2nd Region Tournament Preview
The second region has been about two teams all year long. Right from the beginning, University Heights and Madisonville North-Hopkins showed they were the cream of the crop, and things never changed. For UHA, its about the continued 8th district dominance within the region. Since 2001, an 8th district team has won the region 2 title and advanced to Rupp Arena. The closest any team has come in recent memory to snap that streak was in 2015 when David Simmons and Henderson County dominated throughout the year, but fell to Hopkinsville in the semis.
Madisonville-North Hopkins has the chance to end the 8th District streak. They are the last team outside that district to win the Region 2 title back in 2001. This year they only lost one game to a Region 2 school, that was UHA, by one, on a last second shot. The dream is real for the Maroons, they have found themselves with a historic opportunity. And they can do it on their home court. If things go as predicted, we will know on Saturday, if history has been made, or just continued.
Here are the matchups for this yearís Region 2 tournament which will be held at Madisonville-North Hopkins high school. The draw was perfect in that Madisonville and UHA are in different brackets and can only meet in the finals. Itís the way it should be.
Game 1: University Heights vs Crittenden County (Feb 25 at 6:00 pm)
This game should be over early. These two did not meet during the regular season, but the Blazers are a powerhouse and the Rockets have had a struggle this season. UHA is led by Mr. Basketball candidate KyKy Tandy who is averaging 27 ppg. His teammates Drew McGowan (14.9) and Taquan Hollowell (11 ppg) are complimenting pieces to Tandyís play.
Crittenden has two scoring threats to watch, Gabe Mott is averaging 15.1 ppg and Preston Turley is adding 11.7 ppg. While the Rockets have scoring threats, they are outmatched in almost every area of the court. UHA is very athletic and will be too much for Crittenden.
Prediction: UHA 83 Crittenden County 51
Game 2: Union County vs Caldwell County (Feb 25 at 7:30 pm)
This will probably be the closest game in the opening round of the Region 2 tournament. Both teams have come on strong at the end of the season although Unionís run has been a little more impressive. These two teams met on December 1 where Union took a 4 point victory. Caldwell looked very good against University Heights in the last game of the regular season losing 96-91. This game will feature two of the most prolific scorers in the region. Derrin Boyd for Caldwell and Kale Gaither for Union.
Caldwell will be led by Boyd who averages 24.2 ppg and also pulls down 7.4 rpg. John Davis will average 12.7, Cayden Fraliex also adds in 11.4 per game. For Union, Gaither is averaging 23.2 ppg and Elex Dunford adds 12.8 ppg with Cade Duncan getting 9.5 ppg and 7.3 rpg. This game should be a good one and pretty high scoring. Defense isnít either teamís specialty, and it may come down to who gets last shot. This will be the game to watch in the first round.
Prediction: Caldwell 78 Union County 75
Game 3: Madisonville North-Hopkinsville vs Christian County
This has the chance to be a close game or a blowout. The game between these two earlier this year on December 18 ended with a Madisonville win in overtime 69-64. The Maroons are averaging a full 12 points more a game than the Colonels. While Madisonville has been a juggernaut all season, Christian County has had its ups and downs. On paper the Maroons should win this game easily, however Kerry Stovall seems to get the best out of his teams this time of year, regardless of the talent level.
Madisonville has four different players who are a threat to score. The biggest threat being Ksuan Casey who is averaging 15.3 ppg and 9.5 rpg. Not many in the region have been able to limit his dominance. Kenny White (13.1 ppg), Cade Cunningham (11.6 ppg), and JD Gilbert (10.3 ppg) all can explode at any point for more than 20. If all of them are on their game, they are very difficult to beat.
Christian County doesnít quite have the scoring threat Madisonville does, but they do have four scorers of their own. Eric Brody leads the way with 14.1 ppg followed by Stephon Bussell (11.6), Fred Tandy (11.4) and Damikeon Mathis (9.6). The big problem for the Colonels will be figuring how to defend Casey and keep him off the boards.
Prediction: Madisonville-North Hopkins 74 Ė 60
Game 4: Lyon County vs Henderson County
Lyon and Henderson have not played each other this year so it is hard to tell what will happen in this game. Neither have played an extremely difficult schedule, although Lyonís has been more difficult playing 3 top 20 teams. Both team have also had their ups and downs this year, but Lyon finished the season on a strong note winning 8 of their last 9 games.
Lyon boasts three scoring threats. Travis Perry leads the way averaging almost 21 points per game. Gabe Board (15 ppg) and Jackson Shoulders (12.2 ppg) are great compliments to Perry. They shoot well from behind the arc but arenít as big as other teams.
Henderson County has one dominant scorer and some nice complimentary pieces. Corey Stewart leads the way for the Colonels with 17.2 ppg. Myekel Sanners, Holden Raley, Daymian Dixon, and Edmund Brooks all contribute, but none get more than 10 ppg.
Prediction: Lyon County 55 Henderson County 53