Fifth and Seventh region showdown

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By Jesse Osbourne

Though it's still over a month away, the Lady Knights could have an epic match up looming in the first round of the girl's Sweet 16 state tournament on March 10.

Ranked number one in the state and the favorite to win the Fifth Region, Marion County could face the winner of the stacked Seventh Region if the Lady Knights survive the region tournament in Hart County. The draws for Sweet 16 seeding were held Friday.

More specifically, many people have a DuPont Manual (16-4) and Marion County (21-1) rematch on their minds. Considered the top two teams in the state when they played in the finals of the Republic Bank Holiday Classic in December, the Lady Knights escaped a defensive battle with a 44-42 victory. Manual, however, was playing without star guard April Wilson.

The potential for this rematch was raised in the Jan. 29 edition of The Louisville Courier-Journal. Neither team is a guaranteed lock to survive tough region opponents.

The Seventh Region has at least three potential teams they could send to the Sweet 16 led by Manual, Mercy (14-5), then Christian Academy-Louisville (17-3) and Sacred Heart (12-10).

The Fifth Region will be no cakewalk for the Lady Knights. The road to the Sweet 16 goes through Elizabethtown (17-3), who are without last year's leader Alex Jones but are the defending champions. E'town also played the Lady Knights in the Republic Bank Holiday Classic and wasn't overpowered by Marion County. Thursday night's showdown should give both teams a better indication of who has the inside track to Bowling Green.

Lady Knights Head Coach Trent Milby told The Courier-Journal that he predicted this as a first round match up.

"I told somebody it would be Seventh and Fifth," he said to The C-J. "When that '7' came up, I said, 'Here we go.' I guess we'll see what happens."

Manual Head Coach Stacy Pendleton told The C-J that she welcomed a rematch.

"If it happens it would be wonderful," Pendleton said to The C-J of a possible match up with Marion County. "It's unfortunate that it couldn't be a little further down the road (in the tournament) with the top two teams playing. But there's good and bad to it."

If Marion County makes it to the state tournament, it will play the winner of the Seventh Region tournament on March 10 at 2:30 p.m. EST at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.