3 Things to watch: Region 7 Finals


The Manual Boys Basketball team poses with the District 25 Tournament Championship Trophy after defeating Central. Photo by, Jack Grossman

Jack Grossman

Manual has not won the Region 7 Tournament since 1972. Photo by Jack Grossman.
Manual has not won the Region 7 Tournament since 1972. Photo by Jack Grossman.
  1.  Ballard’s Transition game

Ballard is extremely good at forcing turnovers and getting easy transition baskets off of those turnovers. Manual will have to get back on defense after missed shots to keep the Bruins from getting easy baskets.

“We can just try to prevent long rebounds, not take as many bad shots so they can’t get into transition,” Jake Chilton (12, #34) said.

The Crimsons will have to consistently beat the Bruin pressure and not turn the ball over. Ballard forced Trinity into 18 turnovers in Monday’s semifinal in route to a 67-54 win over the Shamrocks. The Bruins scored 24 points off of those turnovers, as well as 15 fast break points. To keep Ballard out of transition, Manual will attempt to make the game a half court game, and make Ballard earn their points against a pesky Crimson defense.

“We want to probably slow them down a little bit,” Chilton said. “They’re a fast transition team, and if we let them get into transition we’ll get into trouble so I think that we’re going to try to slow them down a little bit and get them into the half court.”

  1. Executing in the Half Court

If Manual is able to effectively slow down the Bruins, Manual will also have to score in the half court, which is something Manual struggled to do against Waggener in Monday’s semifinal, a game in which Manual scored only 51 points and shot just 31 percent in.

“We just need to move the ball, we got a lot of weapons on offense so we’re going to share the ball, put our press on, and use all of our weapons,” Dwayne Sutton (12, #22) said.

In the game against Waggener, Manual did not have balanced scoring. Sutton, Chilton and Ty’Ron Horton (12, #24) combined to score 46 of Manual’s 51 points. In addition, the Crimsons had a season low one assist in the ballgame.

“That hasn’t happened like that all year long,” head coach Jimmy Just (Math) said Monday night after Manual beat Waggener. “I don’t think it was anything we did today, I just think that those guys stepped up and made plays for us when we needed them. Other guys today just didn’t hit some shots that they have hit most of the year; however, I expect these guys to come back and give more contribution on Thursday.”

  1. Sutton vs Perry

Both Manual and Ballard are lead by candidates for the Mr. Basketball award in the state of Kentucky. Dwayne Sutton leads all players in the Louisville Metro area with 24.1 points per game. The University of North Carolina-Asheville signee also averages 12 rebounds per game to pace the Crimsons.

“He [Sutton] puts a lot of pressure on the opposing team’s defense when they have to focus on him it loosens things up for our other guys,” Just said. “As long as we keep using that as an option, he does a great job of seeing other people at times, and its just one of those things that we just have to continue to do to be successful.”

Jalen Perry (12, #21) leads the Bruins with 21.8 points per game. Perry is able to get points by attacking off the dribble, with an innate ability to hit pull up jumpers.

“He [Perry] can do a lot, that’s the reason why he’s a Mr. Basketball candidate,” Just said. “He can put the ball on the floor and he can shoot the ball. We just have to make it tough on him when he gets the ball, hopefully we can help out a little bit, show some pride, dig down and play some defense. We need to do a good job of knowing and following the scouting report so that we can take some things away from what they like to do.”

“He [Perry] is a great pull up shooter,” Sutton said. He can dribble to a spot, get off the ground and knock those shots down very well. He’s a great player.”

Manual is in the Regional final for the first time since 2000, as the Bruins have reached the finals for the third straight year. Manual has not won the Regional Final since 1972, and has not one the state final since 1931.

“It means a lot to us to et to the regional finals,” Sutton said. “For we seniors, it’s our last year so we’re going to play as hard as we can, and see what happens.”

“As much as anything it gives the pride back to Manual,” Just said. “Give a little bit of pride back to the Alumni, give it to the school. But you know, these guys have worked hard, they’ve put in a lot of time and its nice to see them get some success here; and of course we want more, but it’s kind of nice here for this group and for everybody associated at Manual.”

Ballard lost to Trinity 59-58 in the finals last year. The Bruins got revenge against the Shamrocks on Monday, but Bruin head coach Chris Renner does not expect a let down after beating Trinity.

“It’s nice to beat Trinity, but the big picture is we’re advancing to the Seventh Region final,” Renner told the Courier-Journal on Monday. “That’s what we’re playing for. It doesn’t matter who’s in our way.”

The Crimsons and the Bruins will tip-off at Valley High School tonight at 6 pm.