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Franklin County girls basketball seeks to repeat as 11th Region champions, earn trip to Rupp Arena


By Chad Hensley
KyForward sports reporter

The Franklin County girls basketball team is looking for a repeat performance in 2020-21 and another trip to Rupp Arena.

But will a talented Scott County squad be the primary roadblock for the Lady Flyers on the journey to the Sweet 16? Or will Paul Laurence Dunbar emerge as the top challenger to Franklin County this season in the 11th Region?

Franklin County guard Brooklynn Miles averaged 21.7 points last season as the Lady Flyers won the 11th Region title. (Photo courtesy of Nick Moore, 44 Sports Photography)

Franklin County welcomes back a plethora of talent, including University of Tennessee recruit Brooklynn Miles and her 21.7 points per game. The Lady Flyers could contend for the state championship this season, but they must first win the 11th Region title.

Scott County will be a definite challenger in the 11th Region. Paul Laurence Dunbar also welcomes back a great deal of talent and could be a major factor this season.

Here are capsules of each team in the 11th Region, broken down by the four districts.

DISTRICT 41

Frankfort (14-14) – The Lady Panthers started last season 8-2 but struggled after Christmas. Head coach Deron Norman welcomes back the team’s second-leading scorer in junior guard Jamaya Chenault, who averaged 14.8 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Rhealee Ellis will also be tasked with more offensive responsibilities after averaging 5.6 ppg.

Frankfort Christian (3-9) – The Lady Royals averaged just 26.5 points per contest in their second year of being affiliated with the KHSAA, but last season’s roster did not include any seniors. Morgan Monroe (8.4 ppg) and Sarah Asher (8.0 ppg) return as the team’s top scorers from last season.

Franklin County (27-8) – The Lady Flyers returned to the Sweet 16 after a two-year hiatus and are once again favored to make another trip to Rupp Arena. Head coach Joey Thacker welcomes back nearly 92 percent of last season’s offense, including the likes of Brooklynn Miles, Patience Laster, Jasmine Simpson and Jazmin Chambers. Miles, a University of Tennessee commit, averaged a team-high 21.7 points per game, while Laster tallied 12.9 ppg to go along with a team-high 7.8 rebounds per contest. Simpson, who made 78 3-pointers last season, averaged 8.3 points, while Chambers pitched in 7.8 points.

Franklin County forward Patience Laster averaged 12.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game last season. (Photo courtesy of Nick Moore, 44 Sports Photography)

Great Crossing (16-16) – The Warhawks, who were in their first season as a program, did not have a senior on the roster in 2019-20. Back are Braylee McMath and Timothi Williams – the top returning scorers – to potentially lead the team through a deep playoff push. McMath, a Christian Brothers commit, led the team in all offensive categories, including points per game at 17.9. Williams averaged 13.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Western Hills (8-23) – Head coach Brandon Muravchick’s Lady Wolverines struggled to win games last season and that may continue with the loss of leading scorer Maddie LeCompte (17.9 points per game) to graduation. Sophomore Kiana Mitchell is the top returning scorer at 6.6 points per game.

DISTRICT 42

Bryan Station (12-20) – The Lady Defenders defeated Henry Clay 64-61 in the district semifinals and will be aiming for a return trip to the regional tournament. Leading scorers Natoria Godoy (16.9 points) and Tania Woodall (13.0 ppg) are back as well the team’s top rebounder in Olea Woodall, who collected 8.7 rebounds per contest.

Frederick Douglass (4-27) – Daryl Moberly takes over for Shawn Ransom, who was 22-70 in the program’s first three seasons. The Broncos roster was dominated by sophomores and eighth-graders last season and gained valuable learning experience that may transition into the program’s first 10-win campaign. Leading the charge will be junior shooting guard Allison Wallace, who poured in 13.6 points and nabbed 5.6 rebounds per game.

Henry Clay (12-16) – The Blue Devils lost a heartbreaker to Bryan Station in the district semifinals and will look to use that loss as motivation to make the region tournament this season. Back are Allison Stone, Kennedy Williams and Lauren Thomas – the team’s top three scorers from last season.

Sayre (13-14) – The Lady Spartans may have the best young prospect in the region in sophomore Kylee Dennis, who is already seeing Division I offers roll in, including the likes of UT Chattanooga. Dennis scored 22.9 points per game to lead the team last season. The team’s best 3-point shooter was Sophia Richardson, who drained 36.4 percent of her shots from behind the arc last season as a freshman.

