The two hottest boys basketball teams from the city over the first five weeks of the season received the top two seeds for next week’s Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament.
Top-seeded Fern Creek and No. 2 Trinity – both off to 12-1 starts – lead the way for the tournament to be held Jan. 9-14 at Valley High School.
The event will include the top 20 teams from the Sixth and Seventh regions in the SETH Power Rankings, a system created by Jefferson County Public Schools director of athletics Jerry Wyman.
No. 3 Doss (10-5) and No. 4 Ballard (8-2) round out the top four seeds.
Fern Creek enjoyed a strong showing in its two Christmas tournaments, taking fifth place in the Forcht Bank King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic at Fairdale and capturing the title in the Mitchell Irvin Classic, beating host South Oldham 80-67 in Thursday’s final.
The Tigers beat Trinity 65-61 on Dec. 10 before falling to the Shamrocks 66-63 on Dec. 18 in the quarterfinals of the KOB.
“To be the No. 1 seed for I think the first time in school history, the campus is buzzing about that right now,” Tigers coach James Schooler said. “I’ve been so focused on the Sixth Region and fixing some of our deficiencies that (athletic director Troy Johnson) had to tell me to stop and enjoy some of the milestones like this one. It’s going to be fun going in as the top seed.”
Four Tigers are averaging double figures in scoring: senior Chance Moore (18.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and juniors Anthony Wales (14.4 ppg), Ahmad Price (13.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and Tony Rogers (10.3 ppg).
Schooler said the preseason addition of Moore – a transfer from Eastern – has not affected team chemistry.
“I think we’ve answered that we’re tougher and we have good chemistry among the players,” Schooler said. “The kids are answering some of the questions from the staff about, ‘Will you ultimately be a team that plays for a bigger cause instead of personal gain and individual stats? Will you put that on the back burner?’”
Trinity is on a nine-game winning streak since its loss to Fern Creek, winning the championships at the KOB and the Arby’s Classic in Bristol, Tennessee, where the Shamrocks beat Chattanooga (Tennessee) McCallie 69-50 in Saturday’s final.
Here is the bracket for next week's boys basketball LIT at Valley High School: pic.twitter.com/gTARoGW84I— Jason Frakes (@kyhighs) January 2, 2017
The Shamrocks are led by junior Jay Scrubb (15.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg), senior Lukas Burkman (14.1 ppg) and sophomore David Johnson (12.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg), who was named the MVP in the KOB and the Arby’s Classic.
Manual (2-9) was the last team to make the LIT field, according to the SETH Rankings. The first two teams left out were Collegiate (11-4) and Kentucky Country Day (4-6).
Ballard is the defending LIT champion, beating Trinity 58-54 in last year’s final.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and email@example.com.
Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament (boys basketball)
Jan. 9-14 at Valley High School
All times p.m. unless otherwise noted; seeds in parentheses:
► Monday, Jan. 9: Jeffersontown (19) vs. Central (14), 3:30; Manual (20) vs. Christian Academy (13), 5; Moore (18) vs. St. Xavier (13), 6:30; Western (17) vs. Fairdale (16), 8:15.
►Tuesday, Jan. 10: Male (10) vs. Waggener (7), 3:30; Eastern (9) vs. Butler (8), 5; DeSales (11) vs. Valley (6), 6:30; Pleasure Ridge Park (12) vs. Bullitt East (5), 8:15.
►Wednesday, Jan. 11: Jeffersontown-Central winner vs. Doss (3), 3:30; Western-Fairdale winner vs. Fern Creek (1), 5; Manual-Christian Academy winner vs. Ballard (4), 6:30; Moore-St. Xavier winner vs. Trinity (2), 8:15.
►Friday, Jan. 13: Quarterfinals at 4, 5:30, 7 and 8:45.
►Saturday, Jan. 14: Semifinals at 10 and 11:30 a.m.; final at 8.