Colonels head east

Henderson County will play in one of the oldest high school basketball tournaments in the state after Christmas when they travel across the state to play in the 58th annual Ashland Invitational Tournament.
The Colonels will face South Laurel in the first round of the eight-team tournament Dec. 27 at 1:30 p.m.
The rest of the first-round games are Boyd Co. vs. Newport Catholic, 3 p.m.; Ashland vs. Sheldon Clark, 6 p.m. and West Jessamine vs. Russell at 7:30 p.m.
The semifinals will be played on Dec. 28 with the final round on Dec. 29.
Ashland Blazer, the host school, is coached by former Henderson County assistant Buddy Biggs.

More from Henderson-Webster

Considering Webster County returns just one starter from its district championship team, Friday’s night’s 59-47 win by Henderson County in Dixon was closer than most would have expected.

The much deeper Colonels pulled away at the end of the game, largely behind their overwhelming 38-15 advantage on the boards.

Webster County dictated tempo most of the way and caused Henderson County fits with its 3-2 zone defense.

“They did a great job of getting the tempo they wanted. Give a lot of credit to Webster County for the way they game-planned,” Henderson County coach Tyler Smithhart said.

“We never could get the ball moving in the zone. We could never the ball up the court quick enough because Coach (Jon) Newton did a great job of subbing on every free throw so we never got a chance to break on a make. What our guys did was panic a little bit and they got sped up. As a coaching staff we’ve got to do a better job of getting those guys calmed down.”

Because the early portion of the season has been filled with games and few days for practice, the Colonels haven’t practiced much against zone defenses. “We haven’t spent much time on a zone. As we see more and more of that, that’s going to be something we’re going to have to start to work on,” Smithhart said.

You can bet the Colonels will see more zone defenses but shooters like D.J. Smith and Corey Sanners, who hit four threes in Saturday’s win over Lincoln County, could make teams think twice about a zone defense.

“Henderson’s so deep so we had to come out and establish a tempo. I thought our zone did a good job of taking away looks inside from (Cain) Cooper and (Kaleb) Duckworth,” Newton said.

Besides the rebounding, Henderson County’s depth was a factor late in the game. The Colonels used 10 guys, while the Trojans primarily stayed with seven.

“Our guys were just gassed,” Newton said. “We only went seven deep and Logan Prow was in foul trouble most of the night so it was more of a six-man rotation. We were really gassed. We made some careless turnovers late because of that.”

Ohio County Tournament

Henderson County will face Calloway County out of the First Region in the first round of the Danny Annis Memorial Eagle Classic Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.
Other first round games will be:
Breckinridge Co. vs. Russellville, 4 p.m.
Daviess Co. vs. Butler Co., 5:30 p.m.
Ohio Co. vs. Lake Co., Tenn., 8:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 21
Breckinridge-Russellville loser vs. Henderson-Calloway loser, 4 p.m.
Ohio Co.-Lake Co. loser vs. Daviess-Butler loser, 5:30 p.m.
Breckinridge Russellville winner vs. Henderson-Calloway winner, 7 p.m.
Ohio-Lake winner vs. Daviess-Butler winner, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 22
Seventh-place game, 1 p.m.
Fifth-place game, 2:30 p.m.
Third-place game, 4 p.m.
Championship, 6 p.m.

Owensboro Holiday Tournament

Henderson County will face Meade County in the opening game of the Owensboro Holiday Classic on Dec. 27 at Daviess County High School.
Here is the complete schedule for the tournament.
Owensboro Holiday Classic

Thursday, December 27th
Monroe County vs. Ohio County at 2:45 G1
Madisonville vs. Daviess County at 4:30 G2
Henderson County vs. Meade County at 6:15 G3
Christian County vs. Owensboro Catholic at 8. G4

Friday, December 28th
L1 vs. L2 at 2:45 G5
L3 vs. L4 at 4:30 G6
W1 vs. W2 at 6:15 G7
W3 vs. W4 at 8. G8

Saturday, December 29th
L5 vs. L6 at 10AM
W5 vs. W6 at 11:45
L7 vs. L8 at 1:30
W7 vs. W8 at 3:15 Championship game

Tartan floor?

Henderson County’s game Saturday at Bourbon County was played on a tartan floor. That reminded me that those floors were quite common in Western Kentucky, especially in the First Region. I suspect that was because Murray State had a tartan floor until the mid-80s in Racer Arena, its former home.

I know that Murray High, Mayfield and Fulton City had tartan floors and it seems that Carlisle County did too. I know that Mayfield’s was replaced several years ago with wood. The others may have been as well.

Anybody else have memories or information on other schools around that have or had tartan basketball courts.

Colonels get extra point

Muhlenberg County was in the Christmas spirit in Thursday’s game in Powderly as Henderson County was credited with one more point than it really scored in the 82-65 win.

Both the official scorebook and the scoreboard credited Henderson County’s Cain Cooper with two made free throws in the third quarter when the junior forward made only one. Cooper scored in the lane and was fouled at the 4:27 mark. With his team leading 54-34, Cooper made the free throw to complete the three-point play. The scoreboard increased the Colonels’ lead to 58-34.

Jim Bates, Henderson County’s bookkeeper, and I both had Cooper with just one free throw, but as the home team Muhlenberg County’s book was official.

The gift point hardly mattered in the 82-65 win, though Cooper likely appreciated the boost to his scoring average as he was credited with 16 points in the game.

Notes from Henderson County-Castle girls game

There won’t be many opponents on Henderson County’s schedule that will be tougher than Castle.

As Henderson County coach Jeff Haile said after Tuesday’s 65-57 win, the Lady Knights have everything you could ask for in a team – size, talent, quickness.

The Lady Colonels’ relentless pressure was able to negate Castle’s size advantage. It showed that even with a lack of size, the Lady Colonels’ combination of quickness and aggressive defense will be effective. It also helps that the Lady Colonels knocked down six 3-point shots, three by Ellie Fruit, two by Maci Brown and one by Kacie Wallace.

There was good news after the game regarding sophomore forward Breya Cooper, who didn’t have a fracture as was feared after she was injured in the first minute of the game. Cooper injured her wrist as she tried to catch herself as she fell after fouling Castle’s Zuriel Sanders. A prolonged absence by Cooper would have been challenging for a team that is expecting to be without senior forward Brooke Tapp for most if not all of the season.