The Seventh Region this season has largely belonged to the Male Bulldogs and the Ballard Bruins. But Seneca’s win over Ballard this week suggests that other teams may be involved in deciding who advances to the state tournament from the Seventh Region. The first step in deciding who that team will be occurs on Monday with the start of the 25th-28th district tournaments. Should be a lot of good basketball around town this week!
FINAL TEAM RANKINGS
1. Male Bulldogs (26-4)
Male started the season as the top-ranked team in the Seventh Region and here it is still in the top spot at the end of the regular season. The Bulldogs finished the regular season on an 11-game winning streak, including a 81-52 win over Central this week, and have won 15 of their last 16 games. Everyone is now healthy for Male, which gives the Bulldogs a lot of options both offensively and defensively. The 26 wins are the most for a Male team since the 2006-07 season. And the season likely is far from over for the Bulldogs, with the post season starting with a game against the Brown Bears in the 26th district tournament on Tuesday.
2. Ballard Bruins (24-6)
Ballard suffered its first 2-game losing streak of the year this week when the Bruins lost to both Seneca (83-80) and Jeffersonville (IN) 80-77. Ballard rebounded from those two close losses by beating Bowling Green 78-60 in the Bruins’ regular season finale. I am not that concerned about the recent losses; they were to good teams, and sometimes good teams lose to other good teams. Even with those losses, Ballard finished the regular season with a 24-6 record and will end up being the top scoring team in the state (82.3 ppg). Ballard will start the post season with a game in the 28th district tournament against the winner of the KCD-Walden match up.
3. Seneca Redhawks (20-8)
Kudos to the Redhawks, who scored an attention-getting 83-80 win over the Ballard Bruins this week. Seneca also beat Valley 65-54 this week. I thought the Redhawks would take a step back this season with the departure of Carl Parker and Richard Ninamou from last year’s team, but I was absolutely wrong. Delshawn Simms, who had 31 points in the Redhawks’ big win over Ballard, has had a tremendous season, averaging 17.2 ppg and shooting 52.2% from 3-point range. Seneca opens the 27th district tournament against Atherton on Monday night.
4. Eastern Eagles (20-9)
Eastern continued its winning ways the last week of the regular season with wins over Doss (63-49) and Manual (62-50). The Eagles won 7 of their last 8 games (the only loss in that stretch was to Ballard), and Eastern’s 20 wins are the most for an Eagle squad since the 2013-14 season. And they are young, so the next few years should be really good for the Eagles. Eastern faces CAL in a 28th district tournament semi-final game.
5. Waggener Wildcats (17-10)
The Wildcats had a good last week of the regular season with wins over Brown (82-32) and St. X (76-65). The Wildcats’ 19 wins in the regular season were a fall off from last season’s 29 wins, but 19 wins is already tied for the 4th most in Waggener school history. And the season is not yet over for the Wildcats, who play the Trinity Shamrocks in the semi-finals of the 27th district tournament.
6. Trinity Shamrocks (16-14)
Trinity’s two wins this week, over Central (62-49) and Lexington Christian (60-50), ensures that Trinity will have a winning record for the season. That is a nice achievement for a team that had a lot of unknowns coming into the season and who played a typically tough schedule. And it extends the Trinity’s streak of winning seasons, which goes back to the 2008-09 season. The Shamrocks play Waggener on Monday in the 27th district tournament.
7. St. Xavier Tigers (17-10)
The Tigers went 1-1 in the regular season’s last week, beating Moore 74-58 (Ben Varga leading the way with 25 points) but losing the regular season finale to the Waggener Wildcats 76-65. After starting the season 12-2, the Tigers went 5-8 the rest of the way. St. X will look to refocus before opening play in the 26th district tournament against the Collegiate Titans on Tuesday.
8. Dupont Manual Crimsons (13-12)
Manual lost the two games it played during the last week of the regular season, falling to Pleasure Ridge Park (63-60) and Eastern (62-50). Manual thus ends the season with three straight losses, albeit all to good teams (the third loss was to Male). The post season starts for the Crimsons on Wednesday with a semi-final match up with either Portland Christian or St. Francis in the 25th district tournament.
9. Louisville Collegiate Titans (20-6)
The Titans capped off their 20-win regular season in exciting fashion, coming back from an 11 point deficit with 1:10 remaining in the fourth quarter to beat Fairdale 69-66 in overtime. Joey Leachman hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime, and then completed an old-fashioned 3-point play near of end of the overtime to seal the victory for Collegiate. The Titans, who earlier in the week beat Valley 62-41, have won 5 in a row and 8 out of their last 9 games. The only loss during that stretch was to the Male Bulldogs. The Titans will face St. X in the semi-finals of the 26th tournament on Tuesday.
10. Christian Academy of Louisville Centurions (10-18)
CAL had a disappointing second half of the year, which included losses this week to New Albany, IN Christian Academy (80-78 in triple overtime), Atherton (51-46), and Collins (72-49). The Centurions lost their last 7 games of the regular season and 11 of their last 12. But the post season is a new season, and that new season has CAL taking on Eastern in the 28th district tournament on Tuesday.
11. Central Yellowjackets (8-20)
Central faced a couple strong opponents in the last week of the regular season, losing to both Trinity (62-49) and Male (81-52). Heading into the post season, the Yellowjackets have lost their last 5 games and 9 of their last 10. Central jumps into the post season against Shawnee in a 25th district semi-final game on Wednesday.
12. Kentucky Country Day Bearcats (14-12)
The Bearcats ended the season with a disappointing 60-59 loss to Sayre. Even with the loss, KCD this season achieved its first winning record since the 2015-16 season. Four Bearcats ended up averaging in double figures, including 3 seniors (Michael Collis, Anthony O’Neal, and Jalen Mathis) plus freshman Will Crockett. KCD plays Walden to open the 28th district tournament on Monday.
13. Atherton Rebels (12-15)
Atherton had a really nice last week of the regular season, bracketing wins over the Brown Bears (77-38) and the Christian Academy Centurions (51-46) around a 72-63 loss to Iroquois. The 12 wins is a nice improvement on the 5 wins for the Rebels in the 2018-19 season. And the top two scorers, Da Von Johnson and Jymaree Johnson, will be back next year for the Rebels. Atherton starts post season play against Seneca in a 27th district semi-final game.
14. Shawnee Golden Eagles (14-12)
Coach Mucker has done a great job with Golden Eagles, leading them to the school’s first winning record since the 2008-09 season. Shawnee’s 77-32 win over Evangel Christian early in the last week of the regular season guaranteed a winning record for the Golden Eagles, even with the Golden Eagles losing 69-57 to Valley later in the week. The Golden Eagles face Central in a 25th district semi-final game.
15. Walden Wolverines (19-10)
The Wolverines lost to Henry County 65-59 earlier in the week but then wrapped up the regular season with a 72-46 win over Evangel Christian. Walden’s 19 wins are the most in a single season in school history. Quite a year for the Wolverines, who play the KCD Bearcats in the first round of the 28th district tournament.
16. Brown Bears (5-24)
Brown went 1-3 in the last week of the regular season, finishing the season with a 79-70 win over the St. Francis Wyverns. While the wins were not as numerous this season as the Bears had hoped for, Brown only loses one player. Among those returning is the high scoring Josiah Bibb, who has hovered around 20 ppg this season and should have a terrific senior year next year. The wins should be more plentiful for the Bears next year. But before then, Brown plays Male on Tuesday in the 26th district tournament.
17. Portland Christian Eagles (10-17)
Congratulations to the Portland Christian Eagles, champions of the 2020 Kentucky Christian Athletic Conference tournament with wins this weekend against Heritage Academy (107-73) and Danville Christian (71-57). The Eagles have won 5 of their last 6 games, and have now reached double digits in wins for the first time since the 2014-15 season. Portland Christian will look to keep things going when they play St. Francis on Monday to open play in the 25th district tournament.
18. St. Francis Wyverns (7-19)
After beating Evangel Christian 73-55 earlier in the week, the Wyverns lost their final two games of the regular season, falling to Brown (79-70) and Frederick Fraize (69-63, in double overtime). The double overtime loss at home to Frederick Fraize has to be disappointing for the Wyverns. St. Francis can try to get over that disappointment when they face Portland Christian on Monday in the opening round of the 25th district tournament.
1. Tyren Moore, senior, Male
The best player in the Seventh Region, maybe the best player in the state. Offensive machine who also plays tenacious defense. Averaging 18.5 ppg, shooting 46.5% from 3 and 83% on free throws. Going to Lincoln Memorial University.
2. Howard Fleming, senior, Male
Injuries limited Fleming to just 8 games so far this season. Averaged 15.6 ppg in those 8 games. Going to Illinois State.
3. Rashad Bishop, senior, Ballard
Another senior limited this season by injury. Has averaged 12.6 ppg in the 17 games he has played. Had 30 against the Male Bulldogs.
