Blake and Cayden Reed have transferred from Bracken County to Mason County for the 2023-24 school year.
Blake averaged 28.6 ppg as a junior and Cayden averaged 16.6 ppg as a sophomore at Bracken County this past season.
What happened at Bracken County?
Bracken County hired Adam Reed as their head coach on June 19th, 2019.
Things started off slow in the first two years with COVID-19, the Reed brothers’ youth, and a tough schedule. The Polar Bears had a combined record of 19-40 those two seasons.
After that, Mason County and Bracken County did not play in the regular season in 2021-22 or 2022-23 due to tension between the programs.
Then came year three.
Bracken County had their best season in over half a century in 2021-22 season. The won their first 10th Region All “A” Classic since 1998, made it to the region championship for the first time since 1955, and won their most games (24) since 1961.
Adam Reed was named KABC Coach of the Year for the historic season.
Then came year four.
Bracken County started off the season right where they left off last year. They won four straight over Bourbon County, Scott, Central Hardin, and Montgomery County.
They then lost senior JuShod Commodore, and he did not return until the week before the district tournament. Still, the Polar Bears kept fighting.
They fell 79-70 at home vs. Covington Catholic. After that, they running clocked Pendleton County and defeated Ashland and Augusta on back-to-back nights by 20 points each.
The Polar Bears went down to the Pikeville Invitational Tournament where they won two games over Dunbar and Perry County Central and lost to Harlan.
The turning point of the season is when they lost on a last second shot to Mason County in the Lexington Catholic Holiday Classic, 65-63. After that loss, Bracken lost three straight to Holy Cross and Campbell County twice.
Bracken County was then upset by Paris 73-68 in the 10th Region All “A” Classic.
One week later they played at Harrison County.
Coach Adam Reed was thrown out of the game after receiving two technicals.
Coach Reed was suspended the standard three games by the KHSAA and the Bracken County administration suspended him from practices as well.
Then in early February an incident occurred in practice. As a result, the Bracken County administration gave Coach Reed a one game suspension. Furthermore, an administrator attended all practices and games for the remainder of the season.
Bracken County’s season ended at 16-14 when they lost to Mason County 43-37 in the first round of the district tournament.
During the last two seasons the Polar Bears struggled with depth and height, routinely playing five maybe six players for the entire 32 minutes.
The final straw came this summer. Bracken County had to cancel their summer basketball games due to lack of players. They only had a handful of players showing up to summer practices and could not get a consistent five to guarantee a summer team. They were also going to struggle to field at JV team next year.
Future at Mason County:
Mason County lost four key players and over 50 points per game: Terrell Henry, Riley Mastin, KG Walton, and Philip Bierley. The only starter they returned was Braylon Hamilton, who averaged 10 points per game. They also return Carter McClanahan, Jake Feldhaus, Cole Horch, Connor Butler, and Landon Scilley to name a few. All saw a decent amount of varsity minutes and added to the Royals’ extreme depth last season.
Now senior Blake Reed has scored 3,481 points, made 442 threes, and 792 free throws for his career. All of these are on pace to be in the top three in KHSAA history. Blake was 73 points away from breaking Bracken County’s all-time scoring record held by Austin Crawford. He scored 362 points at Augusta as an 7th-grader and 3,119 points at Bracken County.
Now junior Cayden Reed has scored 1,481 points in his career.
The Reeds are familiar with Mason County. They attended Mason County through middle school and played with their current players before moving to Augusta.
Mason County certainly rises to one of the favorites to win the 10th Region title.
They will still need to be ruled eligible by the KHSAA before the regular season begins.
Future at Bracken County:
It is difficult to predict the returning Polar Bears for next season. However, it will take a major rebuilding effort. The next coach will need to recruit players who have quit in the past and were going to quit this upcoming season back to the program.
Bracken County will need to change their schedule as well. They were set to play teams like Newport, Covington Catholic, Great Crossing, and Lexington Catholic. They were also scheduled to attend the King of the Bluegrass Tournament in Louisville.
Bracken County is still searching for their first district championship since 1999 and it looked like next year was going to be their shot.