Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kentucky High-school Basketball, Boys' Regionals

And now the boys' regional tournaments get rolling. Action is scheduled today for the Sixth, Seventh, Ninth and 14th regions. By Saturday, all 16 of the eight-team regionals will be active. The state tournament is scheduled for March 19-23 at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

Heath and 55 other teams have won the Kentucky High School Athletic Association boys' basketball championship since it was first decided in 1918. As of this moment, 128 teams still have a shot at winning the 97th title, but that field starts being pared this evening.

First Region at Murray State University--McCracken County vs. Calloway County and Graves County (defending regional champion, state quarterfinalist and top Courier-Journal Litkenhous rating in the region but not in the top 20 statewide) vs. Carlisle County on Friday and Hickman County vs. Mayfield and Marshall County vs. Paducah Saint Mary on Saturday

Second Region at Madisonville-North Hopkins--Trigg County vs. Hopkinsville University Heights and Henderson County vs. Caldwell County on Friday and Hopkinsville (defending regional champ, state semifinalist and Litkenhous No. 5) vs. Union County and Madisonville-North Hopkins over Crittenden County on Saturday

Third Region at the Owensboro Sportscenter--Owensboro (Litkenhous favorite but not in the statewide top 20) vs. Meade County and Butler County vs. Ohio County (defending regional champ) on Friday and Hancock County vs. Grayson County and Muhlenberg County vs. Daviess County on Saturday

Fourth Region at Barren County--Bowling Green vs. Franklin-Simpson and Barren County vs. Russell County on Friday and Clinton County vs. Bowling Green Warren Central (defending regional champ and Litkenhous No. 17) and Russellville vs. Monroe County on Saturday

Fifth Region at Marion County--Elizabethtown (Litkenhous No. 15) vs. LaRue County and Taylor County vs. Bardstown Thomas Nelson on Thursday and Green County vs. Elizabethtown John Hardin (defending regional champ and state quarterfinalist) and Bardstown vs. Adair County on Friday

Sixth Region (semifinals and final at Louisville Valley)--Hebron Estates North Bullitt at Louisville Doss (Litkenhous No. 12), Louisville Fern Creek at Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park (defending regional champ and Litkenhous No. 7), Louisville Fairdale at Shepherdsville Bullitt Central and Louisville DeSales at Mount Washington Bullitt East today

Seventh Region (semifinals and championship at Louisville Valley)--Middletown Eastern at Louisville duPont Manual (Litkenhous No. 18), Louisville Trinity (Litkenhous No. 2) vs. Louisville Saint Xavier at Bellarmine University, Louisville Central at Louisville Male and Louisville Ballard (defending regional champ, state runnerup and Litkenhous No. 1) vs. Louisville Waggener at Valley

Eighth Region at Henry County--Grant County vs. Shelbyville Martha Layne Collins and Owen County vs. Crestwood South Oldham (defending regional champ and Litkenhous favorite but not in top 20 statewide) on Thursday and Shelby County vs. Independence Simon Kenton and Oldham County vs. Henry County on Friday

Ninth Region at Northern Kentucky University--Union Larry A. Ryle vs. Covington Catholic (Litkenhous No. 8) and Newport Central Catholic (Litkenhous No. 4) vs. Erlanger Saint Henry today and Edgewood Dixie Heights vs. Hebron Conner and Covington Holmes (defending regional champ, state quarterfinalist and Litkenhous No. 11) vs. Fort Thomas Highlands on Friday

Tenth Region at Mason County--Campbell County vs. Bracken County and Harrison County vs. Winchester George Rogers Clark on Thursday and Montgomery County (defending regional champ, state semifinalist and Litkenhous favorite but outside the statewide top 20) vs. Alexandria Bishop Brossart and Augusta vs. Robertson County on Friday

Eleventh Region at Frankfort Convention Center--Richmond Madison Central (defending regional and state champ) vs. Franklin County and Lexington Catholic vs. Scott County (Litkenhous No. 3) on Thursday and Lexington Henry Clay (Litkenhous No. 19) vs. Lexington Lafayette (Litkenhous No. 9) and Woodford County vs. Berea Madison Southern on Friday

Twelfth Region at Pulaski County--Pulaski County vs. Somerset Southwestern (Litkenhous No. 16) and Lincoln County (Litkenhous No. 13) vs. Nicholasville East Jessamine on Friday and Nicholasville West Jessamine vs. Boyle County and Wayne County (defending regional champ and Litkenhous No. 6) vs. Casey County on Saturday

Thirteenth Region at Corbin--Clay County (defending regional champ and Litkenhous favorite but not in statewide top 20) vs. Middlesboro and Barbourville Knox Central vs. Williamsburg on Thursday and Bell County vs. Barbourville and Corbin vs. Jackson County on Friday

