High School Sports

Intrigue abounds in unique 11th Region boys’ tournament field

LCA's Kyle Rode pulled a rebound in traffic as LCA played Scott County on Thursday December 7, 2016 in Lexington, Ky.
LCA's Kyle Rode pulled a rebound in traffic as LCA played Scott County on Thursday December 7, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. mcornelison@herald-leader.com

The first 11th Region Tournament field without a Lexington public school since 1945 managed to become even more of an outlier in the event’s long history after Friday’s district championships went final.

Lexington Christian and Madison Southern, underdogs in the 43rd and 44th Districts, respectively, pulled out wins to earn spots as No. 1 seeds when the region draw was held Saturday. LCA, making its region tournament debut, drew its toughest possible opponent — Madison Central — based on the latest Cantrall Ratings.

The Indians, ranked fifth in the region, lost in the 44th finals for the first time since 1995. They fell to LCA in December as part of the Gateway Holiday Classic at Montgomery County.

Indians standout Isaiah Cozart smashed the state’s single-season blocks record (190, set last season by Graves County senior and Northern Kentucky signee Chris Vogt) with 212 coming into the tournament. Cozart, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, will face off against three 6-foot-6 bigs on LCA’s front line. Carter Hendricksen (15.2 points), Kyle Rode (14.8) and Austin Hall (14.7) give the Eagles more skilled size than any team in the field.

Scott County, winners from the 42nd District and the state’s No. 1 team, opens against Frankfort, the weakest team in the field per the rankings. The Cardinals have won 15 straight games and have lost to only one Kentucky opponent all season — Lexington Catholic. Scott County wouldn’t have an opportunity to avenge that loss until the finals.

Lexington Catholic, which fell to LCA in the 43rd finals, got paired with 41st District winner Franklin County in the first round. It will be the third meeting between the two in the last 20 seasons and the first since they played in the first round of the 11th Region Tournament in 2006, Knights Coach Brandon Salsman’s first year leading the program. LexCath won both of those games.

Sayre, which matched its school record for wins by knocking off Henry Clay in the 42nd District semifinals, plays 44th winner Madison Southern. The Spartans, led by senior Jake Duby’s 21.9 points per game, had won 13 straight before falling to Scott County in its district finals.

The winner of the 11th Region Tournament will meet the winner from the 12th Region in the opening round of the 100th boys’ Sweet Sixteen. It’s the third straight season and the fourth time in the last five seasons the Central Kentucky regions have been paired against each other in the first round.

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

11th Region Tournament

At Eastern Kentucky University

Wednesday: Franklin Co. (14-18) vs. Lexington Catholic (22-8), 6:30 p.m.; Madison Southern (26-5) vs. Sayre (22-9), 8:15 p.m.

Thursday: Scott Co. (27-5) vs. Frankfort (11-21), 6:30 p.m.; Lexington Christian (23-8) vs. Madison Central (18-14), 8:15 p.m.

Saturday: Semifinals, 1:30 and 3:15 p.m.

Monday: Finals, 7:30 p.m.