Boys’ Basketball Preview - 63rd District

 

 

James Collier

The Ashland Beacon

 

RUSSELL

RECORD: 12-8

HEAD COACH: Derek Cooksey (1st)

SEASON ENDED: District Tournament Opening Round (54-48 L, Lewis County)

RETURNING STARTERS: Brady Bell, Griffin Downs

   Russell’s new bench boss is anything but new when it comes to coaching. Derek Cooksey was appointed the new coach for the Devils after spending two seasons as an assistant. He also has head coaching experience after spending many seasons in control of Fairview. Although new to his position, his transition has been easy after a pair of seasons with the program allowed him to learn about his team and vice versa. 

   Cooksey returns one of the top players in the region in Brady Bell whose ability to play above the rim makes his a one of a kind in the area. Bell led the Devils with 18.3 points and 6.2 rebounds a night. Griffin Downs is the only other returning starter who netted 9.9 a night and grabbed 6.1 boards. 

   The biggest issue for Russell was its ability to rebound the ball and with two players totally over half their 24.9 average, it’s no secret the Devils must make an adjustment to this segment of their game. 

   Carson Patrick could be that answer. Patrick is long and athletic and saw the floor in all 20 contests for the Devils last year. He averaged five points and three rebounds a game. Carson Blum and Damon Charles will compete for starting time after working off the bench in the respective guard and forward positions. Landon McDowell will bring added offensive production after transferring from Fairview. 

   Russell has a busy slate prior to the turn of the new year. They will participate in the EKC Tournament beginning Dec. 7th, meets Scott at Mason County in the Mike Murphy Classic on Dec. 11, is a member of the Derby Classic at Raceland Dec. 20-22 and opens with Estill County in the three-day Dan Swartz Classic at Bath County on Dec. 28-30.  The remaining Devils slate is full of contests against 16th Region opponents. 

 

GREENUP COUNTY

RECORD: 5-17

HEAD COACH: Steve Barker (2nd)

SEASON ENDED: District Tournament Opening Round (68-44 L, Raceland)

RETURNING STARTERS: Trenton Hannah, Boone Gibson, Beau Barker, Carson Wireman, Logan Bays

   Steve Barker’s first season in Lloyd was filled full of ups and downs with most the latter present. When Barker took over the program, he returned less than a point in offensive production and approximately four minutes of varsity playing time across the entire team. Hence a five-win season and a team who searched for an identity throughout the campaign. 

   But this season could be much different as Barker returns all five starters from one season ago as well as a few valuable bench players that could let the Musketeers go as many as eight deep if needed. Leading those returning will be Trenton Hannah whose size should present a problem for nearly every team in the region. At 6-foot-5 and nearly 240 pounds, Hannah’s size around the basket should force teams to provide help from every angle. He led the Musketeers with 12.5 points and 5.2 rebounds a game last season. 

   Boone Gibson returns and will once again guide the Musketeers from the point guard position. He averaged nine points and five rebounds a game while typically guarding the opposing team’s best scorer. Beau Barker and Carson Wireman provide shooting threats from the wings with both averaging eight points a night last year. Logan Bays rounds out the returning five. 

   Greenup’s bench will be led by Jonah Gibson, Eli Adkins, Cam Carroll and Cade Hunt. 

   Greenup County opens the season with Fairview on Tuesday Nov. 30 at the Greenhouse. They play at Wheelersburg on Dec. 10 and meet Pendleton County on Dec. 11 at Mason County in the Mike Murphy Classic. The Musketeers visit Allen County-Scottsville Dec. 28-30 in the South Central Bank Halton Classic. All but three opponents after the new year feature 16th Region foes. 

 

RACELAND

RECORD: 11-8

HEAD COACH: Joe Bryan (1st)

SEASON ENDED: Regional Tournament Quarterfinals (72-54 L, West Carter)

RETURNING STARTERS: Andrew Floyd, Kyle Broughton, Landyn Newman

   It has been a long time since Bob Trimble has not been on a sideline for a Raceland basketball team. 

   After spending many seasons with both the boys and girls programs, Trimble headed off to retirement, leaving the Rams searching for its new boss. In the end, the Rams found one of their own as Joe Bryan accepted the position after spending several years as the athletic director at Russell. 

   Although displaced from the sidelines for a while, Bryan is no stranger to coaching after spending several seasons as an assistant before accepting the AD position at Russell. Fortunately, he returns a pair of offensive scoring threats to help guide him through his first season with the Rams. 

   Andrew Floyd and Kyle Broughton return as the leading offensive producers for the Rams. Floyd netted 12.5 a game and Broughton tossed in 10 while both demonstrating their ability to torch the nets from long range. Broughton led the team in 3-point shooting, going 39-86 (45.3%) from downtown. 

   Landyn Newman spent time as a starter and working off the bench in a guard position. His role this season should grow significantly. Jacob Gauze will work in the post for the Rams as will Isaiah Perkins who can play both the forward and guard positions. 

   Raceland’s season begins with three home games against Coal Grove, Fairview and Lawrence County. The Rams play host to the Derby Classic on Dec. 20-22. Their remaining schedule features mostly 16th Region opponents outside of a visit from Simon Kenton on Jan. 7 and a trip to Lawrence County Feb. 16. 


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