden Eagles coach Tommy McKenzie said of his seniors. “Thought they laid it all on the line there to give it our best shot.”

Added McPeek: “I wouldn’t want to play with anybody else ... it’s an honor to be down here and playing on that (Rupp Arena) floor. It means everything to me.”

But the cupboard isn’t bare. Starters Kyle Gullett, Dalton Adkins and Braxton Blair return, who combined for 30.5 points a game, and Truman Salyer chipped in 6.8 a night off the bench. All were juniors this season. Blair is on track to break the school assist record — he has 351, and the mark to reach is 428 — and already has 1,044 points.

“We’re hoping that these last three years are big-time experience for those kids,” McKenzie said. “That’s what I allude to all the time — when (people) think Johnson Central, they think Shane Hall, but we’ve got some other kids that’ll be here next year as well ... we’ve got some key pieces to the puzzle coming back next year.”

Credit Golden Eagles statistician and historian Clint Hackney with an assist on those statistical figures.

Working the Whistle

Forty-six total personal fouls were called in the Johnson Central-Scott County game. Only one player, the Cardinals’ Austin Kendred, fouled out, but six other players finished with four fouls. Scott County’s Dylan Portwood had four in the first half alone.

Cardinals coach Billy Hicks, the winningest coach in KHSAA history, has a reputation for being, er, demonstrative with the officials on the sideline, which he upheld well on Friday.

“Again, we picked up a lot of fouls in a lot of ways,” Hicks said. “We gotta adjust. Everybody does, I guess. And again, Blair just drove the ball really, really hard, and I guess he picked up fouls doing that, and a lot of fouls came on getting position on the boards.”

He concluded with a chuckle, “And some of them I have no explanation for.”

The Cardinals capitalized much better at the free throw line than the Golden Eagles. Scott County went 20-for-24 at the line, led by Trent Gilbert’s tournament-record 14-for-14 day. Johnson Central was 19-for-32.

Hardware Handed Out

The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches handed out its region awards during the Sweet Sixteen afternoon session Friday. Area recipients included East Carter coach Brandon Baker (16th Region coach of the year), Johnson Central senior Shane Hall (15th Region player of the year) and Fleming County senior Troy Steward (16th Region player of the year).

Additionally, Johnson Central’s cheerleaders were named by a KAPOS judge fourth best of the 16 squads performing in the tournament’s first round.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0722KYPGA_152.jpg Jones tops Gillum in playoff at Eagle Trace

    Ashland senior golfer Logan Jones didn't shoot his average Monday.
    He didn't mind.
    His three-over par 75 and one-hole playoff win over Elliott County junior Ryan Gillum gave him the Boys Open division title in the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour stop at Morehead State University's Eagle Trace Golf Course.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • 102213_329a.jpg Raceland tabs Clark as new girls basketball coach

    Jason Clark has a reputation of being — to use his word — “passionate” on the Raceland volleyball sideline.
    He plans to bring that same approach as the Lady Rams’ new basketball coach.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0305region2_389.jpg Pass the Mayo: East sophomore PG, Lady Raiders preparing for winter run

    East Carter sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo has played basketball for as long as she can remember.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0718spinda.jpg Steelers super fan Spinda to be recognized in Florida

    Shawn Spinda doesn’t have to use speech to profess his passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    All it takes is a quick glance for a person to get the picture.
    But to absorb the whole picture, you’ll need to clear your schedule.
    Spinda is one of several fanatics who will be recognized at the Sports Fans Conference in Orlando, Florida, which is set for Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. He is a “What a Fan” NFL Fan of the Year nominee.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703rfLL0204.jpg Little League State Baseball: Ready to run

    Morehead 11- and 12-year-old All-Star baseball manager Toby Gardner collectively likened his team to a racehorse.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0717prokick1.jpg Prokicker.com camp Eleven Ashland Tomcat football players were part of the Ray Guy Prokicker.com camp at Huntington High. The high-profile camps are put on all over the country. Rick Sang, an Ashland native who befriended Guy 20 years ago, is the camp's founder.

    July 16, 2014

  • 0716fbpractice0105.jpg Four-down territory: Making summer football practice pit stops

    ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
    The popular Monday night catchphrase filled my room on Tuesday morning as my new alarm sounded off at 7 a.m.

    July 16, 2014 5 Photos

  • 0716softball.jpg KHSAA pushes presence of masks

    Fairview’s Sydney Ekers and Lewis County’s Kelsey Rizzo didn’t wear masks to play softball until after they were struck in the face by line drives.
    The Kentucky High School Athletic Association has made a recommendation that it hopes will reduce such instances.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • LOCAL SPORTS BRIEFS: Ellis on 'leave' for Fairview volleyball

    Lauren Ellis is stepping aside as Fairview’s volleyball coach for this fall in order to complete coursework on her master’s degree, she said Tuesday.

    July 16, 2014

  • KHSAA board recommends use of protective head gear in softball

    The Kentucky High School Athletic Association's Board of Control conducted its first meeting of the 2014-15 academic year at the Bank of Kentucky Center in Northern Kentucky on Monday morning.

    July 15, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone