Dawgs headed to ‘A’ Final Four Friday

Posted March 2, 2021 at 2:22 pm

After two neck and neck, down to the wire opening round victories, the Clinton County Bulldogs boys’ varsity basketball team is headed to Richmond, Kentucky, as one of the semi-final teams to advance to the All ‘A’ Classic state basketball tournament final four.

Clinton County, under the leadership of veteran head coach Todd Messer, defeated the Aces of Owensboro Catholic High School last Tuesday night, February 23, in a down to the wire 64-60 victory over the All ‘A’ Classic champions from the 3rd Region.

Then this past Saturday night, in the quarter-final round of the tournament for the state’s 124 smallest schools, the Bulldogs again headed to the victory circle after outscoring the Tigers of Murray High School 18-4 during the final four minute overtime period of that contest.

Picking up the 70-56 win over 1st Region champions Murray, the Bulldogs earned the right to travel this weekend to Richmond, Kentucky, as one of four remaining teams in the tournament.

Clinton County was the host school for those first two opening round games and, with the two victories, the Bulldogs, entered this week’s games with a 16-2 record.

Originally, the All ‘A’ Classic was to be played entirely in Richmond, on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University, but a winter storm that hit Kentucky two weeks ago forced tournament organizers to cancel those original plans.

Although the tournament was originally canceled completely, team coaches and event organizers eventually were able to put together an alternate plan that saw the two opening round games being played at locations across the state.

This will be the first time a Clinton County boys’ varsity basketball team has advanced to the semi-final, or “final four” level of the All ‘A’ Classic state tournament, although the Bulldogs have played in the event on the state tournament level several times since it evolved into a field of 16 regional champions in 1990.

With the redesigned tournament format, a new set of tournament brackets was also constructed in an effort to have teams in close proximity playing each other at various sites.

That redesigned set of brackets will now send the Bulldogs to EKU and Richmond this weekend to face the winner of a game between Evangel Christian, a private school from the 6th Region in Louisville, and Somerset High School, the champion squad from the 12th Region.

That quarter-final game was to be played this Tuesday night at Evangel Christian.

The semi-final game featuring the Clinton County Bulldogs and the Evangel – Somerset winner will be played in the McBrayer Arena this Friday afternoon, March 5, with a scheduled start of 4:00 p.m. central time.

Evangel entered Tuesday night’s game with a record of 6-9 while Somerset had a 13-5 record going into that quarter final game.

The bottom portion of the All ‘A’ bracket that will send teams to the semi-final and championship game, include a quarter-final matchup between West Carter (9-3 / 16th Region) vs. St. Henry (12-2 / 9th Region, and Lexington Christian (10-7 / 11th region) vs. Pikeville (10-8 / 15th Region).

The championship game is slated to be played on Saturday, March 6, at 10:30 a.m. central time.

Four girls’ teams will also convene in Richmond for the final two rounds of play in that division of the All ‘A’ Classic, with those games also being played Friday and Saturday.

The general public is not being offered ticket sales to this year’s tournament event in Richmond, due to COVID-19 restrictions inside EKU’s McBrayer Arena.

Only a limited number of fans, mostly parents and family members of players, were offered admission opportunities to this coming weekend’s state tournament games.

Local radio station WANY will be providing a live broadcast of the games from Richmond, Kentucky (100.9 FM).