High School Basketball

43rd District tournaments: LexCath boys, Dunbar girls get coin-flip perks

Lexington Catholic’s Peter Whitman, center, pulled down a rebound over Dunbar's Matthew Browne, left, and Kaelen Whiteside on Jan. 18.
Lexington Catholic’s Peter Whitman, center, pulled down a rebound over Dunbar's Matthew Browne, left, and Kaelen Whiteside on Jan. 18. Staff file photo

A coin flip decided the No. 1 seed in both the boys’ and girls’ 43rd District tournaments. On the boys’ side, it had the extra impact of pairing a top-25 team with another in the first round of postseason play.

Such is life in the 43rd District, where Paul Laurence Dunbar — ranked ninth in the latest edition of Dave Cantrall’s Rating the State — will take on Lexington Christian, which moved up to No. 18, for a berth to the district finals and the 11th Region tournament.

Dunbar, the defending state champion, dropped its final two games of the regular season, at West Jessamine and against Scott County at home. LCA dropped two of its last three, falling at Lexington Catholic and to Bryan Station on Thursday. Both the Bulldogs and Eagles were failed by game-winners at the buzzer last week.

It’ll be the final 43rd District tournament for Dunbar star and Mr. Basketball frontrunner Taveion Hollingsworth, the Western Kentucky University signee who broke Lexington’s all-time boys’ scoring record last Tuesday. Hollingsworth is eighth in the state at 27.8 points per game.

The Bulldogs have swept LCA, the third seed, this season but split the head-to-head season series with Lexington Catholic. Catholic and Dunbar each finished 7-1 in district play, forcing a coin flip that fell in favor of this year’s tournament host.

Top-seeded Lexington Catholic, ranked 12th in the state, won 13 of its final 14 games. It’ll open against the winner of Monday night’s game between Lafayette and Tates Creek. The Knights defeated both teams twice but its combined margin of victory was much tighter against the Generals (eight points) than the Commodores (48 points).

Lafayette took both meetings against Tates Creek, which finished the regular season on a 14-game losing streak. The Generals lost nine of their final 13 games.

Dunbar’s girls came out ahead on their coin-flip battle with Lafayette, with whom they split the season series. The top-seeded Bulldogs, who ended the Generals’ 33-game win streak against 43rd District opponents, will match up with Monday night’s winner of a game between Lexington Christian and Tates Creek. The Commodores, who picked up their only district win of the year at LCA on Feb. 7, could be affected by a forthcoming KHSAA ruling regarding a fight that broke out at Henry Clay on Friday.

Lafayette, paired with third-seeded Lexington Catholic in the tournament’s second round, dropped its final two games of the regular season. Senior star Kiara Pankins, who’s scored more than 2,000 points and grabbed more than 1,000 rebounds in her career, has missed the Generals’ last six games after suffering a concussion in a win at Woodford County on Feb. 1.

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

43rd District Tournament

At Lexington Catholic

Monday: Lexington Christian vs. Tates Creek (girls), 6:15 p.m.; Lafayette vs. Tates Creek (boys), 8 p.m.

Tuesday: Lafayette vs. Lexington Catholic (girls), 6:15 p.m.; Paul Laurence Dunbar vs. Lexington Christian (boys), 8 p.m.

Wednesday: Paul Laurence Dunbar vs. LCA-Tates Creek winner, 6:15 p.m.; Lexington Catholic vs. Lafayette-Tates Creek winner (boys), 8 p.m.

Friday: Girls’ finals, 6:15 p.m.; boys’ finals, 8 p.m.

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