Here’s a look at the players to watch on Friday during the first round of action at the Forcht Bank King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic at Fairdale (team rankings from Courier-Journal’s preseason poll of coaches HERE):
* 4:30 p.m. – No. 9 Ballard (3-3) vs. No. 18 North Hardin (6-1). This will match two of the state’s top juniors in Ballard point guard Jamil Wilson (19.7 ppg) and North Hardin forward Tony Jackson (22.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg). Be on the lookout for Ballard junior Clivonte Patterson. He has yet to play this season, but coach Chris Renner is hoping he might be eligible this week and is expecting big things from him.
* 6 p.m. – Fairdale (2-4) vs. No. 3 Paul Dunbar (6-0). Seniors David Jones and Korey Tipton are both averaging 12 points per game to lead host Fairdale. Paul Dunbar features one of the top 1-2 scoring duos in the state in junior Taveion Hollingsworth (27.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and senior Darius Williams (15.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg).
* 7:30 p.m. – No. 10 Trinity (6-0) vs. No. 15 Owen County (8-0). Trinity likes to shoot the 3 and is led by a pair of juniors in Jacob King (14.3 ppg) and Lucas Burkman (12.5 ppg). Owen County’s Carson Williams (24.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg), a 6-foot-7 forward, is one of the state’s top seniors and has signed with Northern Kentucky University.
* 9 p.m. – No. 16 Fern Creek (5-2) vs. No. 2 Bowling Green (6-0). Fern Creek is led by senior Tony Washington (13.4 ppg) and has a slew of top talented sophomores in Anthony Wales (12.0 ppg), Trey Hill (10.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Ahmad Price (9.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg). Bowling Green, last year’s state runner-up, is led by juniors Terry Taylor (20.0 ppg, 12.7 rpg) and Kyran Jones (16.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg).