Boyd County basketball tourney has national feel
HUNTINGTON -- Top-ranked high school basketball teams loaded with quality players will be on display this week at the Boyd County Roundball Classic.
Games are Friday and Saturday at Boyd County Middle School in Summit, Ky.
Teams include Huntington Prep Academy, the nation's top-ranked high school boys team, and others from West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.
Huntington Prep is loaded with NCAA Division I prospects including 6-foot-9 Andrew Wiggins who is being called the best high school player since LeBron James. Event director Pete Fraley anticipates Wiggins attracting large crowds because he is being recruited by the University of Kentucky.
The Prep Express plays two games in the event -- 9 p.m., Friday, against Walnut Hills from Cincinnati; and 7 p.m., Saturday, against Arlington Country Day from Florida.
Walnut Hills is the top-ranked Division I team in Ohio, according to ESPN's John Stovall, and the Eagles feature two premier players in guard Dontonio Wingfield, Jr. (son of former NBA player Dontonio Wingfield) and center Isaiah Johnson.
Wingfield is committed to play next season at Ohio University while the 6-9, 275-pound Johnson has committed to the University of Akron.
Arlington Country Day has four players rated as mid-to-high major college prospects such as win Che Bob and foward Dante Buford.
"Both teams we play in the tournament have size, which means our bigs won't have to chase around 6-5 guys," Fulford said. "It'll be more man-on-man, see who is better. It's a big week."
Add in Wiggins and young talent Montaque Gill-Caesar -- a Class of 2015 prospect -- from Huntington Prep, and it's enough to bring any basketball enthusiast out.
That includes Kentucky head coach John Calipari, who has a vested interest in the game. Calipari and his staff are expected to make the trip Saturday following an afternoon home game with Lipscomb, Fulford said.
"It's a good week for them because most universities are in finals week so they don't have practice and very few games," Fulford said. "They will be out and about this week."
Huntington St. Joe's girls team, the winner of four consecutive Class A state championships, tips off the tournament at 6 p.m., Friday, against the host Boyd County girls coached by Fraley.
The Irish feature a pair of highly-touted prospects for the Class of 2014 -- Notre Dame commit and Top 20 guard Mychal Johnson and guard Griffin Dempsey, who is also on the ESPN HoopGurlz Top 100 Watch List and is receiving interest from Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Marshall and others.
"For our team, you only get better by playing better," Fraley said. "For others, people are going to get to see a Notre Dame commit and who knows where Griffin will go, but she's also one of the premier players around."
Following that contest, Boyd County's boys basketball team, coached by Randy Anderson, will take on Shelby Valley prior to Huntington Prep's matchup with Walnut Hills.
On Saturday, action gets underway at noon when East Carter's boys matchup with Shelby Valley.
At 1:45 p.m., Saturday, coach Bill Bradley's undefeated Ashland girls team, led by Alexis Robinson, takes on Campbell County. Robinson, a 5-9 point guard, is on ESPN HoopGurlz' Top 100 Watch List for the Class of 2015.
"On Saturday, you have Alexis who is being recruited by everyone and she'll be playing, along with kids from Campbell County and Wheelersburg," Fraley said. "Wiggins is definitely the main attraction, but we've got some kids that are looking to play college ball, too."
At 3:30 p.m., Boyd County's girls return to the court to take on Wheelersburg in the first of two Bluegrass-meets-Buckeye border wars.
The other takes place at 5:15 when Portsmouth's boys take on Johnson Central (Ky.).
Following Huntington Prep's matchup with Arlington Country Day, Boyd County's boys team rounds out the day at 8:45 p.m. against Mason County.
A crowd exceeding 5,000 is expected and Fraley is pushing advance tickets sales at area retailers. Tickets can be purchased for $10 per day at Boyd County High School, Borders Sporting Goods in Summit, Ponderosa Elementary School and Area Advertising in Ashland.
Boyd County Roundball Classic
At Boyd County Middle School
Admission: $10 per day good for all games
6 p.m., Girls: Huntington St. Joe vs. Boyd County
7:30 p.m., Boys: Boyd County vs. Shelby Valley
9 p.m.m Boys: Huntington Prep vs. Walnut Hills (OH)
Noon, Boys: East Carter vs. Shelby Valley
1:45 p.m., Girls: Ashland vs. Campbell County
3:30 p.m., Girls: Boyd County vs. Wheelersburg
5:15 p.m., Boys: Portsmouth vs. Johnson Central (Ky.)
7 p.m., Huntington Prep vs. Arlington Country Day (Fla.)
8:45 p.m., Boys: Boyd County vs. Mason County