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Lincoln County still team to beat in 45th

Last year’s 45th District Tournament finals was replayed in the 12th Region Championship and both times, the Lincoln County Patriots topped the Danville Admirals.

If Danville wants a chance to get revenge, it’s given itself a longer path this year.

The Admirals were on pace to make last Friday’s meeting determine the number one seed in the district. But an overtime loss to Garrard County and a loss to Boyle County sank that chance. With the loss to Lincoln on Friday, it bumped Danville out of the two seed.

But Danville is still a dangerous team.

Loaded with scoring threats — Dante Hayden, Darrian Bell, Trey Dawson and Aden Slone all average double figures — and with Bell hauling almost 10 rebounds a game, the Admirals are a threat to win the district, if not the region.

The fact that they’ve beaten every team in the district once is a testament to that. They’re also a battle tested team. The 18-10 record is a reflection of the tough schedule that they’ve played, including games against each of the top three teams in the region.

If they get past the Kentucky School for the Deaf (0-15), they’ll set up a rematch with Boyle County for a trip to the regional tournament.

The Rebels have shown flashes of greatness at times, but have also shown flashes of a team still figuring things out. The win over Danville was an example of when first year head coach Dennie Webb’s team has it all figured out. The win over Wayne County showed signs of the figuring it out aspect. The Rebels took a big lead into the half, but a third quarter where they were outscored by nine points made it a game in the fourth quarter.

The loss to Southwestern was another example of that — the team came alive in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Warriors by 12 points to force overtime, but couldn’t close the game out.

If the Rebels play their best basketball, they can compete with most teams in the region — the question is will they?

Garrard County is happy 12th Region Player of the Year Brayden Sebastian is back. 

After he went down with a high ankle sprain in the second game of the season, the Lions went 1-11 until he returned. Since he’s been back, they’ve gone 7-6 including a big win over Danville in which he scored 47 points. 

Sebastian is definitely a game changer given his scoring and passing ability, but the time spent playing without him, coach Ryan Young hopes, has strengthed the players around him. They’ll get a chance to see if that’s the case on Monday when they take on Danville Christian Academy.

The Warriors have their own dynamic scorer in Channing Ford. He opened the season by dropping 30 points on Boyle County in a losing effort, and has averaged 19 points a game on the year. And he’s efficient, scoring at a rate of 46.7 percent. 

But the team to beat is still the reigning champions.

The backcourt combination of Jaxon Smith and Elijah Frye paired with a tough interior presence in Riley Bodner has made the Patriots tough all season long.

Since the calendar changed, the Patriots have stepped up their game, going 15-4 in the year 2020. They’ve only lost one district game in that stretch — at Danville. Beyond being the No. 1 seed in the district tournament, they’re currently sitting as the No. 2 team in the 12th Region.

Garrard County and DCA square off on Monday. Danville and KSD meet on Tuesday. The winner of Monday’s game will see the top seeded Patriots on Wednesday with Boyle getting Tuesday’s winner on Thursday. Friday is the championship. All games will be played at 7:30, except the championship which starts at 8:00 p.m. and will be held at Lincoln County.