by Ron Harrison
This is the fourth year for the Toyota Classic. This year, a fine field has been assembled including the number 7 team in the nation, the host team Scott County. Other teams invited are Lexington Catholic (KY), Christian County (KY), Simon Kenton (Independence, KY), Fleming County (KY), Marion County (KY), McCreary Central (KY), and Osceola (FL).
Wednesday January 27th
The opening round pitted Lexington Catholic (16-2) against a young and improving Marion County (9-6). This game was decided early as Catholic unleashed a barrage of three point goals that ultimately buried Marion County 81-47. Nathan Popp, the 7-1 Sr. Georgia signee led Catholic with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and three blocks. Marion County was led by Brandyon Hart with 14 points. Their fine Jr. guard 6-1 Marlis Scott added 13 points and 10 rebounds. In the nightcap, Simon Kenton (15-1) met Fleming County (11-5). Simon Kenton used their quickness and a 32 point performance by their silky smooth 6-1 Sr. guard Brenden Stowers to secure the 80-55 win. Josh Graham, a 6-5 Sr. forward, led Fleming County with 25 points.
Thursday January 28th
A consolation match opened this session with Fleming County defeating Marion County by a score of 61-51. Josh Graham led the victors with 26 points while Marlis Scott tallied 13 points for Marion County. The next game pitted the #7 team in the nation Scott County (19-1) against McCreary Central. Scott County dominated in a 101-56 blowout. Their starters actually played less than half the game. Scott Hundley, a 6-4 Jr. forward led with 18 points. Rick Jones the all-everything guard, only attempted four shots and finished with 5 points. Junior New, a 6-5 Sr. forward, led McCreary Central with 28 points and 12 rebounds. The nightcap featured a wild-west shoot-out with Christian County prevailing over Osceola Florida 118-114 in overtime, despite losing two starters to leg injuries. Christian County, now 14-3, was led by 5-10 Jr. guard Michael Barker with 35 points. 5-10 Sr. guard DeMarcus Bateman added 24 points, and 20 points were tallied by 5-9 Sr. Tradelle Jones. Christian County is quick, athletic, and constantly pushes the tempo. Osceola dropped to 16-5 and was led by 6-4 Jr. J. D. Bracy with 30 points and 11 rebounds. Chad Mascoe, a 6-4 Jr. forward/center tallied 20 points and 12 rebounds, and 6-0 Jr. guard Kiki Picard added 20 points.
Friday January 29th
Osceola Florida defeated McCreary Central 78-56 in a consolation round game to open the night's schedule. J.D. Bracy paced the winners with 28 points while Junior New led McCreary Central with 23. The first semi-final pitted Lexington Catholic (17-2) against Simon Kenton (16-1). Catholic was doomed by a 4-30 three point field goal effort and Eric Washnock's four consecutive three pointers in the third quarter that gave Simon Kenton a 45-38 lead. Simon Kenton won by a score of 68-58. They were led by 6-1 Sr. guard Eric Washnock with 25 points, while Brenden Stowers added 20. Catholic's leading scorer was 6-4 Sr. forward Don Offutt with 21 points.
Scott County (20-1) met Christian County (14-3) in the second semi-final round. Scott County pulled away from a 59-59 tie to win by 20, in a final score of 107-87. The winners were led by Scott Hundley with 23 points, 6-3 Sr. A.W. Hamilton added 19 points, 6-3 Sr. Bryant Harris tallied 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 6-1 Sr. Rick Jones had 17 points. Christian County, playing short handed due to injuries, was led by the powerful 6-4 Sr. Jason Owen with 30 points and 8 rebounds. Michael Barker added 20 points.
Saturday January 30th
This session opened with Marion County defeating McCreary Central 71-69 in a close consolation match. Marlis Scott, a 6-1 Jr. guard, led the winners with 25 points while 6-5 Sr. Junior New led McCreary Central with 37. Osceola Florida used their strength and athletic ability to pull away from Fleming County to claim 5th place by a score of 87-65. J.D. Bracy paced Osceola with 36 points while 6-0 Jr. guard T.J. McKee led Fleming County with 17. Christian County defeated Lexington Catholic 78-69 for Third Place honors. 6-4 Sr. Jason Owen led the victors with 34 points, scoring from both inside and three point range. Michael Barker added 19 to the Christian County total, while 6-4 Jr. guard Matt Heissenbuttel led Catholic with 20 points.
In a special invitational Toyota Community game, Princeton Community (Indiana) defeated Buffalo (West Virginia) 78-55.
The Finals pitted Simon Kenton (17-1) against the home team Scott County (21-1). A standing-room-only crowd of 4,000 packed the Scott County gym for this thrilling contest. Although Scott County was only 5-22 from the three point line, their scrambling full-court defense allowed them to pull away in the final minutes to defeat Simon Kenton 84-71. Scott County was led by Scott Hundley and A.W. Hamilton with 20 each, with Rick Jones adding 16 points. Scott Hundley also grabbed 17 rebounds. Simon Kenton was led by Brenden Stowers with 18 points, while Eric Washnock tallied 17 points and 6-6 Sr. center Mike Burns added 16 points and 15 rebounds.
Toyota Classic All Tournament Team(no MVP chosen)
Scott Hundley (Scott County) 6-4 Jr. Forward 20.3 PPG 10.3 RPG
A.W. Hamilton (Scott County) 6-3 Sr. Guard/Forward 15.3 PPG
Rick Jones (Scott County) 6-1 Sr. Guard 12.7 PPG
Bryant Harris (Scott County) 6-3 Sr. Forward 13.7 PPG
Eric Washnock (Simon Kenton) 6-1 Sr. Guard 18.3 PPG
Brenden Stowers (Simon Kenton) 6-1 Sr. Guard 23.3 PPG
Jason Owen (Christian County) 6-4 Sr. Forward/Center 25.0 PPG (despite missing one full half with injury)
Michael Barker (Christian County) 5-10 Jr. Guard 24.7 PPG
Don Offutt (Lexington Catholic) 6-4 Sr. Forward 14.7 PPG
Josh Graham (Fleming County) 6-5 Sr. Forward 22.0 PPG
J.D. Bracy (Osceola Florida) 6-4 Jr. Guard/Forward 31.3 PPG
Junior New (McCreary Central) 6-5 Sr. Forward 29.3 PPG
Scott Hundley continues to impress. Scott is either 6-4 or 6-5 according to the source. He is a ferocious rebounder averaging in double figures and has a genuine nose for the ball. If you play for Scott County coach Billy Hicks you have to handle the ball and Scott has really improved his perimeter skills. He drives well to the basket and has a good jump shot. Scott is only a junior and will be fun to watch over the next year. A. W. Hamilton also impresses with his slashing moves to the basket and his outstanding defensive skills.
This was a well organized tournament with each team being assured of playing three games. It brought in some very talented teams from other parts of the state as well as the very athletic, talented team from Osceola Florida. Scott County, Simon Kenton, and Christian County played very well. Lexington Catholic, which was ranked from first to fourth in the state according to which poll you read, lost two out of three games. Rick Jones did not have a great tournament statistically, but with Scott County if one player is shut down, the others step up. They are deserving of their national ranking and the coaching staff seems to do a good job keeping the team focused on team goals.