RAIDERS HONORED: Trimble County head coach Kerrie Stewart directs senior guard Paige Black during last month’s All “A” Classic State Finals. Stewart has been voted Coach of the Year in the Eighth Region and Black has been named to the all regional team. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
RAIDERS HONORED: Trimble County head coach Kerrie Stewart directs senior guard Paige Black during last month’s All “A” Classic State Finals. Stewart has been voted Coach of the Year in the Eighth Region and Black has been named to the all regional team. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
Not many coaches are more modest than Kerrie Stewart. So when the Trimble County girls basketball coach deflects any attention for her success, it's easy to take her at face value.

Stewart was named the Eighth Region Coach of the Year on Thursday in voting by the region coaches - the second time the veteran coach has been selected for the honor, giving her a chance to reflect on everyone who has helped her along the way.

"It's a huge honor when your peers vote for you for an award like this," Stewart said. "But this could never have happened if not for the very good players who have made this season such an absolute joy and my excellent group of assistant coaches. If it wasn't for my assistants, I'm not sure I could even run a practice. I really owe it to the players and coaches."

One of those players, senior Paige Black, was also honored as an All Eighth Region selection in voting by coaches.

Trimble County currently sits at 15-7 with one week left in the regular season and four of those losses coming by three points or less. And despite being the third-smallest school in the 17-team regional field, Trimble is currently third in the Litkenhaus Ratings (similar to the Sagarin Ratings) behind only Anderson County (second overall) and Simon Kenton (fourth).

Two of Trimble's losses have come in 29th District play where the Raiders fell to Oldham County by one point and South Oldham by three. Being the highest-ranked team in the district will mean nothing if the Raiders can't score a win in the postseason.

"Our motto all season long has been 'Nothing But Nets,' and we accomplished the first goal by winning the All 'A,'" Stewart said. "But we want to prove that we're number one in the Lit Ratings and that means going out and getting a win in the district, winning the district and hopefully making some noise in the region."

Trimble County hasn't won a district title since 1981 and hasn't qualified for the Eighth Region tournament since 2001 in former coach J.T. Peniston's final season.

Stewart was an assistant coach on that last regional team and earlier played for Peniston as a student at Trimble County.

"I am very fortunate to have worked alongside the greatest of mentors, Mr. J.T. Peniston," Stewart said. "He not only shared his basketball knowledge, but was a great example of how a coach should treat players, parents, fellow coaches and officials. I hope I have been half the role model to my players that he was to me, both when I played for and coached with him."

Stewart was also quick to thank her husband, Jamie, for standing by her all of these years.

"It's not easy being a coach's husband. I really couldn't have done it without him," Stewart said. "I'm gone most of the time and dinner is almost always popcorn and hot dogs. But he's been so supportive and understanding. He's been my rock."

Being named to the All Eighth Region team is just the latest in what will be a string of awards this season for Black.

The 5-foot-9 senior guard, who has Hanover College among her schools being considered at the next level, was named to the All "A" Classic State Finals All-Tournament team last week after leading the Raiders to an upset of tourney favorite Murray in the opening round.

Black currently leads the Courierarea in scoring a 17.3 points per game but Stewart said her value is much deeper than mere points.

"She's not only a special player, but she's also a special young lady," Stewart said. "She's a leader on the team and she's a leader in this building. She is just such a positive young lady and a joy to be around.

"One of the greatest things about Paige is that she is humble enough to recognize that without her teammates she wouldn't have had the success she has had," Stewart said. "She has made them better but they have made her better as well."

Anderson County's Makenzie Cann - a University of Cincinnati signee who is among the seven finalists for Kentucky's Miss Basketball - was voted as the Player of the Year and teammate Eriel McKee also earned all-region honors.

The rest of the All-Eighth Region team includes: Abby Owings, Simon Kenton; Brooke Dossett, Gallatin Co.; Ashley McMurtrey, Oldham Co.; Hannah Dossett, Gallatin Co.; Hailey Ison, Walton-Verona; MacKenzie Raizor, Shelby Co.; MacKenzie Myers, Spencer Co.; Rachel Cox, Simon Kenton; Michelle Roberts, Collins; Allie Mills, Walton-Verona; Macy Wright, Grant Co.; and Savannah Raizor, Shelby Co.

The Eighth Region banquet will be held at Henry County High School on Monday, March 17.

Trimble County has three games left in the regular season. The Raiders host Henry County on Tuesday, travel to Western Hills on Wednesday and visit John Hardin on Friday. Then it's on to the 29th District Tournament at North Oldham the following week.

Regardless of how the season turns out, Stewart already believes this one has been a success.

"This is just a fun team to be around and they have been a joy to coach," Stewart said. "Regardless of the outcome of a game, whether they win or lose, they always get in the prayer circle after the game with the other team and I think that shows the kind of girls they are. They send out a positive vibe and represent their school with class."