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Left: Jobby Howard; Right: Zion Harmon. (Photo: @its_zionharmon)

Zion Harmon part of record-setting game in Columbia last night

Left: Jobby Howard; Right: Zion Harmon. (Photo: @its_zionharmon)

You’re looking at Jobby Howard and Zion Harmon, who combined for 119 points last night in one of the highest-scoring games in Kentucky high school basketball history.

Howard, a 2018 shooting guard, scored 65 points in Caverna’s loss 119-103 to Adair County, which was led by Harmon, who scored 54. Howard’s 65 points came off 21-39 shooting and are the most scored in a single game in Kentucky this season and 16th in KHSSA history. Meanwhile, Harmon, a 2021 UK target who already has offers from Tennessee and Vanderbilt, scored 54 (“and he coulda gone for more”) off 19-32 from the floor and 11-12 from the free-throw line. He also had 12 assists. Highlights from the game are below:

Individually, Howard and Harmon’s performances are impressive; together, they’re astounding. The 222 combined points between both teams are tied for the ninth most in KHSAA history and are the most in a Kentucky high school game this century (!). Afterwards, the two posed for a picture:

Harmon is already well on UK’s radar for the 2021 class, having taken several unofficial visits; is there any chance we can get Howard on the roster as a walk-on next season? We could use some Kentucky boys.


WATCH: Incredible buzzer-beater by Jackson County

WATCH: Incredible buzzer-beater by Jackson County

Everyone loves a good buzzer beater. Today’s comes to us from Jackson County, where Drew Akemon hit this miracle three with one second left to force overtime vs. Whitley County on Tuesday night:

Unbelievable. Jackson County went on to win the game 69-59. I hope somebody treated Akemon to pizza afterwards.


D'Mauriae VanCleave runs for a touchdown in Saturday's 2A State Championships at Kroger Field  (Photo by Addison Coffey/For the Advocate-Messenger)

UK offers three Danville seniors preferred walk-on spots

D’Mauriae VanCleave runs for a touchdown in Saturday’s 2A State Championships at Kroger Field (Photo by Addison Coffey/For the Advocate-Messenger)

A great week just got even better for three Danville High School seniors. After winning the 2A State Championships on Saturday, D’Mauriae VanCleave, Jaleel Warren and Christian Hill were offered preferred walk-on spots at Kentucky, per their assistant coach Darius Baughman.

VanCleave was named MVP of the 2A final after scoring four touchdowns and intercepting two passes. He finished his senior season with 82 catches for 1,095 yards and 14 touchdowns, along with 762 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 72 carries. At 5’8″, he may be small in stature, but he’s FAST:

At 6’3″ 215 lbs., tight end/defensive end Jaleel Warren used all of his height to get this touchdown grab in Saturday’s game:

Jaleel Warren goes up for an 11-yard touchdown (Photo by Addison Coffey/For the Advocate-Messenger)

Hill, a 6’2″ defensive lineman, was also impressive in Saturday’s game, giving Mayfield’s offense fits. He finished the season with 54 tackles.

An undefeated season, a state championship, and the chance to represent their home state at the next level? That’s one hell of a week. Congrats, guys.


Steve Spurrier’s Grandson Leads South Warren Into The Playoffs

The state of Kentucky cannot get rid of the Spurrier family. Gavin, the grandson of Hall of Famer Steve Spurrier and son of WKU Assistant Steve Spurrier Jr., helped South Warren (Bowling Green) to an 8-2 record in his first year as a starter.

Bowling Green is known for having several top-tier teams in the state on a regular basis. South Warren has turned into a perennial contender because of a well-coached defense that produced the likes of Kentucky’s Adrian Middleton. But the offense at SWHS has seen a boost in production this year. In ten games for the Spartans, the junior QB threw for 1,792 yards and 18 touchdowns while running for four touchdowns.

In his first season at SWHS, Spurrier already has the most single-season passing yards in the school’s short history and is second in single-season touchdowns.

It stills remains to be seen if Gavin will receive much attention on the recruiting front, but he has helped South Warren’s offense progress as only a junior. I’m guessing he has some guys in his family that will help him progress over the next year.

Spurrier and South Warren take on Graves County this Friday in the 5A playoffs.

@TreyHuntsmanKSR


Documentary on Cordia High School and Rodrick Rhodes streaming now

Documentary on Cordia High School and Rodrick Rhodes streaming now

Remember us telling you about “Us Against The World,” Uproxx’s documentary series about Rodrick Rhodes and the Cordia High School basketball team? All ten episodes of the docuseries dropped today on Watchable.com and are free to stream.

The documentary tells the story of how Rhodes rebuilt the Cordia High School program with transfers from across the country, which created tension with rival programs in Eastern Kentucky and led to racist acts and hate-mongering. In May 2016, Rhodes was removed as coach after the program was slapped with several KHSAA sanctions for violations ranging from recruiting to providing illegal benefits to players. Earlier that year, Cordia won its first ever All “A” Basketball Championship.

In the opening scene of the first episode, Rhodes recalls a conversation he had with former teammate Jeff Sheppard about taking the job back in 2011 and Sheppard’s initial concerns about the reception Rhodes would receive in Eastern Kentucky. Sheppard eventually reasoned that people would accept Rhodes because he was “blue,” aka a former Kentucky player, but in the documentary, Rhodes said that he found out his friend was right to be worried.

“To be honest with you, I think that wore off. The blue wore off,” Rhodes said.  

All ten episodes are available now for free on Watchable. Drew Franklin will have a review of the series for you tomorrow.


Middlesboro football volunteer arrested after kicking other team’s player in the nuts

Middlesboro football volunteer arrested after kicking other team’s player in the nuts

There are people who enjoy high school sports, and then there are people who take them waaay too seriously. This next guy I’m about to tell you about is definitely the latter.

Wilford R. Shell, 61, is (was?) the equipment manager for the Middlesboro High School football team, and on Friday, he was arrested after he allegedly kicked a player from Clay County in the nuts. According to WYMT, the incident took place after Clay County beat Middlesboro in overtime, 30-29.

Shell was charged with fourth-degree assault with minor injury. He was booked into the Clay County Detention Center Friday night and released Tuesday evening. Something tells me he’s still not over the loss.

[Kentucky]


Rodrick Rhodes and Cordia subject of new documentary on racism in high school basketball

Rodrick Rhodes and Cordia subject of new documentary on racism in high school basketball

In 2013, the Cordia High School basketball team and its head coach, former Kentucky Wildcat Rodrick Rhodes, found themselves victims of racism and hate-mongering as they vied for the state title. That story is the subject of a new docuseries by Uproxx entitled “Us Against The World,” which debuts September 19:

The trailer is a little jarring, so here’s some background. Rhodes took the job at Cordia in 2011 and in February 2013, two players on his team, Canadians Emmanuel Owootoah and Marlon King, were tagged in Facebook and Twitter photos depicting a noose and a flag burning. Both were also the subject of “USA!” chants at games, which may seem harmless until you consider the social media posts and that their guardians reported multiple attacks on the boys, including gunshots at their door.

In May 2016, Rhodes was removed as coach after the program was slapped with several KHSAA sanctions for violations ranging from recruiting to providing illegal benefits to players. Earlier that year, Cordia won its first ever All “A” Basketball Championship.

The 10-episode docuseries will debut September 19 on Watchable, a streaming service. Something tells me it will get people talking.


Several Kentucky high school football games rescheduled because of weather

(@MOvering)

With the remnants of Hurricane Harvey headed to the Bluegrass, high schools across Kentucky are moving their football games to Thursday night or Saturday to avoid inclement weather. Josh Moore at the Herald-Leader has a complete running list of games that have been rescheduled, including the title town rivalry showdown of Danville vs. Boyle County. Here are a few of the marquee games that have been moved:

Moved to Thursday night

Bath County at Powell County 7:30 p.m.
Boyle County at Danville 7 p.m.
Bullitt Central at Southern 7 p.m.
Bullitt East at Spencer County 7:30 p.m.
Clark County at Paul Laurence Dunbar 7:30 p.m.
Doss at Male 7:30 p.m.
Fairview at Nicholas County 7 p.m.
Franklin County at Woodford County TBD
Highlands at Scott County 7:30 p.m.
Johnson Central at Henry Clay 7:30 p.m.
Louisville Holy Cross at DeSales 7 p.m.
Nelson County at Fairdale 7 p.m.
North Bullitt at Jeffersontown 7 p.m.
North Oldham at Waggener 7:30 p.m.
Pendleton County at Bracken County 7 p.m.
Russell County at Casey County 7 p.m.
Union County at Webster County 6:30 p.m.

Moved to Saturday

Archbishop Moeller (Ohio) at Trinity 1 p.m.
Bourbon County at Madison Southern 8 p.m.
Madison Central vs. Southwestern at Madison Southern 5:30 p.m.
North College Hill (Ohio) at Frankfort Noon
St. Xavier at Bowling Green Noon

For a complete list, head on over to the Herald-Leader.


Georgia UK Football Commits Star in Season Openers

Chris Rodriguez via Henry Herald

A pair of Kentucky football commitments from the Peach State started their senior seasons with impressive victories.

Playing in a rivalry game between South and Central Gwinnett, Central Quarterback Jarren Williams‘ needed a fourth quarter touchdown to secure a victory.  Eight plays and 60 yards later, Williams threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to put the game out of reach and give his team a 28-24 victory.

The future UK star completed 20 of 36 passes for 301 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.  Williams’ touchdowns came from 8, 11 and 20 yards and his lone interception was a diving “game-changing” catch by the defense.  He added 43 yards on the ground.

Not far down the road from Williams, running back Chris Rodriguez had to put the team on his back in the second half.  Trailing at halftime, the three-star prospect scored immediately to give Ola High School the lead.  They never gave it back.  Rodriguez scored two more second half touchdowns to finish the game with four and give his team a 41-25 win.

Williams and Rodriguez were the only two UK commits in action this week.  High school football in Ohio, Michigan and Florida does not begin until next week.

Closer to home, a pair of 2019 UK targets were fantastic.  Western Hills wide receiver recruit Wandale Robinson failed to lead his team to a victory over Franklin County, but he did account for 198 rushing yards in 27 carries and 35 yards in three receptions.  He scored every touchdown for Western Hills on rushes of 48 and 57 yards, and a 30-yard touchdown reception.

CAL athlete Milton Wright doesn’t primarily play quarterback, but he still completed 4 passes for 35 yards and a touchdown as a wildcat quarterback.  Wright ran the ball three times for 21 yards and a touchdown and he caught three passes for 29 yards in a 28-14 win over South Oldham.


Today on KSR: Last Saturday Without College Football

The longest major sports drought of the year is almost over.  Next week the college football season gets an early kickoff on the West Coast.  Two weeks from today, your Kentucky Wildcats will open the season in Hattiesburg against Southern Miss.  Game prep begins soon, but first, a scrimmage.

UK Football’s Second Scrimmage

Today is arguably the most important day of preseason training camp.  The intensity increases in the second scrimmage as players compete for positions.  How they perform today will determine where they fall on the depth chart.

There are a few position groups where today’s scrimmage matters more.  There should be some clarity in the crowded wide receiver room.  Can Matt Elam play up into the No. 2 spot behind Naquez Pringle, or will Jacob Hyde and Quinton Bohanna earn the right to split reps with Mr. Pringle?   Steve Clinkscale and will learn who he can trust to play safety while Mike Edwards is the nickel.

The first scrimmage provided mostly negative reviews, defined by red zone turnovers and a significant injury.  Can the Cats stay healthy and protect the ball in scrimmage No. 2?  We’ll find out today around 1:30.

High School Football is Back

Even though we are still waiting for college football, it’s officially football time in the Bluegrass.  Kentucky high schools started their season last night.  It was chalky for the most part, but there were still a few nail-biters.

  • Louisville Central 7, Manual 0
  • Perry County Central 64, McCreary Central 58 (3OT)
  • Nicholas County 38, Bellevue 36 (OT)
  • Campbell County 27, Dixie Heights 23
  • Scott County 56, North Bullitt 19
  • CAL 28, South Oldham 14
  • Bell County 42, Middlesboro 21
  • Knox Central 27, Letcher County Central 20
  • St. X 35, Cathedral (In.) 28
  • DeSales 37, Ballard 22
  • Lafayette 28, Bryan Station 0
  • Tates Creek 48, Henry Clay 0

One of those Tates Creek touchdowns came from Lamar Thomas’ son.

If you couldn’t get to the games, there’s about a dozen left on this week’s schedule.  See who’s playing in Saturday bowl games and find the rest of the scores form around the state here.

What in the World?

Meanwhile in Georgia high school football, they’re wasting no time to get to trickery.  This attempt to trick the defense to jump offsides is one of the strangest plays ever ran in the history of football.

Who’s Going to Win the UK Legends Game?

That is a rhetorical question.  The correct answer is Ryan and Drew’s team.  It will not even be close.  In fact, this matchup is so lopsided, David Stern is being accused of freezing the envelopes.

Matt/Shannon Ryan/Drew
Heshimu Evans Julius Mays
Cliff Hawkins Jarrod Polson
Shagari Alleyne Bobby Perry
Andre Riddick Perry Stevenson
Jon Hood Ravi Moss (via trade)
Jeff Sheppard Marquis Estill
Dale Brown Lukasz Orbzut
Kyle Macy Jared Prickett
Kenny Walker Jared Carter
Goose Givens Kevin Grevey
COACH: Chip Rupp COACH: Joe B. Hall

Yet shockingly, there are still a few hundred people who believe Matt and Shannon’s team will win.  I don’t get it.  Correct them by voting here and don’t forget to get your tickets for next week’s game here.

Former Cats Back in the Bluegrass

Ahead of next weekend’s alumni game, former players are returning to town and hosting meet and greets with fans.  The first is about to begin.  Dakari Johnson and Dominique Hawkins will be signing autographs at All Sports today from 11:00 a.m. to noon.  If the notice is too late, Keith Bogans will be at All Sports this Thursday from 6:00-7:30.

End Summer the Right Way

As we count down to the start of football season, we must start saying goodbye to summer. There are plenty of appropriate activities available to properly enjoy the final Saturday of summer.

You could head to your favorite Kentucky lake, or argue about which one is best in the comment section.  In Hopkinsville, it’s never too early to start preparing for the Eclipse.  For a more low-key Saturday, you can experience the Woodland Art Fair in Lexington.  If you see Kindsey Bernhard working a booth, tell her “Sup.”  In Louisville, the State Fair is underway.  If you can’t enjoy fried food, award-winning agriculture and exceptional people-watching, you might need to reevaluate your standards for fun.  Unfortunately, I can’t be there because I will be taking a ride on the Moon Taxi at the Iroquois Amphitheater to say so long to the summer of 2017.

School has already started for most, but you can still enjoy one final weekend of summer.  Don’t waste it.


After “Stallions” backlash, Frederick Douglass High School unveils new mascot

@HLPreps

Remember when Lexington’s new Frederick Douglass High School made its mascot the Stallions then had to reverse the decision after major backlash? Today, the school unveiled its new mascot, and thankfully, it’s gender-neutral.

According to the Herald-Leader, Frederick Douglass’ teams will go by the nickname “Broncos.” The nickname was selected by the student body and announced by principal Lester Diaz this afternoon as the first day of school ended. Sixty-three percent of students voted for “Broncos,” which beat out “Mustangs,” “Racers,” Thoroughbreds,” and “Stampede.” “Stallions” wasn’t on the final ballot after an online petition claiming the nickname was sexist forced the school to reverse its original decision and remove the name.

So, the Frederick Douglass Broncos. I dig it.

[H-L]


Paul Gray Photo

Bowling Green Wins First Sweet Sixteen In School History

Paul Gray Photo

Paul Gray Photo

For the first time in school history, Bowling Green won the Sweet Sixteen Title. The Purples ran away from Cooper in Sunday’s final 67-56. Terry Taylor was named Tournament MVP after scoring 16 points and grabbing ten rebounds against Cooper.

It seemed early on that both teams were rattled. Bowling Green missed a pair of contested three’s before Zion Harmon knocked down a pair of free throws and three to give BG a 5-0 lead. Cooper responded time and time again to Bowling Green’s athleticism in the first quarter from beyond the arc. Sean McNeil hit two three’s in the first quarter as Cooper got nine of their 11 first points on three point baskets. McNeil’s back-to-back jumpers got Cooper within two before Kyran Jones tipped in a bucket and Harmon hit one of two free throws to give BG a 16-11 lead after one.

 

Cooper hit four of their first seven three pointers to start the game. The deep shot paced their offense and kept them on the heels of an oversized BGHS squad. Eli Thurman came off the bench for Bowling Green and drilled a three to start a 9-2 run for the Purples. McNeil hit his third three of the game to cut into the lead once again at 28-21. Harmon led BG with 11 first half points. The eighth grader finished with 21 in the championship after hitting yesterday’s game winner. BGHS allowed two buckets at the end of quarters against Scott County, but the Purples flipped the script today as DeAngelo Wilson hit a runner to end the half and give BGHS a 30-21 lead.

Photo by Paul Gray

Photo by Paul Gray

Tournament MVP Terry Taylor only attempted one shot in the first half for BGHS. Taylor began to get more touches in the third quarter. The big man scored four points out of the gate and finished with 11 points in the third quarter. BGHS began to pull away late in the third, but Cooper once again roared back to end the third and start the fourth.

Brayden Runion drilled a three to cut the lead to ten with 20 seconds remaining, but once again BGHS scored at the buzzer on Harmon’s floater.

Trailing 45-33, Cooper made one last push at the title. The Jaguars scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to cut the score to 45-40. From that point on, Bowling Green was in winning time. Kyran Jones hit his first three of the tournament with 3:25 to play to start a 12-0 run for the Purples.

From that point on, it was a free throw show by BGHS. Bowling Green hit 15/20 free throws in the fourth quarter to ice a 67-56 win over Cooper.

Bowling Green’s win today was their first Sweet Sixteen Championship in school history. This group of seniors went 10-3 in four appearances in the state tournament. Taylor was named MVP of the tournament after averaging a double-double in the state tournament. DeAngelo Wilson and Zion Harmon were both named to the All-Tournament Team as well.

The Purples lost only twice this season and only once to an in-state team. Coach D.G. Sherrill won his first title after coming so close the last four seasons. A senior-led BGHS team got some help from the top eighth grader in the country as they will hang a Sweet Sixteen Championship Banner in the Bowling Green High Arena for the first time in school history.

 


Cooper beats Fern Creek 51-44

Cooper beats Fern Creek 51-44

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Picture by @KHSAAEvents

Fern Creek started playing varsity basketball in 1929. Eighty-eight years later the Tigers qualified for its first state tournament. Randall K. Cooper High School was established in 2008. In just nine years of existence, the Jaguars will be playing for the KHSAA state championship after beating Fern Creek 51-44 in Saturday’s semifinal contest.

Cooper’s methodical possessions disrupted Fern Creek’s attacking, fast paced intentions. Neither team shot the basketball very well: Cooper-43%, Fern Creek-44%. Fern Creek won the battle on the boards by a total of 27-15 but the Jaguar’s early three pointers kept the northern Kentucky squad in contention.

Fern Creek’s leading scorer was Anthony Wales’ with 13. Chance Moore was limited to 8 points off 2-5 shooting from the field. Cooper’s Sean McNeil’s 22 points were key for the Jaguars as it advances to take on Bowling Green for the state title.

The state championship game will be played on Sunday at 2:00pm.


Zion Harmon knocked down the game-winner over Scott. (Photo by Paul Gray)

Bowling Green Wins Instant Classic Over Scott 80-79

Zion Harmon knocked down the game-winner over Scott. (Photo by Paul Gray)

Zion Harmon knocked down the game-winner over Scott. (Photo by Paul Gray)

In one of the greatest finishes in Sweet Sixteen history, Bowling Green outlasted Scott 80-79 in the state semifinals. Zion Harmon hit a game winning layup with 21 seconds remaining to push away Scott on Saturday.

BGHS utilized their six-inch size advantage in the paint in the first quarter. Terry Taylor had ten points and four rebounds against the undersized Scott. The Purples raced out to a 21-9 lead headed into the final minute of the first quarter. Scott cut into the lead in last 45 seconds when Jake Ohmer hit a pair of free throws and Vincent Dumlao hit a three to cut the lead to 21-14 after one.

Dumlao’s three set the tone for the beginning of the second quarter. Scott hit three shots from beyond the arc in the first 2:45 of the second frame. Ohmer began to heat up as his team drew within one midway through the quarter. Ohmer hit one of his four three pointers get the ball rolling for Scott. The Purples struggled from deep today, but DeAngelo Wilson and Harmon both knocked down three’s in the second quarter to push BGHS’ lead back out to nine through two quarters.

 

Every time that Scott would draw closer to Bowling Green, the Purples would pull the lead back out to three possessions. Ohmer scored the first nine points of the half for Scott to put the Eagles in striking distance. BGHS was unable to adequately feed Taylor and Kyran Jones as Ohmer and Scott inched back in the third. But just as it seemed that Scott would take over, Bowling Green’s guards showed their merit. Trey Jones knocked down a jumper and Wilson scored five points in the less than two minutes to keep Scott off their heels. The Purples led 61-53 heading into a historic fourth quarter.

The story of this game came in the final 4:30 of the fourth quarter. Scott got all the momentum from the Rupp Arena crowd as they roared back from nine point deficit. A 15-5 run put Scott in front late as Bowling Green was seeing flashbacks of last year’s 17-point blown lead to Dunbar. Ohmer knocked down a deep three and Dumlao got an and one to tie the game. Scott got their first of the game when Jake Pusateri made one of two free throws with 1:32 remaining.

Dumlao extended Scott’s lead with a layup with a minute to go. After Harmon hit a pair of very composed free throws, Jarius Key made a tip in on transition to give BG the lead back with 40 seconds remaining. Scott made a quick move to the basket and had their shot blocked by Taylor, but a foul sent Jaycob Puncy to the line for two. Puncy knocked both shots down with 24 seconds left. In the biggest moment in his basketball career, the eighth grade Harmon stepped up on the biggest stage. Harmon sank a six foot running layup to give Bowling Green the lead. Scott had a chance to win with under 20 seconds on the clock. Ohmer drove in and missed a contested layup and BGHS got the rebound to finish off an astounding 80-79 win.

 

Not enough can be said about what Jake Ohmer did in the Sweet Sixteen. Ohmer dropped 41 and 32 in his first two games before scoring 33 in the semifinals. As a whole, Ohmer averaged 35.3 points and 11.7 rebounds in Scott’s three games. Ohmer was phenomenal on the biggest stage.

Photo by Paul Gray

Photo by Paul Gray

Bowling Green advances to their second title appearance in three years tomorrow against Fern Creek or Cooper. The Purples got big nights from all their stars. Taylor finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds and Jones added 18 and 6. Wilson nearly notched a double-double with 12 points and eight assists. Harmon had 18 points including the game winner.

 

 


Fern Creek Squeaks Past Ballard 55-52

@KHSAAEvents

@KHSAAEvents

Fern Creek defeated Ballard for the fourth time this season. Stakes for Friday’s matchup were high as the winner of the battle between Louisville’s top two teams would advance to the tournament’s Final 4. Creek overcame 30 turnovers to top the Bruins 55-52.

Fern Creek shot 48% for the game and out-rebounded Ballard 33-27. The Tigers were led by Chance Moore’s 18 points. Moore was 6-8 from the floor and 6-6 from the free throw line.

Ballard shot just 36% on the night and were paced by Clivonte Patterson’s 19 points-8 rebounds. The Bruins shooting woes carried over to the free throw line where it made just 47%.

Fern Creek advances to play Cooper on Saturday night.