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12th Region Week 10 Review: The Gap is Closing


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Week 10 reminded us of just how wide open the 12th Region is. While Danville and Wayne County continue to maintain a consistent hold on the top two spots, teams from #3 to #12 have defeated teams ahead of them in the rankings and most have shown the potential to beat either one of the top two on any given night. The gap between the top two teams and the next ten teams below them seems to be closing.


Despite it being a weekly statement, it bears repeating: the 45th District Tournament is going to be epic. It is also going to end two good team’s seasons early.


Top 12 teams who are …

Holding Fairly Steady: Danville, Wayne County, Boyle County, Somerset, Pulaski County, Garrard County, East Jessamine.

On the Rise: Mercer County, Casey County

Sliding a Bit: Lincoln County, West Jessamine


Here is a look at the Week 10 results, rankings, and Week 11 key match-ups:


1. Danville – Danville won two District games this past week, a hard-fought 87-83 double OT victory over Garrard County and a 54-46 win at home over Boyle County, followed by a 75-34 win over Rockcastle County. The matchup with Garrard will go down as one of the best games of the year, it had a little bit of everything, and the Admirals had to recover from a 6-point deficit in the final two minutes just to force the first overtime. On Friday night against Boyle, Danville followed a familiar pattern and played their best basketball in the second half, overcoming a 20-15 halftime deficit to win by eight. Despite being #1 in the Region for most of the season, the Admirals are no lock to make the Region Tournament, the semifinal elimination games looks to be one of Danville’s most difficult challenges of the year. The Admirals play at Franklin County Monday this week, have a very challenging game at Frankfort on Tuesday, and host District rival Lincoln County on Friday.


2. Wayne County – Wayne County defeated an improving Casey County team 86-74 on Tuesday this past week, then survived an ice-cold shooting night in a 54-43 over McCreary Central on Friday. The Cardinals also played Cordia on Saturday, coasting to an easy 90-54 win. Wayne County hits the road this week, traveling to play at Somerset Tuesday and at West Jessamine on Friday, then on Saturday hosts a good Warren Central team who has won six of seven games and just defeated top-20 Collins.


3. Mercer County – The Titans opened the week with a 57-46 District win at East Jessamine, a victory that ultimately clinched their #1 seed in the 46th District Tournament. Mercer County then survived 73-71 at home against Pulaski County on Tuesday, and coasted to an easy 78-33 win at Burgin on Thursday night. The Titans have now won five in a row and ten of eleven, and are one of the hottest teams in the Region as we hit February. Shooting has improved dramatically in recent weeks (including a 14-25 performance from beyond the 3-point arc against Pulaski) and the Titans seem to be peaking at just the right time. Mercer has a busy week ahead, hosting Russell County on Monday this week, facing a difficult matchup at Lincoln County Tuesday, then hosting Casey County and Adair County on Friday and Saturday.


4. Lincoln County – The Patriots took a surprising loss at home to Southwestern this past Tuesday, missing some key free throws down the stretch and losing 56-55. Lincoln bounced back with a 54-42 at Garrard County on Friday, then traveled to Pulaski County on Saturday and lost another close one, 86-83. Lincoln County has been a model of inconsistency this season, winning some big games in impressive fashion while dropping some games that they should have won, they are talented enough to win the 45th District Tournament but it will depend on which Patriots team shows up. The Patriots have a challenging week ahead, hosting Mercer County on Tuesday then playing at District rival Danville on Friday.


5. Boyle County – Boyle cruised to an easy 81-58 win over West Jessamine on Tuesday that included a dominating performance by Reese Smith (37 points and 8 rebounds), then led 20-15 at halftime at #1 Danville before succumbing to the standard second half Danville spurt in a 54-46 District loss on Friday night. Both games were played without Junior point guard Grant Hotchkiss, who remains out with an injury. Like Danville, Garrard, and Lincoln, Boyle County can win the 45th District Tournament or they can be eliminated in their first game, this will be the case with or without Hotchkiss (although his presence would certainly help). The Rebels play at Southwestern on Tuesday this week in a game that may be a preview of next season’s top 12th Region teams, then hosts Casey County on Thursday and Bryan Station on Friday.


6. West Jessamine – After a long flu-induced layoff, the Colts traveled to Boyle County this past Tuesday night and looked like a team that hadn’t played or practiced, losing 81-58 in a game that was never close. West then played 46th District rival East Jessamine on Friday, losing 67-63 in a game they led comfortably in the first half, their first loss to their crosstown rival since 2014. The loss secures the District top seed for Mercer County, West will have to play East once again in the first round. The Colts then played in the Gary Moore Classic at Franklin County on Saturday afternoon, winning 65-58 against Western Hills to snap their four-game losing streak. Perhaps it was the layoff, but the Colts looked more like a team resigned to playing for the future than a Region contender this week. There is ample time to right the ship before tournament time, starting with two very difficult matchups at home this week against 11th Region power Woodford County and 12th Region #2 Wayne County.


7. Somerset – Somerset had a tough three-game road trip this past week, losing 64-63 to Madison Southern on Monday, 75-66 in overtime at North Laurel on Tuesday, before completing a regular season sweep of District rival Pulaski County in a 64-62 victory on Friday. Despite their 13-10 overall record, the Briar Jumpers are a threat to make a deep run in the 12th Region Tournament, they have been competitive in every game this season and have been in several close finishes against strong competition. It’s not surprising for a young team, but they have lost most of those close games, but as they gain experience they are capable of flipping those close losses into wins and will be a serious threat at tournament time if they do. Somerset has two more opportunities to do this in the coming week, with back-to-back games at home against 13th Region power Knox Central on Monday and Region #2 Wayne County on Tuesday. Somerset also travels to play Green County on Saturday.


8. Pulaski County – The Maroons entered the week with a five-game winning streak, but lost 73-71 at Mercer County on Tuesday and 64-62 to District rival at Somerset on Friday. They bounced back nicely on Saturday, avenging a 30-point loss from a few weeks ago to Lincoln County with 86-83 win at home on Saturday over the Patriots. Like District rival Somerset, the Maroons have the potential to make noise in the 12th Region Tournament, they own impressive wins this season over Wayne County and Lincoln County and almost took down a hot Mercer County team this past week. Pulaski hosts Estill County on Tuesday this coming week then plays at Southwestern on Friday.


9. Garrard County – Despite a 47-point effort by Junior Braden Sebastian this past Tuesday night, the Golden Lions lost 87-83 in double overtime to District foe and Region #1 Danville. In both matchups against the Admirals this season, Garrard has played toe-to-toe with them, and if the ball had bounced the other way a couple of times could have won either game. With a player like Sebastian the Golden Lions present some matchup issues for most teams, but Danville in particular has trouble stopping the Garrard attack. Even though Danville is #1 in the Region and a formidable opponent for anyone, Garrard is a team they probably do not want to play in the 45th District Tournament. Garrard followed up this emotionally draining loss with a 52-42 loss to Lincoln County, then bounced back nicely with a 70-51 win on Saturday against 13th Region power Corbin. Even though they are ranked 9thin the Region, the Golden Lions absolutely have the capability of coming out of the 45th and advancing deep in the Region Tournament. Garrard hosts Casey County on Tuesday this week, plays at North Laurel on Thursday, and at Rockcastle County on Friday.


10. Casey County – The Rebels are another middle-of-the-pack team who is starting to make some noise, now winners of four out of five games. Casey lost 86-74 to #2 Wayne County on Tuesday this past week, then traveled to play District rival Southwestern and took home an impressive 75-66 victory to complete the season sweep of the Warriors. Tuesday at Garrard, Thursday at Boyle, Friday at Mercer.


11. Southwestern – The Warriors kicked off the week with an impressive 56-55 win at Lincoln County on Tuesday, then returned home and lost 75-66 to an improving Casey County team on Thursday, and won 53-47 at Western Hills on Friday. Southwestern almost got their signature win earlier this season against #2 Wayne County, but winning on the road at Lincoln County lets the rest of the Region know that the Warriors are a threat. They slip a spot in the rankings this week due to being swept by Casey County, and the other mid-pack teams ahead of them are all playing well. A big week is ahead and there is a good opportunity to move up the rankings if they can win over another team ahead of them, the Warriors host Boyle County on Tuesday and Pulaski County on Friday.


12. East Jessamine – The Jaguars started the week by extending their losing streak to eight games, losing 57-46 at home to Mercer County on Monday and 77-70 at home to Madison Southern on Tuesday. Friday night’s game changed the week’s outlook completely, however, as East ended a couple of losing streaks in their 67-63 defeat of crosstown rival West Jessamine. Not only did the win end their current eight-game losing streak, it ended a thirteen-game losing streak to West Jessamine that dates back to 2014. Senior guard Kenzell Wadkins had 22 points for the Jaguars, but the story of the night was Sophomore Guard Ben McNew going 7-for-11 from behind the 3-point arc to lead East with 24 points. The Jaguars will play West again in the 46th District Tournament and have broken the losing streak, so perhaps there is a changing of the guard coming in Nicholasville. East hits the road this week, playing at Western Hills on Monday, at Bourbon County on Wednesday, and at McCreary Central on Friday.


13. McCreary Central – The Raiders won 80-46 at Lynn Camp and lost 54-43 to #2 Wayne County this past week, this coming week they travel to Clinton County on Monday and host East Jessamine on Friday.


14. Rockcastle County – The Rockets lost 56-33 at Richmond Model on Tuesday this past week, lost 53-49 to Williamsburg on Thursday, then took a 75-34 drubbing to #1 Danville at home on Saturday. Rockcastle plays Tuesday this week at Jackson County, and on Friday host Garrard County.


15. Burgin – The Bulldogs opened the week with a 77-59 win over Frankfort Christian, then lost 78-33 to Mercer at home and won 76-33 over Piarist. Burgin hosts Kentucky School for the Deaf and Cumberland Home School this week, then play at Portland Christian on Saturday.


16. Danville Christian – The Warriors had only one game on the slate for this week, they lost 78-56 in a Friday night trip to Owsley County. They have a game at Cumberland Home School Monday, host Lee County Tuesday and Portland Christian on Friday, then play at Heritage Academy on Saturday.


17. Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) – There were no games played this past week, the Oneida Baptist game was postponed and moved to February 14. KSD plays at Burgin on Tuesday, then hosts the KSD Homecoming Classic on Friday and Saturday.


Key 12th Region Games of the Week:


Monday, February 4

Danville at Franklin County, 7:30 p.m.

Russell County at Mercer County, 7:30 p.m.

Knox Central at Somerset, 7:30 p.m.

East Jessamine at Western Hills, 7:30 p.m.


Tuesday, February 5

Woodford County at West Jessamine, 7:30 p.m.

Danville at Frankfort, 7:30 p.m.

Lincoln County at Mercer County, 7:30 p.m.

Wayne County at Somerset, 7:30 p.m.

Casey County at Garrard County, 7:30 p.m.

Boyle County at Southwestern, 7:30 p.m.


Wednesday, February 6

East Jessamine at Bourbon County, 7:30 p.m.


Thursday, February 7

Casey County at Boyle County, 7:30 p.m.

Garrard County at North Laurel, 7:30 p.m.


Friday, February 8

Wayne County at West Jessamine, 7:30 p.m.

Lincoln County at Danville, 7:30 p.m.

Casey County at Mercer County, 7:30 p.m.

Garrard County at Rockcastle County, 7:30 p.m.

Pulaski County at Southwestern, 7:30 p.m.

Bryan Station at Boyle County, 7:30 p.m.


Saturday, February 9

Warren Central at Wayne County, 5:00 p.m.

Adair County at Mercer County, 3:30 p.m.

Somerset at Green County, 6:30 p.m.

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Is it fair to say that teams 1-11 are all capable of beating any other team in the region on a given night?


I think so, yes.

Every team through #11 except Casey has either beaten, or come within a single possession of beating, a team in the top 3 at the time they played.

And come tournament time, I believe the top 9 teams are all capable of advancing to the Region final while probably 5 or 6 of them could potentially lose in the District semifinal and not even make the Region tournament. Of course 4 of those are in the 45th.

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