Archive for March, 2011

All “A” Classic moving to Frankfort

After 21 years in Richmond, the All “A” Classic is pulling up stakes.

All “A” officials have announced a three-year agreement to hold the statewide small-school tourney at Frankfort Convention Center beginning in 2012. The tourney has been held in Richmond since it was expanded from a northern Kentucky invitational to a statewide event in 1990. (Read The Richmond Register’s story and the press release from the All “A” Classic.)

The Frankfort arena seats 5,365, just a few hundred less than Eastern Kentucky University’s McBrayer Arena, so there’s still more than enough room for fans to be comfortable. And the location is about as accessible as Richmond, so the tournament should continue to thrive. But it’s a shame that the tournament is leaving Richmond, where the city and the university have been excellent hosts from the very beginning.

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Rockcastle squeaks by in Sweet Sixteen opener

Rockcastle County had to work hard to win its first-round game at the Girls Sweet Sixteen tonight, pulling out a 55-52 win over Madison Central in the final minute.

(Click here for the box score and play-by-play.)

The 12th Region champion Lady Rockets trailed 46-40 with 2:00 left in the third quarter but drew even less than 3 minutes later and led 52-49 before Madison Central tied the game with 2:18 to go. Angie Lawrence sank a jumper in the paint to give Rockcastle the lead with 40 seconds left, and Madison Central missed three 3-point shots for the lead and a tip-in that would have tied the game before Michaela Hunter made one of two free throws for the Lady Rockets at :04. The Lady Indians didn’t get a shot off after Hunter missed her second attempt.

Rockcastle committed only seven turnovers but was outrebounded 32-29 and missed 10 of its 24 free throws. Sara Hammond led the Lady Rockets with 23 points and 12 rebounds, Shanlee Burton had 11 points and Lawrence had 10 points.

Rockcastle will play the winner of tonight’s Clay County-Owensboro Catholic game in its quarterfinal game at 9 p.m. Friday.

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Watch the Sweet Sixteen live

For the first time, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and iHigh.com are offering live video from every game of the Girls Sweet Sixteen and Boys Sweet Sixteen, including the championships.

The video includes the audio feed from the KHSAA radio network. There’s also live coverage of the postgame press conferences, video highlights and an audio-only feed. Click here to access any of the above.

Live statistics and full postgame stats from each game are also available through this link.

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All-Area basketball teams on the way

With all of the Advocate-area teams eliminated from the postseason, there’s only one more bit of basketball business to take care of: the Advocate’s All-Area boys and girls basketball teams.

The girls team is being announced today and the boys team will be announced Sunday both in the Advocate and at amnews.com. (Read the story on the girls team here.)

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Girls coaches form association, pick all-region team

The 12th Region’s girls basketball coaches have followed in the footsteps of their boys coaching colleagues and formed their own coaches association. The group has named its first all-region team and plans to have a banquet recognizing the region’s top coaches and players later this month, and one of its goals is to establish a hall of fame to recognize the region’s girls basketball greats, just as the boys coaches currently do.

Mercer County coach Chris Souder said Pulaski County’s Brian Miller was the one who got the ball rolling and began selling his counterparts on the idea, and Souder and Casey County’s Randy Salyers are co-presidents for the inaugural year. “I guess because we are now the old guys,” Souder said.

Sara Hammond of Rockcastle County was voted player of the year, and Cassandra McWhorter of Lincoln County and Chrysti Noble of Rockcastle are the co-coaches of the year. Below is the complete all-region team, which will be recognized at a banquet at 5 p.m. March 27 at Golden Corral restaurant in Somerset:

12th Region Girls Basketball Coaches Association All-Region Team

Player of the Year: Sara Hammond, Rockcastle County

Co-Coaches of the Year: Cassandra McWhorter, Lincoln County; Chrysti Noble, Rockcastle County

First Team: Sara Hammond, Rockcastle County; Nicole Coffman, Casey County; Danay Fothergill, Southwestern; Angie Lawrence, Rockcastle County; Kayla Bowlin, Wayne County.

Second Team: Savannah Taylor, Mercer County; Emily Fox, Lincoln County; Courtney Morrow, Monticello; Emily Underwood, East Jessamine; Kasey Young, Danville.

Third Team: Megan Pittman, Casey County; Jessica Pierce, Southwestern; Haley Meadows, Garrard County; Sydney Harris, Lincoln County; Lori Thomas, Somerset.

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Hammond, Rice win girls regional awards

Sara Hammond of Rockcastle County and Tim Rice of Pulaski County have been voted the 12th Region girls player and coach of the year by the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches.

