Game director locked up Travis Perry early for Kentucky-Ohio All-State Game

Published 3:30 pm Wednesday, April 17, 2024

To be able to beat Ohio in the annual Battle at the Border, game director Randy Ward knows what kind of roster Kentucky needs.

“To beat Ohio you have got to get the best kids in Kentucky. We only missed on one boy, Trent Noah of Harlan County, because he wanted to go to his prom and I get that. But we have some great players and this year we have size. For a change, we are bigger than Ohio in the boys game,” Ward, a former coach, said.

The BSN Sports Ohio-Kentucky All-Star Game will be April 20 at Thomas More College in northern Kentucky. The girls will play at 5 p.m. and the boys game will follow at 7 — or 20 minutes after the girls game ends.

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Ward locked in Kentucky’s all-time leading scorer, Lyon County guard Travis Perry, long before he was named Mr. Basketball or Lyon won its first state championship. The team’s head coach is also Lyon coach Ryan Perry, Travis’ father.

“I saw them at Martin County at a preseason shootout,” Ward said. “Travis was already the all-time leading scorer in Kentucky and I was trying to find out if he would want to play in our game. I talked to his dad and told him we also needed a coach. His dad said Travis would like to play and he would consider coaching and eventually he also said yes.”

Travis Perry, a Kentucky signee, is the marquee name on the roster but his teammate, 6-6 forward Brady Shoulders, is also playing. He will play college basketball at Mercer.

“I think some higher Division I schools are missing out on him. He was the most aggressive rebounder at the state tournament,” Wards said. “He hits the boards, takes the ball to the basket and has a good stroke from 3. I was surprised Eastern Kentucky and Western Kentucky did not jump all over him. He can guard bigger players and is very, very physical.”

One player who might surprise fans who attend the game is 6-4 guard Emmanuel Dut of Danville Christian Academy. Ward said he reminds him in some ways of Adou Thiero, who has played the last two years at Kentucky.

“He is a great, great athlete. We heard about him, checked on him and really liked what we saw. He runs, jumps, plays defense. He’s just a great athlete who can change a game in a lot of ways.”

Players on the roster who played in the state tournament are Kade Unseld of Warren Central, Christian Doerr of Evangel Christian and Jeremiah Godfrey of Great Crossing. Others on the roster are Daniel Allen of Larue County, Derrell Bateman of Christian County, Tyler Doyle of Lexington Christian, Ayden Evans of Elizabethtown, Jamison Glass of Todd County Central, Max Green of Oldham County, Quel’Ron House of Seneca, Damone King of Desales and Mason Ritter of Bowling Green.

Ohio’s roster is headlined by Mr. Basketball Colin White, an Ohio State signee. He helped Ottawa-Glandorf reach the state semifinals for years and was a starter each season.

He scored over 2,000 points and averaged 24.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.6 steals a game last season when Ottawa-Glandorf went 24-4 record. He is his team’s all-time leading scorer and his team went 95-15 in his four seasons.

“He is really a player that I think fans will enjoy seeing,” Ward said.

The Kentucky girls roster is led by Miss Basketball Trinity Rowe of Pikeville. The Southern Mississippi signee scored 2,463 points at Pikeville and had over 1,000 assists — something only four other girls had ever done in Kentucky. She averaged 17.1 points, 7.1 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.75 steals per game last season and shot 49.9 percent overall from the field and 89.4 percent at the foul line to help Pikeville again win the regional title.

Another familiar name on the roster is McCracken County’s Claire Johnson, a Samford signee.

“She showed again what she could do in the state tourney and I am also surprised some bigger schools did not offer her,” Ward said.

Central Michigan signee Ayanna Darrington, a 6-2 forward, is a “quick, physical player who will be an even better college player than high school player,” according to Ward.

Guard Des Bradley of Hart County is a prolific scorer that Ward says is needed against Ohio.

“The girls’ games are usually really high scoring and she is quick, quick, quick,” the game director said. “In the last 10 minutes of our game, you need a girl who can put the ball in the hole like she can.”

The Kentucky roster also includes 6-5 Ramiya White of Butler, a Kentucky signee, and teammate Mariah Knight, a 6-1 forward. They led Butler to the state title game.

Others on the Kentucky roster are Sarah Baker of Ryle, Hayden Barrier of Montgomery County, Jeannae Bolin of Pleasure Ridge Park, Quinn Eubank of Ryle, Liz Freihofer of Cooper, Anna Hamilton of Cooper, Destiny Jones of Louisville Central, Jasmine Jordan of Boyd County, Sydney Martin of Pulaski County and Abby Varney of Barren County.

Kylee Bruce and Bree Allen of Fairland High School are both 6-0 forwards on the Ohio roster that have impressed Ward. They helped their team reach the state semifinals.

“We think we are going to have two great games,” Ward said. “The Slam-Jam Festival on Friday night is free and the players will be accessible to fans. Before the games start on Saturday night we have a picture session with the kids before they warm up and after the game we always encourage kids to stay and meet with fans.

“Our players always enjoy interacting with the fans and that just helps make the game even more special for everyone.”

More information on the game/tickets is available at

“The game has been on local TV in  northern Kentucky for the last 10 years and people ask why it has not been on TV in Ohio or maybe in eastern Kentucky or western Kentucky,” Ward said. “Friday night’s event is live streamed. So will the games on Saturday. And if you come to the game, we even give you a program for free.”