Next week, February 20-24, will be district tournament week for Clinton County.
Both the Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs will head to nearby Burkesville, Kentucky to take on opponents in first round action of the 16th District Tournament on Monday, the opening night of tourney action.
The Bulldogs, the number one seed in the tournament, will take on Metcalfe County in the opening round on Monday, February 20 at Cumberland County.
To earn the top seeded position in the tournament, the Bulldogs were a perfect 6-0 during the regular season against 16th District opponents, defeating district opponents twice each, once at home and once on the road.
Metcalfe County picked up the number four seed in the tournament with an 0-6 record.
“With the district tournament approaching, it’s important we finish the last week of the season with a sense of urgency and play full games in a manner that is post season worthy,” Head Coach Todd Messer said. “Next week, our kids have to remember, nothing you have done in previous games matter. It’s now win or go home, and then we need to display the mental toughness to prepare the right way for each opponent with focus and attention to detail.”
Clinton County’s game will start immediately following the Lady Dawgs’ opening round district game on Monday, February 20, which will tip off at 7:45 p.m.
“We have improved substantially over the course of the season and still have time for one more jump of improvement,” Messer said. “We have been able to see and have some success against a lot of different styles which will hopefully have us prepared for a deep run. This time of year revolves around preparation and execution. Those two things will give us a chance and then you hope a little luck or bounce here and there will fall your way.”
On Tuesday, Russell County, with the number two seed, will take on host Cumberland County in the second game of the night.
Both Russell and Cumberland County finished the season with a 3-3 district record. Both teams split their wins among each other and both were defeated twice by Clinton County to give them the tying record of 3-3.
Russell County won the coin toss which awarded them the number two spot in the tournament with Cumberland County picking up the number three spot.
The 16th District boys’ championship game will be on Friday, February 24, at Cumberland County High School at 7 p.m.
On the girls’ varsity side, it was Russell County picking up the number one seed with a perfect 6-0 district record.
Clinton County, picked up the number four seed with a district record of 0-6, although the Lady Dawgs did defeat Cumberland County over the Christmas break in the Warren East Holiday Hoops Classic. However, that game didn’t count toward district ratings for the season.
“At the beginning of the season, district rankings had Russell County, Metcalfe County, Clinton County, and Cumberland County, but we were the wild card depending on the health of our injured players and how much our younger girls had learned from being forced into action last year,” Head Coach Darrell Thompson said. “With that being said, I think we played one game this season with a full healthy roster. Even though we have struggled at times this season, the girls have continued to work hard and have shown improvements. Due to our injuries, we have changed our style of play and the players seem to enjoy the way that we are playing now.”
Metcalfe County was awarded the number two seed having defeated both Cumberland County and Clinton County in both meetings and lost twice to Russell County.
The Lady Hornets will face the number three seed Cumberland County on Tuesday, February 21 at 6 p.m. Cumberland County defeated Clinton County twice in the regular season and lost to both Russell and Metcalfe County to finish with a district record of 2-4 on the year.
The 16th District girls’ championship game will be played Thursday night, February 23 at Cumberland County High School with tip off beginning at 7 p.m.
“The great thing about playing in the post season is that we all start with a clean slate. This is what makes Kentucky High School basketball so special, all teams enter district play with a chance to win a state championship,” Thompson said. “Our girls understand what lies in front of them, and realize that we will be playing with no added pressure placed upon them. I’m going to encourage them to be relaxed, take the open shot when it’s made available to them, and to play with all the heart and energy they can expel for 32 minutes. I just want them to be able to look back at that game and have no regrets.”