Clark County

Girls: Collision course for 11th Region's top two

The top two teams in the 11th Region this season have not met this season.

But when and if they do, it will be for all the marbles.

If No. 9 Scott County and No. 10 Madison Central collide, it will mean they made it out of their respective corners of the bracket and to the 11th Region championship game Saturday night at Eastern Kentucky's McBrayer Arena.

Coach Steve Helton's Cardinals (20-6), who surprised many by advancing to the 11th Region Tournament finals last season, won't shock anyone if they make it this year with all of their players back.

Scott County, which has won 11 in a row, will meet Woodford County in the first round on Tuesday and could be looking at a rematch of last season's championship against Lexington Christian in Friday's semifinals.

The Eagles (21-6), who have knocked off several ranked opponents this season including No. 15 Louisville Christian, would like to get back to Diddle Arena for senior and Kentucky signee Sarah Beth Barnette.

LCA, which can claim three All "A" Classic championships and two 11th Region titles on the McBrayer Arena floor in Barnette's time there, has won four in a row and five of its last six.

Central is one of the state's hottest teams this season, winning 15 in a row, including a 44th District championship win at McBrayer last week.

To get to the finals, the Indians potentially will have to get through the region's only other ranked team No. 24 Franklin County, who fell at Madison Central by a single point on Feb. 12.

The Flyers get an athletic Bryan Station team that they split games with this season, in the first round. Central meets upstart Tates Creek in the first round.

The last time a team from outside the Lexington area won the 11th Region title was Woodford County in 2002. Madison Central has never won a region championship. Scott County won the 8th Region title in 2005 before being realigned into the 11th Region.

Other bracket highlights

The 7th Region Tournament is a virtual minefield for any team hoping to get to the Sweet Sixteen, especially for top-ranked Manual.

But the good news is, whatever team makes it out can say it has been well tested.

In the first round, the Crimsons drew No. 15 Louisville Christian and Miss Basketball candidate Antonita Slaughter. The Centurions were upset in the district tournament.

Whatever team wins that contest likely will face No. 19 Sacred Heart.

No. 12 Mercy seems to have the best draw in the top half of the bracket, but the Jaguars' first matchup is against fellow girls' school Assumption, which has won four in a row.

■ There's a brutal first-round game in the 9th Region as well, pitting No. 11 Newport Central Catholic against No. 13 Ryle.

NewCath has won 19 in a row, including an All "A" Classic title. It has not faced the Raiders yet this season, though. Ryle had won five in a row before losing to No. 6 Boone County by just one point in the district finals.

The defending region champion Rebels have won 15 straight games and are the favorite to come out of the top part of the bracket.

■ In the 10th Region, Montgomery County appears to have gotten a reasonable draw to at least give it a shot to win its sixth straight region title. The Indians (15-13) are opposite some of the other top teams in the bracket like Clark County as well as Mason County and Scott, who will meet in the first round.

■ Fourth-ranked Lincoln County, trying to get to its first state tournament since 2001, will have to go through defending region champ Casey County in the first round and then could hit No. 5 Rockcastle County in the finals.

■ If No. 3 Bowling Green wants to make it to its first-ever Sweet Sixteen, it will likely have to knock off two-time defending region champ Franklin-Simpson in the semifinals on Friday.

The two haven't met since the season opener when the Purples won 59-46.

■ No. 2 Marion County, the only team in the state that hasn't lost to another team in the state this season, got a good draw on paper. The Knights wouldn't have to face either of the 5th Region's other remaining ranked teams, No. 8 Elizabethtown or No. 19 Nelson County and Miss Basketball candidate Samantha Drake, until the championship game.