D&D Sports Network 2023 Zip Zone Express Tip-Off Classic Preview
The States Top Pre-Season basketball event the Zip Zone Express Tip-Off Classic is slated this year for November 25th, 2023.
The 2023 version of the event will feature some of the top teams, talent and names in Kentucky/West Virginia basketball. State champion, region champions, district champions and teams on the rise will be featured. Over 20 players with college offers will be competing on November 25th.
Butler County, Lyon County, Evangel Christian, Great Crossing, Martin County, Ashland, Pike Central, Lawrence County, Chapmanville, Tug Valley, Floyd Central, Boyd County, Prestonsburg, and Magoffin County will descend on Martin County High School in just a few short weeks.
2023 November 25th schedule of games & times:
(10:40) Prestonsburg vs Magoffin County 10:40
(12:00) Pike Central vs Ashland
(1:20) Lawrence County vs Butler County
(2:40) Evangel Christian vs Boyd County
(4:00) Lyon County vs Great Crossing
(5:20) Martin County vs Tug Valley (WV) (Girls)
(6:40) Tug Valley (WV) vs Floyd Central
(8:00) Martin County vs. Chapmanville (WV)
There’s several intriguing matchups. D&D Sports Network will take a look at those matchups in Part #2 of our coverage, but first we look at some of the top talent and players to keep an eye on throughout the day and the coming season.
Martin County has brought in the top talent in the state and nationally as (2024) Travis Perry the KHSAA’s all-time leading scorer will return this season with Lyon County (2025). Malachi Moreno a 6’11 Center of Great Crossing has quickly become one of the nations most sought after big men in the (2025) class. Ty Price (2025) from Butler County comes into the Zip Zone Classic as one of the nations most dynamic scorers. (2024) Zion Blevins the 6’7 Power forward from Champmanville comes is possibly the most dominant forward in the mountains and the D&D Sports Network coverage area. (2025) Zander Carter of Ashland , Vince Dawson of Great Crossing and many more top players will be competing in the premiere pre-season event in Kentucky. Let’s take a look at some of the top talent scheduled to be in attendance.
(2025) Malachi Moreno—Great Crossing:
Malachi Moreno is a four-star recruit in the (2025) class. He’s currently a top 10 player in many rankings in his class nationally at the post position. Last season for Great Crossing, Moreno averaged 14.9 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 4.8 blocks per game.
The 6’11 center had a tremendous showing during the summer with his AAU program Indiana Elite competing on the Adidas 3SSB Circuit. Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Ohio State, Michigan, and Notre Dame are just a handful of the schools showing interest in the big man. Moreno is scheduled to take a visit to The University of Kentucky in late October.
(2024) Travis Perry—Lyon County:
Kentucky’s all-time scoring leader will return to the Zip Zone as one of the most decorated high school players of the modern era. The 6’2 guard is a four star recruit and is ranked top 75 nationally overall. Last season for Lyon County, Perry averaged 31.6 points per game and in the process broke a 50+ year old scoring record held by the legendary “King” Kelly Coleman. His game has elevated even more since last season as his playmaking ability really shined this summer for his AAU program Indiana Elite. Perry has several major college programs recruiting him. Purdue, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Florida, Stanford, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, WKU, Missouri, Virginia, and UCLA are in the mix. The all-time scoring leader has said he would like to make his college decision prior to the beginning of this basketball season. We could very well know where Perry is playing college basketball by the time November 25th rolls around.
(2024) Zion Blevins—-Chapmanville (WV):
Zion Blevins 6’7 PF is currently a top 10 ranked player in his class in WV overall and the #2 ranked player at his position. Blevins is a 2022-2023 AA All-State 1st team selection and is considered the top big man in the D&D Sport coverage area. Last season for Coach Brad Napier, the versatile big man averaged 19.7 points per game, 10.7 boards & 2.8 blocks in leading Chapmonville to the AA West Virginia State Championship.
