After an entertaining week of District Tournament basketball, the field is set for the 16th Region Tournament. The results of the district tournaments, although entertaining, weren’t unexpected. They have, however, setup what should prove to be a very competitive and exciting tournament in Morehead.
Game 1 – Morgan County vs Ashland Blazer
After dropping the championship game to Boyd County, the Tomcats have a stiff first round matchup against district champions Elliott County. In their fourth meeting of the year, the Cougars defeated Elliott by ten points. The Tomcats and Cougars haven’t played this season, but both have to be considered to be in the top three teams in the region. Ashland has been strong all season but have dropped three of their last five, after only two prior losses this season. The Cougars have only suffered one loss in February, and seem to be hitting their stride. The winner of this matchup will face the winner of the Raceland-Bath County contest.
Game 2 – Raceland vs Bath County
Bath County comes in as the district runner up in this game after falling to Rowan County. Raceland was able to win defeating Lewis County in their district. Unlike the Morgan/Ashland, the Rams and Wildcats are more familiar with one another. They split two games, by similar margins. If Bath County can find their shot they are as talented as anyone in the region, however, that hasn’t been a given this season. Raceland will try to use their size and strength to overpower the Wildcats. This one is a toss-up, with the winner’s prize being a second-round matchup of the Morgan-Ashland victor.
Game 3 – Boyd County vs Elliott County
In what seems like the inevitable, a battle of the Lions will take place in Morehead. Boyd County and Elliott County have squared off twice this season already, with Boyd County winning both games. Elliott County did reduce the margin of victory in the second matchup, falling by 8 at home. Boyd County, utilizing a very fundamental approach behind a strong starting five, has only two losses since the first of the year. The winner of this matchup will face the winner of the Rowan County-Lewis County game.
Game 4 – Rowan County vs Lewis County
In the final game of the first round, the Vikings will face off with the Lions of Lewis County for the second time this season. Lewis County won the first meeting, but the Vikings progressed steadily throughout the season. Lewis County has been up and down all season, but possesses all the components necessary to win. Offut has really stepped up late in the season for Lewis County, while the young roster for Rowan has matured behind stellar coaching.
The games represent a very balanced region, and each should be very competitive. With that said, odds are good that Boyd County and Ashland, being in opposite brackets could meet for a fifth and deciding game this season in the championship.