Here’s what the Swami knows (besides everything):
You are going to love the competitiveness in this year’s 16th Region boys and girls tournaments.
You are going to love watching our stars shine.
You are going to love the tight finishes practically every night.
Like always, the Swami feels confident and comfortable with his final selections. All signs point toward a fun week in Morehead. We’ll have a new champion and a repeat champion. We’ll have heartbreaking losses and amazing performances. We’ll make some memories.
Read on, if you dare … the Swami has spoken.
West Carter vs. Greenup County: Mark this one down as one of the most physical games of the tournament. It’ll make a UFC match look like a Sunday school picnic fight.
Win or lose, these guys are going to be sore the next day. Good thing they have a few days to recover. First one to 40 wins and it’s the Comets.
West Carter 41, Greenup County 39
Rowan County vs. Fairview: Nobody wanted to draw the Vikings right off the bat. The defending champions look hungry to defend their title and the threesome of D.J. Townsend, Adam Wing and Jason Egan have experience in their hip pocket.
So unless Mike Terry goes all Mike Helton on the Vikings, it could be a long night for the Eagles.
Rowan County 62, Fairview 50
Ashland vs. Fleming County: Coach Buddy Biggs will be telling the Tomcats all week how Fleming County defeated them during the regular season. But Cody Withrow didn’t play that night and he’s the glue man for Ashland.
This game will be entertaining — maybe the most fun to watch of the tournament — but it’s going to go the Tomcats’ way.
Ashland 79, Fleming County 71
Russell vs. East Carter: This one may be the most interesting first-round game of them all. Interesting because both teams were probably (secretly) rooting to pull the other in this opener.
Both of them think they can beat the other and, you know what, they can.
Keep your eye on a highly competitive game but in the end I like the Red Devils.
Russell 58, East Carter 55
West Carter vs. Rowan County: These teams played twice during the regular season and the results have been a pair of one-point games. The Vikings won the first one, the Comets won the second one.
So this rubber match between two outstanding teams will determine who plays for the title a week from Monday. This game will have its ebbs and flows, its highs and lows. It’s an edge-of-the-seat special.
Experience will mean too much in the end.
Rowan County 55, West Carter 51
Ashland vs. Russell: Around the 16th Region, this has always been one of the best rivalries around. However, until the Red Devils surprised the Tomcats in the last regular-season game, Ashland had won seven straight in the series.
Russell’s win over the Tomcats should be a nice confidence boost going into the semifinals. However, Ashland will be able to score the ball a lot better this time around. They were the team that couldn’t shoot straight against the Devils in that earlier loss. They’ll want to make amends.
The pace of the game may dictate the winner.
Ashland 69, Russell 64
Rowan County vs. Ashland: So here we are again.
Last year’s championship gave 16th Region fans one of the best finals in years. It was a well-played game where you felt like nobody deserved to lose.
Of course, the scoreboard says other things. The Vikings got a well-deserved victory that set them up for a Sweet 16 ride for the ages. Rowan County came tantalizingly close to winning a state championship. The Tomcats’ loss was made even more difficult to take since the state was honoring Ashland’s 1961 state champions on their 50th anniversary.
Oh how they wanted to be there with their brethren.
This is the championship game everybody envisioned when the season started. They played twice during the regular season and the teams split. Ashland’s win earlier this month was by a convincing 15 points, which was important for the Tomcats’ psyche.
Last year, the Swami went with Ashland, figuring the ’61 Tomcat celebration made for a fitting title. But it didn’t happen.
It’s not going to for the Tomcats this year either.
Rowan County 58, Ashland 56
Ashland vs. Raceland: Lady Rams get the pleasure of taking the first crack at the region favorites.
That’s not going to be fun for Raceland. The Kittens are playing their best basketball, too. Look out below!
Ashland 72, Raceland 52
Morgan County vs. Rowan County: Lady Cougars pulled a huge surprise in the 62nd District championship game by upsetting East Carter.
This is where the upset string ends.
Rowan County 52, Morgan County 44
Lewis County vs. East Carter: This one could be one of the more entertaining games of the first round.
Lewis County is really coming on and Lady Raiders are feeling a little down after being stung in the district. Still, I have a feeling …
East Carter 41, Lewis County 37
Fleming County vs. Boyd County: Lady Panthers get the toughest assignment of the district champions.
Defending champion Boyd County is a dangerous team coming off a subpar performance in the district tournament. They still have enough weapons — and experience — to make some noise.
Fleming County is playing well and will be at home. It could be an early exit for the Lady Lions.
Fleming County 50, Boyd Co. 45
Ashland vs. Rowan County: This one shapes up as possibly the best game of the tournament.
The Kittens hammered the Lady Vikings by 25 points during the regular season. It was a take-no-prisoners kind of victory that stamped Ashland as the big region favorite.
Kittens are living up to the hype.
Ashland 64, Rowan County 52
East Carter vs. Fleming County: Kind of an interesting battle here.
Lady Panthers have too many weapons for the young Lady Raiders who we’re going to hear from in the future.
Fleming County 52, East
Ashland vs. Fleming County: This one will match a pair of 28-game winners in a high-flying championship game.
The Kittens, though, will be the ones doing the most flying. There’s a new queen in the 16th Region.
Ashland 66, Fleming County 53
Here’s what the Swami knows (besides everything):
- Local Sports
Kittens kick switch (includes video)
One saw very little of the court a year ago at this time, and the other wasn't even on the team.
East finds equation (includes video)
Razor-sharp 3-point shooting early and dynamite defense down the stretch.
ZACK KLEMME: If the slipper fits
Even if Cinderella stories are what captivate basketball observers during March, there’s no room to complain with Ashland and East Carter facing off in tonight’s 16thRegion Tournament final, either.
- GALLERY: Kittens beat Fleming in region semifnal Ashland used another nice performance by Haley-Sue Foutch, who led the Kittens with 18 points and 11 rebounds, as it pulled away from Fleming County in the second half. The Kittens won, 57-39, in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals in Morehead. They will face East Carter on Friday at 7 p.m. Mykasa Robinson added a career-high 16 points for the Kittens (23-8).
- East takes down Russell, moves into finals East Carter drilled six 3-pointers in the first half and played solid defense throughout as the Lady Raiders knocked off Russell, 51-38, in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals. Megan Stickler led East Carter (31-2) with 12 points. Haley Hall added 11. Friday night will be East Carter's first finals appearance since 2010.
Updated Girls 16th Region Tournament bracket (through Wed.)
Here is the updated bracket for the Girls 16th Region Tournament after Wednesday night's opening round games. The semifinals will tip off with East Carter and Russell tonight at 6:30 in Morehead.
Girls 16th Region: Grand entrance for Foutch, Kittens (video included)
Ashland junior Haley-Sue Foutch reached the 1,000-point milestone Wednesday night, but with a different destination in mind.
Girls 16th Region: Fleming flies by West (with video)
Video clips from Wednesday’s 16th Region Tournament quarterfinal between Fleming County and West Carter aren’t likely to show up on any offensive instructional videos.
Russell-East tickets available at schools
Tickets for tonight’s Russell-East Carter semifinal game in the Girls 16th Region Tournament will be on sale at Russell High School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Lawrence product Porter named an OVC All-Newcomer
Lawrence County product Taylor Porter was named to the Ohio Valley Conference All-Newcomer Team after a stellar freshman season at Murray State University.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Kittens kick switch (includes video)