I thought this year would be different.

The Waggener Wildcats had their best season ever. They had only lost 3 times this season, an early season loss to St. X and two subsequent losses to Trinity. It had beaten Ballard 80-74 on December 4, the first time Waggener had ever beaten Ballard. Their collection of seniors, led by JJ Kalakon, is the best group of seniors in the Seventh Region. This was going to be the Wildcats’ year.

If Waggener wants to see the Seventh Region championship game, they will need to stand in line and buy tickets to the game, just like every other non-participant.

The Male Bulldogs were playing better than anyone else going into the post-season. Male’s junior class is considered the best in the state. Once Howard Fleming returned from off-season shoulder surgery, Male looked like the best team in the Seventh Region. Within a 7-day stretch late in the regular season, Male beat both Trinity and Ballard. The Bulldogs were the hottest team around.

Perhaps Waggener will pick up some tickets for Male, because the Bulldogs also will need them to get into the Seventh Region championship game.

So here we are, where we have been so many other times: Trinity v. Ballard for the Seventh Region championship. So who wins?

Well, Ballard has won the Seventh Region championship in every odd-numbered year since 2013. Plus, Ballard beat Trinity 69-65 in the King of the Bluegrass tournament, although that was during the stretch when David Johnson was out with an injury.

Both teams are extremely well-coached and will play tremendous defense. As to who might be able to generate more offense in the face of such defense, I give the edge to Trinity. A lot of the reason is David Johnson, who will be the best player on the floor. If he shoots from the outside as he did against Male and Eastern (a combined 6 for 12 on 3-point shooting), Trinity should win. Even if he does not shoot that well, his all-around game makes everyone around him better. For that reason, I think Trinity will win something like 58-50.

But then again, it is an odd-numbered year . . . .