Louisville Central (District 25 Champs) vs Ballard (District 28 Runner-up):

Central has had an up and down year, marred by injuries, and a key player becoming ineligible after the break. Coach Bibby seems to have them clicking now at the right time. They breezed through their district tourney, blowing out Portland Christian and Manual. They started the Manual game slow and was down 7 at the half, and them limited Manual to 1 field goal in the entire second half to win by 19. Ballard has surprised and been Ballard again all year. They had a big year winning the LIT, and have been in the top 4 in the region the entire second half of the season. Ballard started slow against Christian Academy, and was down after the 1st quarter, and only led by 3 at the half. However, they turned it on in the 3rd and took a big lead, and won that game by 16. They got down early to Eastern in the district championship game, and eventually got down 25. They stormed back again, but this proved too little too late.

Prediction: I'm going to have my first upset of the week and pick Central over Ballard this game. Central is at home, and yes Ballard blew Central out a few weeks ago at home. I don't see the same focus in Ballard that I saw at tourney time last year. With the news of junior guard Antoine Darby being suspended for this game (6th man who plays a key role offensively and defensively for Ballard), and the way Ballard has been playing, I see them dropping this game close by 5 at Central.


Trinity (27th District Champs) vs. Male (26th District Runner-Ups)

Trinity lost starting junior guard Lucas Burkman to injury for the season a couple of weeks ago, but haven't lost since. They beat Atherton handily in the district semis, and then played Waggener in a very exciting back and forth affair that ended on a running game winning buzzer beater by Gabe Schmidt. Male surprised everyone, and has been the #1 team in the 7th region for about the past month. Male killed Brown in the semis, and probably played one of the most thrilling and exciting games in the post-season so far in their championship game against St. X. They played a back and forth game through regulation, and it came down to the end, and they ultimately lost in OT to the host Tigers.

Prediction:This game really could go either way. Both teams are playing well, and this could be the best first round regional game in the state. I'm going to go with Trinity at home though. I think the shooting prowess of this team with ultimately prove too much, in a 3 point win.


St. Xavier (26th District Champs) vs Waggener (27th District Runner Ups)

St. X has surpassed everyone's preseason expectations by far. They are the one team that is hard to evaluate. They can beat anyone in the state on any given night, but can also lose to anyone on any given night. St. X breezed past Collegiate in their district semis, and then beat Male in an instant classic OT game for the district championship. Waggener was the preseason #1 in the region, and hasn't been close to living up to those expectations, but their talent was on full display last week. They breezed past host Seneca in their semi-final game, and then played Trinity down to the wire in the championship game. Trinity had an outstanding shooting night against contested shots, and a buzzer beater to win. I think this Wildcats squad will be dangerous this week.

Prediction: I'm going with Waggener by 8. With starting junior guard Jacquess Hobbs' (albeit not 100%) return from injury, and the progressing play of guard Isaiah Knight, I see them pushing the ball in transition being too much for the Tigers. That combined with Waggener's size to limit second shot opportunities leads me to leaning with the Wildcats. St. X will need another 30 point effort from McKim to beat them.


Eastern (28th District Champs) vs DuPont Manual (25th District Runner-Ups)

The Eagles had an up and down week, and had the surprise upset of the week in the 7th. They started their district tourney by holding on in the end behind Chance Moore's clutch free throw shooting to secure a 5 point win against KCD. They then stormed out to a big lead on Ballard in the first half in the championship game. Ballard went on a huge run and got within 1 point after being down 25, but then Eastern held on in the end to secure the district championship. Manual killed Shawnee in their district semis round, but then lost big to Central in the championship game. Sr. guard Marcus McClendon was hobbled in this game with a badly sprained ankle (he sat out of the Shawnee game), so his health will be vital to their chances of winning tomorrow night.

Prediction: These teams have played two thrillers, with their last match-up ending on a game winning buzzer beater put back by junior guard Javen Rushin in the LIT. They say it's hard to beat a team 3 times, and if this were on a neutral floor I may lean with the Crimsons, but I'm going to pick Eastern by 11 on their home floor.

Favorites: Everyone. Will be like winning the power ball picking this region. I'm going to pick Trinity, but my gut wants me to go with a Central/Waggener final (everyone's preseason #1 and #2). I'm just excited to watch it unfold.

Players to Watch in the 7th Region Tourney:

1. Connor McKim - St. X
2. Alex Cook - Male
3. Jacob King - Trinity
4. Jamil Wilson - Ballard
5. Chance Moore - Eastern
6. Dai'Von Thompson - Central
7. Brandon Wells - Central
8. Clivonte Patterson - Ballard
9. Gabe Schmidt - Trinity
10. Jalaam Hill - Waggener

Regular Season Awards:

Coach of the Year - Willie Feldhaus - Male
Player of the Year - Connor McKim - St. X

My All Region picks:

1st Team

1. Connor McKim - St. X
2. Alex Cook - Male
3. Jacob King - Trinity
4. Jamil Wilson - Ballard
5. Dai'Von Thompson - Central

2nd Team

1. JR Mathis - KCD
2. Gabe Schmidt - Trinity
3. Clivonte Patterson - Ballard
4. Brandon Wells - Central
5. Chance Moore - Eastern

3rd Team

1. Caleb Williams - Eastern
2. Devin Firman - Central
3. Kevin Kirby - Waggener
4. Jalaam Hill - Waggener
5. Parker Jones - CAL