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I'm still stunned that the Anderson County girls' basketball team will not be playing in Diddle Arena on Wednesday.
But that is the beauty (if you win) and craziness (if you lose) of March Madness. Unlike the NBA, where the best team nearly always wins a series, high school and college tournaments are one-and-done affairs.
Teams get in foul trouble. Some teams get hot, or as was the case for Anderson County on Saturday night, teams that normally shoot well, don't.
I still believe Anderson County was the best team in the Eighth Region in 2011, but when the lights shone brightest, it was Walton-Verona with the big trophy, and deservedly so. Walton had answers for Anderson and when Anderson gave an inch, Walton-Verona responded by taking a foot.
Or, to put it in perspective, both Anderson and Walton-Verona had very good teams and the fact is that good teams will beat other good teams.
And the simple fact of high school – and college – tournaments is the name of the game is survive and advance. Walton-Verona did that and my hat is off to that group of Lady Bearcats.
Can regional loss be motivator?
In reading the Lexington Herald-Leader's account of the boys' 10th Region chamionship game this morning, some of the similarities between Clark County's boys last year and Anderson's girls this year are very striking. A year ago, Clark was the regional favorite, led late in the championship game but lost by two points. That team let the sting of a regional loss serve as a motivator all of this season. The Cardinals will be heading to Rupp Arena next week.
Can Anderson's girls do the same thing? The Lady Bearcats do not have a senior on this year's roster, so it will be interesting to see how they react and respond for the 2011-2012 season.
A Look Ahead
Just a quick look ahead, assuming that no one loses a returning player to transfer or injury and that no high profile transfers move in, you have to think Anderson will be one of the favorites, probably the favorite again next year in the Eighth Region girls' race. South Oldham will be right there too as the main cogs of that team also return.
Owen County loses two starters, including the vastly under-rated Samantha Toole, and a top reserver, but has the region's Player of the Year, Rianna Gayheart back.
And then there is Walton-Verona, which has just one senior, Kelli Dixon. Like Anderson's only senior a year ago, Kara Yeaste, Dixon was named the regional tournament's most valuable player.
I would also keep an eye on Collins. The Titans were up and down this year but are very young. They could be a major factor too.
Next season, the 30th District and Eighth Region tournaments will be played on Anderson County's home court.