While several district basketball champions in the 13th Region are yet to be determined, the teams that will be competing in next week’s tournaments have been determined.
In addition to Corbin and South Laurel in the boys’ tournament, North Laurel and Clay County from the 49th District, Knox Central and Barbourville from the 51st District, and Harlan and Harlan County in the 52nd District will be vying to move on to the Sweet 16 in Lexington beginning March 31.
In addition to Whitley County and South Laurel, the girl’s tournament will feature, North Laurel and Clay County from the 49th District, Knox Central and Pineville from the 51st District, and Bell County and Harlan County from the 52nd District.
The drawing to fill out the region brackets is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sunday at The Arena in Corbin.
The four district winners will be drawn from one pot and the four district winners will be drawn from a second pot to determine the opening round matchups.
The timing of the draw was pushed back by the Boys’ 51st District Championship, which will not take place until Saturday night
The Redhounds and Lady Colonels both go into the region as the 50th District runner-up.
Corbin lost to South Laurel in the boys’ final on Monday, 59-55.
“For most of them, it’s the first time they had been placed in that situation,” said Coach Tony Pietrowski of the loss to South Laurel that saw the two teams go back and forth throughout. “We talked about the importance of finishing possessions. The difference just a couple of decisions/plays can make in the outcome of the game and the pace/style that presents itself in the postseason.
“One of the great things about this team is the fact they show up every day and strive to be better,” Pietrowski added. “We didn’t spend much time feeling sorry for ourselves. Instead, they got back to work.”
Pietrowski said despite the quick turnaround following Sunday’s draw, with the first boys’ game scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, his team is using this week in between games to be prepared for whomever it faces.
“We are looking at it as a positive,” Pietrowski said of the short time span noting that most of the teams are still finishing up the district. “We are able to come in and work on us. With the level of inexperience we have, this is invaluable.”
Pietrowski said all of the teams are facing the same situation with the draw.
“Obviously, not knowing our next opponent and the potential for playing Monday with a very short window for prep isn’t ideal,” Pietrowski said.
“I think the level of competition and variety of styles we faced during the regular season will benefit us as we head into regional play.”
Whitley County lost to South Laurel in the girls’ final on Tuesday, 65-55.
“We learned we weren’t satisfied,” Lady Colonels’ Coach Sean Pigman said when asked what his team took away from the loss. “They want to win and prove they are that good.”
Pigman said in addition to watching their game tape in order to correct some things, the team will get some rest.
The first round of the girls’ tournament is not scheduled to begin until Wednesday night.
“The biggest thing for us is to regroup and realize that the ultimate prize is still in front of us and we must focus, get recharged and ready to go,” Pigman said.
Pigman said his team was back in the gym for practice coming off of Tuesday’s loss.
“They really responded with an intense practice on Wednesday which is tough after an emotional hard-fought loss, but they got after it, which will help set the tone moving forward,” Pigman said. “We will take a day off, maybe two, to recharge depending on the draw and what night we play.”
“We are excited about the opportunity to still be playing,” he said.
The winner of the boy’s 13th Region will face the winner of the 16th Region in the first round of the state tournament on Thursday April 1.
The winner will face the winner of the game between the 12th Region and 15th Region champions at 5 p.m. on April 2.
The winner of the girls’ 13th Region will face the winner of the 11th Region at 5 p.m. on April 7.
The winner of that game will face the winner of the game between the 8th Region and 12th Region champions at 2 p.m. on April 9.