Athletes from around the area are headed for Louisville to compete in the state track and field championships today and Saturday at Owsley Frazier Cardinal Park.
A number of them are serious contenders for championships in their respective classes, while many more will compete for medals that go to the top eight finishers in each event.
The meet begins at 2:30 p.m. today with the Class AA section, which includes athletes from Boyle County, Casey County, Garrard County and Mercer County.
The Class A section, which includes Burgin and Danville, is at 8 a.m. Saturday, and the Class AAA section, which includes Lincoln County, is at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Lane assignments for the meet can be found at this link. Significant results for local teams and athletes will be on Twitter at @amnewssports, with more detailed information to follow at amnews.com and in Sunday’s Advocate.
The high school sports year starts to finish Thursday when 20 Advocate-area tennis players take their swings in the opening round of the state tennis championships, the first of four spring sports championships to be contested in the coming weeks.
First- and second-round matches will be played Thursday in Lexington at the University of Kentucky’s Boone-Downing Tennis Complex, where most of the tournament will take place, and at Shillito Park, where the first two rounds of boys matches will be played.
Here are the local athletes in the brackets, with their first-round opponents:
- Boys singles: Hunter Pierce, Casey County (vs. co-No. 9 seed David Hess, duPont Manual); Jacob Crowell, Mercer County (vs. co-No. 9 seed Ryo Takeda, Henry Clay).
- Boys doubles: Taylor Leigh-Skyler Wright, Casey County (vs. co-No. 9 seeds Ryan Cunningham-Scott Drees, Covington Catholic); Spencer Anderson-Ethan Smith, Garrard County (vs. Zach Jones-Mitch Reynolds, Rose Hill Christian); J.T. Henderson-Ben Kendrick, Boyle County (vs. Amrit Avula-Joe Newland, Greenwood).
- Girls singles: Haley Owens, Casey County (vs. No. 1 seed Kennedy Womack, Fairview); Tylyn Leigh, Casey County (vs. Lauren Fazenbaker, Ashland Blazer); Erin Pigman, Mercer County (vs. co-No. 9 seed Shea Henry, Henry Clay); Emily Major, Garrard County (vs. Catherine Crawford, Corbin).
- Girls doubles: Anna Duncan-Nikol Pluess, Boyle County (vs. Rachel Mahbubani-Chelsea Moore, Male); Christy Ingram-Kyleigh Murray, Mercer County (vs. Channing Everidge-Jackie Henderson, June Buchanan); Sara Coffman-Chelsey Lynn, Casey County (vs. Courtney Eaton-Caroline Will, Male); Madison Lee-Allie Tinsley, Casey County (vs. Sydney Back-Ashley Collins, Letcher County Central).
Danville will return to the rain-delayed All “A” Classic baseball tournament Tuesday, when the semifinals and championship are scheduled to be played at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington.
The Admirals advanced to the All “A” final four with a 3-2 victory over Whitefield on Saturday, but the final rounds were rained out Sunday.
Here is Tuesday’s schedule:
- Newport Central Catholic (15-10) vs. Hazard (21-6), 2 p.m.
- Danville (20-11) vs. Bethlehem (21-8), 4:30 p.m.
- Championship, 6:30 p.m.
The blog returns after a lengthy absence for mostly personal reasons with news from the 12th Region tennis tournament:
The Casey County girls claimed their first regional championship tonight, even though they already had it won before the championship matches were played in Richmond. The Lady Rebels built an insurmountable lead in the first four rounds of the five-round tournament and won the team title even though Casey players lost in both the singles and doubles finals.
Emily Major of Garrard County won the girls singles championship, defeating Haley Owens of Casey 7-5, 6-4.
Christy Ingram and Kyleigh Murray of Mercer County won in girls doubles, beating Sara Coffman and Chelsey Lynn of Casey 6-4, 7-5.
Spencer Anderson and Ethan Smith of Garrard were runners-up in boys doubles, falling to Austin Kirksey and Corbin Kirksey of Wayne County 7-6 (3), 6-2.
Steven Gadd of Berea defeated teammate Sam Jackson in the boys singles final 3-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-5).
Five-team defending girls team champion Mercer finished second to Casey in this year’s standings, and the Casey boys were second to Berea in the boys standings.
In a move that comes as no surprise, the KHSAA Board of Control voted today to move the championship games of the Boys Sweet Sixteen and Girls Sweet Sixteen from Saturday night to Sunday beginning in 2014.
This year’s boys championship game was moved to Sunday out of necessity — there was a scheduling conflict at Rupp Arena — and KHSAA officials used that as a trial run as it considered a permanent move.
Madison Central and Ballard played the title game before 17,315 fans, the largest crowd for a state final in five years, and the Saturday night semifinals drew a record crowd of 20,172. Opinions were and still are decidedly mixed as to whether extending the tournament to a fifth day was a good idea, but those numbers surely spoke loudly.
“We examined the format of our basketball tournaments from a number of different perspectives, and in the end, felt like it was time to move the championship game to Sunday. Separating the championship game from the semifinals, really makes an event out of the Saturday games for those final four teams,” Tackett said in a statement released by the KHSAA. “We think the added rest leading up to the championship game will not only benefit the health and safety of the students, it will also have an impact on the quality of play, and provide coaches a chance to better prepare their teams for the most important game of the year.”
In other action at its meeting today, the board:
- extended the state volleyball tournament to three days by moving the championship match to Sunday. The first round will be played on Friday, the quarterfinals and semifinals Saturday.
- moved the date and location for the competitive cheer championships, which debuted this year. Beginning next school year, the event will be held in the second week of December at Alltech Arena in Lexington.
The Lincoln County girls only got to play one game at the Girls Sweet Sixteen last week, but they factored in four other games in Bowling Green, including the state championship.
Just hours after their first-round loss to Owensboro Catholic, the Lady Patriots threw their support behind Notre Dame for its first-round game against Madison Central, and they continued to back the Pandas right through Saturday night’s title game.
It’s the second time in as many years that folks from Lincoln have supported another school at the state tournament, though the two sets of circumstances were very different. In this case, Lincoln’s girls planned to stay in Bowling Green after their season ended, relaxing and taking in the games.
They returned to E.A. Diddle Arena on Thursday night, where the final first-round game matched Notre Dame and Madison Central. While many teams, including Lincoln, put hundreds or at least dozens of fans into the end zone cheering sections, exactly two had made the trip from Covington to cheer on the Pandas. (That’s pretty embarrassing for a school with more than 600 students, but that’s their problem.)
Seeing those two girls surrounded by all those empty red seats, the Lady Patriots offered to help. They cheered Notre Dame’s win, then returned to the Pandas’ cheering section for their subsequent games. And they weren’t just politely applauding, either. The Lincoln players could be seen on the online video stream standing and leading cheers, and junior guard Rachel Spangler was interviewed about the team’s new role on the KHSAA radio network broadcast during the Saturday afternoon Notre Dame-duPont Manual semifinal. The Lady Patriots got a little more company as more Notre Dame students showed up for the Friday and Saturday games, but their presence was felt right through the championship, which the Pandas lost to Marion County 52-36.
(Follow the links for a story from The Courier-Journal that includes a photo showing a mix of Lincoln players and Notre Dame students cheering during the Pandas’ quarterfinal win, and a video from the Cincinnati Enquirer that includes the Lady Patriots.)
Spangler said during her radio interview that the Lady Patriots had befriended the Notre Dame players, and she expected many of them to keep in tough with each other through Twitter and Instagram. Who knows, the relationship might even lead to a game between the two teams in the near future.
It’s a second straight outstanding example of sportsmanship by Lincoln that shouldn’t go unrecognized or unappreciated. A year ago, Lincoln students helped fill out the cheering section for Magoffin County in its first-round game, which immediately preceded the Lady Patriots’ game. Magoffin also brought a small crowd for a game played just days after a tornado struck Salyersville, where the school is located.
