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A quick snapshot of the matchups in the 4th Region tournament:

Game 1: March 3rd – Bowling Green (14th District Champions) vs. Allen County-Scottsville (15th District Runners-Up)
-Series at Region: Bowling Green leads 1-0
-Last Region Meeting: Bowling Green 61 Allen County-Scottsville 54 – 1984 4th Region Quarterfinals

Bowling Green is into the region tournament yet again, securing their seventh consecutive region tournament appearance – all of them via a district championship. This time they knocked off top seed Warren Central by a 57-51 result, tying their district record for most consecutive district titles, previously set from 1939-1945. They weren’t particularly sharp offensively during that contest, shooting only 43.4% from the field, but defensively, they forced the Dragons into just a 36.2% night. It was the fewest total points Bowling Green allowed to a team not named Warren East in over a month. That earned them the right to take on a familiar opponent, albeit one they don’t see at region often. It’s actually hard to believe that this is just the second meeting at region between the Purples and Allen County-Scottsville, with the last coming back in 1984. Bowling Green has won 13 straight against the Patriots overall, last losing during the 06/07 season. They carry a 37-11 all-time mark against AC/S. Bowling Green won 79-65 when the two teams met at the start of February, getting an extremely balanced attack, with five players in double digits and seven players scoring between 8 and 15 points. They also went 10/18 from three, leaning on that more than normal. The Purples have the second-best record in the region at 24-7. They are favored in this game, but they also probably got as difficult a draw as was available to them, matching with arguably the most dangerous district runner-up they could, and drawing Logan County on their side.

The Patriots could not ride recent momentum to a 15th District title, but they have definitely been on an uptick since that meeting with Bowling Green on February 1st. The team has gone 6-3 since, with their only losses coming to Logan County, Warren Central, and Barren County – all teams at the upper echelon of the region. Much of it has been on the back of Mason Shirley. The junior willed the Patriots to two victories over Glasgow, dropping 35 on the road in a mid-February matchup to pull them into a district tournament matchup, and then scoring 25 of Allen County’s 51-point total in a 51-48 district semifinal matchup to give them a berth in the region tournament. They were rewarded with what is arguably the worst draw of any team in the tournament, pulling the top-rated district champion out of the gate, and if they pull that upset, the #2 rated district champion likely waiting in the semifinals. It’s not a positive sign for a program seeking its first region tournament win since 2005, falling in seven straight contests. Incredibly, they haven’t drawn a 14th District team since 2006 – their 1995 win over Warren Central in the region quarterfinals is their only victory over a 14th District team in ten all-time meetings with a rep from that district.

Game 2: March 3rd – Logan County (13th District Champions) vs. Cumberland County (16th District Runners-Up)
-Series at Region: First Meeting

Despite playing in the region together for 38 years, this will be the first region tournament meeting between these two programs. The closest you’d get to a previous meeting was a 1982 64-57 victory by Auburn in the region quarterfinals. Logan County comes into the game as the holders of the second longest current winning streak in the state, and the second longest winning streak in the history of the Cougar program. Logan County has won 23 in a row since falling to Eastern by a 71-61 score on December 21st. They remain the only region team to not drop a game against the rest of the 4th Region, and they outlasted Franklin-Simpson for their second consecutive district title – a feat that they have accomplished only once before, in their first two years as a school. In their 71-21 win over Russellville, they posted the largest margin of victory in a 13th District tournament game in 25 years, and held Russellville to the lowest score in a district tournament game for that district since the 1940s. The Cougars are going to be a very tough out, and will be overwhelming favorites in the opening round. The only thing potentially working against them is a scenario where they may have to beat two 14th District teams on consecutive nights in the semifinals and finals. But it’s entirely possible that Logan County is a co-favorite with both Bowling Green and Warren Central.

Meanwhile, Cumberland County has the worst record in the field by a lot, with their 7 wins coming in at just half the 14 that Franklin-Simpson has. The Panthers lost plenty this year, but did go 4-4 overall in 16th District play, winning the ones they needed to. That included overcoming a nine point deficit against Russell County, forcing overtime at the home of the Lakers and sprinting away in the extra session, securing a 67-61 OT victory and reaching their first region tournament since 2009. The Panthers hosted Logan County just two weeks ago, falling 66-50. The combined win totals of the three non-16th District teams Cumberland County beat this year are not even as many as Logan County has on their own – to call them an underdog would be understating it. It would be completely shocking for the Panthers to pull an upset.

Game 3: March 4th – Barren County (15th District Champions) vs. Warren Central (14th District Runners-Up)
-Series at Region: Warren Central leads 6-1
-Last Region Meeting: Barren County 58 Warren Central 53 - 2016 4th Region Semifinals

For the third straight year, the 15th District champion draws Warren Central. The previous two led to defeat for the 15th District rep, while Central went on to win the region title. Barren County does have a win from the last time these two met at Diddle, knocking off the Dragons en route to a region runner-up finish. That’s the only time Warren Central has lost before the final in the last nine region tournaments they’ve made. No players from that team may remain, but Barren County is not likely to be as bright eyed as some might be playing the Dragons. The two teams did not meet this year, as their regular season game was a casualty of Central’s 2A Classic run. Barren County comes in with 16 wins in their last 18 games, and winners of six in a row. They really turned a corner at the start of January, putting a road scare into Bowling Green just prior to the run. The Trojans are a highly capable team, averaging 65 PPG while allowing only 53 PPG. They carry a 16-4 region record, losing only to Glasgow, Bowling Green, Logan County, and South Warren. Their strength is in the interior, where Aden Nyekan and Will Bandy combine to average 30 PPG. The Trojans aren’t going to be favored in this one, but if they can get past it, they become a real threat to take the whole region, as they would not be expected to have as difficult a semifinal as a potential region final opponent would have.

Warren Central has had to scratch and claw in each of the two previous seasons in the first round before getting to breathe in the semifinals. If they advance past this one, there’s a good chance that will repeat. While not as difficult a projected first opponent as Logan County, Barren County is a very dangerous draw for the Dragons, starting out with the region’s #4 team entering the postseason. Central saw a 12 game winning streak end in the loss to Bowling Green in the district finals, and it is now their sixth district runner-up finish in the last seven years. Their 51 points in that contest were their least since the 85-47 beating they took at the hands of John Hardin in December. They will need to bounce back immediately on that end, and they will need to do better than the 3/24 three point shooting performance they had against Bowling Green to do it. While Barren County is a difficult draw, it is nevertheless true that Central got about as good a draw as they could hope for with Logan County on the other side with Bowling Green. Central remains the region favorite, and if they get past this difficult opener, they should be extremely favored to reach the finals.

Game 4: March 4th – Clinton County (16th District Champions) vs. Franklin-Simpson (13th District Runners-Up)
-Series at Region: Franklin-Simpson leads 1-0
-Last Region Meeting: Franklin-Simpson 80 Clinton County 51 - 2002 4th Region Quarterfinals

Another matchup without a deep history at the region tournament, this is just the second meeting between these two teams in a region tournament. The two teams do have a history this season, meeting at Clinton County on December 6th. That matchup was a rather strange one, as Clinton County was all over Franklin, leading 38-12 with just over 2 minutes left in the third quarter. Franklin-Simpson unleashed their press and stunned Clinton County with a 34-7 run to win the game 46-45. Clinton County is known for their defensive strength, allowing just under 50 PPG, which leads the region. That’s what made that outburst all the more unexpected. They’ve had some hiccups here and there since, but in typical Bulldog fashion, they reached 20 wins, won the 16th District, and reached the region tournament for the ninth straight year, the current longest streak in the region. They are 14-2 in the 2020 calendar year, falling only to Metcalfe County in the All A Classic, and dropping an overtime heartbreaker to Barren County. They have to be considered the favorite here due to recent play and the total body of work, even with that home loss way back when. The Bulldogs will look to work it down low to Chase Stines, their leading scorer with 15.6 PPG. Clinton County has not won a region tournament game against a 13th District representative since 1982, knocking off Olmstead. They have made the region semifinals in two of the last three region tournaments, but they have never advanced to the region semifinals in consecutive region tournaments.

Meanwhile, Franklin-Simpson fits more of the enigma type. The Wildcats played very few games out of region this year. They hovered just above or below .500 for much of the year, and won more than two games in a row only one time, that coming at the start of January. In the district tournament they did as expected with Todd County Central, winning by 20, but gave an unexpectedly strong effort against Logan County, pushing them into the fourth quarter before faltering late. The Wildcats don’t shoot well from the perimeter, but they’re also not afraid to throw up those attempts – the classic live by the three, die by the three approach. That can make them dangerous, as does a full court pressure attack that rates as one of the best at creating turnovers in the region. If they can get hot from three early, and create turnovers with pressure, there’s a pretty good chance of them springing the upset. They are 17-4 all-time against teams from the 16th District, though they did lose their last meeting with a 16th District team, falling to Russell County 53-38 two years ago.