Preseason Top 10 Teams
(Last year’s record in parentheses)
1. Butler (31-5) — Defending champions boast four Division I signees and another player who’s Bellarmine-bound.
2. Mercer County (31-6) — Junior class has five Division I prospects, including a pair of twins who have committed to Southeast Missouri, Faith and Lexy Lake.
3. Franklin County (31-5) — Last season’s state runners-up return three starters, including Princess Stewart and Rebecca Cook, their two leading scorers.
4. Sacred Heart (23-8) — Valkyries have played in only one Sweet Sixteen since winning last of their four titles in 2004.
5. Murray (35-2) — Tigers could buck a trend; Marshall County is only 1st Region program to ever make Sweet Sixteen in consecutive seasons.
6. Male (29-3) — Bulldogs edged rival Sacred Heart as the 7th Region coaches’ Sweet Sixteen pick despite lower projection in eyes of coaches statewide.
7. Bullitt East (21-6) — Chargers have the unenviable task of challenging preseason title favorite Butler just to reach state tournament.
8. Elizabethtown (30-5) — Losing a once-in-a-lifetime talent like Erin Boley hurts, but Panthers do return three-star guard Jada Stinson, a Memphis pledge.
9. Holmes (29-5) — Two of Northern Kentucky’s best, Laila Johnson and Tyrah Englemon, return for a team that went 17-0 in the 9th Region last season.
10. Manual (21-8) — Crimsons round out trio of teams expected to duke it out for 7th Region honors.
Coaches’ next 10: Simon Kenton, Mercy, Mason County, Bowling Green, Clark County, Harlan County, Eastern, Lincoln County, South Warren, Ashland Blazer.