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Prep Sports Notebook: Local nominees for Kentucky Mr. Basketball finish behind winner from Lexington

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Local players nominated for this year’s Kentucky Mr. Basketball included the state’s leading scorer and the most valuable player in the “Sweet 16” state tournament, but neither of them received the prestigious award.

Lexington Catholic senior guard Ben Johnson was named the winner Sunday evening in an online ceremony presented by the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation.  He averaged 27.3 points and 6.1 rebounds for the Knights, who were ranked No. 1 in the state for much of the regular season.

Highlands senior Sam Vinson

Local players among the nominees for Kentucky Mr. Basketball were senior guards Kelly Niece of Simon Kenton, Sam Vinson of Highlands and Grant Profitt of Scott.

Niece was the state’s leading scorer with a 30.1 average and Vinson was named most valuable player in the boys state tournament after leading Highlands to its first title.

Franklin County senior Brooklyn Miles was named Miss Kentucky Basketball. She averaged 16.4 points, 4.5 assists and 5.3 steals for the Flyers, who made it to the semifinals of the girls state tournament.

Local candidates for the girls award were Ryle senior guard Brie Crittendon and Scott senior forward Mya Meredith.

Johnson and Miles will wear the No. 1 jerseys on the Kentucky All-Stars boys and girls basketball teams that will play Indiana’s top seniors in a two-game series this summer. Johnson has signed with Bellarmine and Miles was recruited by Tennessee.

Maddie Scherr of Ryle was named Kentucky Miss Basketball last year. The last local player to win Kentucky Mr. Basketball was Ross Neltner of Highlands in 2003.

Basketball teams popped a lot of 3-point shots in 9th Region playoffs

There was a notable increase in 3-point shooting during this year’s 9th Region boys basketball tournament.

Highlands coach Kevin Listerman

In last year’s seven-game tournament, teams made 78 of 222 attempts from behind arch for 35.1 percent. This year, teams were 121 of 315 for 38.4 percent. That means there were 93 more attempts and 43 more makes from long range.

The 3-point shot accounted for 363 of 961 points scored this year for 37.7 percent. Last year, treys netted 234 of the 832 points for 28.1 percent.

Highlands won this year’s 9th Region championship and set a tournament record with 36 3-point goals in three games. In the title game, the Bluebirds buried 15 treys that also set a tournament record.

Highlands went on to win the boys state tournament behind another impressive shooting performance. The team set a state tournament record with 38 treys in four games and ended the season with 360 in 34 games for a 10.5 average.

The Highlands team leaders in 3-point goals were senior forward Luke Muller with 122 and sophomore guard William Herald with 102.

Ryle one of four sites for state archery championships this week

Ryle will be one of four sites for the state high school archery championships that were split up in response to COVID-19 guidelines to assure the full number of state qualifiers participate in the event while also providing an opportunity for spectators to attend.

State qualifiers from four regions will compete at Ryle on Friday and Saturday. The scores will be matched with ones from the other three sites to determine state champions.

Local archers competed in Region 6. The state qualifying teams were Ryle and Simon Kenton in boys along with Simon Kenton and Dixie Heights in girls. The top three scorers not on those teams earned at-large berths to the state championships.

Simon Kenton senior Paige Robbins won the Region 6 girls tournament with a 296  score that included 26 tens. The boys region champion was Cooper sophomore Alex Kanarek with a 292 and 22 tens.

A complete list of state qualifiers is available on the khsaa.org website.

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