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Jones leads all-region

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By Mickey Patterson

OWENTON – South Oldham High School senior Lauren Jones has been selected to the coaches All-Eighth Region squad for the third year in a row. Jones finished second in the voting for player of the year to Shelby County’s Raechelle Gray by just seven votes, 164 to 157. “They were really close to each other last year when Whitney Ballinger won it,” SOHS coach Frank Wright said. “I would say with the closeness of the vote, they are one and one-A.” Wright was also honored by the coaches being selected as the region’s Coach of the Year. Jones was joined on the team by Oldham County High School senior Lindsay Melton and North Oldham senior Emily Crutcher. Jones led the Lady Dragons to a 22-8 record this year and the regional semifinals where SOHS fell to eventual regional champion Simon Kenton. Jones became the school’s all-time leading scorer this season, surpassing 2,000 career points while averaging 20.5 points a game to go with five rebounds. She was also ranked in the top five in free throw shooting, hitting 89 percent. “She got a lot more assertive this year where when she was younger she could be a little passive,” Wright said. “She has gotten to the point where she initiates contact and can post up. She’s just gotten stronger physically and mentally in her approach to the game.” Jones also finished second to Gray in the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches player of the year voting giving Gray the region’s automatic tryout for the state all-star team. Wright said Jones, who was a member of the junior all-star team last summer, will still likely get a tryout for the annual series with Indiana. “I would hope so,” Wright said. “She’s been a pretty steady performer and been among the state leaders in a lot of categories for the past few years.” Jones, who has committed to play at Austin Peay University next year, was also remarkably consistent in her appearances starting every varsity game since her freshman season. “She has started every game since I have been here,” Wright said. “Without her, I’ll be a lot dumber coach from here on out.” Melton made the team for the second year in a row. The 6-foot-1 forward averaged 11 points a game for the Lady Colonels leading them to the district title with an upset win over SOHS en route to being named the tourney’s MVP. A three-year starter, she has signed to play at Lindsey Wilson College.

Crutcher completed a star-crossed career this year that was marked by injuries with her senior season starting with her missing the first part of the season after having her tonsils removed and the second half of the season with a torn ACL, her third knee injury. A four-year starter for the Lady Mustangs, she is still being pursued by several local small colleges to play. She averaged 16 points a game during her senior season before going down with the knee injury.

All Eighth RegionPlayer of the YearRaechelle Gray - Shelby Co.Lauren Jones - SOHSChelsea Tolliver - Simon Kenton Courtney Milam - Anderson Co. Lauren Hargett - Walton-VeronaKelsey Williams - Owen Co. Amber Girdy - Carroll Co. Lauren Conley - Simon Kenton Lindsay Melton - OCHSJaclyn Stith - Williamstown Lindsay Fultz - Anderson Co. Ashley Jones - Gallatin Co. Jennica Garitty - Shelby Co. Emily Crutcher - NOHS Ashleigh Miller - Trimble Co.Coach of the YearFrank Wright - SOHS

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