After becoming a smashing success in its inaugural season, the Boyd County Roundball Classic has a star-studded cast lined up for the sequel.
The showcase consists of 10 games and 17 teams. All games will be held at Boyd County Middle School. The two-day event is sponsored by John W. Clark Oil Company, Inc.
Ashland and Huntington St. Joe girls tip it off on Friday at 4:45 p.m. Boyd County and Lawrence County boys will close the book late Saturday night.
Both Boyd County’s girls and boys teams will host two games apiece.
Huntington Prep is once again featured. The Express will take on Walnut Hills (Cincinnati, Ohio) on Friday at 9 p.m. and Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio) on Saturday at 7:15 p.m.
Pete Fraley, the event’s organizer and Boyd County’s girls basketball coach, said it will once again be a recruiting magnet.
Fraley hopes for a full house of fans, too. At its fullest, an estimated 4,000 people were in attendance on Friday last season, with 3,000 on Saturday.
“Just two good days of basketball,” Fraley said. “It’s $10 a day. You can come watch all six games on Saturday, and it’s less than $1.50 a game. That’s a pretty good bargain. Next year, you’ll have to pay $35 or $40 a ticket to watch some of these players.”
Numerous future Division I athletes will put their skills on display. Many have already committed.
Montaque Gill-Ceasar, a Huntington Prep 6-foot-6, 205-pound junior forward, is garnering heavy interest from top-tier programs including Kentucky.
Major D-I commits from the Express include point guard Josh Perkins (Gonzaga), forward Jalen Lindsey (Providence), power forward Angel Delgado (Seton Hall) and center Levi Cook (West Virginia).
Fraley had high praise for coach Rob Fulford’s crew.
“Prep is a better team this year than last year, I think,” Fraley said. “They don’t have the nation’s No. 1 player like they did with (Andrew) Wiggins, but they’ve got plenty of talent.”
Senior guard JaQuan Lyle and forward Thomas Bryant are among others receiving an outpouring of attention.
Walnut Hills senior point guard Andrew Finley (3.5 steals per game) and junior combo guard MaCio Teague (26 points per game) will try to lead the Eagles past Huntington Prep. The Express won the matchup last season, 61-54.
“That was the best game of the classic last year,” Fraley said.
Pickerington Central brings with it Ohio’s No. 1-ranked high school player in Jae’Sean Tate. The 6-5 forward is committed to Ohio State.
Louisville Eastern’s boys, who take on Ashland, and Fairdale’s boys, who play Fleming County, both “like to really get it up and down the floor,” Fraley said.
Ashland’s girls, led by D-I talents Alexis Robinson and Haley-Sue Foutch, face a huge challenge in Huntington St. Joe. The Lady Irish throttled Parkersburg Catholic, 91-38, on Monday behind superb 3-point shooting by Mychal Johnson and Griffin Dempsey. Johnson, a Notre Dame commit, was 6 of 7 from beyond the arc. Dempsey, a Charlotte signee, was 7 of 8 from downtown.
Boyd County’s girls feature the leadership of Taylor Wheeler and Logan Fraley. Fraley, a junior, has committed to Marshall. The Lady Lions take on Johnson Central, under the direction of first-year coach Darrin Rice and senior post player Rachel Hall, and Chesapeake.
Boyd County’s boys host Elliott County on Friday and Lawrence County in Saturday’s nightcap. Lions coach Randy Anderson formed strong ties during his time at Lawrence County High School, where he served as head coach before accepting the Boyd County job in 2010.
The Roundball Classic’s entire schedule:
‰Friday: Ashland-Huntington St. Joe girls, 4:45 p.m.; 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: Boyd County-Chesapeake girls, noon; 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, 7:15 p.m.; Boyd County-Lawrence County, 9 p.m.
“This is something our area doesn’t get to see all the time,” said Fraley, adding that he hoped Saturday’s 5:15 Kentucky-North Carolina game doesn’t diminish the crowd a bunch.
Weather shouldn’t be much of a factor.
According to weather.com, the forecast shows a 70 percent chance of rain, with the possibility some freezing rain, on Saturday.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.