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Lexington Catholic, Scott County, Frederick Douglass to battle for 11th Region boys hoops championship


By Chad Hensley
KyForward sports reporter

The start of the delayed 2020-21 boys basketball season finally tips off Monday, and the 11th Region is stocked with talented teams.

Lexington Catholic, Scott County and Frederick Douglass all appear primed to contend for the 11th Region championship. Henry Clay could face a major rebuilding season after losing 11th Region Player of the Year Marques Warrick, who averaged 23.2 points per game.

In his final game at Henry Clay, Warrick poured in 48 points — including eight 3-pointers — during a 108-104 double-overtime loss against Frederick Douglass. Henry Clay finished the season with a 24-6 record. The Blue Devils were unbeaten (9-0) in January and ran off 18 consecutive wins to cap the regular season.

Henry Clay must replace 11th Region Player of the Year Marques Warrick, who is now a starting guard at Northern Kentucky. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

Warrick is now a starting guard at Northern Kentucky University.

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

DISTRICT 41

Frankfort (18-16) – If the Panthers are to repeat as the region’s All “A” champion, they will have to do so without two of their top three scorers – Chaz Austin (14.6 points per game) and Will O’Bryan (10.2 ppg) – from last season due to graduation. Frankfort lost to St. Henry 77-70 in the All “A” Classic state finals and will look to Jackson Twombly (13.9 ppg), Jordan Blythe (7.2 ppg) and Charles Ellis (4.4 ppg) to improve their offensive output this season. They are the top returning scorers for head coach Chris O’Bryan’s squad.

Frankfort Christian (2-27) – The Royals failed to win a game against in-region competition last season, but it was their first full year of KHSAA eligibility after having switched affiliations from the Kentucky Christian Athletic Association.

Franklin County (16-16) – A heartbreaking 52-49 district finals loss to crosstown rival Frankfort as well as feeding off the success of the football team will provide motivation. Zac Cox is the top returning scorer with 12.9 points per game in addition to 5.8 rebounds per contest. Phillip Peiffer, who will be attending Lafayette College for football, added 6.4 points and a team-best 6.1 rebounds per game. New to the team this season will be Fred Farrier and Nick Broyles, two players who will add their athleticism to the basketball squad after finishing prolific football careers for Franklin County.

Great Crossing (14-17) – A losing record would typically be frowned upon, but the Warhawks finished with a better mark than many expected after having split from Scott County High School. The Warhawks graduated eight players from last year’s team, including the top four scorers that combined for 1,348 of the team’s 1,855 points. Tye Schureman, a junior, is the top returner with just 5.9 points per game. He will look to fellow junior Kalib Perry (3.0 ppg) and sophomore Tim Fuller (5.1 ppg) for assistance.

Western Hills (14-17) – Western Hills head coach Geoff Cody welcomes back an experienced roster. Returning for the Wolverines is leading scorer Zach Semones with 18.7 ppg. Senior forward Eric Gabbard (11.6 points, 6.1 rebounds per contest) as well as juniors Noah Smith and Mason Satterly will also need to add offense for the Wolverines.

DISTRICT 42

Bryan Station (12-18) – The Defenders dropped a 64-63 decision in the district semifinals to eventual region champion Scott County. Head coach Nimbo Hammons will rely on Myles Morones (10.8 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per contest) and Trenton Grundy (10.9 ppg) this season.

Frederick Douglass (21-12) – Jason Moseley takes over the coaching reigns from Kurt Young, who is now an assistant coach at the University of South Alabama. The Broncos defeated Henry Clay in the district semifinals by a 108-104 score in double overtime last season. Moseley will lean heavily on DaShawn Jackson this season after Jackson led the team with 21.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Khamri McMullen (7.2 ppg) will also be called upon to score more often.

Tim Glenn

Henry Clay (24-6) – A 108-104 double-overtime loss to Frederick Douglass in the district semifinals ended an 18-game win streak for the Blue Devils. Henry Clay was 13-2 against in-region opponents, with both losses coming to Frederick Douglass. The Blue Devils must replace Marques Warrick (23.2 ppg), Marquis Mackey (14.1 ppg) and Sebian Dillard (13.9 ppg), a trio that tallied 51.2 of the team’s 68.4 points per game.

