Although Mother Nature’s harsh winter played havoc with high school basketball schedules across the state of Kentucky this year, the regular season play will nonetheless come to a close this week, making room for the “second season” of roundball action for high school fans of the game – tournament time.
Both the Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs will end regular season play this Thursday night in Glasgow when they take on Barren County, then spend the weekend preparing for the next round of games that see the post-season tournament run get underway.
All eyes in this 16th District will be on Albany and Clinton County this year, as the players, coaches and fans from the four-school district head to the Lindle Castle Gymnasium next week for the four nights of basketball action that the teams have been looking forward to since the first opening tip of this now nearly concluded season was thrown up back in early December.
The 16th District Tournament once again follows a format similar to past years in that first round action will be featured on Monday and Tuesday night (February 24 and 25) beginning with a opening round girls’ varsity tip-off at 6:00 p.m. followed by a boys’ varsity opening round contest at about 7:45 p.m. both nights.
The girls’ championship game will be played on Thursday night (February 27), with a 7:00 p.m. tip, while the boys’ championship game will be featured on Friday night (February 28), also with a 7:00 p.m. tip.
Clinton County already has a pair of 16th District championships in hand this season, with both C.C.H.S. freshman teams winning back to back games this past Saturday to win the frosh version of the 16th District event.
In that tournament, also hosted at Clinton County, the frosh Lady Dawgs earned a opening round win over Cumberland County and picked up the championship title by defeating Metcalfe County later in the day while the freshman Bulldogs also picked up that championship title with an opening round victory over Cumberland County, followed by a title game win over the Russell County Laker freshman team.
For local fans, it will be boys’ head coach Todd Messer’s Clinton County Bulldogs that will take their perfect 6-0 16th District record into tournament play first next week, hitting the floor on Monday night in the second contest of the evening.
Following the tournament opening girls game between Russell County and Metcalfe County, the Bulldogs take the floor and their No. 1 seed in a first round game against the Hornets of Metcalfe County, the tournament’s fourth seeded team.
Clinton County finished the regular season meetings with the three other 16th District teams having picked up a pair of wins against Metcalfe, Cumberland and Russell County for the perfect 6-0 mark.
In that regular season run, the Bulldogs defeated Metcalfe County 70-33 on December 13 and again on January 10 by a score of 78-39. Overall the Hornets finished 1-5 in district competition.
Against Cumberland County, the Bulldogs earned victories on December 17 and January 14 by scores of 79-64 and 80-61, respectively, with the Panthers also finishing district play with a 1-5 record.
The tournament’s second seeded squad, the Lakers of Russell County, lost twice to the Bulldogs in regular season action, falling 65-52 on January 3, and again on January 17 by a score of 79-74.
Russell County goes up against Cumberland County in the other first round match-up on Tuesday, February 25, at 7:45 p.m.
Girls’ head coach Darrell Thompson and his Lady Dawgs finished the regular season against the other three 16th District squads with a very nice 4-2 overall record, but so did two of the three other teams involved, Cumberland County and Russell County.
That three-way tie set up a blind draw for seeding positions at last week’s tournament meeting, with Russell County picking out the No. 1 seed position, Cumberland County the second position and Clinton County the third seed.
Metcalfe County, finishing the district competition with an 0-6 mark, is the fourth seeded team in the tournament bracket layout.
Girls’ play in next week’s 16th District opens the four night tournament up on Monday, February 24, when the Russell County Lady Lakers take on the Lady Hornets of Metcalfe in a contest set to get underway at 6:00 p.m.
Clinton County’s Lady Dawgs get in on the opening round action on Tuesday night, going up against Cumberland County in a game also set to tip at 6:00 p.m.
The Lady Bulldogs will be facing an opponent that was the only squad in the 16th District to beat Clinton County this season when they take on the Lady Panthers of Cumberland County.
Those two losses came on December 17 when the Lady Dawgs fell 60-49 at Burkesville and on January 14 in The Castle when Clinton County lost 50-43.
Against Russell County and Metcalfe County, the Lady Bulldogs earned two wins apiece with a 48-45 victory on December 13 followed by a 51-40 win on January 10 against Metcalfe County.
Clinton County’s two regular season wins over Russell County came on January 3 and January 17 by scores of 73-69 and 55-49, respectively.
Admission to next week’s 16th District Tournament is $5 nightly, and the doors open one hour prior to opening tip of the first game each night.
By picking up opening round wins in next week’s 16th District, not only do teams advance to the championship game of this tournament, but are also guaranteed one of the two positions from the 16th District in the next level of the post-season run, the 4th Region Tournaments held the following week.
With both the runner-up and district champions advancing to that next level, girls’ participants will be playing the 4th Region at Allen County – Scottsville High School in Scottsville, while boys’ 4th Region competition is slated to be held at Barren County High School in Glasgow this year.
Regional tournament champions will, of course, advance to the next level, competing against 15 other regional champions from across Kentucky in the KHSAA Sweet 16 State tournament.
Girls’ Sweet 16 play will be held in Bowling Green’s Diddle Arena while the boys’ state tournament is held in Rupp Arena in Lexington.