Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

December 4, 2013

Bates' Crazy 8

By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Journal-Times

Dec. 4, 2013 — The march to Rupp Arena is under way. Teams took to the hardwood Monday night to begin the 2013-14 season. With that in mind, I have put together the inaugural Bates' Crazy 8.

Boys

1. Fleming County

2. Rowan County

3. Boyd County

4. Ashland

5. Lewis County

6. Greenup County

7. Fairview

8. Elliott County

The Panthers are the defending 16th Region champions and have the majority of last year’s team back.

Star senior guard Darion Burns suffered a torn ACL over the summer but there is some speculation that he could return for the start of the district tournament.

The Rowan County Vikings are nipping on their heels despite losing four starters a year ago. The Vikings do not rebuild, they reload. Tyler Thacker also is coming off an ACL tear but expects to be 100 percent before January. They have several pieces that could make them one of the top, if not the best teams in the 16th this season.

Boyd and Ashland will be considered the best teams in the 64th district with Fairview behind them. Lewis and Greenup counties look to pace the 63rd District.

Girls

1. East Carter

2. Ashland

3. Boyd County

4. Lewis County

5. Bath County

6. Greenup County

7. Fleming County

8. Rowan County

The top two spots in the girls rankings could have been decided on a coin flip. East Carter, which could be one of the deepest teams in the field, has Hager Easterling smiling from ear-to-ear.

He said this team has the chance to be very special if they can stay healthy. The Lady Raiders had a great summer, playing against some of the top teams in the state. Can they put it together? Can they hold off the back-to-back 16th Region champion Kittens? Ashland still touts one of the top 1-2 punches in Alexis Robinson and Haley-Sue Foutch. That is why they play the game.

Boyd County has a lot of pieces back from last season to be in the race and let’s not forget about Lewis County. If they hit free throws in the semifinal like they did in the opening round of the 16th Region tournament against East, they play for a spot in the state tournament. They have the core of their team back. One other team in the 63rd makes the list, Greenup County is at No. 6.

And then there is the 61st District. The Crazy 8 has three teams from the western part of the region. Bath County, where if you follow coach Troy Lee Thomas on Twitter, you would know he has kept his girls working from the end of last season to get ready for this year. They have one of the top sophomores in the state in Sarah Price, which makes them a dangerous team.

The Champion Fleming County Panthers are in at No. 7 while the Rowan County Lady Vikings check in at No. 8. Coach Jen Williams’ bunch only lost three seniors last year, but one of them was Taylor Conn.