The Washington County boys’ (2-5) and girls’ (4-3) basketball teams have faced their own set of challenges through seven games, but both have been tested by teams that have helped gauge where they stand heading into the Christmas break.
The Commanders are likely to be involved in a three-team battle for the three seed in the 19th District with Nelson County and Thomas Nelson at season’s end, so already having a 2-0 record against those teams puts Washington County in the driver’s seat for the rematches in January and February.
An overtime loss to Taylor County on opening night and a two-point loss on Saturday to Berea with a depleted roster are games that will make the Commanders better later in the year as well, because they’re sure to find themselves in tight games down the stretch.
Looking over the teams in this week’s holiday tournament in Adair County, I wouldn’t be surprised if WC finds themselves in similar situations sooner rather than later. The field appears to have plenty of parity, including familiar faces from the Fifth Region: Adair County, Campbellsville and Green County. Having already won two of three overtime games and dropping another close game at the buzzer, that’s the kind of experience that can go a long way in a three-day tournament. For evidence of that, look no further than the Commanders’ 99-95 triple-overtime victory over Metcalfe County on the second day of LaRue County’s holiday tournament last season.
Tournament games are going to come down to who has the most left in the tank in the fourth quarter and the Commanders have certainly been battle tested in late-game situations over the first three weeks of the season.
The same can be said of the Commanderettes, who enter this week’s Food Pantry Holiday Classic in Campbellsville looking for a signature win. The girls have handled their business against teams they’re expected to beat, but are still looking for a big win to prove they’re going to be a presence in the Fifth Region this season. Their three losses – to Boyle County, John Hardin and Nelson County – were to teams with a combined 17-6 record, so the competition level has been high to start the season and could be a big factor for WC going forward.
Washington County is matched up with Mercer County on Thursday, who handed Nelson County a 77-62 loss on Saturday. It will be interesting to see if the Commanderettes can take a step forward against some good competition, not just against the Lady Titans, but also in the final two days of the tournament. Chances for the Commanderettes to prove themselves shouldn’t be hard to come by, as other schools in the tournament that are off to a hot start include Adair County and John Hardin.
Wins over Bardstown, Thomas Nelson and Bethlehem have helped solidify WC near the top of the district, but this week’s games in Campbellsville could go a long way toward the team putting the pieces together to challenge Nelson County for the top spot.
As far as district implications and postseason seeding, the girls’ games this week and the boys’ games over the next two weeks won’t have any impact, but they’ll without question have an impact on whether each team is able to take a step forward in the second half of the season.