Multiple Teams · AARON SNYDER: Breathing easy are Boyd, Rowan

Aaron Snyder / The Independent I

In its standard state, oxygen consists of two atoms of the element to form dioxygen, which is the air
we breathe.
Floating and drifting about above-ground, it makes itself available to our lungs at all times.
Without those two parts, we are left gasping desperately for a source of life.
Take away Boyd County and Rowan County from the 16th Region, and you’re left madly searching
for any kind of sustainable existence.
By that, the Monday Morning Point Guard means that there are no other boys basketball teams in the
16th Region, at the moment, that can represent it well in the Sweet Sixteen.
Boyd County’s last-second win over Rowan County last season was an ideal way to ring in the new
year in 2014. It didn’t translate into ultimately great results, though, as Lewis County ousted Boyd
County in the region tournament.
Ah, so I’m not saying no one else has a chance, am I?
Absolutely on the contrary, but based on what I see right now, only two teams are capable of
stringing together three wins in Morehead and carrying some hope into Rupp Arena.
Boyd County hopes this year’s version of a nailbiting victory over Rowan County — a 72-69 win on
Friday — will bode well for the future.
Who knows? Maybe this was the region championship preview.
The Dime
‘Russell coach Merle Kidwell and company were the latest victim of 11-1 Boyd County. While his
Red Devils haven’t faced Rowan County yet, Kidwell walked away highly impressed with the Lions.
“They just have so many weapons,” he said. “Most teams have two or three scorers. They really have
five legitimate guys on the floor who can score. I think they have as good a chance as anybody to win
the region.”
‘Ashland’s boys are 0-13. Russell? 3-10. Considering this is the Tomcats’ worst start of all time, it’s
safe to say these two old rivals have never met with such a poor combined record prior to this point.
Russell does have a date with East Carter before Friday’s clash with Ashland, but the Tomcats are off
until then. So, the question is, is this finally the night Ashland nets its first win? The PG says yes.
•Drastic changes are rarely seen on a year-to-year basis in high school basketball. At times, it’s
amazing how eerily similar certain happenings are.
The latest East Carter-Ashland girls meeting marked the third one-point game in five matchups. The
Lady Raiders have won three of the last five overall duels in the series, which currently offers just as
much intrigue as Ashland-Boyd County.
• The three-time 16th Region defending champion Kittens haven’t suffered back-to-back losses inside
the region since February 2009, when Elliott County and East Carter delivered defeats Ashland’s
way. Could Boyd County become the second of a one-two punch tonight? The rivals meet at 7:30 at
•If the Lady Lions do wreck Ashland’s plans of bouncing back, anticipation for the East Carter-Boyd
County face-off this Saturday in Summit will reach thermometer-busting levels.
•Fleming County’s girls are one of the hottest teams in the region. The Lady Panthers enjoyed a
superb weekend that included their second win over a talented Johnson Central squad and a victory
over Russell.
•Morgan County’s boys present a tag team worth worrying about for those game-planning against the
Cougars. Newcomer Holden Redparth joining up with gifted guard Jordan Perry could have region
followers saddling up on Morgan County as the dark horse to take it all.
•During Saturday’s second annual Marvin Meredith Classic, out-of-town coaches with area ties
expressed gratitude toward Russell and, in particular, Red Devils athletic director Sam Sparks.
Sparks has coached at both Lawrence County and Russell.
First, it was former Russell standout point guard and past assistant coach Scott Humphrey, now the
head coach of a highly regarded program in George Rogers Clark. Said Humphrey: “You don’t get
12 teams (including junior varsity) traveling from all over the state to come to Russell, Kentucky —
and I can say that being from here — you don’t get 12 teams the quality that he’s brought in unless
you know you’re gonna be treated first-class, and anything Sam touches turns first-class.”
•Then chimed in Trent Steiner, Simon Kenton’s coach who has ties to Lawrence County. Said
Steiner: “Coach Sparks coached me and he hired Scott Humphrey as his assistant coach here at
Russell, and then Merle (Kidwell) obviously is a coach here; Brad Carr, the head coach at Scott, was
mine and Scott Humphrey’s assistant at Simon Kenton before he became the head coach at Scott; and
then (Lewis County coach) Joe Hampton, we’re all good friends.”
•The 60th annual AIT turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment, in my opinion. Don’t get me
wrong. The players gave strong efforts and Ashland, as the organizer, came through once again with
a respectable field. However, the games didn’t provide as much entertainment and the crowds
weren’t as peppy as usual. I’ll predict No. 61 will rekindle excitement.
On a related note, while the overall talent wasn’t earth-shattering, the group of teams that comprised
the Stultz Pharmacy Holiday Classic (at Greenup County) supplied some scintillating basketball.
They batted 1.000 on New Year’s Eve with thrilling finishes between Nicholas County and Allen
Central, Greenup County and West Carter, and then Morgan County and Elliott County. Elliott
County captured the title after finishing runner-up last year.
Snyder’s Super Seven
1. Boyd County (11-1)
2. Rowan County (10-3)
3. Lawrence County (6-4)
4. Elliott County (7-4)
5. Morgan County (8-2)
6. Paintsville (9-5)
7. Johnson Central (8-7)
Knocking on the door (next two in): Raceland, East Carter.
1. East Carter (10-4)
2. Ashland (8-3)
3. Boyd County (8-2)
4. Lewis County (9-4)
5. Fleming County (11-3)
6. Russell (6-5)
7. Paintsville (7-4)
Knocking on the door (next two in): Rowan County, Johnson Central.
30 -Point Club
The Point Guard has an inkling that Jordan Perry may pen his name here a few more times. The
Morgan County senior collected 33 points against West Carter this past week.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at or (606) 326-2664.