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Winners of neighboring regions will face each other in first round of boys state basketball tournament

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

For the first time since 2015, the team that wins the 9th Region boys basketball tournament will face the 10th Region champion in the opening round of the UK Healthcare “Sweet 16” state tournament set for March 20-23 at Rupp Arena.

The last time teams from those neighboring regions opened the state tournament against each other Covington Catholic defeated Campbell County, 64-43, and the Colonels made it to the state semifinals.

Newport guard Jabari Covington drives to the basket in an opening round game against Lyon County at last year’s state tournament (File photo Dale Dawn)

The top teams in the current Ratings Percentage Index rankings for each region are Newport in the 9th Region and George Rogers Clark in the 10th Region. CovCath and Campbell County are both No. 2 in those region rankings.

Pairings for the 2024 boys and girls state tournaments were decided Monday in a televised draw held at the Kentucky High School Athletic Association offices in Lexington.

Here are links to brackets that include dates and times for each game:

Link to bracket for boys state tournament

Link to bracket for girls state tournament 

Another first-round matchup in the boys state tournament that could involve local teams is 8th Region vs. 11th Region.

Walton-Verona and Simon Kenton are in the 8th Region. The 11th Region includes Great Crossing, the state’s top-ranked team.

Winners of the 9th Region and 12th Region will meet in the first round of the Mingua Beef Jerky “Sweet 16” girls state tournament March 13-16 at Rupp Arena. The current RPI leaders in those regions are Cooper in the 9th Region and Danville Christian in the 12th Region. Cooper was the 9th Region representative in the last two girls state tournaments.

Simon Kenton won last year’s 8th Region girls championship. If the Pioneers do it again, they will face the 6th Region champion in a first-round game. Louisville Butler is the current RPI leader in that region.

The 10th Region champion’s first-round opponent will be the winner of the 7th Region, which includes three-time defending state champion Louisville Sacred Heart. Local teams among the top five in the 10th Region RPI are Campbell County, Brossart and Scott.

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