Friday, December 16, 2022

2022 Tournament Preview

The 41st Annual Chad Gardner Law King of the Bluegrass features a field loaded with talent from across the Bluegrass state and the country. Six of the Courier-Journal’s Kentucky Preseason Top 10 teams will compete for the prestigious title. This year’s field features ten teams ranked in the Top 25 in the state, including regional favorites from the second, fourth, seventh, eighth, tenth, and eleventh regions. There’s plenty of individual talent as well with four of the state’s top 10 players competing in the event. This year’s field also includes four former King of the Bluegrass Champions including Fairdale, George Rogers Clark, Male, and Trinity. 

The 2022 Chad Gardner Law King of the Bluegrass will tip-off with a four-game slate on Friday. The opener is a matchup of preseason regional favorites as seventh region favorite and 3rd ranked Trinity take on 15th ranked North Oldham, the favorite in the eighth region. Trinity, returns senior Cam McClain who made a school record 95 3-pointers as a junior last year. The Shamrock will look to new additions Jayden Johnson, a 6’5” freshman transfer from Male, and Drae Vasser, a 6’2” transfer from Jeffersontown averaged 13.6 points per game last season. North Oldham is led by 6’2” guard Dallas Roberts who led the Mustangs in scoring last season with 16.8 points per game helping the Mustangs reach their first Boys Sweet 16 in school history. In the second game of the day, host Fairdale will take on LaRue County. The Bulldogs are led by the junior duo of Dalton Hicks and Jacob Tucker who combined to average nearly 37 points per game last season. LaRue County is led by senior guard Carson Childress. The 7:30 game on opening night will feature 13th ranked Woodford County taking on 24th ranked DuPont Manual. The Yellowjackets are led by 6’8” John McCrear, a transfer from Lexington Catholic who committed to Murray State this summer, and sophomore Jasper Johnson, an ESPN top 25 prospect in the class of 2025. DuPont Manual will be led by Damone King, preseason pick for seventh region player of the year, who averaged 15.1 points per game last season. The final game on Friday evening will feature 2nd ranked Warren Central taking on 18th ranked DeSales. The defending state runner-up Dragons return four starters from last season’s team including the senior duo of Omari Glover and Chappelle Whitney. DeSales will be led by 6’6” junior forward Will Gibson.

The first round of action continues on Saturday with Central Catholic of Pittsburgh, PA taking on Sagemont of Weston, FL in the opener. The Vikings of Central Catholic will look to incoming transfer Debaba Tshiebwe, brother of former West Virginia and now Kentucky big man Oscar Tshiebwe, to lead the way. Sagemont School is coming of a Florida Class 2A state runner-up finish last season. The Lions won 25 games last season and are currently ranked 22nd in the state of Florida in the SBLive Sports Florida Boys Basketball Power 25. The second game of the evening will feature 7th ranked Great Crossing taking on Spencer County. The Warhawks, the preseason favorite in the 11th region, are led by 6’11” sophomore center Malachi Moreno who has numerous Division I scholarship offers and is ranked as the nation’s 10th best center prospect in his class according to 247Sports’ rankings. Spencer County is led by junior Luke Erhardt, who averaged 22ppg for the Bears last year. The 7:30 game on Saturday will feature defending Kentucky State Champions George Rogers Clark taking on 6th ranked Male. The top ranked Cardinals are currently ranked 14th in nation in the MaxPreps Top 25 and return their top three scorers from last season in Morehead State pledge Jerone Morton, Sam Parrish and Trent Edwards. The Bulldogs,will look to senior Jack Edelen to help them build off their regional championship last season. The final first round matchup will feature 10th ranked Lyon County taking on Harlan County. The Lyons will be led by guard Travis Perry who currently has 3,190 career points heading into his junior season and is on pace to break the state record (4,337), which has stood since 1956. Harlan County is led by talented has their own talented junior in 6’7” guard Trent Noah who ranked seventh in the state last season averaging 28.1 points per game.

The 2022 Gardner Law King of the Bluegrass will continue with the quarterfinal round beginning at 4:30pm Sunday with all 16 teams in action. All 16 teams will return to the courts on Monday for a full slate of games beginning at 4:30pm with the semifinals scheduled at 7:30 and 9:00pm. The final day of action will tip off at 3:00pm on Tuesday with the Championship game scheduled for 7:30pm.

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