Fourteenth Region at Hazard Perry County Central--Breathitt County vs. Estill County and Hindman Knott County Central (defending champ, state quarterfinalist and Litkenhous No. 10) vs. Perry County Central (Litkenhous No. 20) today and Hazard vs. Cordia and Powell County vs. Wolfe County on Thursday

Fifteenth Region at Eastern Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville--Pikeville Pike County Central vs. Prestonsburg, Paintsville Johnson Central (defending regional champ and Litkenhous favorite but not in statewide top 20) vs. Lick Creek East Ridge, Betsy Layne vs. Lawrence County and Inez Shelby Valley vs. Belfry on Saturday

Sixteenth Region at Morehead State University--Fleming County (defending regional champ and Litkenhous favorite but not statewide top 20) vs. Elliott County, Boyd County vs. Lewis County, Rowan County vs. Greenup County and Ashland Blazer vs. Grayson East Carter on Saturday


  1. Here are the picks from Jason Frakes of the Courier-Journal:

    1st: Graves Co.
    2d: Hopkinsville
    3d: Owensboro
    4th: Warren Central
    5th: Taylor Co.
    6th: Lou. Pleasure Ridge Park
    7th: Lou. Ballard
    8th: Shelbyville Collins
    9th: Newport Central Catholic
    10th: Montgomery Co.
    11th: Scott Co.
    12th: Lincoln Co.
    13th: Knox Central
    14th: Knott Co. Central
    15th: Johnson Central
    16th: Fleming Co.

  2. Hazard's WSGS/WKIC, which is broadcasting tonight's 14th Region action, might finally be rousing me from my post-Olympics malaise. The commentators are so totally fired up about this tournament. "We started talking about this tournament at the end of last football season because we foresaw what was coming ..."

  3. So, in addition to No. 10 Knott Central in the 14th, other Litkenhous top-20 teams to win Wednesday were Nos. 7 PRP and 12 Doss in the Sixth; Nos. 1 Ballard, 2 Trinity and 18 Manual in the Seventh, and--setting up for "Northern Kentucky basketball fans," says, "the most anticipated match-up of the year"--Nos. 4 NewCath and 8 CovCath in the Ninth.

  4. A couple of interesting results from last night: Collins, Jason Frakes's favorite in the Eighth Region, needed overtime to overcome Grant County, 65-57, and Madison Central, the 2013 state champ, survived Franklin County, 75-72, in the 11th.

    The Sixth Region semifinals are tonight: Doss vs. PRP at 6 Eastern and Bullitt Central vs. Bullitt East at 7:45 Central, both games at Louisville Valley.

    Several tournaments--including the Second, Third and Fourth regionals--finally get out of the starting blocks tonight but not the state's western- and easternmost regions. The First, 15th and 16th remain idle until Saturday.

  5. The Sixth Region semis were both close Friday night:

    Jason Frakes @kyhighs
    If traffic on Dixie any indication all of PRP and Doss communities headed to Valley right now. How do South Enders deal with this every day?
    4:32 PM - 7 Mar 2014

    Bullitt Co. Sports @BullittSports
    At halftime of PRP vs Doss people in hospitality room already talking about the size of the Bullitt County crowd
    5:49 PM - 7 Mar 2014

    Steve Andress @steveandress
    LeMontray Harris slapped the backboard. Now gets 2nd technical AND 5th foul. He's done for PRP. Doss down 2 4:38 left.
    6:18 PM - 7 Mar 2014

    Bullitt Co. Sports @BullittSports
    Bullitt Central team watching PRP vs Doss from the corner of court, Bullitt East staying back in hallway on opposite side... Strategy?
    6:27 PM - 7 Mar 2014
    What a game! PRP is up 62-59 with 41.7 seconds left to play. Doss has the ball.
    6:30 PM - 7 Mar 2014

    Litkenhous No. 7 PRP held on to edge No. 12 Doss, 64-63. Then East--staying back in the hallway worked--beat Central in the battle of Bullitts, 54-50.

    PRP, the defending regional champ, and Bullitt East play for the Sixth Region title Monday.

  6. Today's action includes the start of play in the First Region tournament at heartbroken-after-last-night's-OVC-loss Murray State (our McCracken County Mustangs get things going at 1:30 p.m. Central against Calloway County); a solid Madisonville-North Hopkins victory over visiting Crittenden County in a Second Region first-rounder at 7:30 p.m. Central, and the defending state champ, Madison Central, against Litkenhous No. 3 Scott County in an 11th Region semifinal at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. The second 11th semi pits Henry Clay against Woodford, and we also have semifinals today in the 13th Region (Clay County vs. Williamsburg and Bell County vs. Corbin).

