Boys basketball capsules
Published 11:40 am Tuesday, December 27, 2022
By MIKE MARSEE
Area boys high school basketball capsules, based on information submitted by coaches (not all coaches responded to requests for information):
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Coach: Jeff Jackson
2021-22 record: 31-8 (lost to George Rogers Clark in Boys Sweet 16 semifinals)
Top returnees: Tramane Alcorn, 5-11 Sr. G; Connor Davis, 5-8 Jr. G; Colton Ralston, 6-3 Sr. G; Jackson Sims, 6-3 Sr. G; Jalen Smith, 5-11 Sr. G.
Top newcomers: Will Bishop, 6-8 Jr. F; Blade Nuckols, 5-9 Jr. G.
Outlook: Coming off the best season in the history of the program, Lincoln is back for more. The Patriots set a school record for wins and reached the semifinals of the Boys Sweet 16, and they return as the favorite to win a third regional title in five years. Alcorn, tabbed as the top player in the 12th Region by The Cats’ Pause Kentucky Basketball Yearbook, returns to the startling lineup along with Ralston, another double-digit scorer last season whose overtime buzzer-beater in the regional final lifted Lincoln into the Sweet 16, and Sims, who transformed from role player into reliable starter last year and led the Patriots in rebounding at the state tourney. Smith and Davis will play much larger roles, and Bishop bolsters the interior after having played in only eight games over the past two seasons due to leg injuries.
Coach’s comment: “Our team strengths will be experience, leadership and team chemistry. We will need to improve on the defensive end and rebound the basketball. Our goals for the season are to continue to work hard and improve with every practice.”
Coach: Josh Hamlin
2021-22 record: 16-14 (lost to McCreary Central in 12th Region first round)
Top returnees: Seth Caton, 6-0 Sr. F; Trevor Ellis, 6-5 So. C; Thaddeus Mays, 5-10 Jr. G; John Lincoln Perry, 6-3 Jr. F; Donavan Wright, 5-10 Jr. G.
Top newcomers: Jordan Axsom, 5-9 So. G; Jackson Perry, 6-5 Jr. C; Andrew Tatum, 6-1 So. F.
Outlook: Mercer will be young but deep, with only one senior on the squad but also with the possibility of playing 10 to 11 players at what Hamlin hopes will be a faster pace. The Titans have a fair amount of size, including a couple of rim protectors, as well as a deep backcourt that will allow them to push the ball in transition. Caton, the only senior and the leading scorer on a balanced team last season, is a two-year starter and jack-of-all-trades on both offense and defense who comes off an injury and offseason surgery, and Ellis is a double-double threat and a strong shooter who has extended his range to the 3-point line, as well as an effective shot-blocker. Wright and Axsom could emerge this season, and John Lincoln Perry and Mays return after starting part-time last year.
Coach’s comment: “We had a really good summer season, and I really like the direction in which we are heading. We had several games last season that we didn’t finish and let get away from us. One of the big things we will need to do this season is to finish games and figure out a way to win close basketball games.”
Coach: Todd Carman
2021-22 record: 11-19 (lost to Pulaski County in 47th District semifinal)
Top returnees: Caleb Brown, 5-8 Jr. G; Blake Caudill, 5-11 Sr. G; Nate Goode, 6-1 Sr. G; Ethan Willoughby, 6-1 Sr. F.
Top newcomers: Lukas Bowmer, 6-2 Sr. F; Rylan Hamm, 6-1 Sr. F; Jax Price, 5-8 Sr. G; Luke Spangler, 6-5 Sr. F.
Outlook: Carman returns for his second stint as Casey’s coach — he led the Rebels to the regional tournament twice in a four-season stint from 2007-11 — and will lead an experienced team led by eight seniors and several sophomores and juniors who can provide plenty of support. Willoughby will likely be one of the top scorers in the region after averaging 23.2 points last year, and Brown, Caudill, Goode and newcomer Bowmer also figure to be reliable scorers.
Coach’s comment: “I have a great group of hard-working guys and we have a great shooting team overall. I expect our team to be more defensive-minded this season and have some balance in the scoring column.”
