Top seed on line as Lady Cats host Shelby on Friday night

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By John Herndon

Anderson County will be trying to make some major changes on Friday night.

The Lady Bearcats will be hosting Shelby County in a game that will decide the top seed in the 30th District Tournament, which will be held the last week of February.

While the Lady Bearcats and Lady Rockets don’t generate the same fan interest as the schools’ boys’ teams, it is still the biggest game on either team’s schedule.

“I always worry about Anderson,” Shelby coach Sally Zimmerman said during the pre-season. “They play us as tough as anybody.”

But Anderson coach Tony Kays knows that even though his team is favored Friday night, the Lady Bearcats are still on the outside looking in against the Eighth Region’s premier program of this decade. “Until we can beat them, they are on top,” Kays has said many times.

Many feel that 2009 is the year it finally happens. Anderson is ranked second in the region and is considered a solid favorite in both the Litkenhous and Rating the State rankings. But before Anderson starts chalking Friday’s encounter up as a sure win, Kays has five sobering words.

“They are still Shelby County,” he says.

While Shelby has posted a very un-Shelbyish 7-11 record and had lost six of its last eight heading into Monday’s scheduled game with Scott County, the Lady Rockets have played their usual rugged schedule that has included five teams ranked in the Top 20.

Surprisingly, the teams have few common opponents. Caldwell County defeated Shelby 48-46 on Dec. 21, but suffered a 53-24 drubbing by Anderson two nights later.

Anderson defeated Spencer County by 15 in mid-December while Shelby scored a 51-50 win in the final seconds a few weeks later in Taylorsville.

But Oldham County, a team Anderson has beaten by 10 and five points, took an 8-point loss from Shelby.

Shelby has just one double-figure scorer, senior guard Haleigh LeCompte, who is averaging 11 points a game.  However, Dee Dee Davis, Taylor Shaw, Marissa Raisor and Katie Case have shown the ability to hit the 3-pointer and eighth-grader Aaliyah Wells is considered to be a big-time low-post star in the making.

“Sally is playing about 10 kids,” Kays says. “They switch defenses and presses and play as hard as they always have. They have several guards who can shoot the three and a very good player who can shoot or drive in LeCompte.”

Anderson will also be facing the demons of the past as the Lady Bearcats have not beaten Shelby since the 1998 season when they ripped an injury-depleted Lady Rocket team. Records are sketchy but it is believed that is the only time the Anderson girls have beaten Shelby since 1978, when Anderson was en route to a state tournament berth.

But Friday’s match-up is about the present. To the winner will go the district’s top seed, no matter what happens in any other district game. Shelby would be tops with a perfect district record. Anderson Would be No. 1 with a win since the worst it could do would be a tie with Shelby and the Lady Bearcats would hold the tie-breaker based on head-to-head competition.

“We expect a very tough game, as always,” Kays says.

Lady Bearcats to play at Clark, host Western Hills

Anderson will travel to George Rogers Clark Saturday, Feb. 7, taking on a team that had won seven of its last eight through Jan. 26. Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

Considered a darkhorse contender in the 10th Region, Clark was 12-5 through last week’s games.

Next Wednesday, Feb. 11, the Lady Bearcats host Western Hills, a team that had won six straight before last week’s ice storm. Tara Arnold, averaging 13 points a game, is a threat to score from anywhere on the court.

Schedule questions still remain

The Lady Bearcats had three games cancelled last week and it is unclear if they will all be made up.

The game with Fern Creek, originally scheduled for last Monday night, has been set for Wednesday, Feb. 18 at the high school.

Games at South Oldham, scheduled for last Friday, and Eminence on Saturday, had not been rescheduled at press time. While it was not clear if the South Oldham game would be made up, the Eminence game is a 30th District tournament seeding game.

Updated schedules will be posted at www.theandersonnews.com as they become available.

E-mail John Herndon at jpherndon@theandersonnews.com.