Inside the 4th Region (2/17/14)
Fourth Region Top 10
1) Warren Central (20-4) - 2/11 96-62 W at Russellville, 2/14 71-57 W #10 Greenwood, 2/15 74-73 W at Elizabethtown
Previous Rank: 1
This Week: 2/18 vs. Allen County-Scottsville, 2/20 at John Hardin
2) Bowling Green (20-6) - 2/10 96-59 W Logan County, 2/11 56-69 L at Owensboro, 2/14 80-65 W Warren East
Previous Rank: 2
This Week: 2/18 at Russellville, 2/20 vs. Henderson County
3) Clinton County (19-7) - 2/14 79-44 W #7 Monroe County, 2/15 49-48 W at South Laurel
Previous Rank: 3
This Week: 2/20 at #5 Barren County
4) Russell County (15-8) - 2/11 79-70 W at #4 Barren County, 2/14 50-60 L Adair County
Previous Rank: 5
This Week: 2/18 vs. Madison Southern, 2/21 at Allen County-Scottsville
5) Barren County (18-7) - 2/11 70-79 L #5 Russell County, 2/14 76-51 W at Cumberland County
Previous Rank: 4
This Week: 2/18 at Metcalfe County, 2/20 vs. #3 Clinton County
6) Glasgow (14-10) - 2/11 76-45 W at Metcalfe County, 2/14 61-55 W at Caverna
Previous Rank: 6
This Week: 2/18 vs. Cumberland County, 2/20 at Franklin-Simpson
7) Monroe County (17-9) - 2/11 77-48 W Cumberland County, 2/14 44-79 L at #3 Clinton County, 2/15 71-38 W at Metcalfe County
Previous Rank: 7
This Week: 2/18 vs. #8 Greenwood, 2/20 vs. #10 Warren East
8) Greenwood (11-13) - 2/11 64-48 W #9 Allen County-Scottsville, 2/14 57-71 L at #1 Warren Central
Previous Rank: 10
This Week: 2/18 at #7 Monroe County, 2/20 vs. Logan County, 2/21 vs. Edmonson County
9) South Warren (12-14) - 2/11 48-60 2OT L at Warren East, 2/13 62-54 W Franklin-Simpson
Previous Rank: 8
This Week: 2/17 vs. University Heights, 2/18 vs. Logan County, 2/20 at Daviess County
10) Warren East (15-8) - 2/10 57-54 W at Caverna, 2/11 60-48 2OT W #8 South Warren, 2/14 65-80 L at #2 Bowling Green
Previous Rank: NR
This Week: 2/18 vs. Franklin-Simpson, 2/20 at #7 Monroe County
Last Week's Game of the Week - So stop me if you've heard this one before. South Warren played a 14th District team and suffered a close loss. The Spartans must have just the worst case of deja vu. For the fourth district game in a row the Spartans lost by either 6 or less or in overtime. This time it was a tight road game at Warren East. The game was rather ugly in the first half, as the Raiders opened up a 13-5 lead after one and it was just 19-15 Warren East at halftime. East led the entire third quarter and by as much as 6 in the second half, but South Warren came back to take a brief lead before a wild finish was set up in the last half minute. The Raiders led by 2 with Walker to the line for two free throws. He hit them both, but a lane violation was called on the second. Bybee hit a game tying three pointer for the second straight week to send it to extra time at 46 all. The first OT period had the feeling of stall ball as neither team could score more than 2 points. East held for the last shot at 48 all for over a minute. The shot was no good, but Dylan Whitney was fouled to go to the line with little more than a second left. He missed both to send it to another extra session. East did not let another opportunity slip away, blanking the Spartans 12-0 in the second extra period for the win, ultimately setting a chain of events in motion that would leave them tied along with Greenwood for third place in the district at 2-6. For the Spartans, it was their 7th straight road loss to a district opponent, and they have now lost 17 of 18 to a district opponent when not playing at Spartan Gym.
Statement Game - The Clinton County Bulldogs have lost only one region game this year, and only two games in the 2014 calendar year. One of the losses was to BGP Top 20 team Wayne County. The other was a surprising 61-57 loss in the 4th Region All A to Monroe County. That home loss denied Clinton County a chance to win a tourney they were easily favored in. So they may have been slightly motivated when they hosted Monroe County again this past Friday. The Falcons never had a prayer. Clinton County doubled up in two of the first three quarters and nearly did in the other in taking leads of 19-10, 41-20, and 66-31 en route to their running clock 78-44 shellacking of Monroe County. While Monroe County is fading slightly, it's still the type of win that serves notice to the rest of the region that they could perhaps be a threat to take the whole thing.
