With seven of the eight teams having at least 18 victories, the Sixth Region may have one of the state’s most competitive boys’ basketball tournaments this week.
Pleasure Ridge Park (23-7) – No. 9 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings – and No. 12 Doss (21-7) headline the field, but Fern Creek coach James Schooler believes several others could win it.
“Top to bottom, it’s a great tournament,” Schooler said. “Everybody has been saying the Sixth Region is wide open. You do have some teams that have some real strengths, but it should be a competitive tournament.”
Draws were held Saturday at Holy Cross for the boys’ and girls’ Sixth and Seventh Region tournaments, with district champions getting to host first-round games Monday and Tuesday. The tournaments will move to Valley starting Wednesday.
Girls’ finals are slated for Saturday, with the Seventh Region championship game at 5 p.m. and the Sixth Region final at 7:30 p.m. The boys’ finals are set for 7 p.m. Monday, March 10 (Sixth Region) and Tuesday, March 11 (Seventh Region).
Here’s a breakdown of the draws:
Schooler’s Fern Creek squad may have received the toughest draw of all, facing a first-round matchup at PRP (23-7) at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
But the Tigers (19-11) have the confidence of a 65-51 victory over the Panthers on Feb. 18.
With 6-foot-7 seniors Lamontray Harris and D’Angelo Hunter, PRP presents matchup problems for most squads. But Fern Creek can counter with 6-6 senior Joe Jackson and several others.
“We’re going to have to match up with them by committee, and even my guards are going to have to go down and rebound,” Schooler said. “(PRP) is very athletic and strong in the paint. You definitely know when you play a ball club like theirs that you have to block out and stand your ground in the paint in order to compete.”
Doss and PRP both drew in the top half of the bracket and could meet in Thursday’s 6 p.m. semifinal. Bullitt East (24-7) has the best record in the bottom half of the bracket and will host DeSales (20-9) in a quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
In the Seventh Region, No. 2 Trinity (26-5) will face rival St. Xavier (21-8) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a game that has been moved to Bellarmine University’s Knights Hall. The Shamrocks beat the Tigers 64-56 on Jan. 10 at Freedom Hall.
No. 1 Ballard (27-5) will face Waggener (16-9) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The game has been moved to Valley because of a leaky roof and a damaged court at Ballard’s gym.
In one of the top first-round matchups in the entire state, No. 3 Butler (25-3) will host No. 11 Bullitt East (22-8) at 7 p.m. Monday.
The host Bearettes won the regular-season meeting 78-65 on Dec. 11.
“We figured there was a good chance we were going to have to play Bullitt East at some point,” Butler coach Larry Just said. “It’s nice to have that reward of playing at home one more time. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but it is nice to be under normal conditions.”
The game will match two of the state’s top freshmen in Butler’s Jaelynn Penn and Bullitt East’s Lindsey Duvall. Both were first-team All-Sixth Region selections.
The Seventh Region draw is highlighted by a quarterfinal matchup between No. 20 Eastern (18-8) and No. 8 Sacred Heart (24-7). Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Monday at Sacred Heart.
The Valkyries beat the Eagles 77-49 on Dec. 17.