Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

December 31, 2012


ASHLAND — It may become known as the PG Hex.

As the calendar flips to a new year, I feel the irrepressible urge to pile unwanted pressure on coaches and players.

Last year, the Point Guard predicted Fleming County would win the 16th Region boys basketball tournament. While the Panthers scratched the surface, losing an overtime contest in the first round to Ashland, it wasn’t meant to be just yet for Fleming County’s young bunch.

I’ll go ahead and throw a girls pick in the mix this year.

I’m going with Fleming County (boys) and Ashland (girls) to punch State Tournament tickets in March.

If the Panthers and Kittens are lucky, the Madden Curse and Sports Illustrated Jinx won’t have company in a couple months.

The Dime

-Who was more impressive in the Ashland Invitational Tournament? Russell or Ashland? Russell probably has the best case, considering the Red Devils fell by just six points to AIT champion Newport Central Catholic. The Thoroughbreds cruised by the Tomcats and are undefeated. The Red Devils also overcame an overall cold-shooting night by star senior Kyle Skaggs only to ultimately use a game-winner by the school’s all-time leading scorer.

The debate about which team is better, at least right now, will be settled on Friday night at Anderson Gym.

-Russell-Ashland isn’t the only matchup worth watching this Friday, which is shaping up to be a fantastic night of basketball in the area. Fairview’s boys get a chance to show they belong in the 64th District contention conversation when they travel to Boyd County. Rowan County faces Fleming County for the second time this season.

-Russell has not beaten Ashland twice in a row since 2007 (Jan. 12, Feb. 23). The Red Devils won the most recent meeting, 59-55, this past February.

-Times are good in Louisa right now. Lawrence County’s girls and boys have combined to win 12 of their last 13 games — the Lady Bulldogs are riding a seven-game winning streak. Taylor Porter, headed to Murray State in the fall, is having a superb senior year to lead the girls. As for the boys, a young coach and his young team are living large. You’ll have plenty of time to learn the names of these guards: Austin Chaffin, Robert Dalton, Timmy Dalton, Grant Kiser and Brandon Richardson. All are freshmen or younger.

-Raceland’s boys nearly knocked off the red-hot Bulldogs in the Derby Classic championship game. The Rams are beginning to show the kind of fight and intensity which are a reflection of new coach Bob Trimble.

-Morgan County’s boys are off to their best start (10-3) since 2005-06, when the Cougars went 22-4 but suffered a surprising exit in the first round of the 62nd District tournament.

-Both Boyd County’s and Fleming County’s girls enjoyed some fun in the sun in between Christmas and New Year’s. Both teams went 2-1 in the Queen of the Palms Tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. The Lady Lions turned in an ultra-impressive victory over defending Florida 4A state champion Dunbar as Taylor Wheeler racked up 26 points over the final three quarters.

-A 19-point win over Louisville Mercy overshadows two narrow losses that followed, in my opinion, for the Ashland Kittens. They should be refreshed and re-energized when they host the Kitten Shootout on Saturday.

-The Kitten Shootout schedule (all girls games) is as follows: Perry County Central-Boyd County, noon; Montgomery County-East Carter, 1:30 p.m.; Huntington St. Joseph-Greenup County, 3:15 p.m.; Ashland-Fairview, 5:15 p.m.

-Fleming County’s boys retain the top spot in the PG’s rankings despite being without standout junior point guard Darion Burns. Burns has been out since Dec. 17 with a stress fracture in his foot but is set to return this week, according to the KHSAA website.

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