LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Another capacity crowd, two outstanding performances by Kentucky recruits and a record-setting scoring performance highlighted Saturday's quarterfinal action at the King of The Bluegrass.
Fans packed Fairdale High School again to see several top college prospects and their teams battle for a spot in the holiday tournament's semifinals. Jeffersontown, Seattle (Wash.) Franklin, Miami (Fla.) Coral Reef and Louisville DuPont Manual all advanced to Monday's final four.
Franklin, led by Louisville signee Peyton Siva, defeated Louisville PRP 68-57. Cardinal fans will get another look at the Quakers' star point guard (9 points, 7 assists despite a sore ankle) on Monday when they face Coral Reef at 7:30 p.m. The Barracudas advanced with a 63-45 romp over Georgia's Cherokee High featuring Alabama signee Shawn Kemp. Charles Hankerson, a junior wing being recruited by Auburn and Virginia Commonwealth, scored 18 points for the winners. Kemp had a solid game for the Warriors, scoring 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Manual topped Taylor County 77-59 and will face J-Town, a 74-62 winner over Lexington Catholic, at 9 p.m. in the other semifinal. The Crimsons played again without star guard Jacob Jenkins, who is nursing an ankle injury, but got 12 points and 12 boards from promising junior big man Aleksandar Nikolic, a 6-9 native of Serbia. Taylor County got another strong effort from underrated senior guard Chase Cox, who recorded 27 points coming off his 35-point effort on Thursday. Two-sport star Leonard Macon, a senior power forward/tight end, added 18 points and 17 boards for the Cardinals.
UK recruit Vee Sanford tossed in 26 points for LexCath, but it wasn't enough to hold off an impressive Charger squad with up-and-coming talent like junior guard Thomas Jackson and freshman guard Desmond Dorsey. The diminutive Jackson, who is getting recruited by schools like Georgia State, Wright State, Eastern Kentucky and North Carolina A&T, pumped in 35 points coming off a 26-point effort on Friday.
The main fireworks on Saturday, however, were reserved for players who had already been bumped to the consolation bracket. Kentucky signee Jon Hood had another dominating individual effort in a loss for Madisonville. The 6-7 senior guard tallied 35 points, 13 rebounds, six blocked shots and four assists, but it wasn't enough to lift the Maroons over Louisville Male. The Bulldogs claimed a 71-57 victory thanks to 23 points from junior guard D'Carlo Hayes.
In two games at the KoTB, Hood scored 71 points and grabbed 24 rebounds. But even that may not have been the most impressive showing of the event.
Miami of Ohio signee Drew Kelly claimed that honor after scoring a KoTB record 67 points on Saturday in a wild 102-95 overtime loss to Los Angeles' Dorsey high. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Kelly made 26 of 33 shots from the field, 12 of 16 at the line and was 3-for-3 from behind the arc en route to a career night. That performance shattered the old single-game scoring record of 54 points set by St. Mary's Ryan Cochran in 2001.
Kelly, a big man with outstanding touch and good feet, is a three-star prospect who may turn out to be a diamond in the rough for the RedHawks. He had 14 points and eight rebounds on Friday night in playing the four-star Kemp to a near statistical deadlock.