Six of the coaches’ top-10 preseason teams will compete in the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic, which begins Saturday at Lexington Catholic.
The tournament has been pretty good at producing Sweet Sixteen teams; 10 of its 14 winners since it began in 2000 have reached the big dance.
Elizabethtown, the preseason No. 1 team, boasts Miss Basketball favorite Erin Boley. It received a first-round bye and will meet the winner between Bracken County and Fairdale at 1 p.m. Sunday. Bracken junior Korbin Florer’s 65.2-percent clip from the field is among the top-20 shooting performances in the state.
Boley is averaging 28 points per game, good for sixth in the state. The 6-foot-2 senior, who has committed to Notre Dame, is shooting a state-best 75 percent from the field and 86 percent from the free-throw line.
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The Panthers have won the LexCath tournament the past two seasons and could become the first to win three in a row since Lexington Catholic did it four times in a row from 2004 to 2007.
Butler and Mercer County, preseason No. 3 and No. 5 respectively, also received byes into the second round. The Bearettes will get the Garrard County-South Warren winner while the Titans will play either Paul Laurence Dunbar or Bath County.
Jaelynn Penn, a Butler junior and a Dayton commitment, is second on the team with 12.5 points per game coming on a scorching 63.3 shooting percentage. Fontasia Jeffries leads the Bearettes with 14.5 points a game.
Lexy Lake and Seygan Robins pace Mercer County. Lake has connected on 14 of her 28 three-point attempts this season and shoots 56.3 percent overall. Robins, a sophomore averaging 16.3 points and three rebounds, already has offers from the University of Kentucky, WKU and Central Florida.
Dunbar, which is sophomore-heavy, is off to a 3-3 start under first-year coach Nick Runyon. Mashayla Cecil, one of those sophomores, leads the team with 20.6 points a game. Senior Sarah Price averages 19.7 points for Bath County.
Also in the field are preseason No. 9 Bowling Green and No. 10 Eastern, who will meet in the second round if the Purples get past Russell (Eastern has a first-round bye). The winner of that one would most likely get Mercer County.
Should Mercer advance past the quarterfinals, it would probably get a rematch with Elizabethtown, to whom it lost in the first round of the Sweet Sixteen in March. The Panthers crushed the Titans 79-38.
Preseason No. 8 Murray opens against Fern Creek and would see 10th Region-favorite Mason County in the second round if the Royals get by Breckinridge County.
Host Lexington Catholic will look to exact some revenge for its football team in the first round; the Knights play Belfry at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Sophomore Ashley Frebis is tops at 10 points per game for Catholic, which is coming off a 2-1 stint in the Bahamas.
Sophomore Peyton Riddle, among the state leaders at 17.6 points a game, will look to lead Scott County deep into the tournament. The Cards open with Danville.
Traditional Bank Holiday Classic
What: Girls’ basketball tournament. Includes championship bracket and consolation bracket.
Where: Lexington Catholic’s Alumni Gym and Beuter Gym.
When: Various times Saturday through Wednesday. Semifinals Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Finals Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
Tickets: $8 per day.