Regional review, Tuesday 3/6
Notes and thoughts from Day 2 of the girls 12th Region Tournament:
- East Jessamine defeated Boyle County 60-58; Wayne County defeated Casey County 73-49. East Jessamine plays Wayne in Friday’s second semifinal.
- All four teams from the Advocate’s coverage area have been eliminated. I can’t tell the last time that happened, but only once in the previous eight years has there been just one local team in the regional semifinals. That was in 2005, when Mercer County joined McCreary Central, Wayne County and eventual champion South Laurel in the final four.
- East Jessamine didn’t seem to be such a bad draw for Boyle, which could have played Casey or Southwestern in the first round. But it turned out to be a pretty good draw for East Jessamine, which instead of facing Wayne or Rockcastle County got a Boyle team whose youth finally caught up with it. The experience Boyle’s many young players gained, however, should keep the Lady Rebels among the players in this region for a few years to come.
- The one player who won’t return for Boyle, center Tori Alcorn, improved by leaps and bounds during her four-year career, and especially between her junior and senior seasons. Her improvement meant a lot to the Lady Rebels, but it may have meant even more to coach Judie Mason, who cited ways Alcorn has improved off the court as well as on it. “I’ve never had a kid come as far as she has in every aspect. It means more to me to see the person she’s become than any win I’ve got at Boyle County,” Mason said. Coming from a coach who loves — make that L-O-V-E-S — to win, that quote speaks volumes.
- This was the first regional tournament appearance for East Jessamine in either the 11th or the 12th regions, so of course it was the Lady Jaguars first regional win. They have some good young players and a good veteran coach in Ralph Sallee, so it probably won’t be their last.
- When a team is raining 3-point baskets the way Wayne was in the third quarter against Casey, you can’t do much more than tip your hat. The Lady Cardinals were 5-for-5 behind the line over the first 4:10 of the third quarter, 6-for-7 in the entire period and 12-for-23 overall. They did it with four different girls, and from all around the perimeter. No defense can stop that.
- Here’s the shooting breakdown on Wayne’s 3-point foursome (3-point totals only): eighth-grader Kayla Bowlin, 2-for-2 in the third quarter, 3-for-4 overall; junior Rachel Bristow, 2-for-2 and 2-for-6; sophomore Heather Stearns, 1-for-1 and 4-for-6; and junior Courtney Duncan, 1-for-2 and 3-for-6. No one else attempted a 3.
- It’s too bad that a good season at Casey had to end with the two worst losses of the season. The Lady Rebels lost their last two games to Rockcastle and Wayne by a combined 50 points. But the Wayne game was nothing like the Rockcastle game, which was never close. Take away Wayne’s unbelievable 3-point shooting and the game is still in doubt in the final minutes. Meanwhile, this team should be remembered for winning 20 games for the first time since 2000, when the Lady Rebels made the Girls Sweet Sixteen. And don’t forget that they only lose two starters, so they’re not going away, either.
- If you’re going to tonight’s opening session of the boys 12th Region Tournament at Lincoln County, come early. Wayne’s usual red-clad horde will be in place for the opener when their Cardinals play West Jessamine, and fans will be coming out of the woodwork for the Lincoln-Pulaski County nightcap. There aren’t many full houses for first-round sessions in these parts any more, but this might be one.
- The Other 15 (noteworthy scores from the rest of the state): Girls fans who are weary of seeing Lexington Catholic dominate the state should skip this paragraph. Catholic took an important, if early, step toward a third straight state title by beating Scott County 91-83 in a first-round game in the girls 11th Region that matched what might be the state’s best two teams. … It wasn’t quite 1 vs. 2, but Pleasure Ridge Park beat Doss 54-47 in a battle of top-20 teams in the boys 6th.