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For the last two years, the 8th Region has been the Simon Kenton show, but the Lady Pioneers may have some company at the top this year.
Simon Kenton lost several key components from last year - including Kentucky All-Star Chelsea Tolliver and all-region player Kayla Smith - but the Lady Pioneers do have guards Sydni Wainscott and Alli Ponzer back to force a solid backcourt around which to build.
Joining them at the top this year will be South Oldham.
The Lady Dragons return four starters from last year's 8th Region semifinals team. Seniors Jordann McGuffin and Vicki Bray will lead the way, and talented sophomores Jamie Whitfield and Mary Dye gained valuable experience last season.
Upstart Owen County could give the region some depth this season, battling the top two teams for a trip to Bowling Green.
The Lady Rebels are a favorite to win the All A Classic this season, and sophomore guard Rianna Gayheart is the preseason player of the year after averaging 17 points and four rebounds a game last year. And she's not the only player returning. Owen County will have four more starters returning from last year's 31st District Championship team.
Anderson County and Shelby County both look to be down a little this year, but it's hard to count out the Lady Bearcats and Lady Rockets.
Anderson County lost several key players to graduation, but a talented group of youngsters will keep the Lady Bearcats in the hunt.
The Lady Rockets missed out on the 8th Region Tournament last year for the first time about 25 years. With several players returning and first-year coach Phillip Conder on the bench, the Lady Rockets will be looking to prove that last season was a fluke.
Cat's Pause rates the top players
Player, School, Year, Height, Position, Average
1. Rianna Gayheart, Owen County, So., 5-6, G, 17
2. Kelli Dixon, Walton-Verona, Jr., 5-10, F, 15
3. Jordann McGuffin, South Oldham, Sr., 5-7, G, 11
4. Tori Wilhoit, Williamstown, Jr., 5-7, G, 14
5. Emily Lape, Oldham County, Sr., 5-9, F, 11
6. Sydni Wainscott, Simon Kenton, Jr., 5-5, G, 9
7. Eko Kemper, Owen County, Sr., 5-8, F, 7
8. Hannah Devine, Carroll County, Jr., 5-7, G, 13
9. Jasmine Whitfield, South Oldham, So., 5-10, G, 9
10. Brooke Hill, Gallatin County, Sr., 5-8, G, 15
The girls' 8th Region will be a battle all season long. Several teams will be fighting for district titles, setting up a balanced region. But the top two teams, South Oldham and Simon Kenton, won't match-up in the regular season, leaving fans waiting for the region tournament.
Dec. 4, South Oldham at Shelby County
If Shelby County is back, they'll know in a hurry with region favorite South Oldham visits in the season's second game. The Lady Dragons will be fresh off a test against Christian Academy Louisville and its Miss Basketball candidate, Antonita Slaughter. The Lady Rockets better be ready.
Dec. 18, Anderson County at Shelby County
This annual grudge match doesn't care what the records are. The Lady Rockets and Lady Bearcats will tangle, looking to get an edge in a tough 30th District race.
Jan. 25, Owen County at South Oldham
We'll see just how good the upstart Lady Rebels are when they travel to region favorite South Oldham. Owen County's schedule is loaded with the weaker region teams, and the Lady Dragons may be the team's only big test all season outside of the All A Classic.
Jan 29, South Oldham at Anderson County
The Lady Dragons don't get much time to rest after playing Owen County with Anderson looming just four days later. This game will show just how far Anderson's young guns have come.