Regional review, Monday 3/3
Notes and thoughts from day 1 of the girls 12th Region Tournament at Lincoln County:
- Lincoln County defeated Wayne County 50-40; Casey County defeated East Jessamine 72-35. Lincoln plays Casey in Friday’s first semifinal.
- It was a good start for the home team, which on paper appears to have the toughest road to the title of any of the major contenders (excluding Wayne, which ran off the road early). The Lady Patriots will probably have to pass three stern tests — Wayne, Casey and either Southwestern or Rockcastle County, if form holds — to win it all.
- Wayne put up a fight until the fourth quarter, taking a 36-35 lead into the final period but failing to score a basket after that. The Lady Cardinals tied the game at 40-all with 4:25 to go but never scored again. Upchurch led Lincoln with 16 points, followed by Kendra Brown with 13. Bristow led Wayne with 19 points.
- Wayne won’t get to make a second straight trip to the Girls Sweet Sixteen, but the Lady Cardinals aren’t going away, either. Forward Courtney Duncan and guard Rachel Bristow are their only seniors.
- It was no surprise that the second game was lopsided, even though East Jessamine was a district champion. The Lady Jaguars got the worst possible draw: a Casey team that has the best overall and intra-region records in the 12th and that came to Lincoln with a chip on its shoulder after losing the 47th District final to Rockcastle.
- East Jessamine actually led 2-0 before Casey scored 15 straight points. East’s top player, guard Ashley Willoughby, drew three fouls in the first 2:07, which handcuffed her and her team. Megan Pittman led Casey with 23 points, 17 of them in the first half. Lauren Hatter added 14 points. Willoughby had 15 for East Jessamine, but she had only three field goals.
- Good crowds turned out to see Lincoln and Casey, and quite a few fans followed Wayne as well. The same could not be said for East Jessamine, which had an embarrassingly small following that was roughly equal to the total number of players and cheerleaders representing the school. Expect a smaller overall audience (and hopefully a cooler gymnasium) for tonight’s first-round session.
- Southwestern plays Mercer County at 6 p.m. and Rockcastle plays Danville at about 7:45 p.m. tonight. The first game is a rematch of Southwestern’s shockingly easy 78-39 win in the first round of last year’s regional. This year’s Lady Warriors have won nine of their last 10 games, including a 70-59 win over Mercer in their regular-season finale. This might well be the first meeting between Rockcastle and Danville; records show the two teams haven’t played in the last 10 years, and there isn’t much reason to believe they would have met before that.
- The Other 15 (noteworthy scores from the rest of the state): Grayson County upset Apollo 52-50 on Apollo’s floor in a first-round game in the 3rd Region, whose winner plays the 12th Region champion in the first round of the Girls Sweet Sixteen. … In the 13th Region, Clay County held a pretty good Whitley County team (22-8 entering the tournament) to just 18 points in a 38-18 win. Whitley had beaten Clay by 12 in the regular season. … First-round games were held in 14 of the 16 girls regionals Monday. No boys games were played; the 3rd and 7th regions begin today and most others open Wednesday.
- Look for daily updates in this space as the girls and boys regionals roll on through March 11.