Basketball coaches in the 15th District will tell you there isn’t much difference between the four teams currently battling for first place in the league. Allen County-Scottsville is leading the pack right now at 2-0 in district play. Glasgow is 2-1, while Monroe County stands at 1-1 and Barren County rounds things out at 0-3.
Monroe County, currently 8-4 overall on the season, will visit ACS on Friday night, with the winner taking over the top spot in the district.
“Allen County was good last year and they basically have the same team they had last year, minus Brittney Rippy,” said Monroe County coach Dwayne Murray. “They’ve improved this year and we’re going to have to play very well (to win Friday). We’re going to have to rebound, take care of the basketbaall and we’re going to need to hit our free throws.”
Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
One of the biggest obstacles in Monroe County’s way of getting a victory Friday is Allen County standout guard Morgan Rich. The talented junior, considered a Division I prospect by most coaches that see her play, is averaging 21.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.4 steals and 2.4 blocks per game. She shoots 46 percent from the floor.
“She’s lefthanded and that throws some players off because most players are right handed. Most coaches tell their players to push people left, but she is lefthanded and that’s where she wants to go,” said Murray. “She’s long, athletic and she gives teams a lot of trouble on offense. Other guards in the region are not as long or as tall as she is.
“On defense, getting the ball over her or around her is hard because she’s got such quick hands. She deflects a lot of passes and she poses a lot of matchup problems. (One big key for ACS is) She makes everyone else better.”
Rich and her teammates, currently ranked No. 9 in the state, won the first 10 games of the season before dropping outings to Simon Kenton and Anderson County in the Republic Bank Classic in Lexington. Since then, ACS has won its last four games.
“Rebounding will be very important for us Friday night,” said Murray. “You want to only give them one shot and hope they miss it. You don’t want to allow them to hurt you with a second or third shot at the basket.”
The Falcons come into the game on a high note. Monroe County is 8-4 on the year and coming off a 4-2 run through three Christmas tournament. The Lady Falcons beat Nelson County 71-65 in their last contest on Jan. 4.
“I think we’re where we should be right now. We’ve played some pretty good teams lately and we’re playing some pretty good basketball,” Murray said.
“We’re coming around and doing the things we need to do at this time of the year. You don’t want to be at your best right now, you want to be getting better every day and I think we’re doing that. We’re playing a lot of young kids right now and they’re getting a lot of experience.”
And one of those “young kids” playing right now is starting freshman guard Reagan Turner.
“Reagan Turner is doing really well,” Murray explained. “She played some with us last year, so she had a heads-up on what we like to do and what we expect. She also has four seniors on the floor with her and she responds well to them. She’s done a great job for us this year, so far.”