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All Games at Valley High School

Monday, February 25
Ballard vs. Seneca, 3:30 pm
Male vs. Manual, 5:00 pm
Central vs. St. Xavier, 6:30 pm
Trinity vs. Eastern, 8:15 pm

Wednesday, February 27
Ballard/Seneca winner vs. Male/Manual winner, 6 pm
Central/St. Xavier winner vs. Trinity/Eastern winner, 8 pm

Saturday, March 2
Final, 2 pm

Matchup Previews
Ballard vs. Seneca
Ballard began this season as one of a handful of teams expected to contend for the state title and finds itself still squarely in that group as they kick off the Seventh Region tournament. Seneca has had a bit of a roller-coaster season but with many of their losses coming by just a point or two.

Ballard’s credentials are well known. Their three stars are all among the top players in the state. Quinten Snider is averaging 19.7 points per game; a big reason is his impressive shooting, going 40 percent from three-point range. He was also recently named the Courier-Journal’s Seventh Region Player of the Year. Lavonne Holland averages 14.1 points per game. Those two were well-known and their great play has gotten them here. But as was the case at the beginning of the season, it’s the third player that has been critical to the Bruins’ success: forward Kelan Martin. Martin is averaging over 19 points and 10 rebounds per game. He is an absolute handful for teams anywhere near the basket.

Since dropping a 52-53 decision to Trinity in the LIT championship game, Ballard has won every game they’ve played; the Bruins have won those games by an average of 24.8 points.

Seneca comes into the regional having lost three of their last four. However, the Redhawks won five of six prior to that, including quality wins over Eastern and Moore. In nearly every game this season, the Redhawks have been competitive right up until the end; they managed to run with Ballard through three quarters of play before ultimately falling to the Bruins 70-85 back on Jan. 22.

The Redhawks will be dependent on getting big scores from guard William Maddox and forward Kenneth Wachira. Watch also for the matchup between Ballard forward Kelan Martin and Seneca forward JeOnta Samuels.

Male vs. Manual
It’s exciting to get a great rivalry matchup right out of the gate in a regional tournament like this. Sure, the rivalry is primarily famous for its status as the oldest continually-played football game in Kentucky, but the competitiveness extends any endeavor in which the two schools find themselves paired against one another.

Male finds itself in this position by beating St. Xavier 59-58 in the 26th District championship. The Bulldogs are 14-4 since the first of the year and have been on quite the roll. Of those four losses in 2013, one was to Ballard and another was a now-avenged loss to St. Xavier.

The Bulldogs can expect two players in particular to shoulder a heavy workload – as they have all year – if they are to advance: sophomore forward Will Parker and senior guard Josh Stoner.

DuPont Manual heads into this game looking to avenge the 45-63 defeat they suffered at the hands of the Bulldogs back on Dec. 7. Unfortunately for the Rams, they enter this stage of the postseason having only won seven games since the beginning of 2013 including losses in four of their last five.

If Manual has a shot at getting past the Bulldogs, they’re going to need points. To get points, they’re going to need exceptional play from their top player: 6’3” senior guard Andy Tillman.

Central vs. St. Xavier
This will likely be the game of the day at Valley on Monday as two of the regions best teams all year long face off in a rematch of a game won by Central way back on Nov. 27. The game will feature talent all over the floor and two teams that have shown all year that they know how to win.

Central enters the regional as champions of the 25th District for the very first time (they moved over from the Sixth Region’s 23rd District last year), earning the distinction with a convincing 76-59 win over DuPont Manual. By any measure, the Yellowjackets have had an outstanding season, compiling a 22-5 record in which their only losses to Seventh Region opposition came to top-ranked Ballard and Trinity.

Central has shown time and time again that if they can get their shooters going, they’re a very difficult out. Guards Dominique Chandler and Jamie Johson are both capable of putting up serious numbers. Forward Stuart Jackson is an outstanding all-around player capable of scoring and rebounding. All will need outstanding contributions to beat a very tough first round opponent.

That opponent is St. Xavier, a team having probably its finest season in a decade. Since the beginning of January, the Tigers have gone 10-4, a stretch that includes wins over fellow regional participants Male, DuPont Manual and Trinity.

The focal point for the Tigers is 6-9 forward Brock Kiesler, who averages 11.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. But the scoring can come from elsewhere on the floor. Two players in particular have helped St. Xavier put big points on the board: senior guard Alex Jones (14 ppg) and junior guard Robert Shaw (13.8 ppg). Their play will be key but the “X-factors” (if you will) could be senior guards Will Glasford and Justin Moody. Each of them averages over eight points per game and shoot right around 40 percent from three. If they get going, the Tigers could get on a roll quickly.

Trinity vs. Eastern
What can be said about Trinity that hasn’t been said already? The reigning state champions enter the Seventh Region tournament seemingly right where they left off last year. Since a loss to St. Xavier on Jan. 11, the Shamrocks have only lost once. They boast wins over Ballard, Central, Pleasure Ridge Park, Madison Central and Montgomery County.

The story of the Shamrocks’ 26-5 record starts with defense. Trinity is giving up a stingy 47.3 points per game. They’ve allowed 60 on just five occasions.

As far as scoring goes, Trinity is led by Daryl Hicks’ 16.1 points per game. Following him, Trinity spreads the wealth with James Quick putting in 10.6 ppg and Tre Ivory adding 10.3 ppg. Down low, Trinity will depend on Craig Owens (7.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and DeMarcus Page (5.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg).

Eastern comes into this game still perhaps searching for an identity. The Eagles have been puzzling at times, compiling a 13-15 overall record and winning just six games in the 2013 calendar year. Still, among those wins is an outstanding victory against St. Xavier, proving them more than capable of competing in the Seventh Region.

Eastern began the year without Jordan Brangers who, since his return, has proven to be their most reliable scorer. Junior center Chris Renfroe and senior guard Demontay Hassell have also proven themselves more than capable. The key to advancing will rely in finding a way to get open looks for those three players amid Trinity’s stifling defensive pressure.

Ballard over Seneca
Male over Manual
St. Xavier over Central
Trinity over Eastern

Ballard over Male
Trinity over St. Xavier

Ballard over Trinity