This much is clear heading into the playoffs: Kentucky’s best girls’ basketball teams are concentrated in Louisville this season. For others across the commonwealth, the bright side is by the time the Sweet Sixteen starts, only one will be left standing by the quarterfinal round. Let’s look at how the postseason shapes up outside of Lexington.
Lindsey Duvall: The one-time UK commit who’s signed with U of L has been terrific in her first full season back from having a knee tumor removed: the Bullitt East star is ninth in the state at 24.4 points per game and is second in free-throw percentage at an 87.8-percent clip.
Emmie Harris: Boyle County’s all-time leading scorer averages 25.2 points, sixth most this season, but likely will have to overcome Danville in the second round of the 45th District to extend her senior season. The Rebels, 0-2 against the Admirals this season, open against Kentucky School for the Deaf.
Blair Green: Harlan County’s all-time leading girls’ scorer has more than 2,300 points and 850 rebounds under her belt. The junior, who’s committed to UK, leads the Black Bears, who will take a 21-game win streak into their 52nd District opener versus Middlesboro.
MacKenzie Coleman: Her 29.4 points and 15.7 rebounds a night account for nearly half of Metcalfe County’s team production in both categories. She’s one of two Kentucky girls signed with Tennessee Tech (the other is Harlan’s Jordan Brock).
Seygan Robins: She’s one of several standout scorers for No. 1 Mercer County, whose only in-state losses this season were to No. 2 Butler and No. 3 Male. Robins, a U of L commit, shoots 45 percent from beyond the arc and averages 15.2 points.
Butler: Repeating as champs will be a tall task for the Bearettes, but few teams are as well equipped for the challenging road they’ll face. Leading the way is Miss Basketball candidate Jaelynn Penn, an Indiana signee averaging 14.5 points and 7.1 rebounds.
Franklin County: No 11th Region program outside of Lexington had ever won consecutive region titles until the Flyers did it last season, and they’re favored to build on that streak this year. Only Scott County, rated a few points below them in the Cantrall Ratings, has beaten them within the region this season.
Sacred Heart: The list of teams who’ve beaten Butler this season starts with Male and ends with Sacred Heart; the Valkyries and Bulldogs each split their head-to-head meetings with the defending champs.
Elizabethtown: While its schedule didn’t wind up as meaty as in recent years, the Panthers still ended up going 2-3 against top-25 opponents this season and are favored to overtake Nelson County (which beat them on Dec. 6) for their fourth straight 5th Region crown.
East Carter: Marshall signee Kristen Mayo averages 13.1 points for the Raiders, who have won 14 of their last 15 games heading into the postseason. They defeated Elliott County, the opponent in their 62nd District, by a combined score of 160-33 in two meetings this season.
Games of note
Owsley County vs. Lee County at Estill County: Two of the state’s top scorers meet as Macie Gibson, third in Kentucky with 28.4 points per game, leads Owsley County against the favored Kats, led by Hannah Kash’s 25.1 points (seventh most).
Ryle vs. Conner at Boone County: One of the 9th Region’s top five teams will be eliminated after the buzzer sounds in this one. Ryle’s Maddie Scherr, a freshman, already has a scholarship offer from UK. The Cougars swept the season series, winning both games by four points.
Calloway County at Marshall County: The 4th District host is rated above the Lakers, but both are among the 1st Region’s top four squads. Waiting in the finals of this three-team district is Murray, the top squad in the region and ranked fifth overall.
St. Francis vs. Shawnee at Manual: This 25th District matchup may not end up being too competitive, but it features the state’s leading scorer, Alexis Nelson, a junior who averages 33.1 points for St. Francis.
Campbellsville at Adair County: If the Tigers advance past the Indians, Coach Anthony Epps would likely get a third try at knocking off Marion County, whom he coached from 2013-2015.
Girls’ state tournament
When: March 8-12
Where: BB&T Arena in Highland Heights
Championship game: 2 p.m. March 12