Lexington Catholic's boys' basketball team will be shooting for a three-peat when it hosts the Republic Bank Holiday Classic starting Saturday.
After failing to win their own tournament five years in a row (2002-06), the Knights have taken the last two titles.
They beat Clark County in the finals last December, and they could have a title-game rematch with the Cardinals this year. According to pre-season ratings, No. 5 Clark County and No. 6 Lexington Catholic are favored to meet for the championship again.
But beware of Trinity.
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The Shamrocks were No. 16 in the pre-season, but they appear to have been underrated after winning the King of the Bluegrass last week. Led by tournament MVP Josh Sewell, they beat Clark County in the semifinals and Seneca in the finals.
Trinity won the Holiday Classic in 2004.
The 19-team field at Lexington Catholic also includes No. 12 Boone County, No. 15 West Jessamine, No. 19 Grayson County, No. 21 Highlands and No. 25 Male.
Unrated Seneca can't be overlooked after it beat No. 3 Eastern and No. 8 Warren Central in the King of the Bluegrass.
The Holiday Classic also includes defending region champions West Jessamine (12th) and Hazard (14th).
Among the individual stars in the tournament are Robbie Stenzel and Vinny Zollo of Clark County; Sewell of Trinity; Aaron Watts of McCreary Central; Jarrod Polson of West Jessamine; Travis Johnston of Grayson County; Jaylen Beckham of Lexington Catholic, and Josh Whitaker of Hazard.
Republic Bank Holiday Classic
at Lexington Catholic
Dec. 26: Boone Co. vs. Seneca, 1:30; McCreary Central vs. Muhlenberg Co., 3; St. Xavier vs. Hopkins Central, 4:30 (old gym); Clinton Co. vs. Scott, 5; Prestonsburg vs. Lexington Catholic, 6:30; Male vs. West Jessamine, 8.
Dec. 27: Grayson Co. vs. Mercer Co., 1:30; Perry Central vs. Highlands, 3; Hazard vs. McCreary-Muhlenberg winner, 4:30; Clark Co. vs. St. X-Hopkins Central winner, 6; Trinity vs. Clinton-Scott winner, 7:30.
Dec. 28: Quarterfinals at 3:30, 5, 6:30 and 8.
Dec. 29: Semifinals at 6:30 and 8.
Dec. 30: Finals, 7 p.m.
Sayre Holiday Classic
Dec. 28: Miami Valley, Ohio vs. Leslie Co., 6; Sayre vs. Bullitt Central, 7:30.
Dec. 29: Miami Valley vs. Bullitt Central, 6; Sayre vs. Leslie Co., 8.
Dec. 30: Bullitt Central vs. Leslie Co., 6; Sayre vs. Miami Valley, 7:30.
Gateway Holiday Classic
at Montgomery County
Dec. 28: Tates Creek vs. Fern Creek, 1:30; Madison Central vs. Fairview, 3:30; Montgomery Co. vs. Rose Hill, 6; Lafayette vs. Knox Central, 8.
Dec. 29: Semifinals, 5:30 and 8.
Dec. 20: Finals, 6.
Ashland Invitational Tournament
Dec. 28: Bishop Brossart vs. East Carter, 2:30; Mason Co. vs. Christian Co., 4; Ashland Blazer vs. Johnson Central, 7; Covington Catholic vs. Glasgow, 8:30.
Dec. 29: Semifinals, 7 and 8:30.
Dec. 30:Finals, 8:30.
Central Bank Classic
at Lexington Christian
Jan. 8: Quality Education Academy (N.C.) vs. Mountain State Academy (W.Va.)
Jan. 9: Scott Co. vs. Male, 5; Clark Co. vs. LCA, 6:30; Findlay Prep (Nev.) vs. Mountain State Academy (W.Va.)
Kentucky Army National Guard
Titans Christmas Clash
At Mercer County
Dec. 28: Tates Creek vs. Bullitt Central, 10 a.m.; Lincoln Co. vs. St. Henry, 11:30; Nelson Co. vs. Ryle, 1 p.m. Madison Central vs. Anderson Co., 2:30; Elizabethtown vs. Notre Dame, 5; Henry Clay vs. Paducah Tilghman, 6:30; Johnson Central vs. Bardstown, 8; Mercer Co. vs. Doss, 9:30.
Dec. 29: Quarterfinals at 5, 6:30, 8, 9:30 p.m.
Dec. 30: Semifinals, 8 and 9:30 p.m.
Dec. 31: Finals, 2:30 p.m.
Commercial Bank Queen of the Bluegrass
At East Carter
Dec. 28: Elliott Co. vs. Campbell Co., 3; Clark Co. vs. Breathitt Co., 4:45; Ashland vs. Shelby Valley, 6:30; East Carter vs. East Ridge, 8:15.
Dec. 29: Semifinals, 6:30 and 8:15 p.m.
Dec. 30: Finals, 6:15.