Saturday, December 23, 2023


The 2023 Gardner Law King of the Bluegrass at Fairdale High School was a resounding success! Over five days, we witnessed 16 teams compete in 28 games across two gyms, totaling more than 35 hours of electrifying basketball. A huge thank you to our sponsors, fans, coaches, players, and especially the incredible volunteers from the Fairdale Community for making this event possible. See you all next year for more thrilling action!



2023 King of the Bluegrass
All-Tournament Team

Armello Boone - De La Salle
Damone King - Trinity
Cole Edelen - Male
Trent Noah - Harlan County
Taylen Kinney - Newport
Deshaun Jackson - Newport
Drae Vasser - Trinity
Dalton Hicks - Fairdale
Jacob Tucker - Fairdale
Mason Ritter - Bowling Green
M.J. Wardlow - Bowling Green
CJ Washington - Little Rock Central
Daniel Culberson - Little Rock Central
Vince Dawson - Great Crossing
Junius Burrell - Great Crossing


Annor Boateng - Little Rock Central

Malachi Moreno - Great Crossing


In a display of sheer determination and skill, the Great Crossing Warhawks etched their name in the history books by securing their first-ever King of the Bluegrass (KOB) title. In a closely contested final against the Little Rock Central Tigers, the Warhawks emerged victorious with a 54-47 win, becoming the first KOB champion from the 11th Region since Madison Central's triumph in 1998.

The championship game at the 2023 Gardner Law King of the Bluegrass was a tale of two halves, with each team showcasing periods of dominance. Little Rock Central came out of the gates strong, quickly building a 13-4 lead within the first six minutes, putting Great Crossing on the back foot. However, the Warhawks, undeterred by the early setback, stitched together a 9-3 run in the opening minutes of the second quarter, closing the gap to a mere three points at 16-13.

The momentum swung in favor of Great Crossing when Junius Burrell landed a critical 3-pointer, giving them a narrow 19-18 lead over the Tigers, with 2:54 left in the second quarter. By halftime, Great Crossing had established a 24-20 lead, a remarkable turnaround from their early struggles.

The third quarter saw Great Crossing's Malachi Moreno shine. Moreno, who would later be crowned the Bob White Most Valuable Player, extended the Warhawks' lead with a 3-pointer followed by a sensational putback dunk, pushing the score to 29-20. Little Rock Central, which had previously led 15-8 in the first quarter, found themselves trailing 40-30 at the end of the third.

As the final quarter unfolded, Little Rock Central attempted a valiant comeback. Chase Allen's basket narrowed the gap to 42-36 with 5:45 left on the clock. Despite C.J. Washington's putback dunk bringing the Tigers within four points, Great Crossing maintained their composure and control, leading 48-40 with just over two minutes remaining. That was as close as Little Rock Central would get.

Apart from Moreno's stellar performance, Great Crossing's victory was bolstered by significant contributions from Vince Dawson, III, and Junius Burrell, both named to the All-Tournament Team for their impressive displays throughout the championship.

On the other side, Little Rock Central's Annor Boateng, honored as the Stanley Hardin Most Outstanding Player, finished with 10 points. Teammates Daniel Culberson and C.J. Washington, who scored 15 and 8 points respectively and made crucial rebounds, were also named to the All-Tournament Team.

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Fairdale 55, Bowling Green 52
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Trinity 76, Newport 71 (OT)
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Harlan County 80, Male 74

Friday, December 22, 2023


#6 Male (7-2) vs. #18 Harlan Co. (9-1)

#9 Newport (8-2) vs. #3 Trinity (7-2)

Fairdale (9-2) vs. #7 Bowling Green (7-3)

#2 Great Crossing (9-0) vs. Little Rock Central (11-0)


Little Rock Central Tigers showcased a dominant performance in our second semifinal of the 2023 Gardner Law King of the Bluegrass, overpowering the seventh-ranked Bowling Green Purples with a 79-62 victory. This win propels the undefeated Tigers (11-0) to the championship game, continuing their remarkable debut in the KOB tournament.

The Tigers, led by the outstanding play of CJ Washington, who earned the Central Bank Player of the Game honors, never let their foot off the pedal. Washington's impressive stat line of 16 points and 5 rebounds was crucial in maintaining Central's dominance throughout the game.

From the outset, Little Rock Central established control, not allowing Bowling Green any lead at any point during the game. Their largest lead extended to 20 points at 66-46 late in the third quarter.

Bowling Green Purples, despite coming into the game on a five-game winning streak, struggled to find their rhythm against Central's relentless pressure. The Purples saw 13 turnovers converted into 30 points for the Tigers.

The Tigers' triumph adds a national flavor to the KOB as they aim to become the first out-of-state team since 2018 to win the title. As they move into the championship game, the Tigers not only carry an undefeated record but also the hopes of making history in their first-ever KOB appearance.

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 5th Place Semifinals

Newport 83, Spencer County 70
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Trinity 63, DeSales 58
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Consolation Bracket

Harlan County 63, Chicago De La Salle 59
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Male 87, North Oldham 58
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Washington County 72, Taylor County 69
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Frederick Douglass 76, Butler County 61
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In our opening semifinal of the 2023 Gardner Law King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic, the second-ranked Great Crossing Warhawks (9-0) used a commanding 78-58 victory over the host Fairdale Bulldogs (9-2) to advance to their second consecutive championship game. Junius Burrell of Great Crossing named the Central Bank Player of the Game, delivering an outstanding performance with a game-high 21 points.

