Danville to play Wayne

Mercer opens with Pulaski

March 08, 2004|MARTY WARREN

LANCASTER - The upper bracket of the Girls 12th Region Tournament is stacked with four teams with 20 or more wins.

Play begins Wednesday night at Garrard County High School here with Wayne County (21-7) playing 45th District runner-up Danville at 6:30 p.m. while tournament favorite and defending champion Mercer County (22-8) faces Pulaski County (25-5) in the second game.

Casey County (12-16), the 45th District champion, plays Monticello (7-19) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday before Burgin (17-13), making its first 12th Region appearance since 1992, takes on South Laurel in the nightcap.

The semifinals will be played on March 15 with the championship game set for March 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Mercer coach Chris Souder said his Scotties relish the chance to defend their title.

"Our experience and schedule have helped us and sometimes, I'll be quite honest with you, I think the kids kind of thrive on that," Souder said Sunday. "It's gotten to the point to where we like that challenge. There are some teams that will have something to say about it, and it should be an interesting tournament."


Souder said he didn't mind playing in the upper bracket.

"Two years ago, we played on back-to-back nights while in the lower bracket and it just killed us," the Mercer coach said. "That's hard on the kids. This year, if we get by the first game, at least we can take them back and give them some rest.

"Pulaski is a tough team. They won 25 games and, evidently, are doing a lot of things right. We'll just have to come out and play."

Danville coach Justin Schommer moved here from North Dakota two years ago and has the Admirals in the 12th Region Tournament for the first time in almost 30 years.

"It's kind of unique that four teams with 20 wins are in the upper bracket," Schommer said. "Wayne, Mercer and South Laurel have been picked in the top three in the region all year and I think you can add Pulaski into that mix."

Schommer, whose team did not play Wayne during the season, said he thinks the experience of playing in the All "A" Classic earlier in the year will play a role against the Maroons.

"We have a lot of seniors that have been playing together for a while," the Danville coach said. "We had two intense games in the district and, while we didn't win both of them, those games will have us prepared for what we will see out of Wayne County.

"We beat Monticello to get to the All "A", and they took Wayne into double-overtime (Saturday night) in their (district) finals."

Burgin coach Keith Monson knows his young team will have its hands full with South Laurel, the only 12th Region team in two seasons to defeat Mercer (61-59 Jan. 16 at South Laurel).

"Really, there was no easy draw for us," Monson said. "The girls are as proud as they can be to finally be able to reach this far, and I'm happy for them.

"Mercer beat us by 30 in the district final, but they are going to beat a lot of teams that way. We played much better during the second half of that game, and hopefully that will carry over to this game."

Casey took its lumps without one starter or another during the season because of injuries, but Randy Salyers team is as healthy as it has been all year. The Rebels defeated Danville 57-46 to win the district title and are hoping that will carry over to the regional tournament.

Admission to the tournament will be $5.

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