COVINGTON, Ky. -- Girls' district basketball tournaments begin throughout Northern Kentucky Monday and run through Saturday, giving each local team a shot to reach regional tournaments. The finalists in each district move on the region.
Qualifiers from the 31st and 32nd Districts will advance to the 8th region tournament while qualifiers from the 37th, 38th and 39th Districts reach the 10th Region tournament. The 9th Region tournament will feature teams from the 33rd, 34th, 35th and 36th Districts.
Here’s a closer look at the girls’ district schedules, favorites and dark horses.
Feb. 20-24 at Williamstown
Schedule: Simon Kenton (22-6) vs. Walton-Verona (18-12) at 7 p.m. Monday and Grant County (13-16) vs. Williamstown (14-13) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Finals: 7 p.m. Friday
Favorite: WCPO's Power 9 No. 2 Simon Kenton is the heavy favorite after beating each of the other three districts teams by at least 29 points during the regular season. The Pioneers are just 4-3 since Jan. 27, but Cooper is the only Northern Kentucky team to have beaten Simon Kenton. Junior guard Allyson Niece, junior forward Shelby Harmeyer, senior center Madi Meier and junior guard Bailee Harney lead the Pioneers’ offense.
Dark horse: Williamstown has won two straight and should reach the finals and gain a berth in the 8th Region tournament.
Feb. 21-23 at Boone County
Schedule: Cooper (19-6) vs. Boone County (10-19) at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Conner (24-6) vs. Ryle (15-15) at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Finals: at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Favorite: Top-ranked Cooper lost its regular-season finale at No. 3 Holmes, but is the clear favorite in this district with wins in 14 of 16 overall. Junior guard Lexi Held, senior guard Hailey Anderson and junior guard Asyah Mitchell lead the Jags in scoring.
Dark horse: No. 5 Conner won its final seven regular-season games and 12 of 15 overall. The three losses in that span came to No. 1 Cooper, No. 2 Simon Kenton and No. 3 Holmes. Look for the Cougars to earn a rematch with Cooper and have a shot at the district crown. The Jags beat Conner 65-62 Jan. 21.
Feb. 20-24 at Lloyd
Schedule: Ludlow (16-13) vs. Villa Madonna (9-17) at 6 p.m. Monday, Lloyd (15-12) vs. Ludlow or Villa Madonna at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Dixie Heights (12-18) vs. St. Henry (16-14) at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday.
Finals: 6 p.m. Friday
Favorites: St. Henry bounced back from a seven-game losing streak in January to win eight of its last 10 and finish the regular season at 16-14, so call the Crusaders the favorites here. Senior forward Paige Noble and sophomore center Chisom Iloegbunam are both double-digit scorers for St. Henry.
Dark horse: Lloyd spent time this season ranked among the Power 9 and enters the postseason with a 15-12 record and wins in eight of 11 games, but the Juggernauts suffered a 60-35 loss Feb. 7 to likely finals foe, St. Henry.
Feb. 21-24 at Beechwood
Schedule: Holmes (23-4) vs. Beechwood (9-15) at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Holy Cross (16-10) vs. Notre Dame (8-17) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Finals: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Favorite: Holmes should cruise to the district title. The Bulldogs have won three straight and 10 off 11 overall, including a win over No. 1 Cooper Feb. 17 to close the regular season. Notre Dame gave the Bulldogs the best challenge among district teams during the regular season, falling 43-31 Jan. 4. Junior guard Laila Johnson, senior guard Jaynice Stovall, sophomore guard Kamari Graham and junior forward Tyrah McClendon-Englemon have all been double-digit scorers for Holmes this season and Englemon has been the top force on the boards.
Dark horse: Holy Cross lost its final two regular-season games, but ended the season at No. 9 in the Power 9 rankings. The Indians should be favored to knock off Notre Dame, who has lost six straight, and reach the finals with a berth in the 9th Region tournament and another shot at Holmes. The Bulldogs beat Holy Cross, 64-26, Jan. 19.
Feb. 20-23 at Dayton
Schedule: Newport (10-19) vs. Bellevue (15-14) at 6 p.m. Monday, Highlands (20-8) vs. Newport or Bellevue at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Newport Central Catholic (11-15) vs. Dayton (18-10) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Finals: 7 p.m. Thursday
Favorite: Highlands has won seven of its last nine and enters the postseason as the heavy favorite to win its district. The Bluebirds’ recent hot streak includes a 62-49 win over No. 3 Holmes Feb. 6. Sophomore guard Zoie Barth and senior Jenna Martin lead the Highlands offense.
Dark horse: Newport Central Catholic is likely to meet Highlands in the district final and advance to the 9th Region tournament. Highlands beat the Thoroughbreds, 62-30, Jan. 6.
Feb. 21-23 at Campbell County Middle School
Schedule: Calvary Christian (14-13) vs. Silver Grove (0-20) at 6 p.m. Monday, Scott (19-11) vs. Calvary Christian or Silver Grove 6 p.m. Tuesday and Campbell County (17-12) vs. Brossart (15-15) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Finals: 7 p.m. Thursday
Favorite: Scott had won seven straight before losing its regular-season finale to Scott County Feb. 16. The Eagles have won nine of 12 overall and two of the most recent losses came at the end of January to No. 3 Holmes and No. 1 Cooper. Junior Anna Clephane was the Eagles’ top scorer and rebounder throughout the season with help on offense from junior Alexis Stapleton and sophomore Summer Secrist.
Dark horse: Defending 10th Region champion Campbell County snapped a five-game losing streak in a 60-23 win over Newport during its regular-season finale Feb. 16. Junior guard Taylor Clos was the top scorer for the Camels throughout the season along with junior forward Mackenzie Schwarber.
31st District: Owen County (20-7) is the heavy favorite to win this district. The Lady Rebels are the only team in the bracket with a winning record.
38th District: Pendleton County (5-22) is a long shot to reach the 10th Region tournament, needing a win over Harrison County (12-18) to reach the district final.
39th District: Mason County (19-8) is the favorite.