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Here is a quick look at the first-round matchups, and my takes on them, of the boys’ 8th Region basketball tournament, which will take place starting Monday night at Henry County.
Oldham County (23-7) vs. Grant County (24-5), 6:30 p.m. Monday
The two-time defending regional champ Colonels come in on a roll, having won 11 in a row. However they got a very difficult first-round game against the Braves who have won a region-high 24 games. Grant County had its 11-game win streak broken in a 67-66 loss to Simon Kenton in the 32nd District final.
MY PICK: Oldham County 70, Grant County 64. I’ll take the Colonels in this one based on their previous tournament experience.
Owen County (20-9) vs. Anderson County (21-4), 8 p.m. Monday
The Rebels lost four straight games, and six of their last seven of the regular season, before winning the 31st District with victories over Carroll County and Eminence. Owen does boast one of the best freshmen in the state in forward Carson Williams. The Bearcats, meanwhile, have the fewest losses in the region and they’ll be a very tough out.
MY PICK: Anderson County 61, Owen County 54. The Bearcats handed the Rebels one of their late-season losses, beating them 62-50 in Owenton, and I like them to do it again in New Castle.
Collins (21-7) vs. South Oldham (21-7), 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
This is a rematch of a first-round game from last year’s tournament – won by the Titans 69-63 – and a rematch of one of the best games I’ve seen this season – won by Collins 75-73 in overtime on Ralphie Stone’s last-second shot Dec. 7 in Shelbyville.
This is probably the toughest matchup the Titans could have gotten, but this time of year no game is going to be easy. Collins has already beaten the Dragons once, so you know the Titans are capable. However South is no slouch, this is going to be a tough game.
MY PICK: Collins 72, South Oldham 67. The Titans are the most talented team in the region.
Simon Kenton (18-10) vs. Eminence (17-14), 8 p.m. Tuesday
If Collins wins it will play the winner of this game between the Pioneers, who edged Grant County 67-66 in overtime in the 32nd District final, and the Warriors, the Cinderella team of the tourney. Eminence lost to Owen County (58-50) in the 31st District final after beating the Rebels during the regular season. The Warriors won’t be an easy out.
MY PICK: Simon Kenton 65, Eminence 55. As much as I’d like to go with the Warriors I just can’t.