Hammond was a lock to win this award after becoming the first Kentucky girl to be named a McDonald’s All-American earlier this season. The 6-1 center enters the state tournament averaging 15.8 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.9 blocked shots for the Lady Rockets.

Rice led Southwestern to a 24-8 record and its third 48th District championship in the last four years. The Lady Warriors lost to Casey County in the 12th Region Tournament semifinals.

Hammond and Rice will receive their awards Friday at the Girls Sweet Sixteen, along with the other regional winners. Click here for the full list.

Hammond and Danay Fothergill of Southwestern were also chosen as the 12th Region’s two representatives for the KABC East-West all-star game, which will be played at 4:15 p.m. Saturday at Warren Central. Of course, Hammond won’t play in that game if Rockcastle makes a deep Sweet Sixteen run.

The KABC’s boys players and coaches of the year will be announced next week.

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Regional review, Tuesday 3/8

News and notes from day 4 of the boys 12th Region Tournament at Lincoln County:

  • Wayne County defeated Southwestern 51-35 for the championship.
  • Wayne (30-4) won its eighth regional title and its first since 2004. The Cardinals will play Perry County Central on March 17 in the first round of the Boys Sweet Sixteen in Lexington. Perry (25-5) defeated Knott County Central 45-39 tonight to win the 14th Region.
  • Wayne was certainly no lock, but the Cardinals were both the preseason and pre-tournament favorite, and they weren’t going to be denied after outscoring Southwestern 18-5 in the second quarter to take a 26-17 halftime lead. Gavin Dunagan scored all eight of Wayne’s first-quarter points, but four other players got in on the act in the second period, led by Austin Shearer with six points.
  • The Cardinals pulled out to a 33-20 lead early in the second half, and a Dunagan 3-pointer with about 7 minutes remaining gave them a 40-23 lead and drove a dagger into the Warriors, who never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way as they lost to 48th District rival Wayne for the third time in four games this season.
  • Wayne shot 41 percent (18 for 44) from the field and went 4 for 16 from 3-point range and 11 for 18 at the free-throw line. Southwestern shot just 28 percent (13 for 46 overall, 6 for 28 in the second half), went 2 for 18 from 3-point range and hit 7 of 12 free throws. The Cardinals outrebounded the Warriors 36-26.
  • Dunagan led Wayne with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Shearer had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Justin Edwards led Southwestern with 18 points and eight rebounds, but no other Warrior scored more than five points.
  • Dunagan led the Cardinals throughout the week, scoring 58 points in their three tournament games.
  • The boys all-tournament team: Gavin Dunagan, Wayne County; Justin Edwards, Southwestern; Cody Epperson, Southwestern; Taylor Gover, Pulaski County; Zack Hill, Lincoln County; Matthew Honchel, Mercer County; Ryan Hopper, Wayne County; Kody Johnson, Pulaski County; Aaron Lee, Mercer County; Robby Lewis, Southwestern; Josh McKinney, Rockcastle County; Michael Rexroat, East Jessamine; Austin Shearer, Wayne County; Jacody Taylor, Danville.
  • Thanks to all of you who followed this blog throughout the regional tournaments. We’ll keep an eye on what the Wayne boys and Rockcastle County girls are doing at their respective state tournaments and continue to provide information on Advocate-area teams in all sports.
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Regional review, Monday 3/7

News and notes from day 3 of the boys 12th Region Tournament at Lincoln County:

