High School Basketball

Coaches pick Kentucky’s top 10 preseason girls’ basketball teams

Mercer County's Seygan Robins, pressures Leslie County's Emily Griffith during the first quarter of their opening game in the 2016 St. Elizabeth Healthcare/KHSAA Girls' Sweet 16 State Tournament, Wednesday, March 9, 2016.Mercer's Madeline Bartley is in the background.
Mercer County's Seygan Robins, pressures Leslie County's Emily Griffith during the first quarter of their opening game in the 2016 St. Elizabeth Healthcare/KHSAA Girls' Sweet 16 State Tournament, Wednesday, March 9, 2016.Mercer's Madeline Bartley is in the background. Jim Osborn

Preseason Top 10 Teams

(Last year’s record in parentheses)

1. Butler (31-5) — Defending champions boast four Division I signees and another player who’s Bellarmine-bound.

2. Mercer County (31-6) — Junior class has five Division I prospects, including a pair of twins who have committed to Southeast Missouri, Faith and Lexy Lake.

3. Franklin County (31-5) — Last season’s state runners-up return three starters, including Princess Stewart and Rebecca Cook, their two leading scorers.

4. Sacred Heart (23-8) — Valkyries have played in only one Sweet Sixteen since winning last of their four titles in 2004.

5. Murray (35-2) — Tigers could buck a trend; Marshall County is only 1st Region program to ever make Sweet Sixteen in consecutive seasons.

6. Male (29-3) — Bulldogs edged rival Sacred Heart as the 7th Region coaches’ Sweet Sixteen pick despite lower projection in eyes of coaches statewide.

7. Bullitt East (21-6) — Chargers have the unenviable task of challenging preseason title favorite Butler just to reach state tournament.

8. Elizabethtown (30-5) — Losing a once-in-a-lifetime talent like Erin Boley hurts, but Panthers do return three-star guard Jada Stinson, a Memphis pledge.

9. Holmes (29-5) — Two of Northern Kentucky’s best, Laila Johnson and Tyrah Englemon, return for a team that went 17-0 in the 9th Region last season.

10. Manual (21-8) — Crimsons round out trio of teams expected to duke it out for 7th Region honors.

Coaches’ next 10: Simon Kenton, Mercy, Mason County, Bowling Green, Clark County, Harlan County, Eastern, Lincoln County, South Warren, Ashland Blazer.

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

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