Like the Boys Basketball season, the Girls also came to an end when Ryle took the Championship in dominating fashion over Southwestern leaving just as many thoughts and stories afterwards for talking heads like myself to pounder.
With the old season in the books, the questions arise for next season and the possibilities are great.
For only the second time in three seasons, the Elizabethtown Lady Panthers were on the outside looking in after the 5th Region Championship game. Coach Donnie Swiney’s team appears to be loaded with senior talent starting with All Area POY Whitney Hay and complimenting guard Ellie Taylor. Along with inside threat Sydney Clark, the Lady Panthers are tall and towering and should be right back and challenging for another trip to the state tournament.
Among the biggest surprises were Marion County and Bardstown. The Lady Knights were among the winningest teams in the Region and going into Year Two with coach Kelly Wood, were a much more effective team with great seasons by seniors Elisa Carpenter and Maddie Wood and returning talent from Dailyn Spalding, Jayla Cowherd and Katie Mattingly. The Lady Knights should be a threat next season and many to come under Wood.
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Probably the toughest draw in the Region Tournament in March was the Bardstown vs. Marion County first round game meaning that one of those teams would not advance to the second round. Coach Amber Courtney had done a marvelous job replacing three starters from last season’s Region Final team and built a squad that defeated Bethlehem twice during the regular season. Talk about a youth revolution. Unlike the other contenders which must replace starters, the Lady Tigers will have pretty much everyone back and their core talent is extremely young. Jaileyah Cotton guard (sophomore), Katrina Brown center (senior), Kadence Walls guard (sophomore), Jordan Boggs guard (senior) and Matija Yocum guard (junior) will all be back from the team which lost a double overtime thriller to Marion County.
The Central Hardin Lady Bruins, Caverna, Taylor County, North Hardin and Hart County will have their chances to break through and challenge for the final four of the Region Championship.
And last, but not least we have the defending 5th Region Champion the Bethlehem Banshees. Hard to believe isn’t it and yet they gave Elizabethtown all they could handle and fought tooth and nail against an Owensboro Catholic team which made it to the Final Four at the KHSAA State Tournament. Coach Jason Clark did a masterful job with this year’s version of the Banshees as they made and won their first Region Championship game in the school’s history. Much like the other contenders, Bethlehem will have a talented guard in Ameila Hodges and forward in Ella Thompson returning and the two will just be juniors next season. Despite losing guards Maddie Sparks and Carly Beam, the Banshees will return inside threats Mikiah Livers-Bryant, guard Baeli Young and Carly Jones. Whether this could be the start of something great only time will tell.
So, let’s wait and see if the Banshee dynasty is for real because December will be here before you know it.