A 14th Region boys' basketball team hasn't reached the Sweet Sixteen semifinals since Hazard in 1986.
Knott County Central could end that 29-year Final Four drought next month.
If the Patriots, rated No. 4 in the state by Dave Cantrall, make it to Rupp Arena for the 98th Whitaker Bank/KHSAA State Tournament, they'll be favored to make it to the semifinals.
Pairings for the Sweet Sixteen were drawn Thursday, and they came out favorable to Knott Central — if Camron Justice & Co. can get there.
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The Patriots would be favored to beat the 1st Region team in the first round, and the 4th or 16th region team in the quarterfinals.
But it's all speculation for now. The post-season begins with district tournament play Feb. 23.
The boys' state tournament bracket looks fairly balanced, if the supposed powers make it to Rupp Arena.
The top half of the bracket could include No. 2 Newport Central Catholic or No. 6 Covington Catholic (9th Region), No. 5 Henderson County or No. 9 Hopkinsville (2nd), No. 7 Taylor County (5th) and No. 8 Oldham County (8th).
The bottom half could have No. 1 Ballard or No. 3 Trinity (7th), Knott Central (14th), No. 9 Wayne County (12th) and whoever represents the traditionally strong 11th.
The Sweet Sixteen will be played March 18 to 22.
■ The girls' Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls' State Tournament could be loaded in the top bracket if the favorites get to Diddle Arena.
Six of the top seven teams in Cantrall's ratings are in regions that are in the upper bracket. They are No. 1 Elizabethtown (5th Region), No. 2 Henderson County (2nd), No. 3 Holmes and No. 7 Covington Holy Cross (9th), No. 4 Southwestern (12th) and No. 6 Butler (6th).
The tournament will be played March 11 to 15.
■ Full-session ticket packages for the state tournaments are available. Upper arena is $80, side/lower arena is $124. Go to Khsaa.org/payments/tickets/.