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“The Coach Ryan Report’s” KHSAA Sweet 16 Preview

@CoachRyanKY 🦉

Ahh, the first day of spring. Fresh flowers, the sound of birds chirping, and the lore of the KHSAA Boy’s Sweet 16 filled the brisk Bluegrass air. I have spent the year in high school gyms around the Commonwealth of Kentucky, nightly I would trek to a game that caught my interest. “From Pikeville to Paducah” isn’t just a saying for me, I lived it. From the small town gyms filled with bleachers of fans occupying the same seats that they have for the last 40 years, to even the newest of gyms at Great Crossing High School and Frederick Douglass. I was there. I am bursting with an excitement only matched by a youngster unwrapping his favorite video game console on Christmas Morning. Wednesday cannot some soon enough.

Until then. Here are my thoughts:

Game 1: Perry County Central vs Magoffin County 11am ET, Wednesday

Aden Barnett, a 6’1 190 lbs guard, will lead Magoffin County. In Regional Tournament action, he averaged 33.3 ppg and 6.6 Rebs. He will be the focal point for the champs from the 15th Region.

Perry County Central spreads the scoring across the court. Three players averaged over 15 ppg in Regional Tournament play. Senior, Kizer Slone, led the way and hopes to bring the title back to Hazard.

Game 2: Ashland Blazer vs Lyon County 1:30pm ET, Wednesday

Travis Perry and the Lyons will begin tournament play early Wednesday. Perry, the state’s all time leading scorer, averaged 25 ppg in the 2nd Region Tournament. Perry won Mr. Basketball on Sunday.

Ashland Blazer, a powerhouse in the 16th Region is led by Zander Carter. Carter, a junior, is already committed to the Liberty Flames to play college basketball. He averaged 20.3 ppg and 7.3 rebounds in Regional Tournament play.

Game 3: Adair County vs Marshall County 6pm ET, Wednesday

Adair County started the year picked to finish fifth in their Region. The boys from the fifth finished first instead, punching their first ticket back to Rupp since 2009. Isaiah Cochran, a 6’7 forceful forward, averaged just shy of a double-double in Regional Tournament play at 24.3 ppg and 9.3 rebs. He will be fed by Connor Loy, a high IQ guard who can score on his own, as he was good for an average of 18 in Regional Tournament Action.

Marshall County always seems to be a contender in the 1st Region. They won over McCracken County in Regional Play at Murray State University last week. They are a young team that was led in scoring last week by a junior and a freshman. Freshman Matthew Langhi averaged 14 ppg and 4 rebounds.

Game 4: Great Crossing vs Spencer County 8:30pm ET, Wednesday

My pick for tournament champion is the Great Crossing Warhawks out of Region 11. Led by the top “deterrent” in the state down low, Malachi Moreno. Moreno has been recruited by John Calipari to join the Wildcats in 2026. The 7’1” forward is the #42 ranked recruit in the ESPN 100 rankings for the Class of 2025.  Vince Dawson hit a deep triple to send the Warhawks to Rupp over Lexington Catholic. He averaged 23.3 ppg over the tournament.

Spencer County will be led by Camden Cox, a senior who averaged 15.3 ppg in the 8th Regional Tournament. They got the unlucky draw and will be in for all that they can handle against the Warhawks from Georgetown.

Game 5: Harlan County vs Warren Central 11am ET, Thursday

Harlan County and South Carolina Gamecock signee Trent Noah won the 13th Region. Noah, 6’7”,  averaged a double-double with 25 ppg and 12 rebs. They will have a large contingent of fans.

Kade Unseld and Warren Central will represent the 4th Region in Lexington. Unseld, will play for Steve Lutz and NCAA tournament bound Western Kentucky next season. He averaged 15.6 ppg and 7 Rebs narrowly edging out teammate Elijah Star with a respectable 13 ppg of his own.

Game 6: Butler County vs Evangel Christian 1:30pm ET, Thursday

Evangel will be making their first appearance in the KHSAA Sweet 16. Don’t expect a large student section, they only have 37 enrolled at the school. Christian Doerr led Head Coach Larry Miller’s squad in 6th Region tournament play with 22.7 ppg. Kyran Tilley, finished just behind at 21 ppg. Both seniors, I expect Evangel to have a good showing at Rupp Arena this week.

Butler County, Champs of the 3rd Region, will bring junior guard Ty Price to Lexington in hopes of upsetting Evangel. Price, averaged 36.3 ppg in Regional Tournament play and will need a similar performance if he wants to play Cinderella this week.

Game 7: Pulaski County vs Trinity (Louisville) 6pm ET, Thursday

Trinity came out of a crowded 7th Region in the 502. Sophomore Jayden Johnson, a 6’5” SG, will play high major level hoops one day. He averaged 12.7 ppg in Regional Tournament Play.

Pulaski County is your 12th Region Champion. The Maroons will lean on senior Will Blankenship, hoping he can replicate his 20 ppg in Regional Tournament play from last week.

Game 8: Newport vs Campbell County

Newport’s star sophomore Taylen Kinney suffered a leg injury in the Regional Championship game. He already is receiving high major interest and led his squad to an All “A” Championship earlier this year.

Campbell County upset GRC in Mason County at the 10th Region Tournament. The Camels will hope to get over the hump against Newport behind Connor Weinel and Broc Sorgenfrei, both seniors who averaged 16.3 ppg and 14 ppg.

Follow me @CoachRyanKY on X for more content daily! 🦉

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