Four Northern Kentucky seniors named finalists for Mr./Miss Basketball

Kentucky's 2022 Mr. and Miss Basketball Candidates were announced Friday morning.

The finalists were decided as part of a partnership between the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation (KLEF) and the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches (KABC). Senior student athletes have been selected as Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball candidates.

A ballot will be sent out via email to head coaches in Kentucky, members of Kentucky sports media and previous Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball recipients. 

Deadline for ballots is 11:59 PM (EST) Friday, February 25.

Northern Kentucky celebrates four finalists this morning. 

The Ninth Region has two co-finalists for the Miss Basketball award.

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Dixie Heights senior Madelyn Lawson and her awards for grabbing her 1,000th career rebound Jan. 22 as Dixie Heights defeated Lloyd Memorial 67-37 in KHSAA girls basketball Jan. 25, 2022 at Dixie Heights High School, Edgewood, Ky.

Madelyn Lawson of Dixie Heights is one of them. She averages 18 points and eight rebounds this season and has more than 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career, one of two Dixie players to reach 1,000 in both categories.

She has led Dixie to a 22-6 record this year as the Colonels begin defense of their 2021 Ninth Region championship next week in the 34th District Tournament.

Newport Central Catholic senior Rylee Turner is the other co-finalist for the Thoroughbreds, who are 18-10 this season. She is averaging 26 points and 12 rebounds this season. On Feb. 8, she collected her 1,000th career rebound and had nearly 1,900 career points as of Feb. 18.

Newport Central Catholic Rylee Turner (23) drives to the basket against Seton Shannon Ott (4) in the second half at Newport Central Catholic High School. Dec. 22, 2021

Walton-Verona guard Brant Smithers is the Mr. Basketball finalist for the Eighth Region.

Smithers averages 21.7 points per game with 73 3-pointers for the Bearcats, who were 16-10 heading into their regular-season home finale against Oldham County Friday night.

Covington Catholic senior Mitchell Rylee is the finalist for the Ninth Region.

The 6-foot-8 center averages 16.2 points and 7.6 rebounds for the Colonels, who are 21-4 and ranked third in the Associated Press state poll entering next week’s 35th District Tournament.

Rylee was  shooting 73 percent from the floor for the season on 233 attempts.

Highlands' Coby Kramer tries to disrupt the shot of Walton-Verona senior Brant Smithers as Walton-Verona defeated Highlands 97-94 in the KHSAA high school boys basketball season opener for both teams Nov. 30, 2021, at Highlands High School, Fort Thomas, Ky. It was Highlands' season opener after winning the Sweet 16 state championship in April.

MORE: CovCath beats North Laurel as high school basketball returns to NKU

Cooper boys head coach Tim Sullivan and Conner head girls coach Michelle Gambrel were named the Ninth Region coaches of the year by the KABC.

Sullivan has led Cooper to a 20-5 record after winning only five games last season.

Gambrel has led the Cougars to a 22-3 record, and their current 17-game winning streak is one of the longest in the state.

MORE: See which Northern Kentucky coaches have won 400 games

Covington Catholic's Mitchell Rylee eyes a short jump shot for the Colonels at the fifth-annual Dan Tieman Classic at BB&T Arena, Feb. 11, 2022.

The winners of Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball will be announced during an in-person ceremony Sunday, March 20 in Lexington. Here is more information on the ceremony.

The ceremony serves as a fundraiser for the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation. To learn more about KLEF’s mission and its programs and services, visit

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