Regional review, Monday 3/1
The regional review returns, with nightly nuggets from the girls and boys 12th Region Tournaments. Tonight, news and notes from day 1 of the girls regional at Lincoln County.
- Southwestern defeated East Jessamine 61-50; Lincoln County defeated Casey County 49-40. Southwestern (20-9) plays Lincoln (23-4) in Friday’s 6 p.m. semifinal.
- Lincoln seemed to be on its way to an easy victory in the most anticipated matchup of the first round when it led Casey 16-5 after about one minute of the second quarter before a large and loud crowd, but the Lady Patriots had to work hard to knock out the defending champion Lady Rebels, who beat Lincoln in last year’s regional final.
- Casey (17-13) came storming back, outscoring Lincoln 11-6 over the balance of the first half to pull to within 22-16 at halftime thanks to the work of Nicole Coffman, who had every one of the Lady Rebels’ points in the first half on two 3-point baskets, two 2-point baskets and six free throws in seven attempts. Casey then scored the first seven points of the second half to take its first lead at 23-22. The game stayed close the rest of the way, but Lincoln, which didn’t hit a 3-pointer in the first three quarter, got three in the fourth period, including one from Nikki Bustle that gave the Lady Patriots the lead for good at 40-38 with 2:54 left. Casey scored only once more, while Alissa Patterson made three of four free throws and Bustle made two of two down the stretch for Lincoln.
- Kendra Brown led Lincoln with 16 points, followed by Jessica Upchurch with 14. Coffman led all scorers with 25 points and was one of only three players who scored for Casey; Megan Pittman added 10 points.
- Lincoln has beaten Casey only twice in six meetings over the past three seasons in what has become a fierce but friendly rivalry, and both of those have come in the last 11 days. The Lady Patriots eked out a 38-37 win Feb. 19 in the regular-season finale for both teams. Casey isn’t at all the team it was last year when it reached the semifinals at the Girls Sweet Sixteen, but it was good enough to give the region’s best teams all the wanted, and with everyone who was in uniform tonight returning, the Lady Rebels will continue to be a major player in the 12th for some time.
- Southwestern took the fight to East Jessamine right away, as the Lady Warriors 21-11 after one quarter and 35-19 at halftime. East Jessamine (12-16) closed the gap in the third quarter, but the margin stayed in the neighborhood of 10 points the rest of the way.
- Danay Fothergill led Southwestern with 23 points, and Emily Walker added 14. Walker helped her team get off to a good start by scoring nine of its first 11 points. East Jessamine got 17 points from Liz Miller and 14 from Emily Underwood.
- In case you haven’t seen East Jessamine, the Lady Jaguars’ coaching staff is stocked with familar faces. This was the first season for head coach Jacqueline Coleman, the former Mercer County and Centre College player and Burgin coach who moved to East Jessamine to succeed the late Ralph Sallee (an interim coach finished last season after Sallee’s death), and one of her assistants is former Boyle County player and assistant coach Lyndsey Robinson (formerly Neal). The other assistant is former Washington County player Katie Filiatreau.
- Lincoln is a senior-dominated team, but the other teams that took the floor Monday are some of the best young teams in the region. Southwestern has only two seniors and starts only one (Walker), and the Lady Warriors have two seventh-graders in their starting five; East Jessamine loses only two seniors (starters Miller and Rachael Harrington) and starts one eighth-grader; and Casey loses only one senior (Amanda Johnson, who was sidelined a few weeks ago by a medical condition), starts one freshman and brought two seventh-graders off the bench for meaningful minutes.
- The first round concludes Tuesday night when Rockcastle County (24-4) plays Garrard County (19-6) at 6 p.m. and Mercer County (20-9) plays Monticello (17-12) at 7:45 p.m. Rockcastle and Garrard did not meet during the regular season, nor did Mercer and Monticello.