Coaches have mixed reaction to basketball realignment

September 03, 2004|JILL ERWIN

The new proposed basketball realignment released Thursday by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association was met by varied reactions from area coaches.

The 12th Region would add East Jessamine and West Jessamine from the 11th Region while losing North Laurel, South Laurel and Russell County in the realignment that would take effect for the 2005-2006 school year. The Board of Control will vote on the proposal at its November meeting.

Girls coaches said the proposed moves weaken the region, while boys coaches don't see any relief in picking up the Jessamine schools.

"You're moving North and South Laurel out, but you're moving East and West Jessamine in," Lincoln boys coach Jeff Jackson said. "They're very, very good every year. They've had some great teams up there the last six, seven years.


"Whatever the KHSAA decides to do, we just have to try to get prepared the best we can and play whoever they tell us and wherever they tell us."

Both Jessamine schools will move into the 46th District with Burgin, Harrodsburg and Mercer County. Garrard County moves from the 46th to the 45th with Boyle County, Danville and KSD, while Casey County and Lincoln move to the 47th District with Pulaski County and Somerset.

McCreary Central, Monticello, Pulaski Southwestern and Wayne County would make up the 48th District.

Mercer boys coach Greg Edwards, who has coached in the 46th District for 18 years, said he would be sorry to see Garrard move.

"From a traditionalist's point of view, I hate to lose Garrard County," Edwards said. "They have good coaches, good administrators and good people. We've had a good working relationship in the past and I'd hate to see that change."

However, Edwards likes adding the Jessamine schools.

"I think it will change the landscape a little bit," Edwards said. "The balance of power lately has pretty much been on the southern end (of the region). If East and West Jessamine come in here, it could shift it back up to the northern end.

"Strength of schedule, as a region, I'm not sure we'd gain or lose much either way. But I'd assume East and West Jessamine are extremely happy to be getting out of the 11th Region."

East Jessamine coach Chris O'Bryan won't argue that point. His Jaguars went 6-8 in the 11th Region last year.

"Facilities-wise, we compare more with 12th Region than we do the 11th," O'Bryan said. "That gives us more hope as to what the postseason has in store for us. Instead of having a Lexington Catholic you're facing, there's some variance there and no dominant team."

Danville coach Craig Pippen said he expects both schools to be consistently among the tops in the region.

"They're going to be contenders on a consistent basis. It will just be interesting to see how they adjust to our level of play," Pippen said.

For the girls, Boyle coach Judie Mason has coached on both the north and south ends of the region and said these moves weaken the region. East Jessamine was 10-14 last year, while West Jessamine finished 5-20.

"Any time you take three of the top six or seven teams out, it will make it weaker," Mason said. "But it gives us a better opportunity to make some noise. It has to make me feel better about getting to the regional tournament."

Casey coach Randy Salyers agrees that the region would take a hit, but he's also upset about losing two of his biggest rivals through the shuffling: Russell County and former district foe Boyle County.

He said his new district, with Lincoln, Pulaski and Somerset, instantly becomes a tough challenge.

"If you look at it, over the last 10 years, all four of those teams have been regional contenders," Salyers said. "We've been to state, Lincoln has been, Pulaski has been and so has Somerset. That makes it a tough district."

Garrard coach Jenny Teater feels the change will make the 12th Region worse overall.

"Obviously the Laurel County schools have always been in the top half of the region," Teater said. "This kind of lowers the region. East and West Jessamine have potential, but the Laurel schools are good right now."

New 12th Region

Realignment of the 12th Region for the 2005-2006 school year, as proposed by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association:

45th District - Boyle County, Danville, Garrard County, Kentucky School for the Deaf.

46th District - Burgin, East Jessamine, Harrodsburg, Mercer County, West Jessamine.

47th District - Casey County, Lincoln County, Pulaski County, Somerset.

48th District - McCreary Central, Monticello, Pulaski Southwestern, Wayne County.

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