The Dream of Many Will Become Reality After Regionals for Only a Few

Growing up in Kentucky whether it be the small towns such as Paintsville, Pikeville, Hickman, and Fulton or in the bigger metropolitan areas such as Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro, Bowling Green, and Florence, the dream of many children is to one day play in the KHSAA Sweet 16.

Many of those kids are playing on makeshift hoops without a net only to possibly one day cut the net off of the rim after a regional championship and, maybe, even a state championship.

Photo courtesy of Bob & Ted Jackson.

Regardless of what region or gender is playing on any given night, teams know that it is lose and go home from here on out. The field for the Mingua Beef Jerky/KHSAA Girls’ Basketball Sweet 16 will be finalized on Sunday, March 8, and the entrants into the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Basketball Sweet 16 will be set on Tuesday, March 10.

Regional games are already underway as the 4th Region girls tournament started this afternoon at E.A. Diddle Arena on the campus of Western Kentucky University with Russell County defeating Glasgow 40-36 and Bowling Green trouncing Russellville 61-29.

Photo courtesy of Bob & Ted Jackson.

Last week, I posted an article where we went ahead and selected our thoughts on who the regional winners will be, but this article will now include my selections on who will be playing in the finals of each regional tournament as well as who will be punching their tickets to Rupp Arena.

Just like how it should be in real life when entering a building, ladies are first.

Please note that the times listed for the championship game for each regional is local to the site.

1st Region – March 7 at 6 p.m. – Calloway County over Marshall County at the CFSB Center on the campus of Murray State University.

2nd Region – March 7 at 6 p.m. – Madisonville-North Hopkins over Henderson County at Christian County High School.

3rd Region – March 8 at 3 p.m. – Owensboro Catholic over the winner of the Muhlenberg County/Apollo matchup at the Owensboro Sportscenter.

4th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Bowling Green over Barren County at WKU’s EA Diddle Arena.

5th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Bethlehem over Elizabethtown at Thomas Nelson High School.

6th Region – March 7 at 1:45 p.m. – Mercy Academy over Bullitt East at Valley High School.

7th Region – March 7 at 12 p.m. – Sacred Heart over Christian Academy of Louisville at Valley high School.

8th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Simon Kenton over Walton-Verona at Collins High School.

9th Region – March 8 at 2 p.m. – Ryle over Notre Dame Academy at NKU’s BB&T Arena.

10th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Bishop Brossart over Campbell County at Campbell County Middle School.

11th Region – March 6 at 7 p.m. – Scott County over Franklin County at EKU’s McBrayer Arena.

12th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Rockcastle County over Southwestern at Lincoln County High School.

13th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – South Laurel over North Laurel at the Corbin Arena.

14th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Wolfe County over the host Letcher County Central.

15th Region – March 7 at 5 p.m. – Shelby Valley over Pikeville at the Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville.

16th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Russell over Boyd County at Morehead State University’s Ellis T. Johnson Arena.

Now that the girls regional championship games have been picked, I will turn my focus over to the boys tournaments. While there are plenty of people that have been to far more games that I have been, there has been one team that has stood out, to me, as being my favorite to win it all and that is none other than the Colonels of Covington Catholic High School so the below picture will be the smallest of trophies that I think that they will win this postseason.

Photo courtesy of Bob & Ted Jackson.

Below will be my region-by-region championship game picks as well as those who will earn the right to represent their school, town, and region at Rupp Arena:

1st Region – March 8 at 3 p.m. – McCracken County over Marshall County at Murray State University’s CFSB Center.

2nd Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Madisonville-North Hopkins over Lyon County at Hopkinsville High School.

3rd Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Owensboro over Owensboro Catholic at the Owensboro Sportscenter.

4th Region – March 10 at 6 p.m. – Bowling Green over Warren Central at WKU’s EA Diddle Arena.

5th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Elizabethtown over John Hardin at Taylor County High School.

6th Region – March 9 at 7 p.m. – Fern Creek over Butler at Valley High School.

7th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Ballard over Male at Valley High School.

8th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Oldham County over Collins at Henry County High School.

9th Region – March 10 at 7:30 p.m. – Covington Catholic over Highlands at NKU’s BB&T Arena.

10th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – George Rogers Clark over Campbell County at home.

11th Region – March 7 at 5 p.m. – Lexington Catholic over Scott County at EKU’s McBrayer Arena.

12th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Somerset over the host Pulaski County.

13th Region – March 9 at 7 p.m. – South Laurel over Clay County at the Corbin Arena.

14th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Hazard over Wolfe County at Knott County Central High School.

15th Region – March 9 at 7 p.m. – Martin County over Shelby Valley at the Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville.

16th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Ashland Blazer over Boyd County at Morehead State University’s Ellis T. Johnson Arena.

May the best team win their respective regional tournament. To all of the players, play with the passion for the game that you have inside of you. Play for yourself, your team, your coaches, your school, your family, and your community. Leave it all out on the court so that you know you gave it your all.

Region Championship Too Early Predictions

Photo courtesy Bob & Ted Jackson.

It is that time of year again folks and many people are wondering if their team(s) are going to make it out of their respective district tournament, but I am here to go ahead and make what some will say obvious predictions and a few thrown in their to possibly ruffle some feathers in hopes that some good conversations can be had.

The first prediction that I will make is the one that some people will say is the most obvious choice in Kentucky this season and that is Maddie Scherr will win the Miss Basketball title.

Photo courtesy Bob & Ted Jackson.

