Rebels handle Clay County, 63-31; Improve to 6-1 on the season

Published 10:07 am Monday, December 20, 2021

This is not going to be the best week of Boyle County’s season, but it might be the most important.

The Boyle boys won’t play this week, instead spending their time in practice as they try to put themselves in position to win a second consecutive 12th Region championship.

The Rebels’ title defense has gotten off to a decent start, as they have won six of their first seven games and rolled into a 10-day layoff with a 63-31 pasting of Clay County on Friday night.

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But coach Dennie Webb said they will have to be better in January and February, and he said the work they’ll put in this week will help toward that end.

Webb said he knows choosing not to play this week isn’t the most popular scheduling decision he has made, but he said it’s the right thing for a team that needs to be better offensively.

“We need practice,” Webb said. “I know that’s what the kids don’t want to do, but I think they understand that we’ve got to get a little more fluid offensively, especially in our half-court stuff. We’ll get there, and we’ll get some good practice time in.”

So while many teams are hitting the road this week for pre-Christmas tournaments, Boyle (6-1) won’t play again until Dec. 28, when they play John Hardin in the first round of a tournament at Marion County.

“We purposely didn’t want to do (play this week) because I felt like we needed to practice, knowing the odds were we were going to have guys coming in late,” Webb said.

Webb said he and his staff are looking forward to a long stretch of alone time with the team, which has had only a handful of practices with its full roster following the long football season.

“They may not be, but I am, the coaching staff is,” he said. “We’re looking to try to get some things ironed out with four good days of practice before we go off on break.”

Boyle was tabbed as one of the teams to beat in the 12th Region — it was ranked second in the region in

The Cats’ Pause 2021-22 Kentucky Basketball Yearbook — but this isn’t the same team as the one that reached the quarterfinals of the Boys Sweet 16 last season, or even the same team on which preseason predictions were based.

The Rebels were expected to have four returning starters, but instead there are only two. And there are only three other players who appeared in at least half of Boyle’s games a year ago.

In addition, there are five football players on the varsity roster who have had only a handful of practices since joining the team following the state football finals Dec. 3.

Even so, the first three weeks of the season probably went about as good as Webb could have hoped.

There was an ugly loss at Lexington Catholic, where Boyle shot 21 percent from the field in a 65-23 defeat, but there also were opportunities for players to step up before the roster filled out.

“We’ve had different people doing a lot of nice things,” Webb said. “We played some pretty good basketball the first two or three games of the year outside of Lexington Catholic.”

Webb said players such as seniors Hagan Webb, William Carr and Cruise Wilson and juniors Kason Myers and Jack Little turned in some good performances in the games before the returning football players started to settle in.

“Part of the trick is trying to keep them doing what they were doing in addition to what we’re getting with some of the other guys,” he said.

Carr, a part-time starter last season, is averaging 10.8 points, Hagan Webb is averaging 9.3 and Myers is at 8.1.

The returning starters are Webb and Luke Imfeld, who combined for 35 points in the win over Clay (2-4).

Imfeld hit nine 3-pointers and scored 27 points, the highest total by any Boyle player this season. He averaged a team-high 18.4 points last year and is averaging 20.4 in his five games following the football season.

They are currently starting alongside Carr, Wilson and junior Jakei Tarter, who is averaging a team-high 8.6 rebounds and had 18 boards in a Dec. 14 win at Rockcastle County.

That lineup helped the Rebels race to a 22-0 lead in the first six minutes Friday over a Clay team that started four sophomores and a freshman.

Boyle’s lead didn’t get much bigger after that, growing to as much as 34 points in the fourth quarter.

The Rebels had 12 3-point baskets and only nine from inside the line, and Webb said that illustrates that they need to be better on offense.

“Offensively, we’ve got to get a little bit better at playing with each other,” he said. “We’ve got some different roles that we’re working on, and we’ve got to establish some of those roles. We’ve got some new faces out there that are going to be playing big minutes this year that maybe didn’t play the same role last year.”

Boyle is without two players who likely would have returned to the starting lineup: fifth-year Jagger Gillis is leaving school to enroll in college in January, and Owen Barnes, who is repeating his sophomore year, will miss the season following surgery to repair cartilage damage in his knee that was discovered after he felt discomfort on the first day of practice.

Even with all the changes, Boyle figures to be a factor in March, though Webb said he thinks teams such as Lincoln County and Pulaski County are ahead of the Rebels at this time.

“There’s some very solid teams that are better than us right now, which is fine,” he said. “It gives us something to work toward.”

Clay County       4   13   22  31
Boyle County  24   37  49  63

CLAY (2-4) — Lindsay Jessie 6, Teigh Yeast 9, Timberlynn Yeast 17, Sara Dunn 9, Hope Lanham 8.
BOYLE (6-1) — Jenna Akers 9, Desiree Tandy 10, Love Mays 6, Lara Akers 19, Tyliah Bradshaw 17, Samantha Bottom 3.