Breaking down the second night of the WYMT Food City Mountain Basketball Classic
It is the second night of the WYMT Food City Mountain Basketball Classic presented by Kentucky Farm Bureau and sponsored by ARH. Here’s the slate for tonight as the Boys’ take centerstage.
Shelby Valley (0-1) vs. No. 1 Knox Central (1-0) - 6 p.m.
The Wildcats finished the 2021 season with a 17-9 record and were 14-9 in region play. Shelby Valley lost the 59th District Championship to East Ridge in heartbreaking fashion, 45-44 then lost to Belfry in the quarterfinals of the 15th Region Tournament, 63-46. The Wildcats are led by Head Coach Rodney Rowe as Rowe is now in season two. Shelby Valley brings a young squad into this season as they look to replace their top three leading scorers from last season in Kaden Robinson (17.9 PPG), Keian Worrix (14.9 PPG) and Zack Johnson (8.6 PPG). The Wildcats fell to Betsy Layne in their season opener, 51-44. Junior Preston Johnson had a team-high 13 points against the Bobcats while junior Chaz Brown also tallied 11 points. Junior Caleb Lovins led the team in rebounding with ten rebounds.
The defending Mountain Classic Champions come into this season aiming for a fourth consecutive 13th Region Championship. The Panthers went 18-6 and 12-3 in the region in 2021, taking down Barbourville and North Laurel to win the district tournament and the region tournament, respectively. The Panthers fell to Ashland Blazer in the opening round of the Sweet Sixteen, 56-38. Tony Patterson is back on the sidelines for his seventh season as Knox Central’s head man. The Panthers bring back their top two players in seniors Jevonte Turner (25.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG) and Isaac Mills (14.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG). Turner paced the team in scoring in the season-opening victory against Bourbon County with 17 points while Mills finished with 16 points.
Johnson Central (0-1) vs. No. 6 Breathitt County (2-0) - 7:45 p.m.
The Golden Eagles finished with the best record among 15th Region clubs last season with 21-4 record overall and going 16-2 in region play. Unfortunately, Johnson Central fell to their archnemesis in Paintsville in both the 57th District Championship (84-73 in 2OT) and the 15th Region Championship (48-46 in OT). Tommy McKenzie is in his 15th season as head coach for Johnson Central. The Golden Eagles have to replace a lot of point production from last season as Cory VanHoose (17.2 PPG), Isaiah May (16.3 PPG) and John King (9.7 PPG) have all graduated. The team will be leaning on Ryleh McKenzie as the senior was the fourth-leading scorer (8.0 PPG) and third-leading rebounder (4.6 RPG) from last season. The Golden Eagles forfeited their season opener against Boyd County due to COVID concerns.
Breathitt County enjoyed a stellar 2021 campaign, finishing with a record of 16-7 overall and 14-4 in the region. The Bobcats fell to Wolfe County in the 55th District Title Game, 78-59 then lost to eventual 14th Region Champion Knott Central in the quarterfinals of the regional tournament, 64-51. John Noble is back for his fifth season as the head coach of the Bobcats. The Bobcats picked up a huge addition to their roster in the offseason, adding Buckhorn transfer Christian Collins. The junior was the Wildcats’ leading scorer last season at 20.4 PPG and second-leading rebounder at 8.8 RPG. Breathitt County also returns three of their four leading scorers from last season in freshman Austin Sperry (16.7 PPG), junior Luke Bellamy (10.2 PPG) and senior Jaylen Turner (10.2 PPG). The Bobcats also bring back their leading rebounder from last season in junior Bryce Hoskins (6.9 RPG). Collins led the team in scoring in the season-opening victory against Wellspring Homeschool with 21 points. Collins was the team’s leading-scorer once again against Jackson City, tallying 21 points in that contest as well.
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