Archive for March, 2007

Construction boom

Ask anyone who knows me well: I’m a student of baseball’s varied and quirky ballparks, and I’ve visited my share of them. Maybe that’s why it interests me that there’s so much activity at area baseball fields this spring. Besides the games, that is.

They’ve been busy laying bricks at Lincoln County, where a sharp new backstop was completed just before opening day. The short brick wall is similar to those that have become fashionable at many other high school fields, and it was topped by a new foul screen. There are also new protective screens in front of the dugouts.

The twist is in the way Lincoln is paying for the project. The team has been selling personalized paving bricks that are being placed in the wall that runs between the dugouts. Contributors can put the message of their choice on their 4-by-8-inch bricks.

The team has already sold well over 100 bricks at $50 each, and those were installed when the wall was built. The larger goal is to sell 300 bricks by the end of this season, with the later sales being installed over the summer.

Coach Danny Masten said the improvements to the field help instill more pride in the program, which has been a point of emphasis since he took over the program before the 2006 season. And he said doing the work this year was important because Lincoln hosts the 45th District Tournament in May.

For more information on the project, see Lincoln’s team Web site. To see who already has bricks in the wall, visit this page.

Light poles were being set into place today at Boyle County, where the wiring is already in place and the lights could come on relatively quickly after all the poles and lights are in place.

The pole-placing forced a Boyle tennis match to be moved because the tennis courts are so close to the baseball field and school officials wanted to take no chances on safety.

The process of digging holes for light poles continues at Danville’s field, but it’s a slow one. Equipment problems and the occasional rainy spell have already stretched the project, which also includes the adjacent soccer field, over three weeks.

There are still two holes to be drilled out — they’re supposed to be 14 feet deep — and that work will almost certainly have to be done from inside the field.

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From winter into spring

The gyms have gone quiet now, and it’s hard to believe another basketball season has come and gone. Business will pick up again in June, and many teams already have their summer schedules at the ready.

Lincoln County didn’t have the only local representation at the Boys Sweet Sixteen last week. Thanks to reader Bill Huff for pointing out that Harrodsburg alumnus Chris Huff was on the Ballard bench as an assistant coach with the Bruins. Huff, who missed the state tourney by one game when his Harrodsburg team lost to Monticello in the 1987 12th Region final, but he has been there twice in his five years on the Ballard staff. This time, his team missed a state championship by one game with a narrow loss to Scott County in Saturday’s title game. Congratulations to Huff and the Bruins on a wonderful season. And congratulations to Scott coach Billy Hicks, whom I covered 17 years ago in Corbin, on his second state title.

We enter the offseason with two local coaching vacancies, both at the same school. Danville is looking for coaches for both its boys and girls teams.

When it comes to forecasting next season, I see wide-open races for the boys and girls regional titles. The defending champions, the Lincoln County boys and Wayne County girls, will be right in the middle of those races, but they’ll have plenty of company.

Opening night for basketball is Nov. 26, just 245 days away.

* * *

Now it’s time to turn the page to the spring sports season, which began today. As I type, the first baseball and softball games are already in the books or very close to it.

This will be a busy week around here, especially with most teams either going out of town or curtailing their schedule for spring break next week. The marquee event of the opening week comes Tuesday, when the Mercer County and Danville baseball teams face off in a matchup of the two best teams in the area — and maybe the entire 12th Region. First pitch is 5 p.m. at Danville. The two teams meet again May 9 at Mercer.

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Lincoln bows out

The Lincoln County Patriots had every reason to believe they could win their first-round game Wednesday at the Boys Sweet Sixteen. Until they started shooting.

When the first three jump shots came up short, it was a telltale sign of state tournament jitters. When the situation didn’t improve throughout the first quarter, or the second, or the third, it was clear that it might be something more than a momentary case of butterflies.

