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The Anderson County boys' basketball team will get a chance to measure itself against a pair of 15th Region teams during the Kentucky Bank Challenge, to be held at Rowan County High School on Friday and Saturday.
Friday, the Bearcats take on Pikeville at 7:45 p.m.
Anderson coach Glen Drury says the Panthers should give Anderson a stern test despite starting the season with five straight losses.
“They have some size,” Drury said. “We will have to try to get up and down the floor on them.”
The Panthers' start is uncharacteristic as they had experienced three consecutive 20-win seasons. A year ago, Pikeville took the 59th District championship and advanced to the 15th Region semi-finals before falling to eventual champ Johnson Central.
Center Zach Huffman (6-foot-5) and forward Gaige Ray (6-4) could give Anderson major troubles. Huffman is a transfer from Shelby Valley.
Anderson and Pikeville already have one common opponent. Oldham County defeated the Bearcats 79-71 last Tuesday in Buckner, then beat Pikeville, 57-55, in the Kentucky Farm Bureau Classic at Prestonsburg on Saturday.
Saturday, the Bearcats return to Rowan County for a contest against another 15th Region power, East Ridge. The Warriors are expected to contend for the regional championship in March. Coached by veteran Randy McCoy, East Ridge has nearly a dozen players back from last year's regional semi-finalist. Junior guard Johnny Miller (5-10) is considered one of eastern Kentucky's best.
After playing East Ridge, the Bearcats will be off until Dec. 26, when they play Estill County in the Powell County holiday tournament.