(2025) Ty Price—Butler County:
ESPN 4 Star Ty Price rewrote the record book in the state and nationally as a sophomore. 31.3 PPG 5.4 Assts 4.1 Rebs. 141 made 3s. According to Max Preps he’s one of only 10 players in the country to score 1000 in one season last year. He’s the 2nd youngest player in KHSAA History to score 1000 in season. Price holds several D1 offers with many more involved and with more sure to come. Price is a lethal three point shooter who has been compared to Steph Curry with his long distance accuracy. But his three ball is just a small part of his game. The electric guard can do a little bit of everything on the offensive end. Price might be the most skilled player player coming to the Zip Zone this year. Butler County will be a favorite in their region this season and Ty Price will be a major reason why.
(2025) Zander Carter—Ashland Paul Blazer:
Zander Carter is one of the top ranked players in the state of Kentucky. An overall top 5 player in the state and many believe to be the top shooting guard in his class. The 6’6 3-level scorer averaged close to 23 points per game last season as the (2025) guard led Ashland to a 23-12 record and an Elite 8 appearance in the Sweet Sixteen at Rupp Arena. Carter is committed to Liberty College which is a Division 1 program located in Lynchburg, Virginia. His overall skill set will be a must watch if you’re a basketball fan.
(2025) Vince Dawson—Great Crossing:
Dawson is 6’5 SG that can play multiple positions on the floor. An absolute matchup nightmare for opponents and is possibly the toughest matchup at the wing position in KHSAA. Very tough to guard and can knock down the mid-range jumper. Dawson has offers from EKU and Miami (OH) with other schools quickly jumping in the mix. A top 5 player in the state and is a player that should be on everyone’s watch list for Player of the Year as a senior. Dawson plays AAU for Indiana Elite 3SSB.
Here’s a look at 35 players you need to keep an eye on—
2024 Notable Players to watch:
Aden Barnett—Magoffin County:
Barnett will be a front runner for D&D Sports Network player of the Year this season. One of the most prolific scorers playing in the Zip Zone, Barnett is widely considered one of the top 2-3 seniors in the coverage area. Last season Barnett averaged 23 points per game. The Magoffin County senior is physically dominant. He uses his body well in traffic and finishes around the rim like very few do in the Mountains.
Jaylan Rigdon—Pike Central:
“Bird” as we have came to know him is another player that will be an early candidate for D&D Player of the year. The UPIKE commit has helped lead PC to back to back regional final four appearances. The scoring PG has already amassed 2.500 points during his high school career and is looking to add a 15th Region Championship to his trophy case before his career is done. One of the very best guards in the state going rim to rim. A top 20 player overall in his class in Kentucky.
Christian Doerr—Evangel Christian:
The 6’3 Combo guard averaged close to 19 points per game last season. The athletic guard provides a little bit of everything for his team and can play multiple positions. His stock has really risen during the summer and now has multiple Division 1 programs in the mix for his services including Youngstown State. Doerr is a Division 1 talent and makes his presence felt on every possession. A can’t miss talent at the Zip-Zone—Get your popcorn ready!
Luke Hale—Martin County:
One of the most explosive scorers in the Mountains, “Kool Hand” Luke Hale, has the ability to put his team on his back offensively. The senior guard has a ton of athleticism to go along with his knack for scoring the ball. Hale knows what it takes to win in big game scenarios and this will be another opportunity for the “Pre-Season Player of the Year Candidate” to showcase his skills on a big time stage. Last season, the Martin County guard was an All-Region and All-Region Tournament Selection. A next level talent that will no doubt be playing on the collegiate level.
Andrew Bloomfield—Lawrence County:
Bloomfield returns for his senior season after averaging 17.1 points per game last year for Lawrence County. Bloomfield is a perfect guard for Coach Thompson’s offensive style allows Andrew to excel. Whether it’s getting to the rim, converting in transition or knocking down the long ball Bloomfield is always a scoring threat when on the court.
Kyran Tilley—Evangel Christian:
Averaging more than 16 points per game last season Tilley’s stock has been on the rise during the off-season. His offensive ability has drawn interest from the next level programs and several schools are extending offers to the (2024) guard. Powerhouse NAIA Georgetown College is one of many that are targeting Kyran.
Halbert is an undersized forward that creates a ton of mismatches on the court. Last season for Prestonsburg, Halbert averaged 9 points per game and grabbed 4 rebounds for the BlackCats. Physically tough, Halbert can get to the rim and uses his strength to finish on bigger/taller players.