4. Kaleb Glenn, freshman, Male
Perhaps the top freshman in the state. Averaging a double-double (13.5 ppg and 10 rpg). Leads the KHSAA in field goal percentage at 72.9%.
5. Maker Bar, sophomore, Ballard
Tall sophomore has given Ballard a quality inside presence. Scores at a 10.4 clip while grabbing 7.1 rpg. Shoots 66.5% from the field.
6. Chez Moore, senior, Collegiate
Strong senior year for Chez. A double-double machine, averaging 20 ppg and 10.6 rpg.
7. James Jewell, sophomore, Eastern
Athletic sophomore averaging 13.4 ppg and 7 rpg for the Eagles.
8. Delshawn Simms, junior, Seneca
Prolific outside scoring threat, shot 52% on 3’s for the season. Scored 31 in a late-season Seneca win over Ballard.
9. Lewis Richards, senior, Ballard
Leading scorer for the Bruins at 12.9 ppg.
10. Nick Mosley, senior, St. Xavier
Averaging 14.9 ppg for the Tigers, including a season-high 39 against rival Trinity. Shot 39% from beyond the 3-point line.
DISTRICT TOURNAMENT PREVIEWS
I usually don’t get too excited about the district tournaments. The top teams in the Seventh Region are pretty evenly distributed among the four districts, so most of the best teams will win a game in the district tournament and qualify for the Seventh Region tournament.
But there are some interesting district tournament match ups that might result in some pretty good teams not making it to the Seventh Region tournament this year. In the 26th district, the Collegiate Titans will look to continue its outstanding season when they take on the St. X Tigers and advance to the Seventh Region like they did in the 2011 season. Of course, St. X will have a different idea. That should be a good one.
The same can be said about the 27th district match up between the Trinity Shamrocks and the Waggener Wildcats. Waggener emerged victorious when they played earlier in the year, but Coach Szabo will have the Rocks ready to play. It’s a shame that one of those teams will not advance to the Seventh Region tournament. But that is life in the Seventh Region at times.
The 25th district tournament opens with the St. Francis Wyverns facing the Portland Christian Eagles on Monday. These teams played on January 15, with St. Francis prevailing 74-58. I think this rematch will be close.
The winner of that game will take on the Dupont Manual Crimsons, who easily beat both St. Francis and Portland Christian in the regular season. It would be quite surprising if Manual does not advance out of that game, regardless of who it plays.
The other semi-final has Central playing Shawnee. I am of an age that, whenever Central and Shawnee face one another, I think back to the early 1970’s when Central and Shawnee were among the best teams in the Commonwealth. In fact, I was in Freedom Hall in 1973 when Shawnee won the state tournament and also was there the next season when Central was crowned the champion. Neither of these teams is likely to win the state tournament this year, but this might be a pretty good game. Central beat the Golden Eagles 66-49 on December 13.
In one of the semi-final games in this 4-team district, Male plays Brown in what would seem to be a one-sided match-up. The Bulldogs beat the Bears 84-19 when they played on December 17.
St. X plays Collegiate in the other semi-final game in what could be one of the best district semi-final match ups anywhere. These teams battled mightily on January 7, with St. X eventually prevailing 59-52. The Titans have been looking forward to this rematch ever since. Collegiate beat St. X when they were both in the 25th district in the 2010-11 season, and the Collegiate faithful believe it can happen again. This should be a good one.
The 27th district has a different look this year, as the Seneca Redhawks have nabbed the top seed. Seneca will take on the Atherton Rebels in the first round; when those teams played on February 11, Seneca prevailed, but only by a 50-46 margin. Might want to keep an eye on this one.
That leaves the Trinity Shamrocks and the Waggener Wildcats to face off in the other semi-final. These are two good teams. When they played on February 11, Waggener beat Trinity by a 77-60 margin. If Waggener can repeat that result, Trinity will not advance to the Seventh Region tournament for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
Walden and Kentucky Country Day open things up in the 28th district this year. KCD got the best of the Wolverines 76-47 when they played on January 30. I think KCD will once again prevail.
The Ballard Bruins await the winner of that game. Ballard has not played Walden this season, but the Bruins did beat KCD when they played on January 28. Ballard is likely to win against either potential opponent.
Eastern plays Christian Academy in the other semi-final. Eastern has been playing well of late and beat CAL 67-59 when they played early in the season. While that was not a very decisive victory, these teams have gone in different directions the second half of the season. I think Eastern will advance.