In 2014 and ’15 it was Campbell County’s Matt Wilson, in ’16 it was Mason County’s Pig Williams, in ’17 it was Scott’s Jake Ohmer.
Is Pendleton County’s Dontaie Allen next?
The prior mentioned players were all huge parts in willing their teams to 10th Region titles and to the floor of Rupp Arena for the Sweet 16. Allen has the makings to do so in ’18.
But in order to get there, the players around will play a big part in that too.
“The biggest thing with our team is everybody has bought into their roles,” Wildcats coach Keaton Belcher said. “After the district loss last year, the Harrison County upset, we’ve preached to work hard and get better and I think we’re peaking at the right time.”
Pendleton County comes in hot, winners in 13 of their last 15 to get to a 24-7 record, claiming the 38th District with relative ease, knocking off Robertson County 72-52 in the opening round, followed by a crushing of Harrison County, 73-44, a game in which Allen outscored the Thorobreds himself with 48 points and 16 rebounds.
“Before the district championship game, I told him to be the best player in Kentucky. I thought he was with 48 points and 16 rebounds,” Belcher said. “He’s had a remarkable junior season, statistically the best in the state of Kentucky in my opinion. He’s just a special, special talent. He gets everything he deserves because he works so hard in the offseason and in the mornings before school. He’s a player that has already had a great career and a great legacy, now we want that regional championship crown to add to that.”
Standing in their way to start off their title quest is Paris, one of only two teams to knock them off since January 9, a 63-52 Greyhounds victory, exactly two weeks to the day the two will meet Thursday at 6 p.m. Allen did his thing in that game as well, scoring 43 of the team’s 52.
“They let Allen do what he usually does and tried to stop everybody else and it worked. We know going in Paris has a great deal of experience playing at The Fieldhouse last 4-5 years. Coach Brooks does a great job with his kids, they’re disciplined and shoot a lot better than what people think they do. We’ll have to be ready to guard and hopefully keep their guys off the backboard,” Belcher said.
Guys like Grant Walsh, Adam Antrobus, Jacob Yelton, Brendan Neltner and Cody Sullivan will need to step up more than on the February 15 loss to the Greyhounds, a game in which Walsh had seven points and the others had zero.
What’s the key in changing that this time around?
“We try to get 15 or more assists every night and three guys in double figures. We know if we can do that, we’re hard to guard and hard to defend. We try to preach to shoot the ball with confidence, attack, don’t be a one-dimensional player,” Belcher said.
When the Wildcats get at least three players in double figures, they’re 14-3, when it’s less than that, they’re 10-4. One thing is for sure, the Pendleton natives are sure to bring big crowds to The Fieldhouse. That comes with the makeup of the team.
“The thing I’m most proud of this basketball team is every single player is born and raised in Pendleton County. Now a days, a lot of schools you don’t have that. It brings a sense of county pride,” Belcher said. “If you were at our district tournament this past week there was so much emotion and fan support from everybody. Everybody is pulling for each other and it’s a great feeling to have.”
The raucous Wildcat fans are sure hoping Allen and the arsenal can give them at least three more games to attend. Paris-Pendleton should be a treat, have your taste buds ready.
DATE; OPPONENT; SITE; RESULT
Nov 28; Bracken County; home; (W) 79-36
Dec 1; Clay County; at North Laurel; (W) 70-62; Nissan Classic
Dec 5; Nicholas County; home; (W) 81-45
Dec 8; George Rogers Clark; home; (L) 59-55
Dec 11; Augusta; away; (W) 62-39
Dec 12; St. Patrick; away; (W) 94-50
Dec 15; Harrison County; home; (W) 81-60
Dec 16; Bourbon County; home; (W) 91-59
Dec 22; Mason County; away; (W) 89-67; US Bank Mike Murphy Classic
Dec 23; Belfry; at Rowan County; (W) 78-72; Kentucky Bank Challenge
Dec 27; Daviess County; at Lexington Catholic; (L) 81-68; Traditional Bank Holiday Classic
Dec 28; Paul Laurence Dunbar; at Lexington Catholic; (W) 56-50; Traditional Bank Holiday Classic
Dec 29; Walton-Verona; at Lexington Catholic; (L) 58-48; Traditional Bank Holiday Classic
Jan 2; Robertson County; home; (W) 88-61
Jan 6; Corbin; at South Laurel; (L) 83-76; Raymond Reed Classic
Jan 9; Scott; home; (L) 75-73
Jan 18; Williamstown; home; (W) 93-44
Jan 20; Frederick Douglass; at East Jessamine; (W) 63-56; Jaguar Classic
Jan 23; St. Henry; home; (W) 95-63
Jan 25; Newport Central Catholic; away; (W) 79-64
Jan 26; Harrison County; away; (W) 72-62
Jan 29; Calvary Christian; away; (W) 96-71
Feb 1; Bishop Brossart; home; (W) 73-72
Feb 2; Bracken County; away; (W) 80-49
Feb 7; Campbell County; away; (L) 71-64
Feb 9; Montgomery County; home; (W) 78-46
Feb 10; Grant County; home; (W) 97-74
Feb 12; Bourbon County; away; (W) 78-58
Feb 15; Paris; away; (L) 63-52
Feb 21; Robertson County; home; (W) 72-52; 38th District Tournament
Feb 23; Harrison County; home; (W) 73-44; 38th District Championship
Mar 1; Paris; at Mason County; 6:00 PM; 10th Region Tournament
NO.; NAME; GRADE; POSITION; HEIGHT; WEIGHT
2; Jacob Yelton; 12; G; 6-3; 170
3; Tredyn Thomas; 9; G; 5-10; 140
4; Brandon Crouch; 12; G; 6-0; 135
5; Jordan Smith; 12; G; 5-8; 140
10; Ben Wright; 12; F; 6-1; 180
11; Dontaie Allen; 11; G; 6-6; 200
15; Cody Sullivan; 11; G; 6-0; 180
21; Dalton Schlueter; 10; F; 6-1; 187
24; Seth Gregg; 10; G; 6-1; 160
25; Grant Walsh; 12; G; 6-2; 187
33; Clay Monroe; 10; G; 5-7; 130
42; Scott Wells; 11; F; 6-2; 230
44; Luke Nordheim; 12; F; 6-2; 240
45; Adam Antrobus; 12; F; 6-5; 190
50; Brendan Neltner; 12; F; 6-3; 190
Head Coach: Keaton Belcher
Assistants: Kent Monroe, Tim Cooper, Mason Monroe
Managers: Tyler Wright, Allie Moore
Video: Zach Halcomb
Official Book: Pat Cooper
POINTS FOR: 2,354
POINTS ALLOWED: 1,846
POINTS PER GAME: 75.9
POINTS ALLOWED PER GAME: 59.5
FIELD GOAL %: 50.0
3-POINT %: 36.2
FREE THROW %: 71.9
REBOUNDS PER GAME: 35.1
Pendleton County’s Dontaie Allen (11) dunks during the first quarter against St. Patrick, Tuesday, Dec. 12, in Maysville.