With the LIT suffering a disappointing early termination, I have turned my attention to the ALL A Seventh Region tournament being played this week at Louisville Collegiate.

The makeup of the regions are a little different for the All A than for the KHSAA post-season tournament; while Whitefield Academy is in the Sixth Region for KHSAA alignment, it plays in the Seventh Region in the All A tournament. Portland Christian and Shawnee are in the Seventh Region for KHSAA purposes, but play in the Sixth Region in the All A tournament. In fact, Portland Christian and Shawnee play each other in the Sixth Region tournament this week.

The Kentucky Country Day Bearcats have won the All A Seventh Region tournament for the past four years. KCD is the number 1 seed again this year. Louisville Collegiate is the number 2 seed and is off to the best start in its history. And while it likely will be those two teams reaching the final, the other three contestants (St. Francis, Whitefield Academy, and Brown) will come ready to play.

A look at each of the participants:

Kentucky Country Day Bearcats

The Kentucky Country Day Bearcats are the number one seed. KCD is 7-5 on the season and features one of the leading scorers in the Seventh Region in Solomon Mathis, who is averaging 20.7 ppg. Solomon can shoot from the outside (34.5% 3-point shooter) but also can get to the basket. Other leading scorers for KCD are Michael Collis at 7.9 ppg and Cedric Cosby at 7.3 ppg. Anthony O’Neal contributes 5.7 ppg, primarily from 3-point shooting, where he is 18/45 on the season (40%) and averages 1.5 made 3’s per game.

KCD shoots 39.7% from the field as a team. Interestingly, its 3-point shooting average (35.2%), isn’t much lower, suggesting that the Bearcats are comfortable shooting from the outside. That is consistent with the Bearcats not having much size. The leading rebounder, Wilder Brice, is a tough competitor but is often undersized and averages only 4.5 rpg.

KCD has the best win among the teams competing this week, a 71-69 win over Bullitt East on 12/9. KCD is 2-0 against the field, having beaten Whitefield Academy twice (64-54 on 12/5 and 61-46 on 12/23). The Bearcats have a game against Moore on Tuesday before playing its first game in the All A on Thursday.

Louisville Collegiate Titans

Collegiate is an impressive 15-4 on the season, although it comes into the All A regional tournament with losses in its last two games, a 83-45 loss to Male (one of the top five teams in the Seventh Region) and a disappointing 66-63 double overtime loss to Shawnee.

Collegiate has a good inside-outside combination. Inside, 6’5” sophomore Ches Moore is a force, both in scoring and rebounding. Outside, 6’3” senior Eli Allen is an impressive outside shooter, although he is not the only Titan who will put up a 3-point shot. Having multiple offensive options helps explain the best start in Collegiate’s basketball history.

Collegiate is 3-0 against teams in the field, with wins over St. Francis (59-49 on 12/4), Whitefield Academy (72-65 on 11/28), and Brown (86-62 on 12/14). It has not played KCD this season.

St. Francis Wyverns

The St. Francis Wyverns are the number three seed and bring a 7-7 record into the tournament. The Wyverns started the season 6-1, a stretch that included wins over Hancock County from the Third Region and Fleming County from the Sixteenth Region. But the Wyverns are only 1-6 since then, the sole recent win being against Frederick Fraize.

Two inside players lead St. Francis in scoring. Jomar Sullivan is 6’2” and averages 15.9 ppg. Sullivan has terrific hops and is a ferocious rebounder. Ahmad Moore, also 6’2”, likewise plays inside and contributes 13.2 ppg. Guard Noah Sparks averages 9.9 ppg and is the leading outside scorer, although Connor Gorman also can score from beyond the 3-point line.

St. Francis is 1-2 against the teams in the field, having beaten Brown 51-14 on 11/28 and losing to Collegiate 59-49 on 12/4 and 51-50 to Whitefield Academy on 1/4. It has a game Tuesday night against Walden before playing its first game in the All A on Thursday.

Whitefield Academy Wildcats

The Wildcats come into the tournament as the number four seed and sport a 9-6 record. They are led in scoring by Tyler Nauert, who is averaging 13.9 ppg and is Whitefield’s major 3-point threat (31.7% on 19/60 3-point shooting). Trevor Nauert is the second leading scorer at 10.4 ppg. Four others average at least 7 ppg, confirming that the Wildcats can get offensive contributions from a number of different players.

Whitefield does not have any player with significant size to play in the middle, but it has good size at the guard positions and adequate size at the forward positions. The Wildcats shoot 45.4% from the field and 28.2% from beyond the 3-point line.

Although it is in the Sixth Circuit for KHSAA purposes, Whitefield has played all of the other participants in this tournament, compiling a 2-3 record against the field. Its wins are against Brown (67-51 on 18/8) and St. Francis (51-50 on 1/4). It lost to Collegiate 72-65 on 11/28 and has lost to KCD twice, 64-54 on 12/5 and 61-46 on 12/23.

Brown Bears

The Brown Bears are 4-12 on the season. Guard Jai’Rus Bibb is extremely quick and usually leads the Bears in scoring. But the Bears are not a one-man show and have several players who can lead them in scoring. One of those other players is Montez Moore, who had 32 points in a game earlier this year.

The Bears are 0-2 against the other teams in the field, losing to St. Francis 51-14 on 11/28 (a game Brown played without Jai’rus Bibb) and 67-51 to Whitefield Academy on 12/8. The Bears have played at Collegiate this season when they played in the Louisville Collegiate Classic, although they did not play Collegiate as a part of that tournament.

The Match-ups

The tournament opens on Tuesday with Brown playing Whitefield Academy, a re-match of a game played on December 12 that Whitefield won 67-51. I expect something similar to happen on Tuesday.

In the first of the semi-final games on Thursday, KCD will play the winner of the Brown-Whitefield game. KCD has beaten Whitefield twice already this season, and I think the Bearcats will be able to handle whichever team advances from the first round.

The second semi-final pits the Collegiate Titans against the St. Francis Wyverns. These teams played at Collegiate on December 4, with Collegiate prevailing 59-49. In that game, Collegiate got out to an early lead and, while St. Francis was able to cut into the lead, it never was able to catch up. Collegiate’s inside-outside balance likely will again prove too much for the Wyverns, although this one has the potential to be a good game, particularly in light of the Titans’ recent loss to Shawnee (a team St. Francis beat by a 75-46 margin earlier in the season).

The likely championship match-up of KCD and Collegiate would be a good one. They have not played each other. They both have beaten Whitefield Academy; Collegiate beat them by 12 and KCD beat them twice, once by 10 and once by 15. They also have both played Shawnee, with KCD beating Shawnee 66-61 nine days before Shawnee beat Collegiate 66-63. They are closely ranked in the computer rankings, although KCD is ranked higher in those rankings.

The tournament being at Collegiate may make the difference. Collegiate has played nine home games and has gone 7-2 in those games. KCD’s past wins in the tournament the past four years have all come at KCD. With all indications suggesting a close game, I give the advantage to the home team, Collegiate.

Good luck to everybody.