  • Southwestern defeated Mercer County 49-45; Wayne County defeated Pulaski County 54-48. Southwestern (16-16) will play Wayne (29-4) for the championship at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Following a terrific night of semifinal basketball, the title game matchup is set between two 48th District rivals. Southwestern is making its second appearance in the finals and looking for its first title; Wayne will try to win its eighth title and its first since 2004.
  • Southwestern trailed 20-17 at halftime but took the lead in the third quarter and held it for much of the fourth. Mercer took a 42-41 lead with 2:44 to play, but the Warriors tied the game on a free throw by Justin Epperson and took the lead on a putback by Robby Lewis with 1:23 remaining. Southwestern still held a one-point lead when Mercer’s Matthew Honchel was called for an intentional foul with 30 seconds to play after the official concluded that he pushed Marlow Daulton a little too hard. Daulton missed both his free throws, but Epperson hit two with 27 seconds. Mercer scored once more, but the Titans then turned it over twice while the Warriors locked up the game at the free-throw line.
  • Southwestern hit six of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter and 10 of 15 overall, while Mercer made just five of 13 foul shots and was outrebounded by 36-24.
  • Lewis and Epperson each scored 16 points for Southwestern, with Lewis getting eight and Epperson getting seven in the third quarter. Lewis also had seven rebounds. Honchel and Aaron Lee led Mercer with 12 points each and Matthew Banks had seven, but scoring leader Clay Cinnamon hit a lone 3-pointer in the first quarter and never scored again.
  • Longtime rivals Wayne and Pulaski went toe to toe in the second game, which, like the first, was close from start to finish. There were 11 lead changes in the third quarter alone, which ended with the Maroons leading 37-35. But Wayne outscored Pulaski 13-4 over the next 5:45, taking a 48-41 lead on a Kyle Hopper layup with 2:15 remaining, and the Cardinals seemed to have the game in hand at that point. That wasn’t quite true, however, as Pulaski’s Taylor Gover was fouled by Hopper on a 3-point attempt and sank three free throws to pull the Maroons within 50-48 with 14 seconds left before the Cardinals closed them out.
  • Wayne didn’t shoot 3-pointers the way it did in its first-round win over Danville — the Cardinals were 10 for 25 in that game and 4 for 11 tonight — but Pulaski was awful from the outside, going 2 for 17 from behind the line. The Cardinals hit 20 of 24 free throws, while the Maroons were just 10 for 17.
  • Gavin Dunagan led a balanced Wayne scoresheet with 13 points, followed by Dagan Shelton with 12, Hopper with 11 and Austin Shearer with 10. Pulaski got 13 points from Gover and 11 each from Kody Johnson and Tyler Goins.
  • Tuesday night’s final will be the fourth meeting this season between Southwestern and Wayne. Wayne won both regular-season games, 56-51 on Dec. 10 at Somerset and 50-47 on Jan. 27 at Monticello. However, Southwestern beat Wayne 49-47 in the 48th District Tournament final Feb. 25 on its home floor, winning on a last-second shot by freshman Justin Edwards.
  • Wayne won its first regional title way back in 1943 — it was the first “county school” to win the 12th Region — and coach Rodney Woods’ Wayne teams won six regional titles from 1989-2004. The Cardinals defeated South Laurel 69-48 for their last title in 2004, and they haven’t been back to the regional final since.
  • Southwestern made its only previous appearance in the 12th Region finals in 2006, where the Warriors lost 67-51 to Boyle County.
  • This will be the first year a team from the so-called “south end” of the region (the 47th and 48th districts) has reached the Boys Sweet Sixteen — and the first time two southern teams have met in the finals — since 2005, when South Laurel defeated North Laurel 66-36 on its way to the state championship.
  • Tuesday’s winner will play the 14th Region champion in the first round of the Boys Sweet Sixteen at 1:30 p.m. March 17 in Lexington. Knott County Central and Perry County Central will play Tuesday night for the 14th title.
  • A former 12th Region coach has already clinched a spot in the state tournament. Shawn Thacker, who left Somerset for Rowan County in 2009, led Rowan County to the championship of the 16th Region. The Vikings beat Ashland Blazer 64-58 in tonight’s title game in Morehead.
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Regional review, Saturday 3/5

News and notes from day 4 of the girls 12th Region Tournament at Pulaski County:

  • Rockcastle County defeated Casey County 62-44 for the 12th Region championship.
  • Rockcastle (32-1) won its second consecutive regional title, its fourth in six years since joining the 12th Region, its sixth in eight years and its seventh overall. The Lady Rockets play Madison Central on Thursday in the first round of the Girls Sweet Sixteen. Madison Central (23-9) defeated Scott County 85-72 Saturday to win the 11th Region.
  • Rockcastle beat Casey (25-7) for the fourth time this season, and this was the third of those games that wasn’t close. The Lady Rockets led 15-2 less than 6 minutes into the game and 37-17 at halftime before coasting through the second half.
  • Casey struggled with Rockcastle’s pressure defense right from the start, as the Lady Rockets scored the game’s first seven points and 13 of their first 15 points off turnovers. The Lady Rebels had 25 turnovers in all, and Rockcastle scored 21 points off those turnovers.
  • There is no most valuable player award at the regional, but if there were it probably would have been carried off by Angie Lawrence, who led Rockcastle in scoring in all three games. Lawrence scored 23 points in the title game for a three-game total of 54. Michaela Hunter added 11 points for Rockcastle, while Casey was led by Megan Pittman with 13 points and got 12 points from B.J. Hogue and 10 from Jasmine Johnson.
  • We’ll never know how Casey would have fared in the final with injured guard Nicole Coffman on the floor, but Rockcastle has established itself as one of the best teams in the state this season and has dominated Casey and every other team in the region all season long, so it’s fair to say that the best team will represent the 12th Region in Bowling Green — where the Lady Rockets will have a legitimate shot to win it all.
  • The girls all-tournament team: Kristen Abney, Rockcastle County; Kayla Bowlin, Wayne County; Nicole Coffman, Casey County; Devin Conley, Garrard County; Adison Corder, Southwestern; Danay Fothergill, Southwestern; Emily Fox, Lincoln County; Sara Hammond, Rockcastle County; Michaela Hunter, Rockcastle County; Jasmine Johnson, Casey County; Angie Lawrence, Rockcastle County; Liz Marcinek, Burgin; Haley Meadows, Garrard County; Carli Souder, Mercer County.
  • The boys regional resumes Monday with the semifinals at Lincoln County, where Southwestern (15-16) plays Mercer County (22-8) at 6 p.m. and Pulaski County (26-6) plays Wayne County (28-4) at 7:30 p.m. Mercer defeated Southwestern 71-68 on Feb. 18 at Somerset in the regular-season finale for both teams. Pulaski and Wayne split two games this season, with Wayne winning 77-68 on Dec. 30 at Somerset and Pulaski winning 57-56 on Jan. 22 at Monticello.
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Regional review, Friday 3/4

