Most of the top girls’ basketball teams in the Louisville area look to have easy paths through their district tournaments and into next week’s regionals.
But that won’t be the case for Eastern High School.
The Eagles (16-7) face a tough matchup against host Christian Academy (14-13) in a 28th District Tournament semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Monday. CAL defeated Eastern 58-56 on Jan. 16.
“We were up early in that game … and then we laid an egg in the second half,” Eastern coach Josh Leslie said. “(CAL) kept pecking away … and got the lead. When you don’t put good teams away, you get beat.”
As district tournaments get started around the state Monday, Eastern and CAL join Ballard — No. 9 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings — and Kentucky Country Day in what may be the toughest district in the Louisville area.
District champions and runners-up will advance to next week’s regional tournaments. Regional champions will advance to the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Sweet 16 set for March 12-16 at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.
No. 6 Sacred Heart and Ballard are considered the top teams in the Seventh Region, but Eastern looks to be a dark horse along with No. 17 Manual and Male.
Leslie said consistency has been the biggest issue for the Eagles. For example, they knocked off Ballard 56-49 on Feb. 8 and Male 65-58 on Feb. 11 but then dropped a 60-45 decision to North Bullitt on Feb. 12.
“I thought (the Ballard win) did some good for us, but then we come out against North Bullitt and don’t show up,” Leslie said. “We play well one night and then come out and just go through the motions.”
Ballard will face KCD in the other 28th District semifinal at 6 p.m. Monday. The championship game is set for 7 p.m. Thursday.
Here’s a look at three other district tournaments to watch around the state this week:
* In the Fourth District, host Marshall County could face Murray in the final as a possible preview of the First Region championship game.
* In the 15th District, No. 14 Glasgow will host No. 11 Monroe County on Monday in an elimination semifinal. No. 15 Allen County-Scottsville will face Barren County in the other semifinal.
* In the 45th District, Danville will host Lincoln County on Tuesday in a semifinal that will eliminate one of the top teams in the 12th Region.
GIRLS’ REGIONAL PICKS
|Second||Henderson County||Henderson County|
|Third||Owensboro Catholic||Owensboro Catholic|
|Fourth||Glasgow||Bowling Green Monroe County (tie)|
|Seventh||Sacred Heart||Sacred Heart|
|Eighth||Anderson County||Anderson County|
|Ninth||Notre Dame||Newport Central Catholic|
|10th||Mason County||Clark County|
|12th||Mercer County||Boyle County|
|13th||Bell County||Bell County|
|14th||Perry County Central||Perry County Central|
|15th||Magoffin County||Shelby Valley|
|16th||East Carter||East Carter|