BROOKSVILLE, Ky. (BVM) – Though only a sophomore, Bracken County guard Blake Reed knows how to put up points in bunches. Over his three years playing for the Polar Bears, Reed has put up 2,262 points with 968 coming this past season, good for the third most in the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
“I always knew I could score with the best of them. It’s always my goal to score,” Reed said. “I like scoring, it’s a better part of the game. To be in the top 10, the top five is a great accomplishment.”
Reed helped the Polar Bears to a 24-10 record and an appearance in the 10th region championship, though the team would fall to George Rogers Clark 80-45. This was a historic accomplishment in and of itself as it was the first time Bracken County had reached the regional championship game since 1955, a 67-year wait.
“At the beginning of the year, we probably didn’t fill up 10% of the stands at the school,” Reed said. “During the end at the tournaments we were packing houses, having people not even from our county come around and watch us play.”
Taking you back to 1955… Bracken County’s last appearance in the Region Championship game.
Champions: 1924, 1925, 1939, 1940, 1944, 1955
Runner-ups: 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953
— Polar Bears (@brackencounty) March 8, 2022
Leading the way was Reed who averaged a whopping 28.5 points, good for sixth in the state, with 4.9 rebounds. Scoring nearly 1,000 points is no easy feat and Reed did most of his damage from beyond the arc, hitting a KHSAA-leading and program record 123 3-pointers or nearly 38% of his points throughout the season. His average of 3.6 made 3-pointers helped Reed finish No. 3 in the KHSAA in the category.
“I put a lot of time in during the summer every year, shooting a lot,” Reed said. “I’m really confident when I shoot. I think every shot is going to go in, that helps me a lot. I shot high percentage shots this year, I got to my spots and let it fly whenever.”
Blake Reed led the KHSAA with 123 threes this season shooting at 37.8%. This is tied for 5th most in KHSAA history and the most in Bracken County history. Blake also broke the program record for most threes in a game this season (10). pic.twitter.com/C61dfCCFTG
— Polar Bears (@brackencounty) March 10, 2022
After joining the Polar Bears as an eighth grader, Reed has proven he can score, specifically from deep. In his first season of 2019-20, the guard scored 676 points, averaging 22.5 points, while hitting 70 3-point shots. The next year, he scored 618 points, averaging 22.9 points, while hitting 88 3-pointers.
“The three keeps us in games, gets us in games and gets the team into it,” Reed said. “When I’m making shots it seems like everyone is making shots.”
With his ability to hit from deep so early in his career, Reed has found himself within striking distance of a number of KHSAA career records.
So far in his Polar Bears career, the 5-foot-11 sophomore guard has scored 2,262 points while attempting 780 3-point shots and making 281 of them. If you add in his seventh grade season at Augusta High School to the totals, Reed has scored 2,624 points while attempting 930 3-point shots and making 333. The current KHSAA career records for the three categories are 4,337 points scored, 1,191 3-pointers attempted and 463 3-pointers made.
With two years left in his career, Reed may not be able to get the 1,713 points he’d need to score to break the career scoring mark as he’d have to have back-to-back seasons as good as he had this past season, which is easier said than done. The 3-point marks are within reach however. Sitting only 261 attempts and 130 made shots away from the records and shooting an average of 233 attempts and making an average of 83 each season, Reed should be able to hit those marks at some point in his senior campaign.
“It’s something I’ve wanted. Hopefully I will get them next year,” Reed said. “That would mean a lot. My goal is to get to the next level so breaking these records gets my name out there, gets me farther in the game of basketball. Whatever I can do to help myself go to the next level I’ll do it.”
While his scoring is clearly elite, Reed’s performances haven’t quite paid off in terms of college attention. The sophomore has not yet received Division I attention despite a clear ability to hit from deep, something college coaches have wanted more and more in recent years. With a career 35.8% average from beyond the arch, Reed doesn’t just throw up bad deep shots but rather takes efficient chances away from the paint.
“I think the way I score translates to the next level pretty well,” Reed said. “Shooting the ball is what the game has come to now and if you can put the ball in the hole you’ll get a spot.”
The more likely reason for the lack of attention on Reed from bigger programs is that he plays for a small school, with an average enrollment of 380 students, in a city of less than 10,000. Add in the fact the program is not historically significant in the state and that’s a recipe for an elite player to be overlooked.
“I’ve had a couple small colleges in Kentucky talk to me, but this summer I expect to get a couple offers and get my game more on the national stage,” Reed said. “Getting an education, going to college, playing basketball and hopefully eventually being paid to play basketball is my dream. It’s been my dream for as long as I can remember.”
However, thoughts about his future take a backseat to Reed’s focus on bringing the Polar Bears to the Sweet 16 and maybe even a state title.
“I hope to win the district tournament, the All-A tournament and play at Rupp Arena,” Reed said. “I think [winning regionals] would mean everything for me and the community of Bracken County. We haven’t won a regional tournament since 1955, almost 70 years, it would be big time.”
With his ability to spot up from 3-point land, expect Reed’s shooting to translate well at the next level. As he continues his Bracken County career, the guard will inch ever closer to Kentucky basketball history. Though he may not have the attention of major programs yet, if a program is willing to take a chance on this small-school hooper, they will certainly be rewarded.