Kenton Ridge coach Ed Foulk is making the most of the few players he’s inherited. And others are noticing.
The Cougars (12-1) were the only area girls team mentioned among the four divisions in the first Associated Press girls high school basketball poll released this week.
Kenton Ridge, fresh off a clutch 54-52 defeat of Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division rival Tippecanoe, was ranked No. 10 in the state in Division II. Clyde (11-0) drew eight first-place votes and was No. 1.
Alter (9-0) and Clinton-Massie (12-0), teams that, like Kenton Ridge, should go deep into the Southwest District postseason, were No. 3 and No. 5, respectively.
Kenton Ridge has 11 players – in its entire program. There is no freshman team. Anyone who’s not a senior plays at least one quarter of reserve ball. Foulk has seen his and other programs fleeced of potential players due mainly to year-round specialization.
“Everybody wants to play another sport,” said the veteran of 30 Kenton Ridge seasons. “We’re into the age where most people’s numbers are down.”
Kenton Ridge’s scoring numbers are just fine. Sydney Bates leads a balanced offense with a team-high 15.8 scoring average. Close behind are Baylee Bennett (14.2), Stefanie Davis (11.7) and Sara Thornton (10.5).
The Cougars hardly resemble the high-scoring teams of the program’s past, but few do. Capturing a CBC title and earning an elusive — of late — district title is the goal. Kenton Ridge has lost four straight district finals.
“We’re not scoring a lot of points,” said Foulk, who surpassed 500 career wins two seasons ago. “We’re averaging 62 and for girls that’s high, but when we used to score 78 and one year 100, that was a lot different.”
Kenton Ridge is scheduled to host Urbana (1-10) at 7:30 p.m. today and Tecumseh (10-2) at 7:30 on Saturday. The Cougars walloped Tecumseh 72-32 early in the season.
“The 11 that we have all work hard,” Foulk said. “That, and with our balanced scoring, is big.”
Rankings are voted upon by media throughout the state. See the girls polls on C5.
KENTON RIDGE GIRLS HOOP
Record: 12-1overall; 5-0 CBC Kenton
Rank: No. 10, state D-II
Next game: 7:30 p.m. today, hosts Urbana