Rowan County boys basketball coach Shawn Thacker and his Vikings ventured out into the wilderness this past season, playing a healthy portion of tough opponents outside of the 16th Region.
What he discovered?
“We had as good of offensive, hard-to-guard players in our region as anywhere we went and played,” Thacker said.
Thacker’s conclusion was further justified with the selection of players in the 21st annual Kentucky-Ohio All-Star Game. A record six total players — four boys and two girls — will represent the 16th Region this weekend at Thomas More College’s Connor Convocation Center. There will be a slam dunk contest, a three-point competition, 3-on-3 battles and 1-on-1 duels on Friday night at 7, while the girls game tips off at 5:30 p.m. Saturday with the boys following.
“It’ll be a fun, All-Star atmosphere,” Thacker said.
Jagos Lasic (Morgan County), Mike Terry (Fairview), D.J. Townsend (Rowan County) and Adam Wing (Rowan County) were the 16th Region boys selected to participate. The girls are Mykal Farris (Ashland) and Brooke Gee (Raceland).
Ashland coach Bill Bradley is an assistant for the Kentucky girls. Bradley, who won his first 16th Region title this past season with the talented Kittens, took part in the event last season as an assistant coach as well.
“It was really nice being involved in it last year,” Bradley said. “I was around (the game) back when it started.”
Shawnee State University was the former site of the event until it moved to Thomas More, its current location, in 2002.
Coupled with the record amount of regional representees, Marla Gearhart, Nathan Sutton and Davin Barnette, all 16th Region officials, will call the girls game, according to event co-founder Randy Ward.
Louisville Trinity coach Mike Szabo will guide Kentucky’s boys, with Thacker and Mike Allen (Bryan Station) as assistants. DuPont Manual coach Stacy Pendleton will direct the state’s girls, with Bradley and Mark Evans (Mercy) serving as assistants.
Both Trinity’s boys and Manual’s girls won state titles, but the coaches were selected months prior, according to Ward.
Ohio won both the boys and girls games last season — Kentucky’s boys were led by Anthony Hickey, a Christian County graduate now at LSU, as Ohio was paced by Trey Burke, a Northland High product who just completed his freshman season at Michigan.
“Players take it serious,” Bradley said. “I thought it was more of an exhibition before last year.”
Included among Ohio’s girls is Caite Craft (Liberty-Benton), sister of Ohio State star point guard Aaron.
When Bradley scanned up and down Ohio’s roster, he noticed a guard-heavy lineup.
“(Gee) could be key for us inside,” Bradley said.
Gee, a 6-foot senior at Raceland and Concord signee, was among the state’s leaders in rebounding this season. She pulled down 12.1 boards and scored 12.9 points.
Farris could also be a catalyst this Saturday. She averaged 9.7 points and 4.4 rebounds for Ashland in her senior year. This game will mark the last time Bradley will coach Farris.
“That’s going to be special,” Bradley said.
Wing and Townsend will suit up one final time for Thacker. The senior duo helped lead the Vikings to a state runner-up finish in 2011 and then to a state quarterfinal appearance in 2012.
Their final statistics: 17.8 PPG, 50.6 FG%, 37% 3-pt. FG and four assists per game for Townsend; 14.7 PPG, 52.1 FG%, 40% 3-pt. FG and 10.6 rebounds per game for Wing.
Wing and Townsend also competed in the Kentucky juniors vs. seniors in preparation for the Kentucky-Indiana All-Star game last season.
Wing is an Evansville signee, while Townsend is still undecided on his college choice.
Lasic, a foreign exchange student from Serbia, averaged a double-double in 17 games for Morgan County. The Cougars were 9-8 after he was ruled eligible.
Terry, a 6-7 forward drawing Division I interest, had a memorable going-out party with a record seven 3-pointers against Rowan County in the 16th Region Tournament. Terry netted 22.5 points per game and grabbed 10.7 rebounds per game.
His college list includes: Bradley, Jacksonville, Samford, Gardner-Webb, South Dakota, Georgia State, Missouri State and Bellarmine.
Trinity forward Nathan Dieudonne, a Mr. Basketball finalist along with Wing, is also on the squad.
“I told (Trinity coach) Szabo that we’re in this thing to win it,” Thacker said.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.
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- 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.”
- 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.
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