  7. The first varsity boys' basketball game the McCracken County Mustangs ever played was a 50-47 loss at Calloway County on Dec. 10. On Jan. 4, the Mustangs lost to the Lakers by 56-54 in western Paducah.

    But that was so two months ago.

    On Saturday, Coach Burlin Brower's boys beat Calloway County, 55-48, at Murray State--this is turning into a pretty lousy weekend for basketball fans in Murray--in the quarterfinals of the First Region tournament. That's six wins in a row for the 22-8 Mustangs--and the 11th victory in 13 games.

    The only losses during the span were 57-53 in overtime at Marshall County for the Gunner's Magic Train Classic on Jan. 24 (the 22-10 Marshals won their regional quarterfinal yesterday, too, and play 13-15 Mayfield in the second semi on Monday) and 77-62 at Saint Mary's on Feb. 10. McCracken County turned around and beat Saint Mary in western Paducah their next game to touch off the current winning streak. The Mustangs also beat the Vikings, 65-61, in overtime in the championship of the Second District tournament, at McCracken County's gym.

    Next up for the 22-8 Mustangs is 27-4 Graves County, the defending regional champ and current First Region big dog, per Litkenhous. McCracken County beat Graves County by six in Mayfield on Jan. 7 and by eight in western Paducah on Feb. 1. Their First Region semi is scheduled for 4:45 Monday afternoon at Murray State.

  8. In the 11th Region tournament yesterday, Scott County dispatched Madison Central, the defending state champ, 79-55.

  9. Today is a busier day for the girls' tournaments, but we do have a couple sets of high-powered boys' semifinals playing out this afternoon:

    -- Litkenhous No. 18 Manual vs. No 2 Trinity at 3 p.m. Eastern and Male vs. No. 1 Ballard at 4:45 at Louisville Valley High in the Seventh Region, and

    -- No. 8 CovCath vs. No. 4NewCath at noon Eastern and Dixie Heights vs. No. 11 Holmes at 1:30 at NKU in the Ninth.

  10. Ballard and Trinity on Sunday dispatched Male and Manual, respectively, by double-digit margins, so the Seventh Region is poised for a championship showdown Tuesday between the Nos. 1- and 2-rated teams in the state per the last Litkenhous.

    And in the Ninth Region, as previously reported by Go Heath, NewCath was eliminated by CovCath. Now we're teed up for a cross-Covington final in that tournament today: CovCath vs. Holmes at 7 p.m. Eastern at NKU.

    Two other regions also decide their boys' Sweet Sixteen berths today:

    -- In the Sixth, it's PRP vs. Bullitt East at 7 p.m. Eastern at Louisville's Valley High.

    -- In the 13th, it's Clay County at Corbin at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

    The two games that most grab me today are McCracken County vs. Graves County at Murray State (4:45 p.m. Central) and Hopkinsville at Madisonville-North Hopkins (7:30 p.m. Central) in First and Second region semifinals, respectively.

  11. Recapping Go Heath's fun coverage ...

    -- Three teams have qualified for the boys' Sweet Sixteen: PRP, which edged young Bullitt East, 59-56, for the Sixth Region title, despite playing without one of its best players; CovCath, which edged Holmes, 56-51, for the Ninth in front of a raucous crowd and then touched off a lively back-and-forth on Twitter about whether the champ's leading scorer was home sick from school Monday and whether he should've been allowed to play, and Clay County, which beat Corbin, 68-54, on the strength of a tournament-MVP performance from Richie Farmer's son.

    -- The 13 other regions play their championships today (Fourth at 6 p.m. Central; Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, 10th, 12th, 14th and 16th at 7 p.m. Eastern; 11th at 7:30 p.m. Eastern; First, Second and Third at 7 p.m. Central, and 15th at 8 p.m. Eastern).

    -- Highlights in the semifinal action Monday included McCracken County's beating defending First Region champ Graves County, 58-51; Henderson County's enduring two overtimes to finally get past University Heights, 98-92, in the first Second semi; Hoptown's obliterating Madisonville-North Hopkins, 97-65, in the second Second to lift the spirits of WHOP Nation; Bowling Green's and Warren Central's completing their sides of the Fourth Region bracket to set up a cross-town clash in the championship; South Oldham's beating Collins, 63-62, in overtime in a clash of the C-J/Litkenhous and C-J/Frakes Eighth Region favorites, respectively, and Litkenhous No. 16 Southwestern's prevailing, 66-60, over No. 12 Lincoln County and now getting No. 6 Wayne County in the 12th final.