This is weird and I don’t like it.
Usually I can have this column done on a Tuesday and edit when desired.
This week I had to wait until the last minute to finally put this column to bed.
Why, you may ask? (I’m thinking the question is why did you have to wait, not why do you write this so early in the week.)
Thursday games are the answer.
On Thursday, we saw Johnson Central defeat Greenup County, Fairview get its first district win over Paintsville and Fleming County slide past West Carter.
But why did we have three games on a Thursday night?
Simple. Most area schools will not be in session, because of a teacher’s conference being held today.
Also, there's the apple festival going on in Paintsville this weekend.
While I may have come off as a jerk earlier, this is a good idea to give these high school kids what they need: A Friday off.
These kids work hard, play hard, deal with school and some even have jobs.
Let these players be kids. That’s what they are.
A free Friday sounds like a good reward to me.
Game of the week
‰ Mason County at Russell, 7:30 p.m. This game basically gives the winner an advantage in the Class 3A, District 6 race.
Both teams are 2-0 in the district right now, and after this game, both teams look to have the best records in the region.
The Royals are on a two-game winning streak, with wins over fellow district opponents East Carter and Lewis County.
Mason County will look to running back RaShaun Nelson, who is averaging 98 yards per game, but has scored only three touchdowns this season.
Troy Huffine and Googie Hayes should have an easy time running past Mason County’s defense, which has allowed 977 yards rushing and 634 passing. But, at the same time, the Red Devils have been suspect on the offensive side of the ball at points this year.
This should be a good battle for control at the top of the district.
Things to Know
‰ Ashland has never lost back-to-back games against Belfry. But there is a good chance that happens this year.
Both teams are very good — Ashland is ranked No. 4 in Class 4A and Belfry is No. 4 in Class 3A. Both teams have only one loss this season.
Both teams have incredible running backs, Ashland with Quinton Baker (922 yards and 16 TDs) and Belfry with Justin Johnson (729 yards and 12 TDs.)
I see history repeating itself, as the game is being held on Ashland’s home turf, and it seems Ashland hardly ever loses at Putnam Stadium.
‰ East Carter has a chance to win its second straight game. Congratulations to coach Zach Moore for winning his first game with the Raiders.
Tonight East Carter has a district game against a struggling Lewis County team.
Sometimes all you need is one to get the team rolling, and it seems like with their last three games at home, the Raiders can add at least one more to the win column.
‰ Tonight is a must win for Boyd County and Rowan County. The two Class 4A, District 8 teams meet with huge playoff implications.
Rowan County already has one district win, while Boyd County is searching for its first.
If the Vikings win, they avoid earning the fourth and final District 8 playoff spot, which usually means a date with state powerhouse Highlands.
Boyd County still has a game against Greenup County later in the season, but if it loses tonight the Lions are all but assured a game in Fort Thomas.
Follow The Independent’s Quarterback on Twitter, @DindependentQB. He will be tweeting scores and updates from area games tonight. It’s his first day back from vacation so let’s take it easy on him this week.
For your ears only
Tonight’s radio coverage:
Belfry at Ashland (WBVB 97.1-FM) Lewis County at East Carter (WKKS 104.9-FM, WUGO 102.3-FM), Bishop Watterson at Ironton (WIRO 1230 AM), Pike Co. Central at Lawrence County (WZAQ 92.3-FM) Boyd County at Rowan County (WMOR 106.1-FM, wlgcradio.com) Mason County at Russell (WLGC 105.7-FM)
Raceland at Nicholas County will we webcast by Curtis Bradley. The webcast will take place at 7:15 and can be viewed at www.rams.ihigh.com and by clicking the link under the top banner.
After the conclusion of the broadcast, the game is archived for viewing on demand.
It’s tough to be a Greenup County fan right now.
Saying the Musketeers have struggled this year is an understatement.
This season, Greenup County has gone winless, and has been outscored 261-62.
Players have been suspended, injuries have taken a toll on the roster, and the Musketeers have one of the hardest schedules in the area.
But while it’s easy to pick on coach Chris Mullins and his team, I want to point out some positivity.
This team has not given up, even when it’s been so easy to.
Matt Lawson continues to run the ball hard, and carry a Greenup County team through injuries.
He’s also had to learn quarterback for some games along with being the Musketeers' main running threat.
And while it may look like the sky is falling over Lloyd, sometimes coaches and players need time to build.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were some of the best sports teams of all time.
In the words of the great Axl Rose, all we need is a little patience.
This is weird and I don’t like it.
- 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.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights