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KSR’s Road to Rupp: 8th Region Tournament Preview

KSR is covering the Kentucky high school basketball postseason, from the region tournaments all the way to the Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena (March 31 – April 3). Over the next week, we’ll be providing previews of each region, updates on each round, and in-depth coverage of the finals. On Monday, the 8th Region Tournament tips off up in Henry County. We’ve got your preview right here.


The 8th Region is loaded with high-volume scorers, including two of the top three in the entire state. This region doesn’t have the shiny name of popular Louisville-area schools such as a Male or Saint Xavier, but it features plenty of dangerous teams that could all make runs at the Sweet 16. Let’s preview what you need to know.

BRACKET

SCHEDULE (Entire region hosted at Henry County)

First Round

Monday, March 22, 6:15 PM: No. 14 Oldham County (11-4) @ Owen County (15-11)

Monday, March 22, 8:15 PM: Collins (12-8) @ Walton-Verona (15-14)

Tuesday, March 23, 6:15 PM: Henry County (17-9) @ North Oldham (5-10)

Tuesday, March 23, 8:15 PM: Simon Kenton (15-8) @ Anderson County (8-10)


Semifinals

Friday, March 26, 6:15 PM: Semifinal No. 1

Friday, March 26, 8:15 PM: Semifinal No. 2


Finals

Saturday, March 27, 7:00 PM: Championship

TEAM TO BEAT: Oldham County

The only team in the 8th Region ranked among the top 25 in KSR’s updated Prep Rankings, the Oldham County Colonels won the 29th District Tournament and are expected as the favorites to reach the Sweet 16.

Oldham County managed to beat North Oldham in the District Championship, 70-55, as three players–Tyler Slone (11 points), Xander Wagner (16), and Sam Campbell (17)–all scored in double-figures for the Colonels. The win gave Oldham County its 10th district crown over the last 11 possible seasons.

5 PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kelly Niece (Simon Kenton): Currently the state’s leading scorer at 30.8 points per game, Kelly Niece has been lighting it up this season for Simon Kenton and is now the school’s all-time leading scorer for the boy’s team. Niece is shooting just a hair under 60 percent from the field this season, 39 percent from deep, and 88 percent from the free-throw line while recently crossing over 2,000 points for his career. The 6-foot-3 senior was tabbed as the 8th Region Player of the Year.

Scoring runs in the family, too, as Niece’s sister, Ally, graduated from Simon Kenton in 2018 as the girl’s all-time leading scorer with nearly 3,000 points.

Xander Wagner-Rose (Oldham County): You could take your pick of which player to watch from a deep Oldham County squad, but we’re going with the 6-foot-8 senior, Xander Wagner-Rose, who was named the Most Valuable Player at the 29th District Tournament after dropping 16 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks in the title game. Tyler Slone is the Colonels leading scorer at 14 points per game while Deaton Oak (11.2 points) and Sam Campbell (9.5) are also players to keep an eye on for Oldham County.

Dallas Roberts (North Oldham): Just a sophomore, North Oldham’s 6-foot point guard, Dallas Roberts, has already eclipsed the 1,000 point mark in his high school career and has been a varsity starter since eighth grade. He was able to learn under Justin Powell before the latter left for Auburn and he has since assumed the position as the Mustangs’ go-to scorer. Roberts leads North Oldham in scoring at 18.9 points per game on impressive shooting splits of 44.0/41.0/83.1.

Trevor Hardin (Henry County): Standing at 6-foot-6, senior forward Trevor Hardin is averaging a 22.8-point, 12.0-rebound (5th most rebounds per game in the state) double-double this season while shooting just a shade under 65 percent from the floor. He was named the MVP of the 31st District Tournament, which Henry County won in a tightly-contested 53-51 victory over Owen County. Like Niece, Hardin is also a member of the 2,000 point club, which he surpassed earlier in the month.

Teagan Moore (Owen County): Teagan Moore joins Roberts as the two underclassmen on our “players to know” starting five. The 6-foot-5 sophomore guard is third in the entire state in scoring (behind Niece and North Laurel’s Reed Sheppard) with 28.9 points per outing. He’s hit the 50-point threshold this season, shoots over 57 percent from the field, and also averages a double-double thanks to 10.6 boards per game.

ATTENDANCE

Attendance at Roy L. Winchester Gym up in Henry County has been capped at 25 percent of the 5,400 possible seats, or about 1,200 fans. The Roy has been the site host of the 8th Region Tournament since 1963, just two years after the school was opened.


If you go to the games, remember to share your pictures with us on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #RoadToRupp. We’ll be posting fan galleries on the site and social media throughout the week.

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Recruiting reporter for KSR. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR