11th Region Tournament Preview
The season has flown by this year and now we are down to the final 8 teams in the most competitive region in the state. the 11th Region has placed a team in the championship game of the state tournament 3 of the last 4 years. This year could be no different but don't expect the team who comes out of the 11th to not be battle tested. Lets check out the matchups!
Lexington Catholic vs. Franklin County - This is a rematch of a game that happened just 2 weeks ago at Franklin County. The Knights were victorious in that game by a final margin of 21 but the game was much closer then that for 3 quarters.
The Knights are the obvious region favorite coming in at 29-2 and a perfect 15-0 against 11th Region competition this season. Lexington Catholic is lead by junior Ben Johnson and his 25.4 points per game this season. Catholic has been a stellar defensive team all season long as well and this might be Coach Salsman's best pressing team in a decade. Look for big time contributions from Jack Gohmann and Luke Wedding as well if the Knights are to make a deep run this March.
The Flyers have had an up and down season dealing with a slew of injuries and illness but found the right time to come together in the district tournament to get by Western Hills. FC dropped the championship game to Frankfort, a team they swept during the regular season, to find themselves drawing a winner and it just happened to be Lexington Catholic. The Flyers are lead by Zac Cox and Joe Meador but also rely heavily on big man Phillip Peiffer. The Flyers are an intriguing matchup for Lexington Catholic because they have the size to give any team fits.
PREDECTION - The Knights are the clear favorite here and being at home does nothing but increase those odds. I believe Lexington Catholic will win this one big but the Flyers will keep it tight through the first half. The Knights and their players seem to know what time it is based on their performances in the 43rd District tournament where they steam rolled two good teams in route to the championship.
Lexington Catholic 77 Franklin County 60
Frederick Douglass vs. Berea - Probably the most uneven matchup of the first round with Frederick Douglass being heavily favored. These two teams did not meet during the regular season but have some common opponents.
This is the first appearance for Frederick Douglass in the regional tournament in school history and they definitely earned it. Coming into the district tournament as a 4 seed, the Broncos had to win 2 games to qualify. They did so by beating Sayre and then pulling the most unlikely upset in the region by getting by Henry Clay in double overtime. Junior DeShawn Jackson is averaging a crisp 33 points per game in the postseason and has taken his game to another level. Also, look for Jaylen Green to show up big if the Broncos look to continue their postseason run.
Berea had quite the season going 22-9 and returning to the regional tournament for the first time since the 2005/06 season! The only knock on Berea is they haven't faced much 11th Region talent this season and definitely none the likes of Frederick Douglass. Big man Jaylen Dorsey leads the way for the Pirates but will need some help from Jayden Smith and Timmy Thompson in this one.
PREDICTION - Frederick Douglass is playing about as good as anyone left in the 11th Region tournament right now. The style the Broncos play will be too much for Berea to overcome. Douglass wins this one going away.
Frederick Douglass 82 Berea 46
Madison Central vs. Tates Creek - This is the best game of the 1st round in my opinion. Madison Central comes in as the champion of the 44th District and Tates Creek returns to the regional tournament for the first time since the 2010/2011 season where ironically they lost to Madison Central in the semi finals.
Madison Central was in rebuild mode this season with the loss of a ton of seniors from last season. The season started rough for the Indians but as it went along results started to show improvement. Led by juniors Kole Brown and Brenden Ray the Indians have started to show they are capable of beating just about anyone and with Coach Feldhaus on the sideline you can never count them out.
Tates Creek makes its triumphant return to the regional tournament led by seniors Amari Taylor and Cion Townsend. Tates Creek at one point this season was in the conversation for the top team in the region but fell upon hard times down the stretch losing 8 of the last 11 games it played. Some of that has to do with their schedule as they played one of the toughest slates in the region. Coach Gay needs to be commended for totally revamping and turning around the program and getting the Commodores back into the regional tournament.
PREDECTION - This game has the potential to be one of the best first round regional tournament games in the entire state. On paper I think most would pencil in Tates Creek as the favorite but not by much. The game being played at Madison Central does become a factor for me along with Coach Feldhaus and his experience in these type of games. Im going with Madison Central by the slimmest of margins.
Madison Central 57 Tates Creek 55
Frankfort vs. Scott County - This is another intriguing first round matchup in the 11th region tournament. This is a rematch of last years semi final where the Panthers dang near beat Scott County. Both teams are drastically different but both playing well at the right time.
The Panthers have been on quite the run lately having won 13 of their last 16 games and making a run al the way to the final of the All A State Tournament. Led by big man Jackson Twombly and shooter Will O'Bryan, the Panthers are playing with a confidence unlike most teams in the region. They will be a tough out for anyone.
Scott County isn't the Scott County of old after being decimated by graduation and a new school in the county but make no mistake they can still play. Senior Terrin Hamilton is one og the best players in the state and a tough matchup for anyone. Scott County has been up and down of late but find themselves once again in the region tournament with a chance to advance.
PREDECTION - This is a really hard one for me to pick. The Panthers have been playing so well lately and are playing at home Im not sure Scott County can overcome all of that. On the other hand I think Scott County has the best player on the floor and as they say tradition never graduates!! Im going to give the nod to the Panthers playing at home in a close one.
Frankfort 65 Scott County 59
Lexington Catholic 79 Madison Central 63