Scott County must replace Malea Williams and her 19.4 points per game. Williams is now playing college basketball at Louisville. (Scott County photo)

Scott County (28-7) – The Cardinals have been a powerhouse in Kentucky for many years and will always be a threat to win the region crown as long as Steve Helton is leading the team. Helton saw his team narrowly miss out on a third straight trip to the Sweet 16 with a 57-53 loss to Franklin County in the 2019-20 regional finals. The Cardinals will rely heavily on senior forward Kenady Tompkins (12 points per game) to step her game up after the graduation of Morgan DeFoor (22.1 ppg) and 11th Region Player of the Year Malea Williams (19.4 ppg). DeFoor is now playing for Morehead State, while the 6-foot-4 Williams is at the University of Louisville.

DISTRICT 43

Lafayette (19-12) – The Generals missed out on a 20-win season when they lost to Tates Creek 78-67 in the district semifinals. With a roster that was full of underclassmen both last season and this season, head coach Allison Denton’s crew may be one year away from challenging for a regional title. The top returning scorers are sophomores Anaya Brown with 12.6 points and Lauren Walton with 11.4 points.

Lexington Catholic (12-14) – The Lady Knights were once the most feared program in the state, having won seven of eight regional crowns from 1999-2006 — including four state titles. Lexington Catholic, though, has not made a return trip to the state tournament since 2006. Head coach Donald Tegt welcomes back the bulk of last season’s offensive output, including leading scorer Chloe Treece, who averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

Lexington Christian (8-23) – Lexington Christian may have endured a losing campaign, but a four-game winning streak near the end of the regular season showed that the Lady Eagles were going to fight until the final buzzer sounded. That mentality will need to be of full display if the Lady Eagles are to challenge for the All “A” regional crown this season. Gracie Royalty returns as the team’s leading scorer (10.0 points per game) and rebounder (8.8 per contest).

Paul Laurence Dunbar (23-9) – Many are picking the Lady Bulldogs to be the team most likely to challenge Franklin County for the regional title. Elise Ellison-Coons will challenge for the best player in the region once again after having averaged a double-double in each of her first three seasons. Ellison-Coons averaged 16.7 points and 10.6 rebounds last season and will once again be complemented nicely by Tanaya Cecil (12.2 ppg) and Aziah Campbell (8.8 ppg).

Tates Creek (18-13) – The roster of the Lady Commodores featured many sophomores and juniors last season. Juniors Maddie Kauffman and Caty Armishaw averaged 12.8 and 11.2 points, respectively, and will lead the way. Alisce Lyvers led the team in 3-point percentage (.424) on her way to 7.2 points per contest as a sophomore.

DISTRICT 44

Berea (17-15) – With a roster of 22 players last season that included just one senior and two juniors, it is no surprise that the Lady Pirates were led by underclassmen. If Berea is to make a return trip to the All “A” Classic in February, head coach Dammian Stepp will once again be leaning on the balanced attack of juniors Madison Howell (9.9 ppg), Alexis Newman (8.0 ppg), and Isis Rodgers (6.1 ppg) as well as sophomore Chesney Lovins (6.3 ppg).

Madison Central (13-18) – The Lady Indians have been the perennial powerhouse in their district, having won numerous district titles including last season with a 43-32 victory over Berea. Seniors Taleya Todd and Jekauri McKeithen led the way offensively by poring in 13.1 and 12.7 points, respectively. McKeithen also averaged 11.7 rebounds to complete the season-long double-double.

Madison Southern (16-15) – Josh Curtis is the new head coach, replacing Allie Turley. Curtis will have one of the region’s most balanced scorers back in Samantha Cornelison, who has committed to Berea College. Cornelison made 72 two-pointers, 84 3-pointers and 137 free throws for 533 points in 31 games for an average of 17.2 points per contest.

Model (19-11) – With a roster that was made up of no seniors and mostly sophomores, freshmen and eighth-graders, the Lady Patriots posted a 19-win season in 2019-20. Keaton Hall led the way with 12.5 points per contest and was closely followed by McKenna Tuttle with 11.7 points per game. Taylor LeCompte was a force in the lane with 9.3 rebounds per contest.

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