Class 4A blog: State tournament to highlight wide-open title chase

The Class 4A region tournaments saw some of the state’s longest win streaks snapped, and the highly competitive atmosphere witnessed throughout the region battles sets the stage for an unbelievable state tournament.

On the boys side, No. 1-ranked McDonough’s 18-game win streak was snapped with a 68-60 loss to Fayette County. That was the third meeting between the programs, and Fayette County was able to get the big victory. Fayette County was led by a 21-point, 12-rebound and four-assist performance by Kaleb Banks, the No. 1-ranked prospect in the state.

The other big factor in Fayette County’s victory, however, was the emergence of freshman Sean Van Dorn, who connected on three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points. Van Dorn had only scored a combined six points in Fayette County’s previous two losses to McDonough.

It wasn’t just Region 5 that had a big-time win streak snapped.

In Region 1, Monroe had a 17-game win streak snapped by Westover in a 55-52 defeat. Similar to McDonough, Monroe had previously defeated Westover twice this season.

Falling short in the region championship games is not going to stop either Monroe or McDonough in their attempt to take this year’s state title, and the playoff field appears to be up for grabs. Spencer carries the longest win streak at 23 games and completed a 16-0 sweep of Region 2 this season.

Top-seeded Baldwin swept Region 4 with a 14-0 record, and its only losses within the classification this season came to McDonough and Westover in December. As for Benedictine, the Cadets swept Region 3 with a 6-0 mark and have no losses within the classification so far.

On the girls side, New Hampstead defeated Islands for the second time this month to take the Region 3 top seed – despite massive performances by Islands junior Veronica Sierzant – who leads the classification in scoring (21.4), rebounding (17.4) and blocks (4.0).

Islands won the first meeting this season, before New Hampstead’s latest pair of victories. Region 5 champion Luella dominated its region counterparts and closed out the top seed with a 73-30 win over Riverdale and 57-30 victory over Fayette County. The Lions swept Region 5 with a 12-0 record and have not dropped a game within Class 4A this season. Luella will be in the same quadrant of the bracket that houses Region 2 champion Carver-Columbus.

The Tigers swept Region 2 with a 16-0 record, have won 10 straight games and are also undefeated within the classification.

Baldwin and Jefferson are the only schools that had the boys and girls both earn top seeds. Baldwin has won 13 straight since its 71-67 loss to Carver-Columbus on Dec. 28 and swept Region 4 with a 13-0 record. Baldwin’s only other loss came to Luella 55-54 in its season opener.

Marist swept Region 6 with a 12-0 record and put its outstanding defense on display throughout its run. The War Eagles defeated Mays 57-14 and 50-17 and then scored a 36-26 victory over Arabia Mountain, a 37-30 win over Stephenson and a 47-20 win over Mays to close out the top seed. Arabia Mountain’s 36 points scored against Marist on Jan. 11 are the most allowed by the War Eagles against any Class 4A opponent this season.