Brody Buck—Floyd Central:
High character, a team first guy Buck is maybe the most athletic player on Floyd Central’s team. Brody can guard multiple positions on the floor and is really good at finishing around the rim. Floyd Central can use the Athletic forward in a variety of ways and Buck is always willing to d o what’s necessary to win.
Jason Ellis—Boyd County:
A true X factor for Boyd County. Ellis averaged 12.2 points, 8.8 rebounds on 52% from the field last season. One of the top rebounders in the state returning, Ellis will be the key component in a trio with Spurlock and Hicks. If Boyd County is going to make a trip to Rupp Arena Jason will have to put up similar numbers as last season or better.
Ronnie Sammons—-Floyd Central:
The “Microwave” as he is known in the mountains can put points on the scoreboard in a hurry. Ronnie has a lethal mid range jumper and finishes as well around the basket as anyone that will be playing at the Zip Zone. Sammons isn’t the most gifted athletically but he understands how to play the game and plays with heart and passion. Floyd Central is expected to be a top 4 team in the 15th region this season and the Microwave will have a lot to do with how far the Jaguars will go this season in postseason play.
Braden Moore—Floyd Central:
Braden might be the most underrated player coming into the Zip Zone Classic this season and could be a dark horse for “POY” honors in the mountains. Moore is a “do it all” guard that can score the basketball in a variety of ways. He has good length and athleticism that allows him to create a shot against almost any defender. He defends well and understands how to play. Keep an eye on Braden Moore as they battle Tug Valley. Last season the Floyd Central guard averaged 14.1 points per game as a junior on 54% from the field. A next level talent with a tremendous skill set.
Dray Duff—Martin County:
If you’re looking for a Point Guard that will control the game’s pace, tempo, and flow then Duff is your guy. It’s not his stats that will blow you away, it’s the eye test watching him compete. The super quick PG is a master of game management. We encourage fans as a premier to the ZIp Zone Classic go back on the D&D Sports Network and watch Martin County’s game(s) in the 15th Region tournament. His spacing of the floor and controlling the game as a PG is a Master Class on how to control tempo and pace. Duff is Super quick and can get to his spots on the court to create for others. Duff is a kid that can play next level basketball at the right spot, his quickness helps make up for his lack of size, he’s a joy to watch!
Brayden McKenzie—Martin County:
Last season for the 15th Region Champions, McKenzie had a stellar Junior season averaging 15.2 points per game and 4.4 rebounds. Post season play is when McKenzie’s star really began to shine. Brayden had huge games and hit big shots when it mattered the most. The veteran guard could very well average 20+ for Martin County this season, we guarantee this kid is a Top5 Senior in the 15th Region, regardless of what some of the pre-season rankings showed. McKenzie is worth the price of admission, kid is a high flyer that can knock down the trifecta, better not sleep on this Cardinal.
The 6’3 guard is one of the most athletic guards on Prestonsburg’s roster. When Stindham is hot offensively there are very few who can fill it up from deep quite like the senior wing. Mason is a streaky shooter that can knock down the three and he can attack the basket. A talented senior for Coach Chase Parsley’s team. A scorer that is difficult to defend.
Blevins transfered to Chapmanville from Lincoln County this Summer, with the departure of All-State PG Sal Dean, Bevins will be an immediate impact player. Blevins an electric guard that will be an immediate top five player at his position in the mountains, if you don’t know him now’ we guarantee you’ll know him after the Zip-Zone.
Jacob Sturgell—Martin County:
One of the key pieces to Martin County’s success last season. The forward knocks down shots 18 feet and in, rebounds, sets good screens and can score around the bucket. He’s the type of player you can plug into different spots and he will be effective. Last season Sturgell averaged 8.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
Dawson Moore—Floyd Central:
Much like Braden Moore for FC, Dawson is a “do it all” type of guard for the Jaguars. Defensively, he can guard any position on the perimeter and he can drop 20 on an opponent on any given night. D&D Sports Network anticipates that Dawson will have a bigger impact on the scoreboard this season.
Zane Whitaker—Magoffin County:
The 6’5 forward is the X factor for this years Magoffin County team.
