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No one is expecting Anderson County and Shelby County o play for the boys' Eighth Region championship this season. But that does not mean Friday's game between the old rivals is not important. In fact, it could have enormous post-season implications for both clubs.
Anderson is in a major rebuilding mode, compounded by key injuries. The Bearcats have opened 1-2 and junior point guard Ethan Kelly, one of only two Anderson players with significant varsity experience, has not made his first practice. Kelly suffered an injury in football and might be out for the season, according to Anderson coach Glen Drury.
Another key player, Spencer Ruggles, has been playing with a shoulder injury, also suffered during the football season.
Senior guard Erik Newton is the only Anderson player with significant varsity experience.
Ironically, the Bearcats are more experienced than Shelby, which was was decimated by the opening of Collins High School this year. With no experienced players and a new coach in Rick Parsons, Shelby has struggled early, losing its first five outings by an average of just over 25 points a game. In the season opener, Shelby committed 41 turnovers against Paul L. Dunbar.
“They are young and inexperienced, a lot like we are,” Anderson coach Glen Drury said.
The game is by far the most important of the young season, given the post-season ramifications.
“We want to be playing well in our (district) seeding games,” Drury said.
Monday, Anderson will open play in the McCreary County Invitational, playing 12th Region favorite Wayne County in the tourney opener.