What was it that caused Lincoln to shoot so poorly — 34.7 percent — in its 51-41 loss to Adair County? It’s impossible to say, but here are some theories:

  • Nerves: Jackson said Lincoln “played really, really tight,” and his players agreed. “We just didn’t get into the flow of the basketball game,” guard Ryan Young said. Of course, it’s impossible to say why that affected Lincoln more than Adair, which was in the same boat as far as state tournament experience.
  • Fatigue. Jackson said a couple of days after the regional tournament that his team was tired, and while eight days was plenty of time to recover from that, guard Noah Keeton said he didn’t think the Patriots were at full strength. “We just came out stiff. Our legs weren’t like they normally are,” he said.
  • Distraction. It happens all the time to teams that haven’t been to the Sweet Sixteen in a while, and Jackson said there were distractions over the last week. The team visited all of the county’s elementary schools and did a few other out-of-the-ordinary things. “We did some things during the week that took us out of our routine,” he said. Still, Jackson said he wouldn’t have done it differently. “I wouldn’t change anything we did.”

The truth is, it was a little bit of all those things, as well as some decent defense by Adair, that kept the shots from falling. And just as good shooting cures a number of ills, poor shooting can leave players feeling just a little bit sick.

* * *

Even in the disappointment of defeat, Jackson did his best to call attention to the bigger picture of what Lincoln did to reach this point. “We just have to try to love what we’ve done,” he said. “The things they’ve done and given to our community are special.”

And Jackson said ending the season at the state tournament is always special, too. “Not every kid gets the chance to play here, and this is the best tournament in the country, and it’s an honor to be here,” he said.

* * *

There’s usually a good bit of horse-trading that goes on when coaches start looking for tapes of an upcoming state tournament opponent they’re not familiar with.

But Jackson and Adair coach Mark Fudge eliminated some of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering by doing business the way football coaches often do it. Jackson said he and Fudge have a good relationship and have exchanged other tapes in the past, so they simply gave each other the tapes of their teams’ three regional tournament games.

Still, those weren’t the only Adair games Jackson saw. He later said his coaches had seen a total of seven tapes on the Indians.

* * *

Lincoln was outrebounded 29-23, and Jackson said it was one of only three or four times in 34 games that the Patriots lost the battle of the boards. “It’s been a long time, small as we are as a team, (since) we’ve been outrebounded,” he said.
Here are a few other key statistics:

  • Lincoln was 2-for-13 from 3-point range, including 2-for-9 in the second half. Adair hit the only two 3-point shots it tried, both in the first half.
  • Both teams had 12 turnovers. Lincoln had only four assists, a number that would have been higher with more made shots.
  • The Patriots hit five of six free throws and had 22 fewer attempts at the line than Adair, but that was because they fouled frequently in the final four or five minutes.
    Young had 17 points, three rebounds and two assists. Keeton had nine points and two steals. Braxton Miller had six points and seven rebounds.
  • For Adair, Chris Lewis had 12 points, four rebounds and two steals. Kalen Kimberland had 11 points, six rebounds and three steals. Darren Ballou had 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots.
  • Lincoln had 15 points off turnovers; Adair had six. Lincoln also outscored Adair 13-4 on second-chance points.
  • Junior Brodie Hart took the only shot the Patriots attempted after Jackson emptied his bench with 19 seconds to play, an unsuccessful 3-point try.
  • Lincoln finished one point above its lowest point total of the season. The Patriots were held to 40 in a December loss to Mason County and in their regional semifinal win over West Jessamine.

For a full box score, click here. For the play-by-play chart, click here.

* * *

Lincoln’s trip to the tourney was good for the KHSAA’s bottom line and would have been better if the Patriots had stayed longer.

Lincoln appeared to have the largest contingent of fans among the four schools in the Wednesday afternoon session that also included Adair, Scott County and Oldham County, accounting for a large part of the crowd of 16,264.

* * *

It surely won’t get as many hits as if Lincoln had won, but the archived webcast of Wednesday’s game called by Jon Logan Smith, Kevin Bandura and Tim Estes can be heard here.

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On the eve of the Sweet Sixteen

In case you missed today’s package in the Advocate previewing Wednesday’s Lincoln County-Adair County game, take the time to check it out in the paper or on amnews.com

We have a game preview, a Vaught’s views column with Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson, a feature on team statistician Tom Hurt and details of the game broadcast that will be available on the Internet and on the radio thanks to the efforts of Jon Logan Smith.

There will be postgame coverage on amnews.com within a few hours of the game Wednesday, and even more in Thursday’s Advocate. And check back here late Wednesday night as well.

* * *

Here is the direct link to the webcast of Wednesday’s game. (You must have or install Windows Media Player to hear the feed.) Remember, it can also be heard the old-fashioned way on WKDO-FM (98.7) or WRNZ-FM (105.1).