Long and with the ability to play multiple positions Whitaker will provide scoring, rebounding and defense for the Hornets. A true multidimensional player for Magoffin.
2025 Notable Players to watch:
Jaden Stewart—Pike Central:
The 6’5 forward better known to the D&D Sports Network fans as the “Beast from the East” had a breakout season last year for the Hawks. The versatile forward averaged 20 points per game for the back to back 60th District Champions. Known for his ability to knock down shots from deep, Stewart also has a really nice touch around the basket and can score on the blocks. A former 2025 D&D Sports Network Player of the Year for his class we look for the junior to be on a mission this season as Pike Central will be looking to make a strong run at a 15th Region Title. Jaden is a Top 25 player overall in his class in Kentucky.
Lawson Rice—Butler County:
Butler County is more than just the Ty Price show. They have weapons and one of those weapons is 6’6 Lawson Rice. Rice will be one of the more versatile players in the Zip Zone this year. His athleticism, length, and ability to finish at the rim will be a tough matchup for Lawrence County. Lawson averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds last season. A D1 talent that is getting better and better every day.
Cole Hicks—Boyd County:
Hicks averaged close to 18 points per game last season for Boyd County. Hicks is a three level scorer that has the ability to drop 30 on any given night. Boyd County has one of the best backcourts in the state with Hicks and Spurlock. We expect Cole to have a monster year in the 16th region.
6’3 forward Connor Napier is considered to be one the top post players in the D&D Sports Network coverage area. Last season, the bruising/physical forward for Prestonsburg averaged 10 points and 6 rebounds per game earning All-58th District honors. Napier was a big reason why Prestonsburg had a 9+ game improvement from the previous season. The big man can finish around the bucket, sets hard screens, takes charges and can finish off pick and roll action.
Joey Golihue—Tug Valley:
The 6’2 All-State Selection in WV Class A averaged close to 18 points per game last season. Joey is an elite level scorer and one of the best players in his class in WV. The three level scorer is a major reason why Tug Valley will be competing for another state championship this season. Golihue is guaranteed to put on a show come November 25th.
Ashton Davis—Tug Valley:
Davis is another Tug Valley guard that’s a tough matchup nigh in and night out. Davis averaged double figures and was an all-state player for Valley last season. We expect Davis to be more active on the scoring end this season with the departure Parker Davis.
If you’ve been paying attention during the off-season with summer basketball & AAU you know why Estridge is an individual you will want to keep an eye on. The 6’1 guard has had a tremendous off-season for the BlackCats and for D&D Mountain Elite. Estridge is a versatile guard. Estridge’s ability to knock down the long ball and finish in transition will be a huge plus for Coach Chase Parsley’s team this year. Jaxon is an athletic wing that can guard multiple positions, he’s definitely a player you’ll want to keep an eye on as the season rolls around, could be the X-factor for the BlackCats. Jaxon plays AAU for D&D Mountain Elite.
Peyton Davis—Martin County:
The “Glue Guy” for the Cardinals last season. Davis did whatever was needed to help his teammates and Coach James. If you need defense he’s your man, if you need someone to Knock down shots he’s your guy. He can handle the basketball, facilitate, and play off the basketball. He is Mr. Versatility for Martin County. Davis plays AAU for D&D Mountain Elite. He has several next level programs interested in him.
Briar Griffin—Butler County:
Griffin is a transfer from Bowling Green. The 6’0 guard by many experts is considered a top 25 player in the state in his class and is one of the best on ball defenders in Western Kentucky. An elite level handler. Briar figures to be the missing piece Butler County was needing to make a run at the 3rd region championship.
There’s a lot of mystery with this seasons Prestonsburg team. The one thing that’s not a mystery for the BlackCats is that they have several (2025’s) that will be playing a key role with this years squad. One of those is 6’4 forward Kaden Allen. Allen averaged 8 points and 5 rebounds a game last season and was a top four scorer on the team. Allen is back and has gained 10+ pounds which will be a huge plus for Prestonsburg this season.