The Warhawks' victory was marked by a decisive 16-2 run in the second quarter, which was a turning point in the game, helping them establish control and never look back. They led by as many as 26 points, showcasing their dominance in a game that had an electrifying start with four lead changes and two ties.

Great Crossing's overall performance was formidable. They scored 78 points, with a significant contribution from their key players. Junius Burrell's 21 points were critical, but he was not alone in this effort, as the team showed depth and skill across the board with five players in double digits. Malachi Moreno added 16 points, 14 rebounds, 6 blocks, and 4 assists to overwhelm to Bulldogs.

The Fairdale Bulldogs, despite the loss, had impressive performances from Jacob Tucker with 19 points and Dalton Hicks with 18 points. Their journey to the semifinals was a remarkable achievement, especially considering it was their first appearance at this stage since 2006. 

Great Crossing's blend of talent and tactical acumen was on full display, improving their all-time KOB record to 6-1 and propelling them to their second straight KOB championship game.

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Four Teams, One Dream: The Final Showdown at the 2023 Gardner Law King of the Bluegrass

As the lights brighten over the hardwood floor of Fairdale High School tonight, four teams stand on the brink of history in the 2023 Gardner Law King of the Bluegrass (KOB) semifinals. Each team carries its unique narrative into these high-stakes games, blending talent, tradition, and the thrill of competition.

Fairdale Bulldogs: The Underdogs with a Legacy

The host Bulldogs have stormed into the semifinals, marking their best start in over a quarter-century with a 9-1 record. It's been 30 years since their last KOB title, and tonight, they aim to write a new chapter in their storied history. As the only unranked team left in the tournament, Fairdale carries the underdog spirit, underscored by their impressive tally of 55 all-time wins in KOB play. Their journey to the semifinals, their first since 2006, is a testament to resilience and skill.

Top Players

  • Cameron Croney has been a standout performer for the Bulldogs, scoring a total of 21 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. His field goal efficiency has been remarkable, with a 4/7 shooting record.
  • Dalton Hicks also made a significant impact with 32 points, contributing 9 rebounds and 5 assists, showcasing his all-around game.
  • Jacob Tucker led the team in scoring with 29 points, adding 8 rebounds and 4 assists, demonstrating his scoring prowess and playmaking abilities.

Great Crossing Warhawks: Soaring High with Ambition

Standing in the Bulldogs' way are the second-ranked Great Crossing Warhawks. Unbeaten this season and riding the momentum of winning 15 of their last 16 games, the Warhawks are a formidable force. With a 5-1 record in KOB play and looking to advance to their second consecutive championship game, Great Crossing is a blend of talent and tactical acumen. Their only previous KOB semifinal appearance resulted in a victory, indicating their prowess in crucial matches.

Top Players:
  • Vince Dawson III emerged as a key player, scoring 29 points and securing 8 rebounds. His ability to shoot from distance was evident with 4 three-pointers made.
  • Junius Burrell added 20 points and 3 rebounds, showcasing his scoring ability.
  • Malachi Moreno was dominant on the boards with 28 rebounds and contributed a team-high 33 points, displaying exceptional inside presence and scoring ability.

Bowling Green Purples: The Resurgence of a Powerhouse

The seventh-ranked Bowling Green Purples, making their first KOB appearance since 2017, have re-emerged as a powerhouse in Kentucky basketball. With a 7-2 record and riding a 5-game winning streak, the Purples have shown they can handle pressure and come out on top. Their history in the tournament includes a finals appearance in 1999, and this year, they're aiming to add another chapter to their rich legacy.

Top Players:
  • Deuce Bailey contributed significantly with 23 points and 10 rebounds, demonstrating his scoring and rebounding ability.
  • Mason Ritter added 29 points and 8 rebounds, showing his prowess as a scorer and rebounder.
  • M J Wardlow led the team with 42 points and 14 rebounds, showcasing his dominant presence on both ends of the court.

Little Rock Central Tigers: Arkansas' Pride on the National Stage

The undefeated Little Rock Central Tigers from Arkansas bring a fresh and formidable presence to the KOB. In their first-ever tournament appearance, they have already made history and are looking to become the first out-of-state team since 2018 to win the title. The Tigers' participation adds a national flavor to the tournament, highlighting the KOB as a stage for top-tier basketball talent across the country.

Top Players:
  • Daniel Culberson has been a crucial player, scoring 23 points along with 13 rebounds, showcasing his dual-threat capabilities.
  • Annor Boateng stood out with an impressive 46 points and 15 rebounds, highlighting his scoring and rebounding skills.
  • Chase Allen also made a significant impact with 18 points and 7 rebounds, showing his ability to contribute effectively.

Thursday, December 21, 2023



5th Place Semifinals

4:30pm - #3 Trinity (6-2) vs. #14 DeSales (8-3)

6:00pm - Spencer County (4-5) vs. #9 Newport (7-2)


7:30pm - Fairdale (9-1) vs. #2 Great Crossing (8-0)

9:00pm - #7 Bowling Green (7-2) vs. Little Rock Central (10-0)


4:30pm - Butler Co. (5-3) vs. #5 Frederick Douglass (4-3)

6:00pm - Taylor Co. (6-5) vs. #24 Washington Co. (6-2)

7:30pm - #6 Male (6-2) vs. North Oldham (8-1)

9:00pm - #18 Harlan Co. (8-1) vs. Chicago De La Salle (8-3)