I wrote during the regional about the webcasts Jon Logan Smith, Kevin Bandura and Tim Estes did of those games, and Smith said they were well received. He said hundreds of people have listened to the games since they were played (they’re still available to be replayed on demand), and he said a group of soldiers with Lincoln County ties has been listening from Iraq.

Smith purchased time from WKDO for the over-the-air simulcast of his webcast thanks to a close relationship with station owner Carlos Wesley, who bought that station from Smith’s father in 1972.

This is the first regular broadcast coverage of Lincoln sports since the 2001 football season, the last time games were broadcast on WRSL-FM/WKXY-FM.

* * *

This game will be below the radar of those tracking the big names like Scott County, Ballard and Warren Central (the choice of amnews.com guru and WCHS alumnus Gary Moyers to win it all), but it’s worth watching.

It looks to be a close game, and the bracket tells us that won’t be the case throughout the first round. And while everyone assumes that the winner will be fodder for Scott in Friday’s quarterfinals, don’t forget that while it means so much to make the state tournament, it means that much more to succeed there, even if it’s just in one game. (For more on just how rare that is for area teams, be sure to read the last item in this post.)

* * *

I wrote here last week that this was the fourth Lincoln County school to reach the Sweet Sixteen, but it appears I missed one. In addition to appearances by Lincoln in 1975 and ’80 and Highland in 1937, Moreland made an appearance in 1930, when two teams were taken from each of eight regions.

This is the fourth trip to the state tourney for Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson, who is one of five coaches in this year’s field who have won championships. Jackson won it all with his 1992 University Heights team, and he returned with UHA in 1994 and 1995.

* * *

Adair County has made three prior apperances in the tournament but has been there only once in the last 51 years. While Lincoln is 1-2 at the state tourney, Adair is 5-4 in large part because the Indians reached the semifinals in 1954 (losing to Inez, then losing to Ashland Blazer in the third-place game, which was discontinued after 1961) and made the championship game in 1955, where they lost to Hazard.

Adair last made it to state in 1995 and played only one regional tournament game between that season and this one, losing a first-round game in 2002 to North Hardin.

* * *

Of the last eight Advocate area teams that have qualified for the Boys Sweet Sixteen, only one has made it past the first round. That was Harrodsburg, which reached the quarterfinal in 1996.

Here’s how all of the local teams fared that have reached the state tourney (note that the first state tournament was held in 1916, the KHSAA took it over in 1918 and the present 16-region numbering system began in 1932):

  • 1916 (8-team tourney): Danville lost to Somerset 57-8.
  • 1917 (8-team tourney): Centre Academy lost to Monticello 29-13; Danville lost to Owensboro 17-8.
  • 1918: Danville lost to Lexington 23-14.
  • 1919: Danville lost to Somerset 30-24.
  • 1926: Danville def. Henderson 24-19, def. Winchester 42-19, def. Ashland Blazer 19-16 (OT), lost to St. Xavier 26-13 (championship).
  • 1928: Danville lost to Ashland Blazer 16-8.
  • 1930: Moreland lost to Carr Creek 19-15.
  • 1938: Burgin (11th Region) lost to Bellevue 32-19; Highland def. Corydon 37-16, lost to Maysville 25-23.
  • 1939: Danville lost to Olmstead 31-26.
  • 1945: Danville def. Dawson Springs 54-30, def. Providence 40-38, lost to Male 50-20, lost to Harlan 43-39 (third-place game).
  • 1951: Danville def. Caverna 47-42, lost to Whitesburg 71-44.
  • 1954: Danville lost to Ashland Blazer 74-67.
  • 1960: Harrodsburg (11th Region) lost to Bell County 66-54.
  • 1968: Danville lost to Lee County 76-58.
  • 1973: Danville def. Bowling Green 71-70, lost to Owensboro 77-56.
  • 1975: Lincoln County def. Fairview 65-52, lost to Christian County 83-59.
  • 1980: Lincoln County lost to Union County 85-69.
  • 1990: Danville lost to Clay County 80-59.
  • 1993: Casey County lost to Harlan 75-70.
  • 1996: Harrodsburg def. Boone County 57-50, lost to Lexington Catholic 67-44.
  • 1998: Boyle County lost to Fleming County 57-49.
  • 1999: Boyle County lost to Muhlenberg North 47-43.
  • 2000: Mercer County lost to Scott County 95-47.
  • 2006: Boyle County lost to Pleasure Ridge Park 67-43.
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Lincoln County logistics

There’ll be more information in the coming days both in this space and in the Advocate leading up to Lincoln County’s appearance in the Boys Sweet Sixteen. Both we and the Patriots have plenty of time to prepare, with eight days between the 12th Region Tournament final and their first-round game against Adair County on Wednesday. That’s twice the time that’s usually between the two tournaments when the boys state tourney is played before the girls.

Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said the extra time is good for his team, which he said was tired after tough games in the regional semifinals and finals. Jackson held a team meeting Wednesday to go over scheduling and other details related to the state tourney, but there was no practice Wednesday or Thursday. “We usually don’t do two days off, but we felt like it was really important. And we had a really good practice (Friday). I think it’ll help us some.” The Patriots practiced Saturday, took Sunday off and will practice Monday and Tuesday, then have a Wednesday morning walk-through before leaving for Lexington.

Find rosters and statistics for Lincoln, Adair and all the other Sweet Sixteen teams at this KHSAA Web page.

No word has been received on when or how Lincoln will sell its allotment of tickets for its cheering section. A message on the school’s Web site advises fans to contact the Rupp Arena box office (859-233-3535) for tickets. Tickets may also be purchased online through Ticketmaster or in person on game day. Except for those seats in the team’s cheering section, tickets are $10 and $15.

Lincoln’s cheering section for its first-round session will be based around lower deck section 22 and upper deck section 221. Lincoln is the visiting team and will use the bench in front of sections 29 and 30. All tickets are good for both the Lincoln-Adair game and the Scott County-Oldham County game that follows. Gates open at 11 a.m. If the Patriots win, cheering section tickets for their next game will be sold after the game at the arena; listen for announcements late in the game.

* * *

Thanks to all of you who discovered and read this blog during the recent regional tournaments. It will continue to be updated on a regular basis (though not every day) throughout the high school sports year. Come back often, and feel free to comment.

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Baseball warmups

Hard to believe, but high school baseball and softball season is almost at hand. The season opens March 26, but many teams are having their first scrimmages this weekend. Look for preview capsules of our area teams in the Advocate a few days from now. Meanwhile, here are some baseball notes to tide you over:

  • Defending 12th Region champion Danville, which made the round of eight in the state playoffs last season, is ranked 13th in the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Assocation’s preseason poll. Danville is the only 12th Region team in the rankings but not the only one getting some notice. Mercer County is just four spots removed from the top 25, and West Jessamine, Somerset and Boyle County also received votes. Should be a good year for baseball in the 12th. Lexington Catholic is No. 1 with 37 of 63 first-place votes, followed in the top five by Pleasure Ridge Park, Paul Dunbar, Lexington Christian and Trinity. Twelve of the 25 teams are from Fayette and Jefferson counties.
  • Look for more night baseball in the area this season as Boyle County and Danville are lighting up their fields. At last check, Danville was digging holes for the poles, and Boyle has the electrical wiring in place and plans to put up its poles later this month.
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Regional review, Tuesday 3/13

Notes and thoughts from Day 4 of the boys 12th Region Tournament:

  • Lincoln County defeated Boyle County 64-51 for the championship. Lincoln (24-9) will play 5th Region champion Adair County (23-9) at noon Wednesday, March 21 in the first round of the Boys Sweet Sixteen at Lexington.
  • This is the third regional title for Lincoln and the fourth for a Lincoln County school. The Patriots also won in 1975 and 1980, and Highland won in 1938. Lincoln is 1-2 in the Sweet Sixteen. The 1975 Patriots defeated Fairview 65-52 in the first round and lost to Christian County 83-59 in the quarterfinals, and the 1980 team lost to Union County 85-69 in a first-round game.
  • No player had a greater impact on Lincoln’s title game win than point guard Ryan Young, who penetrated and scored with regularity in the second half. Young scored 16 of his 23 points in the third and fourth quarters, going 4-for-5 from the field and 8-for-9 at the foul line in the last two periods.
  • Senior Braxton Miller 17 points and he and Trent Calhoun had six rebounds each in their game at Lincoln. Fellow senior Chase Overstreet had only six points and five rebounds, but he was the Patriots’ leading scorer and arguably their most valuable player in their first two wins in the tourney.
  • It took Lincoln only a few minutes Tuesday night to abandon its man-to-man defense for a 2-3 zone, and that made all the difference in keeping Boyle’s Spencer Perrin from lighting up the scoreboard as he did in the first three meetings between the teams (28, 40 and 25 points) and in the Rebels’ semifinal win over Southwestern, when he had 32 points and 25 rebounds. Perrin had 21 points on 8-for-17 shooting, and he had only six points in the second half. Once the defensive switch was made, he usually found three defenders (and sometimes four) around him whenever he got the ball in the lane, and just getting it to him was hard enough. Still, Boyle wouldn’t have gotten to the regional final or had a chance to win it without him.
  • Boyle went 8-for-11 from the field in the first quarter and outshot Lincoln in the first half, but the Patriots had the better percentage by game’s end. Lincoln shot 49 percent (14-for-31 in the first half, 9-for-16 in the second half); Boyle shot 44 percent (12-for-20 in the first half, 8-for-25 in the second).
  • Another key statistic in this game was the turnover count, 15 for Boyle and only four for Lincoln, which didn’t have its first giveaway until late in the second quarter.
  • Lincoln outscored Boyle 22-11 in the fourth quarter and put the game away with a 16-3 run after the Rebels took their last lead at 43-42 early in the fourth. Still, Lincoln coach Jeff Jackson said he wasn’t convinced the Patriots had the win in the bag until 19 seconds remained. The Lincoln fans didn’t wait that long to start their celebration, but their cheers rose to new heights then when Jackson rose to his feet and urged them on.
  • Lincoln girls coach Don Story, whose team lost a regional title game on the same floor a year earlier, was in the locker room to congratulate Jackson after the nets were cut. Jackson said it was Story, who was Lincoln’s athletic director in 2003, and former principal Ty Howard who brought him to the school. “It was a great career move for me and my family. This is a very special place with special people,” he said.
  • One of the other noteworthy elements of Tuesday’s game was the heat. The combination of a standing-room-only crowd, a 75-degree day and the typically warm temperature at Lincoln home games — Jackson likes it hot, as we’ve detailed in this space before, and the heaters were running until the place started filling up — made for a sweaty setting. Imagine sitting on the front porch on a late evening in August with stifling heat and humidity and no breeze — and 3,500 folks around you. The first fans were in their seats nearly 90 minutes before game time, and the bleachers were full a good 20 minutes before tipoff. But while it was a little uncomfortable, it was a wonderful atmosphere for high school hoops.
  • The all-tournament team: Jordan Aumiller, Boyle County; Casey Dalton, Southwestern; Corey Dixon, Pulaski County; Jonathan Edwards, Southwestern; Zack Fain, West Jessamine; Braxton Miller, Lincoln County; Scott Moody, Somerset; Chase Overstreet, Lincoln County; Spencer Perrin, Boyle County; Daniel Rehner, West Jessamine; Dustin Wells, Wayne County; Matt Whitley, East Jessamine; Christian Williams, Boyle county; Ryan Young, Lincoln County.
  • The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches announced its 16 girls regional players and coaches of the year. We learned last week that McCreary Central’s Lindsey Waters had won the 12th Region player award, and Rockcastle County’s Chrysti Noble is the regional coach of the year.
  • The Other 15 (noteworthy scores from the rest of the state): Adair put the clamps on John Hardin to win the boys 5th Region final 54-42. The Indians, who are in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1995, have won 11 straight games since a Jan. 30 loss to Taylor County. … Corbin, playing on its home floor, gave South Laurel a battle in the 13th before the Cardinals prevailed 66-64. … Oldham County sprung a mild upset with a 63-57 win over Simon Kenton in the 8th. … Tiny June Buchanan, a school operated by Alice Lloyd College with an enrollment of about 80, avenged a 14th Region All “A” Classic loss to Hazard by beating the Bulldogs 51-46 to win its region. June Buchanan and 16th Region champ Elliott County are the only first-timers in the Sweet Sixteen field.
  • First-round pairings for the Boys Sweet Sixteen, in bracket order: Wednesday, March 21 — Lincoln County (12th Region) vs. Adair County (5th), Oldham County (8th) vs. Scott County (11th), Fairdale (6th) vs. South Laurel (13th), Paducah Tilghman (1st) vs. Holmes (9th); Thursday, March 22 — Ballard (7th) vs. Owensboro (3rd), Christian County (2nd) vs. George Rogers Clark (10th), Shelby Valley (15th) vs. Elliott County (16th), Warren Central (4th) vs. June Buchanan (14th).
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Regional review, Monday 3/12

Notes and thoughts from Day 3 of the boys 12th Region Tournament, delayed due to a technical problem (which is to say, I clicked the wrong button):

  • Lincoln County defeated West Jessamine 40-39; Boyle County defeated Southwestern 73-60. Lincoln plays Boyle for the championship Tuesday night.
  • We have arrived where we thought we would be all along. The title game is a battle between the two best teams in the region. It’s also a rematch of the 45th District Tournament championship and the fourth meeting this season between these teams. Boyle beat Lincoln 65-64 in the district final in a heavyweight fight that I feel safe in calling the best game of the season in this area. In the regular season, Lincoln won 62-61 at Boyle on Jan. 5, and Boyle won 76-67 at Lincoln on Jan. 19.
  • This is the first time two teams from the Advocate’s coverage area have faced off for the regional title since 2000, when Mercer County defeated Harrodsburg 56-49. Harrodsburg had won two of their three prior meetings, including the 46th District final.
  • Boyle will be bidding for its second consecutive 12th Region title and its fourth overall, all within the last 10 years. The Rebels also won regional titles in 1998 and 1999.
  • Lincoln is trying to win its third regional crown and its first since 1980, when it beat Boyle in the title game at Pulaski County. The Patriots also won in 1975, the first year the school was open.
  • Two outstanding individual performances came through in Monday night’s semifinals, one by a winner and one by a loser. Zack Fain scored 30 of West Jessamine’s 39 points, and everybody knew the ball would be in his hands when the Colts had a chance for the last shot. That’s why three Lincoln defenders had him surrounded, and while there might well have been enough contact to warrant a foul earlier in the game, it’s not the kind of foul that gets called with three seconds on the clock. Fain finished 13-for-21 from the field and had seven rebounds. After the Colts exited, the stage belonged to Boyle’s Spencer Perrin, who had 32 points and a school-record 25 rebounds, including 11 offensive boards. One of those offensive rebounds came when he rose above the rim for a missed shot and came down with an eye-popping reverse dunk. Perrin went 13-for-16 from the field, and he blocked four shots.
  • Tuesday night’s championship game is certain to draw a capacity crowd at Lincoln — the gym was full for both semifinals — and that crowd should be even more charged up than it was when the Patriots and Rebels last met 11 days ago. The student sections on both sides of the floor exchanged some pretty interesting chants that night, and they’ll likely be at the top of their game for this game. Boyle’s cheering section will be behind the benches, and the school has been informed that its cheering section must take up residence behind the Rebels’ bench and not behind Lincoln’s.
  • The Other 15 (noteworthy scores from the rest of the state): Adair County and John Hardin will square off Tuesday night at Central Hardin for the championship of the boys 5th Region and the right to play the Boyle-Lincoln winner in the first round of the state tourney. Adair defeated Bardstown 53-43, while John Hardin waxed Taylor County 58-39. The latest Durden Ratings, which do not include Monday’s games, list Adair County three points better than John Hardin with almost exactly the same ratings as Lincoln and Boyle. … Former 12th Region member Russell County went down hard in a semifinal at the boys 4th, 80-46 to Warren Central. The Lakers had upset Allen County-Scottsville in the first round. … Another area neighbor, Anderson County, lost to Oldham County 38-32 in the 8th. … Two more teams qualified for the Boys Sweet Sixteen when Owensboro edged Apollo 44-42 in the 3rd and Elliott County downed Ashland Blazer 85-69 in the 16th to reach the state tourney for the first time.
  • I’ll be updating much sooner after Tuesday night’s game, and I’ll be clicking the right button this time. Promise.
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Regional review, Sunday 3/11

Notes from the off day:

  • Here’s the girls all-tournament team, which I didn’t have Saturday night: Kayla Bowlin, Wayne County; Rachel Bristow, Wayne County; Devin Fothergill, Southwestern; Hayley Hellyer, Boyle County; Cori Mack, East Jessamine; Shakelia Miller, Lincoln County; Heather Overton, Southwestern; Sara Rowe, Rockcastle County; Stephanie Salyers, Southwestern; Mary Saylor, Rockcastle County; Hayley Spivey, Mercer County; Heather Stearns, Wayne County; Kara Weddle, Casey County; Ashley Willoughby, East Jessamine.
  • Boyle County’s boys will be trying to make it four regional tourney wins in a row over Southwestern when they meet in Monday’s second semifinal. None of the previous three games have been decided by less than 16 points. The Rebels beat the Warriors 69-52 in the 1998 championship at McCreary Central, 56-40 in a 1999 semifinal at Boyle and 67-51 in last year’s championship at Pulaski County. Lincoln County and West Jessamine, who meet in the first semifinal, have never met in the regional tourney for reasons that should be obvious. (West Jessamine never played in the 12th Region Tournament before last year.)
  • The Other 15 (noteworthy scores from the rest of the state): In the only game in the state, George Rogers Clark clipped Mason County 63-59 to win the boys 10th. It’s the Cardinals’ first regional title since 1990.
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Regional review, Saturday 3/10

 

Notes and thoughts from Day 4 of the girls 12th Region Tournament:

  • Wayne County defeated Southwestern 46-41 in overtime for the championship. Wayne (22-9) will play 7th Region champion Assumption (25-6) at 9 p.m. Wednesday in the first round of the Girls Sweet Sixteen in Bowling Green.
  • This was a good game marked by bad shooting, especially in the first half. Wayne was 5-for-21 and Southwestern was 4-for-24 at halftime. The Lady Cardinals finished at 34 percent (13-for-42), Southwestern at 27 percent (14-for-51). Wayne outscored Southwestern at the free-throw line, going 18-for-25 while the Lady Warriors were 11-for-15. Neither team ever led by more than nine points, and there were seven tied and 11 lead changes.
  • This is the fifth regional title for Wayne and the third for coach Tim Pyles. The Lady Cardinals won their first championship in 1986 and have won four of the last nine (1999, 2002, 2004, 2007). They defeated Boone County 54-47 in the first round and lost to Butler 43-39 in the quarterfinals in their last trip to Bowling Green three years ago.
  • An impressive, if unsuccessful, regional run positions Southwestern as a major player in the 12th next season and beyond. The Lady Warriors lose two senior starters, Jasi Flynn and Chasidy Zimmerman, and have only two juniors. The rub is that the team they just lost to in both the district and regional finals loses only one player who doesn’t start.
  • The Other 15 (noteworthy scores from the rest of the state): A private school might well win the Girls Sweet Sixteen for the seventh straight year, but it won’t be Lexington Catholic. The two-time defending champion lost to Lexington Christian 68-60 in the 11th Region final. … Assumption, which will play Wayne at the state tourney, beat duPont Manual 45-35 to win the girls 7th. … North Hardin edged 17th District rival Elizabethtown 57-55 in a battle of top-five teams in the title game of the girls 5th. E-town had won the district final in overtime. … The biggest upset among Saturday’s 16 girls finals came in the 1st, where Calloway County edged Marshall County 64-63 in double overtime. The only blowout was in the 14th, where Breathitt County whipped Perry County Central 53-33. … Three boys champions were also crowned Saturday: Fairdale beat Butler 45-41 in the 6th, Ballard downed defending state champion Jeffersontown 62-50 in the 7th and Shelby Valley defeated Pikeville 55-48 in the 15th. One more ticket gets punched Sunday afternoon when Mason County plays George Rogers Clark in the 10th. (Every other region manages to avoid scheduling on Sunday; they should, too.) … Tates Creek toppled powerful Bryan Station 66-61 in a semifinal in the boys 11th, but the Commodores have another tall order ahead in Tuesday’s final against Scott County, which crushed Lexington Catholic 74-48.
  • First-round pairings for the Girls Sweet Sixteen, in bracket order: Wednesday — Iroquois (6th Region) vs. Breathitt County (14th), Clay County (13th) vs. North Hardin (5th), Muhlenberg North (3rd) vs. Barren County (4th), Wayne County (12th) vs. Assumption (7th); Thursday — Rose Hill Christian (16th) vs. Pike County Central (15th), Shelby County (8th) vs. Notre Dame (9th), Lexington Christian (11th) vs. Henderson County (2nd), Calloway County (1st) vs. Montgomery County (10th).
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