Coach: Brandon Cooper
2021-22 record: 14-17 (lost to Lincoln County in 45th District semifinal)
Top returnees: Austin Adams, 6-1 Sr. G; Ian Alcorn, 5-11 Sr. G; Ethan Cooper, 6-3 Sr. G; Mason Sulla, 6-6 Sr. C.
Top newcomers: Damarion Boatley, So. G; Braden Fugate, So. G; Jaydon Noe, So. G.
Outlook: Garrard hopes to apply the lessons learned from last season, when it improved from nine to 14 wins, to not only end a string of six straight losing seasons but also to make an even bigger splash this winter. The Golden Lions return three of their top four scorers, led by Ethan Cooper, who figures to be one of the top scorers in the region, and Sulla, who could become more of a force on the inside. Adams also figures to emerge as more of a scoring threat, and a trio of sophomores also will contribute to a team that should distribute and shoot the ball well.
Coach’s comment: “This will be a team that is very fun to watch and coach, especially after we can get all our guys healthy. My expectation for this group is that they will compete with anyone in the region. We will be competitive and play extremely hard as they proved all summer long.”
Coach: Dennie Webb
2021-22 record: 23-8 (lost to Pulaski County in 12th Region semifinal)
Top returnees: Jack Little, 6-0 Sr. G; Kason Myers, 6-1 Sr. G; Jakei Tarter, 6-4 Sr. C; Dalton Stone, 5-10 Sr. F.
Top newcomers: Brent Christopher, 6-1 Jr. F; Sage Dawson, 5-11 Jr. G; Maddox Hager, 6-3 8th F; Montavin Quisenberry, 5-8 So. G; Guy Turner, 5-10 8th G.
Outlook: What might be a rebuilding year for some teams is more likely a reloading year for Boyle, which lost six seniors to graduation but has talent and depth that could again place the Rebels as one of the top teams in the 12th Region. Myers, a dangerous outside shooter, and Tarter, a tenacious rebounder who should score more, are the top returnees for a team that will also rely on Quisenberry, a Garrard County transfer who will play point guard; Dawson, who returns to basketball for the first time in two seasons, and a long list of contributors that includes eighth-graders Hager and Turner. With their depth, the Rebels figure to be more aggressive on both ends of the floor.
Coach: Ed McKinney
2021-22 record: 16-15 (lost to Boyle County in 45th District semifinal)
Top returnees: Demauriah Brown, 5-11 So. G; Jarius Bryant, 6-2 Sr. G; Jalen Dunn, 6-0 Sr. G; Ontario Hill, 5-11 So. F; Myles Turner, 5-11 Sr. G.
Top newcomers: Owen Barnes, 6-2 Jr. F; Josh Bixler, 5-11 Jr. G.
Outlook: Danville returns four of its top five scorers but will have a bit of a different look as Dunn, Bryant and Brown — all of whom were at or near double figures in scoring last season — take the lead on offense along with Barnes, a Boyle County transfer who returns after missing last season due to injury. All four can generate offense at will, but they will also be part of what should be a more aggressive team. Bixler, Hill and Turner also will contribute for the Admirals, whose aggressive play will make them a factor in a competitive 45th District.
Coach: Don Story
2021-22 record: 18-12 (lost to Danville in 45th District first round)
Top returnees: Lual Ayiei, 6-11 So. C; Titus Boyd, 6-3 So. G; Noah Imfeld, 5-10 Jr. G; Ryan Ridge, 6-4 Sr. G.
Top newcomers: Emmanuel Dut, 6-4 Jr. G.
Outlook: Strength and depth could help DCA take another step forward after improving its win total by 11 last season. A newly installed weight room will help the Warriors be more competitive physically, and another year of experience will make them a deeper team this season. Boyd is a three-year starter at point guard and the top returning scorer, and Story said he is becoming a coach on the court as well, Ayiei continues to develop and is a formidable presence on both ends of the floor and Imfeld is a 3-point threat who is stronger as well. Dut is an elite athlete and a potential game-changer who can get to the rim quickly, and seniors Grayson Domidion and Noah Meyer and sophomore Billy Inmon also will have increased roles.
Coach’s comment: “We still have a lot of work to do, but this is the first time I feel we can match up with everyone in the region physically. We have worked really hard in the weight room, and that should benefit us not only physically, but also mentally.”