Pippen also seemed to settle on a more clear-cut playing rotation last weekend and that can only help his players adjust to more defined roles.
* Leslye Johnson of Mercer County was an easy choice as The Advocate-Messenger Area Player of the Year last season when she was only a junior. She was the clear favorite to win the award again and help Mercer win a second straight 12th Region title.
However, she not only won't win the award again, she's no longer even on the team. Johnson left the squad for personal reasons and don't think that won't impact Mercer's season. No matter what spin coach Chris Souder puts on Johnson's departure, it hurts the Scotties because she could score and she was a veteran player.
The Scotties were easily superior to any 12th Region team with Johnson. Without her, Mercer lost at South Laurel last week. Mercer could still win the region, but it no longer looks like the romp it once did.
* First-year Boyle County girls coach Judie Mason expects the best from her team and finally had seen enough when the Rebels lost at Casey County last week. After the game, she told every player to bring their equipment to school the next day and leave it and that there would be a "tryout" to see who would be on the team. Until the tryout ended, no player was permitted to wear anything that said Boyle County on it.
Assistant coach Doug Sharp said Mason had a "heart-to-heart" talk with the players, who may have been having trouble adjusting to her demanding style. He said she told them the past was behind them and that the tryout really was no more than a regular practice.
Still, it was a calculated gamble by Mason. Her team has a 10-day layoff before it hosts Lincoln County Friday. The Rebels could either respond to her ploy and play better than they have all year, or they could fold and simply go through the motions the rest of the year figuring there is no way to please the coach. Only time will tell which turns out to be correct.
* This looked like the year Burgin's boys could challenge for the 46th District title, especially after they opened district play by beating Garrard County. Since then, Burgin has lost twice to both Harrodsburg and Mercer County.
Perhaps last week's loss to Harrodsburg was the most painful. The Bulldogs had a 15-point lead in the first half but lost by three points because they were just 3-for-25 from the field in the second half. If the Bulldogs had gone 5-for-25, only a 20 percent mark, they would have won.
Burgin coach Don Irvine used to kid then-Danville coach Ed McKinney that he should let him handle the offense while McKinney did the defense when he was on the Danville staff. Maybe now Irvine needs to have McKinney over to conduct a shooting practice or two.
* Boyle boys coach Andy Moberly doesn't think his team understands that other area schools point to Boyle as the team they want to beat more than any other team.
While I'm not sure I would agree totally with that point, Moberly has a right to be frustrated. Boyle is only 2-9 and is winless in three district games. The Rebels have trouble scoring points and may find the wins few and far between the rest of the year.
Moberly has tried a lot of different combinations with little success. Maybe his best move now simply would be to settle on six or seven players and stay with them. It's not easy to do, but what could it hurt? He may also have to consider going mainly with younger players, unless the Rebels improve quickly, and start thinking about what is best for 2004-2005.
* What does it take to convince coaches to report game results and team and individual statistics?
Some coaches seldom miss reporting results or statistics, but some rarely report, either. That's unfair to their players and may even cost some a spot on The Advocate-Messenger All-Area Team for two reasons. First, rival coaches won't always know how a player is performing if game results are not reported. Second, coaches must submit 70 percent of their statistical reports to have players eligible for All-Area honors.
So if you are not seeing results or statistics from your favorite team in the paper, remind the coach about getting that information to us.