Vaught's Views: Boyle has momentum going into district tourney

March 01, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Now that Kentucky has secured another Southeastern Conference Eastern Division title and Louisville has put to rest any questions about whether it will make the NCAA Tournament, it's time to turn our attention to the real start of March Madness.

Local teams open district tournament play tonight in hopes of winning that elusive regional championship and berth in the state tournament.

Going into postseason play, here a few points to ponder:

* Is any boys team in the northern part of the 12th Region playing better than Boyle County?

Just a month ago it looked like the Rebels might be lucky to win five games. Now they go into Tuesday's game with Danville at Lincoln County sporting a 12-12 record and a definite contender to win the 45th District championship.

Boyle has played solid, physical defense all season. Recently, though, the Rebels have made more shots and both Blake Jones and Derek Vonckx seem to have a knack for scoring at the right time.


Danville beat Boyle twice during the season, but there's no way it would be an upset if Boyle wins Tuesday's game.

* Who would have ever thought going into district play that only one area boys team would have a winning record?

While this has not been a hotbed of high school hoops, the area is usually far better than it has been this year. Only Lincoln County (15-10) has a winning record and the only other team with at least 12 wins is Boyle.

That's why although it would be nice to think a local team could contend for the regional title, it certainly looks unlikely.

* What has happened to the overall level of play in area girls basketball?

The girls do have three teams with winning records - Mercer County (19-8), Danville (19-6) and Burgin (16-12) - but Garrard County, Lincoln County, Casey County and Boyle County have all struggled mightily this season.

Scoring has been the biggest problem for the girls. Boyle and Garrard do not have a player averaging in double figures. Lincoln has just one. Casey has two double-figure scorers and can blame most of its woes on a rash of injuries.

* Does Judee Mason wish she was back coaching Somerset, where she annually had a regional contender, instead of coaching Boyle?

No. She knew this likely would be a rebuilding year, even though she probably didn't anticipate it being quite this difficult. Players and parents seem firmly behind her, and she's convinced she can eventually make Boyle a consistent regional champion.

* What did Justin Schommer know when he found his way from North Dakota to Danville to coach girls basketball?

No one had been able to consistently win at Danville. A win over Boyle Wednesday would give his team, the top seed in the 45th District, its 20th win and first 12th Region Tournament berth.

His team was competitive last year and should be next year, too. He's losing four seniors, including two of the area's best players in Krystal Jackson and Monica Vonderbrink, but he's already started developing young talent that should keep the Admirals from staying down too long.

* Has any coach ever played a more ambitious schedule than Chris Souder did this year?

His Mercer girls played 10 games against teams ranked in the top 10. No area team - boys or girls - has ever done that. But with the talent his team has and the lofty goals the Scotties want to attain, it was the right thing for Souder to do. Still, not many coaches would have had the nerve to do it.

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