Clay County, Gordonsville girls and boys will do battle in Region 4-A opening round


CELINA-The Clay County Bulldogs will host the Gordonsville Tigers in Region 4-A opening-round play here on Saturday at 4 p.m., a day after the Lady Tigers will host the Lady Bulldogs.

Regional semifinal and finals action will take place at Watertown, with semifinals set for Monday and Tuesday nights and finals for Wednesday and Thursday. 

Gordonsville and Clay County are regular-season opponents and met twice in a span of about three weeks in the very early part of the season.

Gordonsville (13-16) @ Bulldogs (24-6), Saturday

The Bulldogs swept the season series with Gordonsville, winning very easily (62-36) at home, and by a closer margin (59-50) on the road just before the holiday break. 

The Tigers were 1-2 in the District 8 tournament, topping Watertown to advance to region play, but then losing twice. They came within a bucket, though, of an upset of tourney winner Friendship Christian (ranked in the Associated Press top ten in every poll) in the semifinals. They lost 51-36 to Westmoreland in the District 8 consolation game. 

The Bulldogs have won 13 of 15 in the New Year, including the District 7 regular-season and tournament titles, while the Tigers are 6-10 since January 1. The Bulldogs sustained half their season losses in the Monticello (KY) holiday tournament. Clay County is ranked 9th statewide on Coach T in Class A (with Friendship fifth), and the Bulldogs were ranked all season long by the AP. 

The Bulldog-Tiger winner will face the winner of the Trousdale County-Jackson County game on Tuesday night in Watertown. Trousdale finished second in District 8, with Jackson County third in District 7.

Lady Bulldogs (20-10) @ Gordonsville (22-6), Friday

The Lady Dawgs and Lady Tigers met once in November and once in December, with widely varying results in the two games, each team winning by a wide margin at home. Clay County topped Gordonsville 67-46 in Celina on Nov. 25, and the Lady Tigers shot the lights out from three-point land in a 76-58 win in Gordonsville on December 17.

The two squads enter Friday night’s game with good records and high rankings on the popular internet site, Coach T. Gordonsville fell in the District 8 finals to Friendship Christian 69-66, but the Lady Tigers have won 18 of their last 21 games, and stand 17th statewide in Class A, according to Coach T. 

The Lady Tigers have lost twice to Friendship (who the Lady Dawgs have beaten twice, by three points both times), and twice to Smith County. Macon County and Clay have handed them their other losses. 

The Lady Bulldogs are ranked 15th statewide on Coach T’s “strength+success” ratings, which “combines the opponent win percentage with the team’s own win percentage. Teams that perform better against opponents that perform better will rank higher,” the site says.

The Lady Bulldogs have lost twice to top-ranked Clarkrange, twice to second-ranked Jackson County, and once to second-ranked (in AA) Upperman among their 10 setbacks. According to Coach T, the Lady Bulldogs have played the 18th most difficult schedule in the state, Gordonsville the 84th most difficult. The Coach T strength of schedule rankings are based on the opponents’ win percentage. All District 7 girls teams are ranked in the top 18 of 107 Class A teams in schedule of strength on Coach T.

The Lady Dawgs and Lady TIgers will meet Friday night. Unbeaten Clarkrange looms as the certain semifinal opponent for the winner.