The first of my few surprise predictions will be that Zion Harmon will lead the Marshall County HS Marshals to Rupp Arena. Many people are placing their money (figuratively speaking) on McCracken County to win the 1st Region crown, but I think it will be Marshall County cutting down the next at Murray State University’s CFSB Center.

My other bold prediction will be what some may call a homer pick because I will officially be a graduate of Northern Kentucky University in May, but Coach Darrin Horn has done a good job in recruiting in his time at the helm of the Norse and to land Marques Warrick is only a sign of things to come for the Norse. With that having been said, I think Warrick will be crowned Mr. Basketball.

Photo taken from Marques Warrick’s Twitter account @marques_warrick

Below is a list of the teams that I think will be playing in the basketball Mecca of Rupp Arena in a few short week.

First will be the region champions competing for the Mingua Beef Jerky/KHSAA Girls Basketball Sweet 16:

Photo taken from the KHSAA website.

1st Region – Calloway County

2nd Region – Henderson County

3rd Region – Owensboro Catholic

4th Region – Bowling Green

5th Region – Bethlehem (if the Banshees can pull off the All A Class and Sweet 16 sweep, a book and movie would need to be made about the small school team from Bardstown)

6th Region – Butler

7th Region – Sacred Heart

8th Region – Simon Kenton

9th Region – Ryle

10th Region – Bishop Brossart

11th Region – Scott County

12th Region – Casey County

13th Region – South Laurel

14th Region – Wolfe County (this is the one that has the greatest chance of not happening out of the 16 predictions, but it is wishful thinking for a school that you never hear much out of. The city of Campton would shut down if their girls were playing in Rupp Arena)

15th Region – Shelby Valley

16th Region – Boyd County

Photo taken from the KHSAA website.

And now for the predictions of the 16 teams that I think will be representing their school, town and county in what many call “The Greatest Show in Hoops,” aka the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Sweet 16:

1st Region – Marshall County

2nd Region – Madisonville – North Hopkins

3rd Region – Owensboro

4th Region – Bowling Green

5th Region – Elizabethtown

6th Region – Fern Creek

7th Region – Male

8th Region – Oldham County

9th Region – Covington Catholic (a trip to Rupp Arena wouldn’t be the same without two things…the first being a vanilla soft serve ice cream cone and the second being the chance to see some terrific basketball from the CovCath, but mainly to get to see the Colonel Crazies a.k.a. the greatest cheering section in all of Kentucky high school athletics)

10th Region – Bourbon County

11th Region – Henry Clay

12th Region – Somerset

13th Region – South Laurel

14th Region – Hazard

15th Region – Martin County

16th Region – Ashland Blazer

Division I-filled Oak Hill Academy (VA) downs CovCath 50-38

Oak Hill Academy receives trophy after defeating CovCath 50-38.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Oak Hill Academy out of Mouth of Wilson, Va., rode strong performances from Cam Thomas and Darius Maddox to defeat Covington Catholic High School 50-38 in Game 1 of the 2019 Griffin Elite Prep School Classic on Saturday afternoon at the BB&T Arena on the campus of Northern Kentucky University.

Thomas, who has already signed to play for the LSU Tigers next season, scored the majority of his 17 points at the charity stripe where he was 10-for-10 on the day. Thomas was just 3-for-12 from the field including 1-for-4 from behind the three-point arc, but he did make up for it defensively with six steals.

Cam Thomas drives by a CovCath defender.

Maddox, a Virginia Tech Hokies signee, had the best performance for Coach Steve Smith’s team that is ranked 24th in the country according to the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Writers’ Poll. Maddox went 6-for-11 from the field including 2-for-4 from behind the three-point arc.

Virginia Tech signee Darius Maddox during opening intros.

Covington Catholic (0-2), who is a favorite to win the 9th Region basketball tournament also to be held at the BB& T Arena, was paced by Grant Disken’s 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 2-for-5 from three-point land. Disken added three assists, two rebounds and a steal for Scott Ruthsatz’s Colonels.

Grant Deskin attempts a first-half shot over Cam Thomas.

On a day where many were focused on Covington Catholic’s Class 5A state football game against Frederick Douglass, the basketball team came out fighting hard against the perennial national power.

Covington Catholic’s Chandler Starks proved to be a force to be reckoned with on the boards for years to come as the freshman grabbed a game-high 13 boards (four offensive and nine defensive). Starks showed a poise and fighter’s attitude against the Warriors that will prove to be beneficial as he may not see that level of collective talent again the rest of the season.

Freshman Chandler Starks (42) had impressive rebounding performance leading the game with 13.

The Colonels led by as many as five with 3:20 to go in the first quarter and could never pull away from the Warriors, but the team played with a spirit that didn’t die as their school motto says.

It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter before the Warriors were able to pull away after the Colonels pulled to within 34-31 at the end of the third quarter.

Two things that Covington Catholic will need to clean up as the season marches on are the turnovers and free-throw shooting. The Colonels committed 19 turnovers and shot just 4-for-8 from the charity stripe.

KK Robinson, who has committed to the University of Arkansas, tallied a game-high seven steals for the Warriors to go along with his nine points.

Neil Green added eight points and four rebounds for the Colonels who will next face a St. Henry District High School squad that is off to a hot start with a pair of wins over 9th Region foes Cooper (51-33) and Conner (52-47). Tipoff for the Tues., Dec. 10 contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Please note all game photos are courtesy of Bob & Ted Jackson.