It worked out to near perfection for the Bowl Championship Series, didn't it?
As satisfactory a result as that system can produce, anyway.
The BCS title game will pit the hottest team in the country (Auburn) against the most dominant regular-season squad (Florida State).
Not until midnight on Saturday, though, did it become crystal clear what two teams most deserved to clash for the national crown.
Prior to kickoff of the season, most true college football fans knew Florida State had a legitimate shot of a Pasadena, Calif., destiny.
Very few, however, figured Auburn into the mix of contenders for the Jan. 6 date.
By all early indications, high school basketball in northeastern Kentucky presents similar possibilities.
Most of us may think we have an idea of what schools have the top-tier teams, but an Auburn-like surprise could be in store.
‰Your Monday Morning Point Guard was fully prepared to treat Ashland like a pogo stick after the Tomcats bounced two 16th Region foes in dominant fashion. And, they may still belong much higher in "Snyder's Super Seven." However, Saturday's 95-60 setback against Montgomery County served as a reminder that Ashland isn't where it wants to be yet. I'm still impressed, though, especially with Steven Friley. He racked up 31 rebounds in the first two games.
‰The boys from Sandy Hook aren't ready to close the book. When Timmy Knipp graduated in 2011, Elliott County quickly became an afterthought.
The Lions never cried "unfair!" but they're working to improve that it, in fact, was. Logan Nickell leads a smooth-shooting bunch with good basketball IQ this winter.
‰Russell's Johnny McGuire has been unlucky multiple times, but he's not throwing in the towel. After a recent doctor visit, the 6-foot-5 forward who fractured a bone in his leg three times is hopeful for a return in six to eight weeks, according to Russell coach Merle Kidwell.
‰Rowan County's boys, like many teams in the 16th Region, lack size. No matter, say the Vikings. They are off to a 2-1 start, and new faces are beginning to surface. As Tyler Thacker eases back into playing after recovering from a torn ACL, Ryne Callahan, Larry Whelan and Hayden Pratt are among those showcasing their abilities.
‰Not often does a team lose twice in a week and still move up in the PG's rankings, but Lewis County's girls deserve a bump. They had both Ashland and East Carter sweating this past week, and it's only December.
‰Maybe Bath County's girls could be the 16th Region's Auburn. I may be jumping the gun, but with their solid point guard play (Tayler Rogers) and standout post presence (Sarah Price), the potential to rise to the top is there.
‰Monday and Tuesday night will serve as good early-season previews for what to expect in the Fleming County-Rowan County rivalry this season. The 61st District foes face off in both the girls' and boys' EKC Tournaments.
‰Russell's girls, yes, narrowly fell to Rowan County in the opening round of the EKC Tournament on Saturday. But don't forget what the Lady Devils accomplished on Thursday. Beating Boyd County is no easy task. The newly dependable scoring of Maggie Jachimczuk is an X-factor for this team.
‰Are Raceland's boys the favorites in the 63rd District? The Rams are the only team without a loss so far. Of course, they haven't played a single game yet, but so what? Greenup County throttled Prestonsburg, and then turned around and lost to Morgan County, which had fallen to Paintsville by 20 points. Lewis County is off to a frigid start, at 1-2. Russell will battle inexperience for some time. This district race is nowhere close to being decided.
‰The second annual Boyd County Roundball Classic is coming up this weekend at Boyd County Middle School. The inaugural event was a slam dunk a year ago, with now Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins gracing the floor.
This year's slate of games will also feature a great deal of talent. Friday's schedule: Boyd County-Johnson Central girls, 6 p.m.; Boyd County-Elliott County boys, 7:30 p.m.; Huntington Prep-Walnut Hills, 9 p.m. Saturday: Ashland-Huntington St. Joe girls, 11 a.m.; Boyd County-Chesapeake girls, 12:30 p.m.; Rowan County-Fairland boys, 2 p.m.; Ashland-Eastern boys, 3:45 p.m.; Fleming County-Fairdale boys, 5:30 p.m.; Huntington Prep-Pickerington Central, 7:15 p.m.; Boyd County-Lawrence County boys, 9 p.m.
Snyder's NEKY Super Seven
1. Johnson Central (0-0)
2. Fleming County (1-1)
3. Lawrence County (2-0)
4. Rowan County (2-1)
5. Ashland (2-1)
6. Elliott County (2-0)
7. Paintsville (1-0)
Look who's knocking (next two in): Boyd County, Fairview.
1. Ashland (2-0)
2. East Carter (2-0)
3. Lewis County (1-2)
4. Bath County (2-0)
5. Boyd County (1-1)
6. Greenup County (2-0)
7. Fleming County (3-0)
Look who's knocking (next two in): Russell, Rowan County.
Despite several close calls — Lewis County's Savannah Anderson had 28 points, as did Lawrence County's Brandon Richardson — we are still vacant in the early going.
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Note from the QB
Jerry Lucas, the head coach of the Collins football team that shocked Highlands on Saturday, is a 1987 graduate of Greenup County High School.
Lucas and company won a thriller, 37-34, as the backup quarterback threw a game-winning 12-yard touchdown pass with seven seconds left. He was only inserted because the starter's helmet came off on the previous play, which, by rule, forces that player to sit out the next snap.
Collins snapped the Bluebirds' streak of six consecutive state titles.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.
It worked out to near perfection for the Bowl Championship Series, didn't it?
- Local Sports
Panthers pound Ashland for repeat trip to Rupp (with video)
The Fleming County Panthers waited nearly an hour to ascend the ladders set up under the goals at Ellis T. Johnson Arena on Tuesday night.
To the victor belongs the spoils, which traditionally includes the nets after winning a tournament title. But Fleming County milled around on Morehead State’s floor taking pictures and soaking in the atmosphere after handling Ashland 82-59 in the 16th Region Tournament final.
Snipping the twine was almost an afterthought. In fact, except for a minute or so of celebration with their student section immediately following the final buzzer, the Panthers didn’t really even seem all that excited.
They expected to be here, and they were all business after earning back-to-back region titles and trips to Rupp Arena.
AARON SNYDER: Truth or Dare unkind to ’Cats
Ashland was left feeling like the shy kid after an intense game of Truth or Dare.
Truth: Fleming County outrebounded Ashland, 39-24, after Ashland outdueled Greenup County by 10 the night before.
'Relaxed' Steward earns MVP award
Both Fleming County coach Mark Starns and stellar senior Troy Steward attributed his significant strides this season to aggressiveness.
Playing a part, too, in Steward earning the 16th Region Tournament Most Valuable Player award was the lack of nerves, which were nearly overwhelming at times a year ago.
Central's 15th Region reign continues
Once was good.
Twice was nice.
Three was sweet for the Johnson Central Eagles.
Senior Slade McPeek scored 22 points and earned most valuable player honors Tuesday night as Johnson Central rolled past Shelby Valley, 81-56, for its third straight 15th Region championship at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
- Fleming goes for two: Panthers beat Ashland for 16th Region repeat Fleming County pulled away early and never looked back as the Panthers pounced on Ashland, winning 82-59 in the 16th Region championship game on Tuesday in Morehead. Fleming County will face Scott County in the Sweet Sixteen next Wednesday at Rupp Arena.
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.”
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Panthers pound Ashland for repeat trip to Rupp (with video)