The Pike Central Basketball Program is at different places in the Road to Rupp. The Hawks were one win away from a birth in the sweet sixteen last season and look to take the final step while the Lady Hawks are under a new coach with ties to the 15th Region.
The Lady Hawks had major changes in the program during this off season. With Denise Campbell stepping down, to take a position in the Pikeville Independent School System, following a 12-18 season that saw her team finish runner up in the 60th District.
Enter new Head Coach Bobby Spears. Spears last coached in the 15th Region for Pikeville in from 2012/13 to 2015/2016.
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING – The Lady Hawks return their two leading scorers from a a year ago. Senior Emalie Tackett had a big year last season as Tackett averaged 13.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Tackett, one of the best bigs in our area, shot 43% from the floor.
Junior Hannah May averaged 12.3 point per game a season ago. The shifty guard made a living at the foul line. She shot 137 free throw attempts making 103 on the year.
KEY LOSSES – The Lady Hawks lost 4 Seniors from a year ago. Alexis Taylor (2.9 PPG and 4.3 RPG), Lacota Johnson (2.9 PPG), Sarah Justice and Tomie Allen. The four players provided leadership for the young hawks and will be missed.
Kylea Weddington the fabulous freshman has now transferred to Phelps. Weddington averaged nearly 6 points and 3.5 rebounds a game for the Lady Hawks.
FINAL THOUGHTS – New Coach and new system may take a few games for these Hawks to start to fly but as the season progresses look out for this group.
The Hawks were one win away from heading to Rupp last season. The run they made in the Regional Tournament was special and left Hawk fans wanting more.
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS – Look no further than the point guard position as Jaylan “Bird” Rigdon will lead the Hawks this season. Rigdon is one of the premiere point guards in our coverage area. Rigdon has speed, can create his own short and physical enough to rebounds with the bigs. Rigdon averaged 18.7 PPG while grabbing an impressive 4.6 rebounds per contest. The leadership he brings will be the key to the Hawks success.
Did someone say “bigs”? Pike central has one of the best young bigs in the area with the “Beast from the East”, Jayden Stewart. The regional tournament showed everyone just how good this sophomore will be. Stewart averaged 12.3 points and 6.6 rebounds a game last season. We look for these numbers to go up next season.
Peyton Compton, the sharp shooting guard, averaged 7.8 points per game on his 43% 3 point shooting. Compton is a very physical guard who can really lock down a defender.
Blake Adams & Isaac Reynolds will bring some veteran leadership and also help out defensively for Coach Ratliff. The youth movement continues for the Hawks. Sophomore Brad Biliter will be a physical guard/forward that will provide help on the glass. As for extra scoring punch watch for Sophomore Kaden Crum. Crum has came out of the gate this pre-season proving to be a valuable asset on both sides of the ball.
KEY LOSSES – The Hawks lost arguably one of the most athletic players in the Region a year ago in Josh DuToit. DuToit a long athletic wing who could shoot like a guard and rebound like a big will be missed . DuToit averaged a team high 21.6 points per game while grabbing 8 rebounds a contest.
FINAL THOUGHTS – The Hawks have the pieces for second year head coach Eric Ratliff to make another deep run in the Region. The question is depth but no doubt with their “Big 3” it should be fun to watch.