11th Region girls tip off 'mini-state tournament' on Wednesday

February 26, 2013 

Lafayette played Dunbar in the 43rd district finals on Friday February 22, 2013 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff

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After two nights of boys' basketball, the girls' 11th Region Tournament will take over the McBrayer Arena court Wednesday at Eastern Kentucky University.

No. 11-rated Madison Central (26-4) will meet Scott County (20-11) in the opener, at 6:30 p.m. No. 23 Paul Laurence Dunbar (16-11) will face Frankfort (19-8) in the nightcap, set for 8:15 p.m.

Thursday, operating on the same time schedule, No. 21 Lafayette (19-12) will be matched against Madison Southern (12-19), followed by Bryan Station (18-10) versus Franklin County (22-10).

Robbie Cooksey, Madison Central's coach, doesn't put much stock in his team's ranking.

"I don't think rankings have anything to do with it at this point. This region is like a mini-state tournament," he said. "Lafayette and Dunbar are really coming on. Scott County is always really good. Bryan Station just won their district. Franklin County and Frankfort are playing well, too. Hopefully, we'll be playing our best basketball."

Semifinals are set for Saturday at 1:30 and 3:15 p.m., with finals Tuesday night at 7:30.

Defending champion Dunbar made it all the way to the state tournament semifinals last year, but has been slowed by injuries this season.

Coach Sarah Bridenbaugh says her Bulldogs will have 12 players in uniform Wednesday, for only the second game all season.

"I think my girls are ready. They're excited about the upcoming tournament," she said. "With the field in this region being so strong, it's always going to be tough to go down there and win, but we're very excited about this week."

Like Cooksey, Bridenbaugh doesn't concern herself with rankings.

"We don't worry about rankings ever," she said. "We just worry about playing our best basketball at tournament time."

Having won last year could be an advantage, Bridenbaugh said, but Dunbar will have to be ready.

"I definitely think that (experience) will be somewhat of an advantage," she said. "But the teams are so strong in this 11th Region Tournament. We know that we have to play well no matter what team we face."

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