The Lincoln County girls didn’t get to stay as long at the Girls Sweet Sixteen this year as last, as they a href=”http://khsaa.org/basketball/girls/sweet16/2013/stats/girls05.htm”>lost to Owensboro Catholic 66-55 in a first-round game today at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.
Lincoln (27-6) never fully recovered after falling behind 14-2 in the first quarter, though the Lady Patriots were never out of the game. They pulled to within three points of Owensboro Catholic (25-7) on three occasions in the third quarter and one in the fourth, but that was as close as they came.
Three-point shooting proved to be a problem for the Lady Patriots, who reached the semifinals last year with two victories. They missed their first six shots from outside the arc before Chansler Gilbert came off the bench to hit one in the final minute of the first quarter, and they made only two of 14 3-point attempts in the first half and were 3 for 22 overall.
Stopping Owensboro Catholic star Rebecca Greenwell also proved to be a handful for Lincoln. The Duke signee and Miss Basketball finalist exceeded her average in the first half with 24 points, and she finished with 32. And when Greenwell wasn’t making shots, she was getting fouled. She went 8 for 17 from the field but was also 14 for 17 from the free-throw line.
The Lady Aces had an obvious edge at the free-throw line, in part because Greenwell was in attack mode and in part because the Lady Patriots weren’t for much of the day. Owensboro Catholic hit 31 of 40 free throws; Lincoln was 4 for 6.
Lincoln shot a chilly 30.6 percent from the field in the first half and finished at 38.1 percent. Owensboro Catholic shot 52.9 percent in the first half and 47.1 percent overall, and the Lady Aces were 3 for 11 from 3-point range.
Their largest lead was a 13-point cushion in the second quarter (at 18-5 and 20-7), but Lincoln trimmed the margin to seven points in less than 3 minutes and was within seven at halftime. Kourtney Belcher scored once and Sydney Harris scored twice during a six-point surge that pulled the Lady Patriots within 37-34 with 3:39 left in the third quarter.
It was 46-43 after a Harris layup 28 seconds into the fourth quarter, but Kaylyn Pearson answered with a three-point play on the other end, and Owensboro Catholic held Lincoln scoreless for 2:22 — the Lady Patriots were 0 for 2 with two turnovers during that stretch — while it opened a 52-43 lead that would not be threatened.
Owensboro Catholic scored all but two of its 20 fourth-quarter points at the foul line, where the Lady Aces were 16 for 21 in the period.
Harris led Lincoln with 18 points and seven rebounds, and she was 8 for 13 from the field. Emily Fox had 13 points and four assists; she was 1 for 7 from 3-point range and 6 for 19 overall from the field. Belcher and Tiandra Hocker also scored six points each for Lincoln, and Rachel Spangler had five assists.
Greenwell had 12 rebounds and Pearson had 11 for Owensboro Catholic, which outrebounded Lincoln 34-27.
It was the final high school game for a remarkable class of five Lincoln seniors — Belcher, Harris, Fox, Spangler and Ciara Saylor — who went 99-28 in four years. During those four years, three under coach Cassandra McWhorter and one under former coach Don Story, the Lady Patriots became the first area team to win consecutive 12th Region championships, made a third appearance in the regional finals, built a streak of 24 straight wins against 12th Region opponents that is still active and won four 45th District championships, part of an overall string of six straight district titles.
The Lincoln County girls return to the Girls Sweet Sixteen on Thursday for their second straight state tournament appearance. (Actually, they’re already there, but let’s not quibble over details.) The Lady Patriots, who play Owensboro Catholic in their 1 p.m. first-round game, are the first Advocate-area girls team ever to repeat as 12th Region champions, and Lincoln is one of only two local schools to play in the girls state tourney over the last 10 years.
It’s the third Sweet Sixteen appearance overall for Lincoln, which defeated Clay County and Magoffin County to reach the semifinals last year before losing to eventual runner-up Marion County.
For the second straight year, Lincoln (27-5) is a very slight underdog against Owensboro Catholic (24-7), at least according to the major statewide power ratings. This is the second meeting of the season between the teams; the Lady Patriots defeated the Lady Aces 65-53 on Dec. 23 in Lexington Catholic’s Christmas tournament. (Click here for stats from Lincoln and Owensboro Catholic from that game.) Owensboro Catholic was without two starters in that game, including Miss Basketball candidate Rebecca Greenwell, a McDonald’s All America Game invitee who has signed with Duke.
Owensboro Catholic is 0-3 at the Girls Sweet Sixteen; its last appearance was in 2011. Lincoln is 2-2. For more on Thursday’s matchup, follow these links to story’s from today’s Advocate on the game and on Greenwell.
The game will be broadcast locally on WPBK-FM (102.9) and can be heard online through the station’s website, wpbkfm.com, with coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. Broadcasts of all tournament games by the KHSAA network are available online here. Video coverage of all games by iHigh.com is available online here.
Links to rosters, statistics, the online tournament program, live statistics during games and postgame box scores can be found on this KHSAA page.
For directions to Diddle Arena, parking information and other information from host Western Kentucky University, click here. Tickets are available at the arena and are $11 and $17. If Lincoln advances, $9 tickets for its cheering section for subsequent games will be available after any games they win.
And of course, look for stories, photos and video from the Owensboro Catholic-Lincoln game at amnews.com and in Friday’s Advocate.
Jessica Hardin of Wayne County and Chrysti Noble of Rockcastle County have been voted the 12th Region girls player and coach of the year by the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches.
Hardin averaged 19.6 points and 10.0 rebounds for Wayne, which finished 16-14 after losing to McCreary Central in the first round of the 48th District Tournament.
Noble led Rockcastle to a 16-12 record, up from 14-14 in 2011-12.
Hardin’s award comes with an automatic invitation to try out for the Kentucky All-Stars later this month. She and player of the year runner-up Emily Fox of Lincoln County are also scheduled to represent the 12th Region in the KABC East-West all-star game, which will be played at 4:15 p.m. Saturday at Warren Central.
Hardin and Noble will receive their awards Friday at the Girls Sweet Sixteen. Click here for the full list of girls regional winners.
It was a short and unpleasant stay for Wayne County in the Boys Sweet Sixteen, as the 12th Region champion Cardinals were trounced by Madison Central 81-56 today in the first game of the tournament.
Simply put, Wayne (27-8) was outclassed by Madison Central (29-5), which took a double-digit lead in the second quarter and pushed it past 20 points early in the second half. (Click these links for the box score and play-by-play details.) The Indians were bigger, faster and stronger, and it showed in every facet of the game.
But perhaps nowhere was it more evident than on the glass, where Madison Central held a 48-21 advantage. The Indians had nearly as many offensive rebounds (20) as Wayne had total rebounds, and they scored 24 second-chance points and allowed only two.
“If you had to single out one key factor, they just hammered us on the boards. That was a huge concern going into the game, and it never stopped,” Wayne coach Rodney Woods said. “At halftime (when Madison Central led 43-23 and held a 26-11 rebounding edge), there was probably just a little bit of shell-shock, because we haven’t been kicked around like that. That’s a very good basketball team.”
Only a couple of the players Wayne used were on the floor when the Cardinals played in the state tournament two years ago, but Woods said he couldn’t blame their performance on a lack of Sweet Sixteen experience.
“Physical maturity is huge, and not necessarily that you haven’t been here. They (Madison Central) haven’t been here, so I don’t know that that’s a huge factor,” he said.
Peyton Woods scored 14 points and Corey Stearns and Trey Blevins had 10 each for Wayne, which shot 40.8 percent from the field but had 19 fewer attempts than Madison Central, which shot 47.1 percent. Dominique Hawkins led Madison Central with 25 points.