A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Prep Sports Notebook: Walton-Verona among state’s top 20 teams in boys’ basketball coaches poll

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

The Walton-Verona boys’ basketball team was not included in the Northern Kentucky coaches preseason rankings, but the Bearcats got enough voting points in a statewide poll of coaches to be ranked No. 19 in Kentucky going into the 2017-18 season.

Zach Clinkenbeard

With six of the top eight players returning from last year’s 26-7 team and a high-scoring transfer student joining the lineup, Walton-Verona got more votes than any other 8th Region team in the statewide coaches poll conducted by the Louisville Courier Journal newspaper.

Last season, the Bearcats had a 13-3 record against 8th Region teams. They won the 8th Region All “A” Classic and reached the quarterfinals in the small-school state tournament. In the post-season playoffs, they won the 32nd District title and lost to South Oldham in the first round of the regional tournament.

Walton-Verona senior guard Zach Clinkenbeard averaged 11.2 points and 6.9 rebounds while also leading the team in assists last season. He was named most valuable player award in the 8th Region All “A” Classic.

Dieonte Miles, a 6-foot-8 junior who averaged 12 points and five blocks, is another returning starter for the Bearcats. Senior forwards Austin Lay and Kameron Pardee and senior guards Garrett Jones and Grant Grubbbs also saw a lot of action in coach Grant Brannen’s player rotation.

The team added Brennan Stanley, a transfer student who averaged 20 points per game playing for Williamstown last season. The experienced senior guard provides another scoring threat for the Bearcats, who averaged 57.6 points per game and allowed 46.1 last season.

The other local teams among the top 20 in the Courier Journal statewide coaches poll were No. 3 Covington Catholic and No. 7 Cooper. Louisville Trinity was the top-ranked team.

Local teams playing in Hoops for Harvest basketball showcase

Six of the top 11 girls’ high school basketball teams in Northern Kentucky will play teams from different states in the Hoops for Harvest showcase event on Saturday at Dixie Heights High School.

There are 10 games on the Hoops for Harvest schedule. Proceeds will go to Athletes United Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Kentucky that benefits families in need.

Campbell County, the top-ranked team in the Northern Kentucky preseason coaches poll, will play Montini Catholic, a nationally ranked team from Chicago in the final game on the schedule. The other local teams in the girls’ basketball showcase are No. 2 Simon Kenton, No. 3 Conner, No. 6 Ryle, No. 8 Highlands and No. 11 Dixie Heights.

Montini Catholic and Northwestern from Indianapolis will play two games on Saturday. All the other teams will play one. Here is the complete schedule:

9 a.m. — Goshen (Ohio) vs. Scott; 10:20 a.m. — West Clermont (Ohio) vs. Simon Kenton; 11:40 p.m. — Glen Oak (Ohio) vs. Ryle; 1 p.m. — Heritage Christian (Indiana) vs. Montini Catholic (Illinois); 2:20 p.m — Northwestern (Indiana) vs. Highlands.
3:40 p.m. — Tecumseh (Ohio) vs. Conner; Mooresville (Indiana) vs. Dixie Heights; 6:20 p.m. — Pickerington Central (Ohio) vs. Louisville Sacred Heart; 7:40 p.m. — Louisville Mercy vs. Northwestern (Indiana); 9 p.m. — Montini Catholic (Illinois) vs. Campbell County.

Simon Kenton senior competes in multi-state cross country meet

Simon Kenton senior Kyle Mastin placed 56th in a field of 282 runners in the boys’ division at Foot Locker Cross Country Championships South Regional on Saturday in Charlotte, N.C.

Mastin completed the 5,000-meter course in 15 minutes, 56 seconds. The winning runner was John Tatter of North Carolina in 14:55.

High school runners from multiple states competed in the regional meet. Mastin was the second runner from Kentucky to cross the finish line in the boys’ race.

There were two runners from Lexington in the girls’ race, but no entries from Northern Kentucky. The girls’ regional champion was Rebecca Story from Tennessee in a time of 17:24.

Mastin placed sixth in the Class AAA state championship meet earlier this month to earn all-state honors. His finished that race in 16:05, the fastest time of any Northern Kentucky runner in the state meet.


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