2025 Transfers to Watch:
Jacob Slone—Pike Central:
Slone is a 6’1 guard that played for Prestonsburg last season and averaged a little over 7 points a game for the BlackCats. Slone could be the missing piece to Pike Central’s quest for the schools first region championship in program history. The junior’s ability to score “on or off the ball” makes him one of the top scoring 2025 guards in the 15th Region coming into the 2023-2024 season. Slone plays AAU for D&D Mountain Elite.
The 6’2 forward comes to Prestonsburg via Martin County. Last season for the Cardinals Ferrell averaged 3.3 points per game in limited action. Ethan is expected to play a larger role for the BlackCats this season as the BlackCats lost three seniors to graduation. The swing forward can knock down open shots from the perimeter and finish around the rim. Ethan had an outstanding summer with Prestonsburg during summer basketball averaging double digits, he could be the piece that makes Prestonsburg a contender this season. Ethan plays AAU for D&D Mountain Elite.
2026 Notable Players to Watch:
Jacob Spurlock—Boyd County:
(2026) Jacob Spurlock of Boyd County established himself last season as one of the top scorers in the 16th region and in the mountains as a freshman. Spurlock averaged 19.8 points per game for Boyd County. Spurlock was top 5 in the state in the (2026) class in scoring last season. The sharp shooting guard is drawing major interest from next level programs and had a tremendous summer on the highly competitive 3SSB Circuit playing for Indiana Elite. Spurlock is a shot maker from any spot on the floor. An overall top 10 player in his Class and ranked either 1st or 2nd at his position in the state for (2026) guards. A 16th All-Region performer and has already eclipsed 1,000 points for his career.
Chris Spriggs—Floyd Central:
Spriggs is a former D&D Sports Network player of the Year in his class and has consistently been ranked as one of the top players in his class in the mountains. Last season as a freshman the young guard was the floor general for one of the top teams in the 15th Region. Chris has great floor awareness and understands how to get to his spots on the floor and create for others. The lefty has the ability to give you 20 on any given night but with the firepower around him he doesn’t have to and does an excellent job setting his teammates up for easy baskets. Spriggs is one of the best PG’s you will see at the Zip Zone. A very exciting player to watch.
Braydun Ferris—Tug Valley:
The point guard for Tug Valley Is much like Chris Spriggs in that he’s one of the top PG’s in the Mountains regardless of class. Last season, Braydun was an All-State performer as a freshman in West Virginia. By the time Ferris is a senior he could very well be the most sought after guard in Class A West Virginia. He is a next level performer.
Braxton Davis—Lawrence County:
One of the most offensively gifted guards in any class. Davis can shoot it, drive it, create for others and can handle the basketball at an elite level. The sophomore PG can play on the ball or off the ball and is one of the top players in his class in the mountains. With the departure of multiple upperclassman this season could be Braxton’s coming out party for the Bulldogs. A player to watch this season in the 15th Region.
2027 Notable Players to Watch:
The 6’2 Point Guard/Shooting Guard was a top #4 scorer in the state last season in his class as an 8th grader playing on the varsity level for Prestonsburg. The three level scorer is ranked 1st or 2nd at his position in Kentucky in the (2027) class depending on what ranking site you go by.
A nationally ranked player, Keathley is one of the more skilled players that will be competing at the Zip Zone. Known as a prolific scorer, Keathley also led Prestonsburg in total assists last season. An All-58th District selection, 2nd team All-Mountain member and was named to the 8th grade All-State Team last season for the BlackCats. Braxton Plays AAU for Midwest Basketball Club 3SSB.
Hayden Perry—Lawrence County:
Perry is a 6’3 wing/shooting guard that burst on to the scene last season starting for Lawrence County as an 8th grader. Hayden is one of the top ranked guards in his class in Kentucky depending on what rankings site he is a top 5th to 7th player at his position and was a top six scorer in the state last season in his class. Perry is one of the premier guards in the mountains and is known for his long distance shooting ability, Perry also does a good job of rebounding and finding shot opportunities in the paint. An All-58th District selection last season Perry was a huge reason why Lawrence County won the 58th district championship.
A ton of talent will be in the building. We know with roster changes and player improvement we just might have missed a player or two in our preview. There will certainly be some surprises at the Zip Zone on November 25th. D&D Sports Network will be bringing you the matchup(s) breakdown in our Part #2 preview. (Coming Soon)