Russell, East eye 3-peat paths



East Carter’s boys and Russell’s girls have their eyes on three-peats in the 16th Region, but what teams could stand in the way?

The Raiders and Lady Devils learned their potential paths on Saturday after the draws determined the tournament brackets. The boys will play Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at Russell-McDowell Intermediate. The girls will play Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at Greenup County High School.

The first round of the girls tournament pits Ashland (10-8-3) against Bath County (10-5-1) at 6 p.m. followed by Rowan County (12-6-1) and West Carter (8-11-1). Rowan County is the lone district champion that did not draw an opening-round bye.

Awaiting first-round winners in the semifinals are East Carter (11-6-2) and Russell (114-1). The semifinals are set for Tuesday at 6 and 8 p.m.

The girls championship is slated for Thursday at 7 p.m. Russell beat East Carter in 2016 and toppled Rowan County last season.

West Carter (9-8) and Fleming County (11-8-1) will kick things off on the boys side on Monday at 6 p.m. Russell (8-91) will do battle with Rowan County (20-1) at approximately 8. The Red Devils will be without two key players as a result of four combined yellow cards in the 63rd District finals.

Boyd County (13-1-1) and defending champion East Carter (15-2-2) will take on first-round winners in the semifinals, which are scheduled for Tuesday at 6 and 8 p.m.

The boys finals are set for Thursday at 7 p.m. East Carter edged Boyd County in 2016 and upended Russell a year ago.

Just four teams comprise the 15th Region Tournament field. The semifinal matchups are Johnson Central (10-7-1) vs. Belfry (8-6-2) and Lawrence County (11-3-1) vs. Prestonsburg (15-2-3). The four will compete on Monday at Prestonsburg beginning at 6 p.m.

The 15th Region boys championship will take place on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The 15th Region girls bracket had not yet been determined as of Saturday.

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