With district championships all wrapped up, Owensboro Catholic and Owensboro found out that they will play Edmonson County and Ohio County respectively in the first round of the 3rd Region Tournament.
Following their 9th District Championship win the Red Devils will see a tough Ohio County team in the first round, with the chance to see Hancock County or Butler County in the semifinals should they win. That will be a tough road for Owensboro right away, having lost to the Eagles 65-57 on Feb. 14.
Red Devils Head Coach Rod Drake said that regardless of the draw, Owensboro has to be mentally ready to battle in order to come out on top in the postseason.
“Well you gotta win three games anyway,” Drake said. “It doesn’t matter [who you get first]. The whole thing is we just gotta get ready. We’ve got a week to get prepared. I think we’ll be ready to play. It’s an exciting time of the year. Right now it’s all about maintenance. If you can come in ready to play, good things can happen.”
Despite the loss in their previous matchup, Drake was pleased with their effort that night—something that he believes kickstarted an upward trend in their improvement late in the season.
“That was the night we started to play a little better,” Drake said. “We had Carbon who didn’t play the fourth quarter… And we were just getting Ji back. It was his second or third game back, so I mean I feel good about where we’re at. We’re playing some good basketball right now. Of course they’re the number one team in the region, so we’ll see. It’ll be a good game.”
With things starting to all come together for the Red Devils as of late, Drake is excited to see his guys compete against Ohio County at 7:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 2. On the other hand the Aces will take on Edmonson County—who defeated Butler County 82-74 to win the 12th District Championship—with the potential of going up against Muhlenberg or Breckinridge County in the semifinals should they win.
With a talent-filled pool of teams in the 3rd Region, Head Coach Tim Riley and company know that no win will come easy at this time of the year. Riley went on saying that they have to be ready mentally and take control of games one by one.”
“You’ve gotta go win each game,” Riley said. “They don’t give any of these away. They’re hard to get. It’s hard to win regional championships. I know a lot of great coaches who have never won one. You just have to go take the game. We gotta get ready to go against Edmonson County. We’ve gotta be ready to play.”
The Aces faced off against the Wildcats on Dec. 29, winning 57-39 on their home floor in the Independence Bank Classic. Riley said that they will have to be very physical to come away with a win, knowing they’re facing a team that is going to give 100% for all 32 minutes on Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.
“Well-coached, very very tough kids,” Riley said. “Just scrappy tough kids that are going to come here and fight us. We’re going to have to match their intensity. They play really really hard, so we’re going to have to be able to do that.”