Story Randy Whetstone Jr.
Photo by Damon Atherton
As we inch closer to Christmas, high school basketball has some gifted athletes in this new basketball season. As temperatures get colder outside, high school athletes have officially transitioned from the football field to the hardwood of the basketball court, and there are a plethora of teams, players and coaches that should provide great stories during the 2017-18 season.
The Fern Creek Tigers (3-1), the defending sixth region champion, made their first trip to the state tournament in school history last season. Coach James Schooler, in his fifth season, has another talented group this year that is favored again to win the sixth. Last year, “ran the sixth” was their motto, and this season they will have to “defend the sixth.” They’ll be led by senior point guard Anthony Wales, who has signed with Samford University.
Senior guard Ahmad Price will round out the backcourt with Wales, giving them a competitive edge over other backcourts around the state.
Pleasure Ridge Park (4-1) and Butler (5-0) are also among the top teams in the region looking to dethrone the Tigers. Bryant Robinson (19.7 pts per game) and Gerald Gray (19.0 pts per game) are currently leading the PRP Panthers in scoring.
Butler lost their top three scorers from last season to graduation, but Maurice Tolley (17.3 pts per game) is now leading the Bears, who had an impressive opening season win over Valley High School.
A lot of attention will be given to the Doss Dragons (4-2). First year Coach Blake Stone will have some big shoes to fill following former coach Tony Williams, who led Doss to back-to-back state tournament appearances during his tenure. This season the Dragons will look to keep their fire breathing as they compete with other top teams in the region. They’ll rely heavily on senior point guard Stephon Franklin who enters his third season as a starter.
The Trinity Shamrocks (5-0) stand as one of the top teams in the seventh region. Their season ended last year to a loss to Ballard in the seventh region tournament, but as they’re led this year by senior guard Jay Scrubb and junior guard David Johnson, the Rocks will hope to find their way back to Lexington for the state tournament.
Trinity had an impressive early season victory over Fern Creek and will be preparing to defend their King of the Bluegrass title starting December 20.
The Ballard Bruins (0-1), another seventh region powerhouse, suffered an opening season loss to Scott County, but Coach Chris Renner year in and year out prepares his team as one of the top ball clubs in the state of Kentucky. Senior Dorian Tisby is a player to watch this season for the Bruins.
Rounding out the top teams in the seventh region are the St. X Tigers (3-1) and the Male Bulldogs (5-0). Coach Kevin Klein and the Tigers will be led by senior Pierce Kiesler (21 pts per game) and sophomore guard James Taylor (15.7 pts per game). The Male Bulldogs had an early season victory over their rival Manual and showed their grit in two overtime wins versus Clinton County and Central.
This season should be a showcase of fine talent around the regions with storylines filled with emerging athletes and head coaches in new places. Teams will be finding their chemistry and working out early season kinks as the year progresses, on a mission to find themselves as the regional champions and participants in this season’s state tournament. VT