Clutch Moments - It was briefly mentioned above but bears repeating that Austin Bybee has been captain clutch for the Spartans in the last couple of weeks. Even though they've wen on to lose in double OT in each, he extended games against Bowling Green and Warren East by knocking down a three pointer in regulation. Teams may do well to take notice in the next few games that if a key basket is needed, they might want to blanket this guy. Crosstown, Warren Central got another clutch moment of their own from senior Chris Porter-Bunton. CPB hit a free throw with no time remaining a couple of weeks ago to defeat South Warren, and Saturday they put a notch in their belt at BGP Top 20 team Elizabethtown when Porter-Bunton hit a game winning driving layup at the buzzer for the 74-73 win. Porter-Bunton had been having a pretty forgettable game, scoring only one point entering the 4th Quarter and ending with 7 points. But the last two were kinda big....
Districts Finalized - Every district required a tiebreaker beyond head to head to get the seeding done, but we finally have the complete postseason picture. In the 13th District, Logan County had already locked up the #1 seed, while Russellville slid into the #2. Todd County Central had a chance to clinch a spot in the 2/3 game with a win over Russellville last week, but after failing to do so, got it anyway when they won the coin flip with Franklin-Simpson. In the 14th, the top two spots were already known (Warren Central & Bowling Green), but for the third straight year there was a three way tie for another spot, this time a tie for third between Greenwood, South Warren, and Warren East. Through various means the order that the teams took their random draw was Warren East, South Warren, and Greenwood. East drew the 5, South Warren drew the 4, Greenwood drew the 3. In the 15th District there were ties for both the 1st and 3rd spots. When the dust settled, Monroe County won their coin toss for #1, but plays #4 Glasgow which in "losing" their coin toss ended up with a team they beat 2 out of 3 times they played (including All "A"). That left Barren County playing Allen County-Scottsville, and they split their season series. Finally in the 16th, Clinton County had already clinched the 1 with Russell County backing them up at the 2 spot, and Metcalfe County won the toss for the 3 seed, relegating Cumberland County to the 4. That particular one scarcely mattered - both Clinton County and Russell County are overwhelming favorites.
Final Ranking Thoughts - This week marks the final week of rankings as next week begins the district tourneys. Some elements remained remarkably consistent. Warren Central was a wire to wire #1. Bowling Green was 2nd all but the first week and Clinton County was 3rd all but the first two. Russell County had a bit of an oddyssey compared to those two, but ended back in the top 4. At the bottom we never saw either Metcalfe County or Cumberland County make the top 10, and the entire 13th District spent the season below the line except for Franklin-Simpson's brief moment in the sun in Week 1. In between those extremes was utter, utter, chaos. South Warren had the wildest swing, ranking as high as 5th and also being unrated two weeks. In the end, going by an average of ranks on the year, it went: 5) Monroe County, 6) Barren County, 7) Glasgow, 8) Warren East, 9) Greenwood, 10) South Warren, 11) Allen County-Scottsville. In other words, 1-2 was the top of the 14th, 3-4 was the top of the 16th, 5-7 was the top of the 15th, 8-10 was the bottom of the 14th, and then Allen County-Scottsville, followed by the entire 13th District and the bottom of the 16th. Which seems about right, even at the end.
Upcoming Game of the Week
2/20 #3 Clinton County at #5 Barren County - There's a couple of good inter-region games as well on Thursday, with Warren Central visiting John Hardin while Bowling Green hosts Henderson County, but sticking with my usual pick of an all-4th Region game, this one fits the bill nicely. Clinton County will get the chance to continue the statement they made in destroying Monroe County as well as matching pace with Russell County, who knocked off Barren at Barren themselves last week. This is an important game for Clinton County to acclimate to the region tournament venue that it is a certainty they will be playing at in a few weeks. It's also a chance for the Bulldogs to gain a measure of revenge against the Trojans, who knocked off Clinton County twice last season in a matter of two weeks. First Barren County won by 3 at Clinton County, then by 5 in the main event at WKU in the region tournament. In the greater scheme of things the game is meaningless, but both teams will want momentum from their final game heading into the postseason.
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