Regional review, Monday 3/5
Notes and thoughts from Day 1 of the girls 12th Region Tournament:
- Southwestern defeated Mercer County 78-39; Rockcastle County defeated Lincoln County 67-55. Southwestern plays Rockcastle in Friday’s first semifinal.
- The tournament opened with a big surprise. It isn’t shocking that Southwestern won, but the margin of victory was stunning. It was the most lopsided score in this tournament in many years — at least 10 — and Mercer’s first first-round loss since 2001, when it was eliminated by McCreary Central. It also might well have been the first regional win ever for Southwestern.
- Southwestern and Mercer are among the many young teams in this region, with only two seniors each. Southwestern’s two seniors are starters, forward Jasi Flynn and guard Chasidy Zimmerman. Mercer’s two seniors are role players, guards Brittney Kendrick and Annie Sutton.
- Speaking of Kendrick and Sutton, it was a nice gesture by Mercer coach Chris Souder to play them for the entire second half of what everyone knew by then would be their final game. Even when he rotated young players from the end of the Titans’ bench into the lineup in the fourth quarter, the two seniors stayed on the floor for the finish.
- The draw was unkind to a Lincoln team that couldn’t generate enough offense to keep pace with powerful Rockcastle. Lincoln never scored more than 58 points this season, and Rockcastle averages 57. Lincoln was within 42-41 late in the third quarter, but when Rockcastle scored seven points in the first 2:02 of the fourth quarter to reach 50, it was clear the Lady Patriots couldn’t score enough points to win.
- Big rosters are a trend in this tournament, none bigger than a Lincoln roster that lists 32 girls, including eight sixth- and seventh-graders. Mercer lists 21 players, Southwestern lists 18 (but had only 12 in uniform) and East Jessamine lists 17. Remember, only 15 get to play.
- The Other 15 (noteworthy scores from the rest of the state): North Hardin beat Nelson County 69-58 in a clash of titans in the girls 5th Region … Belfry edged Paintsville 71-66 in a battle of boys 15th Region contenders — and the only boys game played in the entire state.