By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
Madison Southern and Woodford County played twice during the regular season — and the two games played out very, very differently.
The home team won both games by lopsided margins, with the Yellow Jackets picking up a 75-65 win in January and the Eagles rolling to a 73-49 victory last month in Berea.
Southern (13-15) and Woodford County (16-14) are set met again today at Frankfort Convention Center in the opening round of the 11th Region Tournament.
The game is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. The winner advances to Saturday’s semifinals to take on either Henry Clay (17-12) or Lafayette (18-10).
“It’s the best draw we could have gotten,” Southern coach Shane Buttry said. “It’s an even game. It could be one of the best games of the tournament.”
Three-point shooting was the biggest difference in the outcome of the first two meetings between the teams.
In January, Woodford County hit nine three-pointers in the first half and raced out to a 23-point halftime lead. The Yellow Jackets hit 14 threes in the game, led by Samuel Souers, who connected nine times from long range.
In the rematch, Woodford County hit just one three-pointer and Southern jumped out to a quick lead, building a 38-22 halftime advantage.
The game featured more than 60 free throws, with Southern hitting 21-of-28 attempts at the line.
The Eagles used mostly zone and chased Woodford County’s better shooters, which slowed down the Yellow Jackets’ long-range attack.
“We changed our defense (the second time),” Buttry said. “If I had known we were going to play them in the region, I probably wouldn’t have. But, that’s probably what we will do this time too.”
In both games, senior center Trevor Huff made a big-time impact. He had 19 points and 11 rebounds on the road and scored 10 points in the first quarter in the second game before getting into foul trouble.
Miller, a sophomore forward, also had seven points in the Southern win.
“We think we can go inside to Huff and Andrew Miller,” Buttry said. “We may play them both at the same time. That will open up the inside, but I think the biggest mismatch is on the outside. We may post up some different guys on the inside.”
Stacy Burns, a sophomore forward, had a team-best 20 points in the win over Woodford and had 14 points in Versailles.
Madison Southern has never won an 11th Region Tournament game, but this matchup with a team they’ve already defeated this season certainly appear to be a good opportunity to make history.
“As soon as I left the draw I texted (the players) and they were all excited,” Buttry said. “One of them said, ‘Let’s make history and always be remembered as the first team to win a game at the region.’ That’s a big thing and it gives us a little extra motivation.”