Milam's Random Thoughts!

I just have to get some things off my chest!

What the heck is going on around here?

Is anyone upset at the fact we will not see another Paintsville-Johnson Central Apple Bowl again?  Paintsville has decided not to play the game ending 34 years of tradition.  I realize everyone within a certain administration must look at what is best for their side.  But ending a rivalry so abruptly is not good for the community as a whole.  Another aspect that casts a shadow is that Paintsville has taken some "out to the woodshed" beatings lately.  258-40 over the last five meetings is what Johnson Central has done to Paintsville.

That leads to Hazard pulling the plug on its rivalry with Perry Central in both football and boys basketball.  The Hazard school system cites "safety concerns" as its reasoning.  OK, that is understandable from one point of view but frankly I have never felt a sense of danger at any of those games.  Perry Central is claiming Hazard does not want to play in football because PCC is thought to be on a serious upswing.  Hazard advanced to the Class 'A' state final two weeks ago but I don't think Hazard is going to fall apart.  The Bulldogs are very good and always have the athletes to match just about anybody in the mountains.  "BOTH" sides need to find better reasoning for canceling such a great event before another historic rivalry loses its luster. 

 The 2008 high school football season in the mountains was very good and the rewards continue for individual players.   The Lexington Herald named their 'Class of the Commonwealth' and five mountain all-stars made the list.   Hunter Adams - Middlesboro, Charlie Banks - Letcher Central, Ricky Bowling - South Laurel, Zach Lewis - Clay County and Tyler Olinger - Hazard are all there.

 St. Xavier running back (and Mr. Football) Deuce Finch, the state's Mr. Football award winner, was named Player of the Year for the state by The Orlando Sentinel.  The newspaper picks 12 players from each of the southern states to make up the "Dandy Dozen" on the All-Southern team.  Breathitt County stud Channing Fugate represents the mountains on this list.  Looking at the company with Fugate, this is a heck of an all-star lineup:

Duece Finch - St. Xavier
Channing Fugate - Breathitt Co.
Jordan Whiting - Trinity
Justin Green - Male
Trevor Foy - St. Xavier
Ridge Wilson - Central
Mister Cobble - Central
Dalton Cissell - North Bullitt
Courtney Dalcourt - Franklin-Simpson
Austin Collinsworth - Highlands
Josh Carter - Ft. Campbell

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL 

  The 22nd annual WYMT Whayne Supply Mountain Basketball Classic is right around the corner.  I am wondering if some in the mountains believe the Mountain Classic has lost some of the glow it once had.  Teams like Corbin and South Laurel will not play in the tournament for various unknown reasons.  I have asked both coaches over the years why and never get a straight answer.  Shelby Valley said yes the last two years only to pull out for other tournaments.  One reason might be because of other tournaments.  22 years ago there were not nearly as many “Holiday Classics”, ABC Bank Classic or XYZ High School Invitationals. 

  It is getting very difficult to compete with some of these tournaments outside of eastern Kentucky .  Financially speaking, many tournaments offer nice amounts of money to attend their respective tournament.  Regional exposure for certain players is another reason.  I totally understand that reasoning because how many times did Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith, Denny Crum or many other higher profile coaches come to Hindman or Hazard to watch our athletes?  I can think of only twice when coaches came to personally watch a mountain basketball player and only once during a Mountain Classic!  Just in case you are wondering what coach came to watch…UofL assistant Rodney McCray in 1990 found his way to Knott Central to scout former Feds Creek star Jody Thompson.  Tubby Smith was at Breathitt County and Owsley County in the early 2000’s to watch former Perry Central phenom Ben Bowling.  Back to the topic though, I haven’t counted, but I bet you nearly 85% of the mountain schools will play at least one tournament outside of the mountains. 

   We all know is Hazard is one of the top teams in the mountains, but they are showing their stuff in Lexington .  The Bulldogs smoked #5 duPont Manual 71-50 over the weekend.  Hazard's game is starting to come around with the football guys getting into shape.  Al Holland's team shot a blistering 66.7% against Manual.  Josh Whitaker had 23 points, seven assists and five steals.

  That leads me to start thinking about the points guards in eastern Kentucky .  The WYMT coverage area is loaded with them!!!   How would you rank the top four floor generals in the mountains?  It is a toss up because the following players all bring something different to the table.  Consider the following: Josh Whitaker - Hazard, James David Strange - Pineville, Tate Cox - Knott Central and Elisha Justice - Shelby Valley.

 Against Harlan County James David Strange lit up the scoreboard for 38 points.  In my opinion, JD Junior is the best point guard not given as much love as Justice, Whitaker and Cox.  The kid is the strongest of the Fab Four guards barely squeaking by Justice.  His shooting is just as good as Tate Cox.  He sees the floor very well and why not, he is the son of the coach.  Whitaker and Cox's fathers also are on their team's respective benches.  I would love to see these guys go at it in a quadruple-header sometime. 

 Christmas presents, stocking stuffers and lumps of coal to the following basketball teams on their play so far this season:

PRESENTS                               STOCKING STUFFERS              COAL                          

Knott Central (boys)                   Corbin (boys)                             Allen Central (boys)
Letcher Central (girls)                 Johnson Central (girls)                Middlesboro (girls)
Rockcastle Co. (girls)                 Knox Central (boys)                   Clay Co. (boys)
Perry Central (boys)                   Pineville (boys)                          Pike Central (boys)
Harlan County (girls)                   Pike Central (girls)                     *Jenkins school administration

(*) The asterisk belongs to the Jenkins Independent office of the superintendent.  For reasons unknown, former coach and one time principal Theresa Bentley was sent back to the classroom!  Feeling hurt, anger and other emotions, Jerry Bentley (Theresa’s husband)  resigned as girls coach.  

 Breathitt County 's girls’ team is starting to get things moving.  The Lady Cats have started a tad slow but that's because of the competition they are playing.  During the Holiday tournament at Lexington Catholic, Kendall Noble went off.  The "FRESHMAN" had 89 points, 38 rebounds, 20 assists, 16 steals and 13 blocked shots in four games.  Can you say Ms. Basketball 2012?

 Remember the name Lake Kelly ?  The former head coach at Austin Peay and assistant at has a pretty darn good grandson.  6-foot-7 Drew Kelly, a Miami of Ohio signee, plays for Franklin ( Tenn. ) Centennial and last week he went off during the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic at Fairdale.  Kelly demolished the tournament scoring mark for one game when he pumped in 67 points in a 102-95 overtime loss to Dorsey out of Los Angeles .  Kelly has three scholarship offers from football and has gotten recruiting interest from several programs, including Big Ten schools Minnesota and Iowa .

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