Sayre (16-15) – The Spartans managed just one win against an in-region foe last season and may struggle to get out of one of the best districts in the state. Back for another season for Sayre are Zander Collett and Cory Givens. Collett tallied 16.4 points per game, while Givens added 8.5 points and a team-high 5.6 rebounds per contest.

Scott County (19-16) – Many expected last season to be one in which the Cardinals wouldn’t challenge for the region crown due to the addition of Great Crossing High School. But Scott County faithful watched their team defy the odds and upset Lexington Catholic in the region finals, 65-62. Elias Richardson was the team’s third-best scorer with 14.5 points per contest. Head coach Tim Glenn will need to find another scorer to go along with Richardson after the graduation of Terrin Hamilton (21 ppg) and Aaron Leake (14.6 ppg).

DISTRICT 43

Lafayette (10-21) – Head coach Michael Mendenhall’s Generals have not made the region tournament since the 2017-18 campaign and may struggle to do so once again this season with no high-profile scorer returning. Ray Surratt led the team with 23.6 ppg and 10.7 rebounds per game, but he has since graduated. Will Stanfield and Campbell DeYoung are the top returning scorers with 8.4 points per contest each.

Lexington Catholic (31-3) – The Knights were upset in the region finals by Scott County, 65-62, and will look to use that loss as motivation for a deep run in the playoffs. A favorite to win the state title, LexCath will once again be led by Ben Johnson and Jack Gohmann. Johnson was the state’s fifth-best scorer with 25.6 points per contest and led the team in rebounds per game (5.8), made field goals (312), made 3-pointers (97) and made free throws (150). Gohmann averaged 11.9 points and 2.4 rebounds as a freshman.

Lexington Catholic’s Ben Johnson averaged 25.6 points per game last season. (Photo by Pearce Hall)

Lexington Christian (18-12) – Lexington Christian narrowly missed a spot in the regional tournament after losing to Tates Creek 55-54 in the district semifinals. The Eagles will challenge for the All “A” regional crown and if they are to win in the district tournament, you can expect Tanner Walton to have played a major part. Walton led the Eagles last season in both points (21.5) and rebounds (7.0) per contest.

Paul Laurence Dunbar (13-18) – Head coach Scott Chalk’s Bulldogs have not won a region tournament game since capturing the state title in 2016, but with the return of last season’s top two scorers, Dunbar very well could advance to the region and break that streak. Back are Tim Hall and Nick Spalding to once again lead the team. Hall led the way last season as a sophomore with 15.5 ppg and 5.9 rebounds per contest and was followed closely by Spalding’s 12.4 points and 1.7 rebounds per game as a freshman.

Tates Creek (17-14) – The Commodores were able to hang tough with the best in the region a year ago but may not be able to do so this season without a proven scorer returning. Gone are head coach Jarrod Gay’s top four scorers from last year in Amari Taylor (14.3 ppg), Cion Townsend (9.9 ppg), Josh DuToit (9.6 ppg) and Maxwell Morton (7.0 ppg). Senior guard R.J. Smith is the top returning scorer with just 5.0 points per contest.

DISTRICT 44

Berea (22-10) – The Pirates welcome new head coach Ray Valentine, who replaces Eric Swords. Berea picked up a 60-53 victory over Model in the district semifinals as part of a 12-3 record late in the season. Valentine will have the team’s top two scorers back from last season in seniors guard Jaylen Dorsey (17.3 ppg) and senior forward Jayden Smith (12.7 ppg).

Madison Central (14-18) – Allen Feldhaus is back again for another season at the helm of the Indians and welcomes back Kole Browne and Braeden Ray. Browne led Madison Central in both scoring (17.7) and rebounds (4.8) per contest while Ray followed closely with 14.3 ppg and 4.2 rebounds per contest. The Indians have had a stranglehold on the district tournament having won 21 of the last 22 with the lone district tournament loss being in the 2017 finals to Madison Southern.

Madison Southern (16-14) – If the Eagles are to make it out of the district, they will have to do so without a proven scorer. Walt Smith is the team’s leading returning scorer with just 2.1 points per game. Nate Turner would have been called upon to improve on his 11.1 points per contest, but a season-ending knee injury in late December has derailed those plans.

Model (10-21) – The Patriots started last season by winning just five of 18 contests. Bryson Perry, a senior guard, brings back his 11.3 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. Head coach John Morgerson will need to find an additional scorer after having lost Cruse Pingleton’s 15.5 points per game to graduation.

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