By AARON SNYDER
I've yet to find a person who doesn’t like Brandon Lowe.
The Boyd County senior is genuinely loved by all his teammates, it seems. He's out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, but that doesn’t mean he’s not important to the Lions’ future success.
His team came out absolutely on fire as it rallied around Lowe in a long-awaited win over archrival Ashland on Friday night.
The way the Lions played on Friday, they should be considered a 16th Region contender.
The Lions’ situation with Lowe reminds me of a loosely similar story of inspiration.
Rowan County's epic state runner-up run in 2011 is remembered for many reasons and several players deserve credit.
The motivation behind much of the magic? Jon Stacy. Now, Lowe’s ACL/MCL/meniscus injury is serious, but Stacy went through a life-threatening ordeal.
Then a senior, Stacy was told he’d never walk again after a horrifying car accident threw him through the windshield.
Not only did he walk again, he was back on the sidelines in uniform. The team was steered by their strong-willed teammate's relentless drive to recovery.
Even off the court, Stacy played a key role for the Vikings with his mere presence.
Lowe can do the same.
-The Boyd County-Ashland rivalry's stock took an important bump up this past weekend. Ashland may disagree, but the Tomcats and Kittens losing is great for the area. It just means the rivalry still has signs of life — Ashland had won two of the last 32 games combined between boys and girls prior to this weekend.
Any time you hear a student section chanting “This is our house!” in the opponent's arena, you know you've got a riveting rivalry.
The last time both the Lions and Lady Lions beat Ashland in the same season was 2006-07.
-Boyd County’s girls simply know how to defend Ashland. It’s showed several times recently, most notably on Saturday and in the 2011 region championship game. The Kittens had averaged 66.4 points per game before struggling for 39 at Boyd. The next clash should be a dandy.
-Russell ended its recent title drought by nabbing the 16th Region All “A” Classic this past week. It was the Red Devils' first tournament title since winning the 63rd District in 2007. They’re also on their longest winning streak (nine games) since the 2006-07 year.
-Aleksander Malinic is awfully important to Morgan County. The forward missed some time recently, and the Cougars have had some issues in his absence. It appears they need the foreign exchange student to stay in region contention.
-Surprised by the West Carter girls? You're not alone. Color the PG impressed with their All “A” title run. Now, it’s on to Frankfort where they'll face Frankfort in the Touchstone Energy All “A” Classic on Wednesday morning at 8:30.
-Rowan County’s boys executed the 2-3 zone exceptionally well against Russell on Saturday. The Vikings can’t be forgotten as a possible three-peat threat. They’re “close” to where they want to be, said coach Shawn Thacker.
-Russell coach Merle Kidwell said this Tuesday night’s game at Boyd County Middle School should be “jam-packed.” Austin Hunt, a Red Devil-turned-Lion, and Lance Evans, a Lion-turned-Devil, make for some interesting subplots in a battle of two hot teams. Russell won the first meeting 68-62.
-Fleming County keeps proving why it is hanging on to the No. 1 spot in the Point Guard’s Super Seven. The Panthers beat a Shane Hall-less Johnson Central team on Saturday, 70-56, despite a double-double (14 points, 16 rebounds) by the Golden Eagles’ Truman Salyer. Hall (high ankle sprain) is slated to return by the end of this week.
-Lawrence County nearly pulled off another unlikely accomplishment to be such a young team. The Bulldogs fell to Pikeville by just one point in the 15th Region All “A” Classic. East Ridge transfer Ray Kasongo was tough for the small Dawgs to handle, but they can't feel too disappointed.
-I failed to note a feat last week definitely worth a mention. Owensboro Catholic senior Rebecca Greenwell made a national record 17 3-pointers in a game this month. She is headed to Duke.
1. Fleming County (15-2)
2. Russell (18-4)
3. Rowan County (12-8)
4. Boyd County (12-9)
5. Morgan County (13-5)
6. Ashland (12-8)
7. East Carter (9-10)
1. Boyd County (13-6)
2. Ashland (13-4)
3. East Carter (15-5)
4. Lewis County (9-8)
5. Bath County (9-7)
6. Rowan County (10-8)
7. Greenup County (11-11)
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AARON SNYDER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2664.