Early April annually is when travel basketball gets in full swing. One of the first premier events of the midwest is the Bearcat Classic in Cincinnati, Ohio. This weekend over 200 teams came to the Queen City in hopes of being crowned champions. Numerous Kentucky teams had great showings with three bringing home first place finishes.
CLASS OF 2025
Twenty teams entered the fourth grade division this weekend. The Kentucky Playmakers, predominantly from the London, KY area, took the crown back down I-75. In pool play they went 3-0 with wins over Team Coal, Cincinnati Lakers and SMAC Primetime. In bracket play, the Playmakers got to the finals with a semi-final win over the PAL Dynasty. In the championship game they were able to squeak out a 38-35 win over the KY Kings for the championship.
CLASS OF 2022
Thirty-six teams lined up for the Bearcat Classic Championship in the 2022 division. Go Hard In The Paint Elite from Louisville has been one of the nations best programs in the 2022 division, consistently being ranked nationally in the top 25 or right on the fringe. The GHITP Elite team is off to another good start in 2017 as they claimed the title at the Bearcat Classic.
James Schooler, current Fern Creek High School coach, is the program director and his boys are for real. GHITP Elite rolled through pool play winning each game by 16 points or more. In bracket play they defeated Indiana Blizzard 61-43, North Coast Blue Chips 62-38 and SMAC Premier 63-47 in the championship en route to a dominant performance all weekend.
CLASS OF 2020
Forty teams entered the 2020 division at the Bearcat Classic. NKY’s Finest took the championship trophy home across the river to Northern Kentucky. In pool play they went 3-0 with wins over SMAC Primetime 2020, Indiana Elite SE and Trio Elite. All wins in pool play were by 15 plus points.
NKY’s Finest knocked off Club Ohio Basketball in the quarter-finals setting up a showdown in the semi-finals with Mid Ohio Pumas. The Pumas have been a national force in this class for the last five years. Star player for the Pumas, Jack Pugh, has re-classified to the 2021 class and moved to San Diego but this team was still loaded. NKY’s Finest was able to hold them off and advance to the finals with a 61-60 win. In the championship found, NKY’s Finest knocked off the Ohio Ballers for the title.