News and notes from day 3 of the girls 12th Region Tournament at Pulaski County:

  • Casey County defeated Southwestern 64-60; Rockcastle County defeated Garrard County 64-43. Casey (25-6) plays Rockcastle (31-1) for the championship at 7 p.m. Saturday.
  • Casey looked lost for the first few minutes of its game without injured star Nicole Coffman, unable to find shots and unable to keep Southwestern from hitting its shots. The Lady Rebels fell behind 18-4 before they stopped the bleeding, clawed back to within two points with a 20-8 run and trailed by only four at halftime. They scored 12 straight in the third quarter to take the lead for the first time, tying the game and going in front with four points generated after Southwestern coach Tim Rice drew an untimely technical foul. A 7-2 spurt early in the fourth quarter made it 50-43, and Casey made seven of eight free throws after Southwestern pulled within 57-55 with 53 seconds left.
  • Megan Pittman led Casey with 24 points and 11 rebounds, and she scored 17 points in the second half. B.J. Hogue scored nine of her 11 points in the second half for the Lady Rebels, getting four points in the critical third-quarter run and another four in the fourth-quarter run, then hitting the final free throw to clinch the win. Danay Fothergill scored 31 points in her final game for Southwestern, which was 8 for 12 from the field in the first quarter but 11 for 33 thereafter. Jessica Pierce had six rebounds for the Lady Warriors, who were outrebounded 27-21.
  • Coffman, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee Monday in Casey’s win over Lincoln County, watched the game from the first chair on the bench and spent much of it trying to encourage her teammates. She is scheduled to meet with sports medicine specialist Dr. Mary Lloyd Ireland for the first time Tuesday and said she hopes to have surgery soon so she can begin the recovery and rehabilitation process as soon as possible.
  • Garrard played on even terms with Rockcastle for the first 7 minutes, but the rest of the night belonged to the Lady Rockets, who secured their 22nd consecutive victory by scoring 20 unanswered points to take a 27-8 lead late in the second quarter. The Lady Lions were in danger of being shut out for the entire second period, going 0 for 10 from the field before Haley Meadows scored with 20 seconds remaining. Rockcastle led by as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter, and coach Chrysti Noble took her starters out for the last time soon afterward.
  • Angie Lawrence led Rockcastle with 16 points, going 6 for 9 from the field. Sara Hammond added 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting, and Michaela Hunter had a team-high seven rebounds. Meadows had 16 points and five rebounds in her final game for Garrard, and Devin Conley added 15 points.
  • Casey and Rockcastle will meet for the fourth time this season Saturday night, and the two 47th District rivals are facing off in the regional final for the second time in four years. The two teams played for the title in 2008, with the Lady Rockets winning 57-48. Rockcastle has won all three of this season’s meetings, 46-37 on Jan. 14 at Liberty, 53-23 on Jan. 21 at Mount Vernon and 53-44 on Feb. 24 in the 47th District final on the same Pulaski floor where they’ll play Saturday night.
  • Saturday’s game will be the 20th meeting between the two teams in the six seasons since Rockcastle moved to the 12th Region and was placed in the same district as Casey in 2005. They have met seven times in the postseason, including every year in the 47th District finals. Rockcastle has won 13 of the 19 games overall and six of the seven postseason games, with Casey’s only postseason win coming in the ’09 district final.
  • Rockcastle has won five regional titles — three in the 12th Region and two in the 13th — all since 2004. Casey won its only regional title in 2009.
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