While there seemed to be a lot of parity in the Sixth Region this season, here we are heading into the Sixth Region tournament and the Fern Creek Tigers are 14-0 against Sixth Region competition this season. While perhaps the Tigers have separated themselves from the competition, the post season is a new season, and none of the other participants are ready to hand the trophy to the Tigers.
The really good basketball that has been played all season in the Sixth Region certainly will continue in this week’s Sixth Region tournament, starting with Tuesday’s first round games. The Butler-J’Town first round game matches two of the best teams in the region. And two of the other first round games, PRP v. Western and North Bullitt v. Fairdale, pit teams that played close games against each other in the regular season.
At the end of the day, Fern Creek is the most likely team to win the Sixth Region tournament and advance to the state tournament. But the Tigers will have to earn it on the floor. It should be fun to see if they can get it done.
Fern Creek Tigers (25-6)
Fern Creek is the favorite heading into this week’s Sixth Region tournament. The Tigers are 14-0 against Sixth Region opponents this year, and have won twelve straight heading into this week’s Sixth Region tournament. Guard Jaden Rogers (17.1 ppg) leads an extremely talented quartet of juniors that includes wing Zek Montgomery and frontcourt players Darius Washington and King Warren. The Tigers take on Bullitt Central in the first round. Those teams did not play in the regular season.
Butler Bears (19-9)
Trey Minter, the Bears’ leading scorer at 15.2 ppg, has been slowed in the late part of the season with a groin injury. His return to being fully healthy is one of the keys to the Bears’ post season success. But the Bears are far from a one-player team. Jadon Lamb averages 13.5 ppg and had 28 points in a late-season win over Iroquois. Butler won its two games in the 22nd district tournament by an average of more than 20 points, so the Bears appear to be ready. Butler squares off with J’Town in the first round in the most challenging game for a district champion in the Sixth Region. The Bears lost to J’Town 64-54 just nine days ago.
Pleasure Ridge Park Panthers (20-9)
Winners of the 21st district, the Panthers come into the Sixth Region tournament having won six games in a row. James Taylor is a quintessential point guard who contributes 13.9 ppg, while fellow senior Josh Williams contributes 16 ppg and 7 ppg. PRP had an impressive 96-87 road win over Ballard in early January, but is 0-3 against Fern Creek, Butler, and Jeffersontown. The Panthers are 1-0 against the Western Warriors, their first round opponent, beating the Warriors 93-86 on February 13.
North Bullitt Eagles (24-8)
North Bullitt won the 23rd district tournament with wins over Moore (84-70) and Bullitt Central (76-68). The Eagles have won seven games in a row, and sport an impressive 11-2 record against other Sixth Region teams. But that mark is a little misleading, as only two of those wins were against teams that will be playing in the Sixth Region tournament this week, the district final 76-68 win over Bullitt Central and an earlier 95-93 overtime win against Fairdale. As chance would have it, Fairdale is the Eagles’ first round opponent.
Jeffersontown Chargers (19-8)
J’Town was relegated to a district runner-up spot by falling to the Fern Creek Tigers 49-43 in the 24th district final. It was the Chargers’ third loss to Fern Creek this season. If you leave Fern Creek out of the equation, J’Town is 3-1 against this week’s competition, and has registered wins over Butler and PRP. The sole loss was to Fairdale 75-70 just a couple weeks ago. J’Town’s 64-54 win over Butler on February 21 may be of the most relevance right now, since the Chargers once again will play Butler in the tournament’s first round.
Fairdale Bulldogs (15-14)
Fairdale made it to the Sixth Region tournament this week with a 75-56 win over DeSales in the 21st district semi-finals. Fairdale’s 15-13 record overall and its 8-8 record within the Sixth Region may not get your attention, but the Bulldogs have been a different team since Hunter McCutcheon became eligible late in the season. The addition of McCutcheon, who is averaging over 20 ppg in his limited action, to a roster that already included scorers such as Stephen Moore (18.5 ppg), Tyjuan Walter (13.8 ppg), and Charles Ward (12.1), creates a team that can score a lot of points and beat good teams, as evidenced by the Bulldogs’ late-season 75-70 over the J’Town Chargers. The Bulldogs’ first round opponent is North Bullitt, who beat the Bulldogs 95-93 in overtime on February 15.
Western Warriors (17-14)
Congratulations to the Western Warriors, who ousted DeSales with a 59-50 win over the Colts in the 22nd district semi-finals to advance to the Sixth Region tournament for the first time since the 2011 season. Senior BAngelo Anderson, who had 41 points against Holy Cross a couple weeks ago, scored 16 against DeSales. Western most definitely is not a one man show, as shown by five players scoring in double figures against Iroquois in the opening round of the 22nd tournament. Western faces PRP in the first round on Tuesday. The Warriors played well when they played PRP in the regular season, ultimately falling to the Panthers 93-86.
14. Bullitt Central Cougars (10-21)
The Cougars return to the Sixth Region tournament for the third year in a row. They had some success in last season’s tournament, winning their first round game against Fairdale, but Bullitt Central is 0-6 against the other teams in this year’s tournament. On Saturday, the Cougars had the unfortunate luck of drawing the Fern Creek Tigers as their first round opponent. Hopefully, Bullitt Central sees that match up as an opportunity to make some history.