Georgetown and Frankfort Kentucky
June 16-19, 1999
©1999 by Ron Harrison
The Kentucky AAU 17 and Under Tournament was played from June 16th through June 19th. The games were played at Franklin County High School, Scott County High School, Western Hills High School, and Frankfort High School. The semifinals and finals were played at Scott County High School. This tournament usually serves as a good indicator of the strength of the contenders for the Kentucky High School State Championship to be played in March. There are 56 teams entered in this year's AAU tournament. Some of the strong contenders are Derek Smith All Stars, Scott County, PRP, Lexington Catholic, Male, etc. The defending Kentucky High School State Champion Ballard did not field a team for this AAU event.
There were several exciting games in the early rounds. Floyd South upset Louisville Fairdale 88-87 in overtime in one of the pool games. South Floyd's Michael Hall hit a three pointer with 3 seconds to go in regulation to send the game to overtime. Hall led Floyd South with 20 points and Ryan Shannon added 19. Fairdale was led by 6-5 Ed Robinson with 19 points and Adrian Milan with 18 points.
Another exciting game in the round of sixteen pitted St. Xavier against
Scott County. Scott County prevailed in an old-fashioned barn burner by
a score of 116-108. 6-5 Scott Hundley led Scott County with 28 points
and 12 rebounds. 5-10 Casey Alsop added 21 points despite aggravating
an old injury in the third quarter. Joe Harden. a 6-0 promising
freshman-to-be, chipped in with 15 points. Chad Gahm, a smooth 6-0
guard, had a monster game for St. Xavier with 43 points. St. Xavier has
size inside with Chris Kelly and Brandon Moore and may be
heard from this winter.
Lexington Catholic took an early lead and never looked back in a 82-63 quarterfinal win over Tates Creek Catholic actually plays five guards and they function as interchangeable parts. 6-4 Matt Heissenbuttel led the attack with 21 points, 6-3 Will Harris added 17 points, and 6-3 Ben Wilson tallied 16 points. Tates Creek was led by 6-5 Will Thomas with 21 points
Scott County came from behind to finally subdue a very athletic, determined Lafayette squad 78-68 in another quarterfinal game. Scott County was missing Casey Alsop with injuries and Lafayette was missing two key players, Quinton Roberts and Rod Napier. Scott Hundley led Scott County with 39 points and 10 rebounds. Nate Austin, a 6-6 Junior-to-be center, added 15 points. 6-0 Robert Madison led Lafayette with 22 points.
In the other quarterfinal games, the Derek Smith All Stars defeated
PRP and Fairdale finally outlasted Madison Central to advance to the semifinals.
Lexington Catholic 85
Derek Smith All Stars 76
The first semifinal game pitted Lexington Catholic against the Derek
Smith All Stars. Catholic raced to a 20 point lead in the third quarter
and held on to win by a score of 85-76. Catholic was led by Matt Heissenbuttel
with 25 points, 6-1 Kip Wellman with 23 points, and Ben Wilson
with 20. The All Stars were led by 6-6 Nathan Sexton (Elizabethtown)
with 23 points. Brandon Bender, a 6-9 post player from Louisville
Ballard and one of the top Juniors-to-be in the nation was held to 15 points
and 11 rebounds.
Louisville Fairdale 89
Scott County 87
Louisville Fairdale defeated Scott County in a 89-87 thriller to advance
to the championship game. Scott County was playing without their star guard
5-10 Casey Alsop. Scott County was led by Scott Hundley with
38 points and 19 rebounds. C-3 Brown, a promising Sophomore-to-be
guard, chipped in with 18 points. 6-3 Leroy Hickerson led Fairdale
with 36 points. 6-3 Loric Riggs added 19 points for the victors.
Third Place Game
No Third Place game was scheduled in this tournament.
Lexington Catholic 87
Louisville Fairdale 65
Lexington Catholic proved to be too strong for Fairdale on this particular
evening and secured the championship by a score of 87-65. Ben Wilson
led Catholic with 30 points and Will Harris added 20 points. Fairdale
was led by Ed Robinson with 19 points.
All Tournament Team
The All Tournament Team for the 1999 AAU 17 and Under Tournament is
Kip Wellman, Ben Wilson, and Matt Heissenbuttel (Lexington Catholic), Montez Cox, Leroy Hickerson, and Ed Robinson (Fairdale), Kyle Hampton and Nathan Sexton (Derek Smith All Stars), Scott Hundley and Casey Alsop (Scott County), Blake Downing (PRP), Kip Kirchbaum (Madison Central), Will Thomas (Tates Creek), Robert Madison (Lafayette), and Ronny Dawn (Newport Central Catholic).
The statistics referred to in this report are not official, but were recorded by me personally. This tournament helps identify potential contenders for the year 2000 Kentucky High School State Champion. Louisville Ballard who did not field a team for the AAU tourney will probably enter the season as the number one team based on last year's championship run and the number of returning players.
Based on summer play, Lexington Catholic has emerged as a solid threat to challenge Ballard. Catholic starts five guards who will get after you on defense and through the summer have been deadly from the perimeter. Ben Wilson has been on fire this summer from the three point line and Will Harris has prepared for his senior campaign with a solid summer. 6-4 Senior-to-be Matt Heissenbuttel is highly underrated and is one of the most versatile players in the state. Matt, a point guard last year, is now playing inside. He is aggressive going to the basket but still pops out for the occasional 3-pointer.
Coach Billy Hicks will have the Scott County Cardinals firing on all cylinders early in the season. Billy doesn't rebuild he merely reloads. Scott County lost several key players from last year but has the "warrior" 6-5 Scott Hundley back for his last campaign. Scott will probably enter the season as the leading contender for Mr. Basketball. Casey Alsop should also have a fine campaign as a scorer. Scott County should have plenty of help from Todd Oser, Nate Austin, Kenneth Chisley, C-3 Brown, and a host of others. Nate Austin, at least 6-6 and a physical specimen, could be special before he graduates. Nate will be a Junior this year and is still learning the game.
Louisville Fairdale had an excellent tournament and could make waves this year. You cannot overlook St. Xavier, Male, or Pleasure Ridge Park. Lafayette has a very athletic squad and could make a lot of noise in the 11th Region. Coach Feldhaus always has Madison Central ready to play and there are several other teams that didn't have an AAU entry that will make for an interesting winter.
There were many outstanding individuals in this tournament. I have seen most of them play over the past few years but there were still some surprises. 6-1 Junior-to-be Ronny Dawn from Newport Central Catholic is a prolific shooter who can fill it up from the three point line. Leroy Hickerson used his quickness and athletic ability to have a fine tournament and help lead his Fairdale team to the finals.
Another player I enjoyed watching was 6-0 guard Tommy McKenzie from Johnson Central High School. Tommy averaged 16.0 PPG last year and is a fine student who will be a Senior this year. I saw McKenzie play in two games. He scored 26 points and was close to double figures in assists, and had several steals. He scored 14 points in the other game and seemed content to distribute the ball to his teammates. Tommy will not get the press some of the more heralded players in the state will receive, but he is a heady performer who truly seems to understand how the game should be played.