Mid-district week

Interesting elimination games are popping up all over the place within the 12th Region, particularly in the boys district tournaments. I’ve seen three compelling boys games in the last two nights, but I’m sorry I missed the smiles in Somerset when Casey County finally found its way back to the regional tournament.

The Rebels defeated Pulaski County in a 47th District semifinal Wednesday night to earn its first regional berth in 11 years. To put it another way, this year’s Casey seniors were first-graders the last time their team played in a regional tourney game.

Regional games — and regional wins — used to be commonplace for Casey, as Jeff Bastin of The Casey County News reminded his readers in his column this week (which was published before Wednesday’s game). And as their 9-18 record reminds us, the Rebels are still a long way from their salad days of the three decades before this one.

One win over Pulaski doesn’t fix all that ails the program, but it’s a pretty good Band-Aid. The players and coaches and fans at Casey want better things for their in the coming years, and getting back into the regional is an important first step. The next step is making sure it doesn’t take another 11 years to get back.

Elsewhere around the region, Danville’s win over Garrard County in the 45th looks like an upset on paper, but it was a win I thought the Admirals were very capable of, and it was a bad matchup at a bad time for the Golden Lions. They played some of their worst games late in the season, and coach Lee DeForest said Wednesday’s game was probably their worst of the year.

The real surprise came in the preceding game, where Boyle County took Lincoln County to overtime before the Patriots prevailed. It was several notches below Lincoln’s best game, although the Pats looked pretty impressive in overtime, and it was a better effort by Boyle than in just about any of its other late-season games.

There was also a gem on Tuesday night in the 46th, where East Jessamine lost a double-digit lead to Mercer County, then won by two points. The first half of that game wasn’t much, but the second half more than made up for it. And there figures to be one more good one tonight at Monticello, where McCreary Central and Southwestern play the only remaining elimination game in the 48th.

There has been less drama on the girls side, with the exception of Casey’s narrow win over Somerset in the 47th. The margin of victory in every other game has been in double digits.

So the list of qualifiers for next week’s 12th Region Tournaments is nearly complete. Here’s who’s in, with one spot still open for the McCreary or Southwestern boys.

Girls

  • 45th District: Boyle County, Lincoln County
  • 46th District: East Jessamine, Mercer County
  • 47th District: Casey County, Rockcastle County
  • 48th District: Southwestern, Wayne County

Boys

  • 45th District: Danville, Lincoln County
  • 46th District: East Jessamine, West Jessamine
  • 47th District: Casey County, Rockcastle County
  • 48th District: Wayne County

Three girls finals (46th, 47th and 48th) and one or two boys finals (46th and 48th if Southwestern wins tonight) will be the same as last year. Girls titles will be decided tonight in the 45th, 46th and 47th districts and Friday in the 48th, while the boys will play title games Friday in the 45th, 46th and 47th and Saturday in the 48th.

Regional pairings will be drawn Saturday for the girls tournament at Pulaski and Sunday for the boys tournament at Lincoln. The girls tourney starts first with first-round games Monday and Tuesday; boys first-round games will be the following two days.

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