Archive for December, 2006

The holiday rush

Christmas break gives high school basketball teams time to get in plenty of games, but more than a few people wonder if the players shouldn’t also have some time to themselves.

Teams playing in tournaments during both weeks of the conventional school holiday leave the players on those teams with very little time to enjoy the down time their classmates are getting. And even those playing in only one of the two weeks probably schedule practices for much of the other weeks.

There doesn’t need to be any kind of mandate, but there does seem to be a need for a little restraint when it comes to scheduling. In a perfect world, those teams playing through the holidays would play in only one tournament, then give the players several days off in a row in the other week so families could travel to visit relatives or just have a few days to relax at home.

It’s probably too much to ask in some programs, but it shouldn’t be. There’s plenty of time in a 13-week season to get in all the practices and games you need, and there should be room for a little family time as well. Maybe my opinion is colored by the fact that I just returned from a long out-of-state visit with some of my own relatives, but I’m willing to bet a lot of basketball parents feel the same.

As for this year’s crop of tournaments, there will be 15 played last week and this that include teams from this area, and most of them are relatively close to home this year. Except for the Casey County boys’ trip last week to Gatlinburg, Tenn., the most distant tourney trip is to McCreary Central.

But while most are close to home, very few are at home. Only the Applebee’s Winter Classic, hosted by the Boyle County girls, takes place locally. The AWC is big as ever and for the first time includes other area teams. Lincoln County and Garrard County join Boyle in the field, though it will be tough for any of them to make the title game as Boyle did last year. And there’s also a team from Australia.

As for other tournament news, Boyle reached the championship game of Adair County’s Lady Indians Invitational last week, beating Buckhorn and Bowling Green before losing to Adair.

Two area teams, Casey County and Mercer County, are playing in the 16-team Snowball Classic at the Frankfort civic center. They opened with Sheldon Clark and Central Hardin today.
Garrard County got fifth place in McCreary Central’s tournament by beating Warren Central and Ballard Memorial after a first-round loss to Moore.
Lincoln County got only one win in four games at Lexington Catholic’s tournament, but that was against 12th Region rival Southwestern, a team the Lady Patriots beat in last year’s regional tourney.
In boys tournaments, Boyle won two out of three in the Lexington Christian Invitational, taking fifth place with a win over East Jessamine.
Bad bracket luck left Lincoln to settle for a 2-2 finish in the Hoopin’ It Up Holiday Classic at North Laurel, with both its losses coming to Louisville-area schools. The Patriots lost by 21 to Pleasure Ridge Park, but they made a much better showing in a seven-point loss to Trinity.
This week, both Boyle and Lincoln are playing in Lexington Catholic’s Fifth Third Bank Classic. Lincoln opens tonight against DeSales, then gets George Rogers Clark if it wins that one.
Boyle gets a first-round bye today and plays the Bishop Brossart-Clinton County winner Tuesday. A win in that game would likely lead to a quarterfinal matchup with Lexington Catholic on Wednesday.
Danville and Garrard are both playing in McCreary Central’s tournament, which opens Wednesday. Danville plays Whitley County; Garrard plays Cumberland County.
Meanwhile, Danville’s gym will remain dark this week. After three years, its City of Firsts Classic has been discontinued.

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Meanwhile, back in Mercer County…

The celebration continues unabated, rings are being ordered, and somebody’s printing enough T-shirts to clothe everyone in Mercer County three times over.

But the weekend came and went without a football game for the first time in 16 weeks, and a few of the Titans were looking for something to do.

So if you’ve got some odd jobs that need doing, you might consider calling a Mercer football player.

Just four days after Mercer won the Class AA championship, quarterback Justin Morgan said a few days ago that he was just a little bit bored with all the extra time on his hands. Meanwhile, a number of players rolled into the Mercer fieldhouse early last week wondering if there wasn’t something they should be doing.

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The fact that Mercer broke the state single-season rushing record was well documented in this story by colleague Hal Morris, but that was only one of three places where the Titans left their mark in the state record book. Here are the details:

  • Mercer’s 5,769 rushing yards surpassed the old mark of 5,671 set by Bryan Station in 1999. Danville’s 1992 team ranks third with 5,375 yards, and the Admirals’ 1998 and 1999 teams are tied for 10th place with 4,908.
  • Mercer ranks fifth on the list of most points scored in a season with 760. Boyle County teams rank second (797 points in 2000) and fourth (764 in 2001).
  • The 613 rushing yards the Titans had against Lloyd Memorial give them the eighth-highest single game total in that category.

And just in case you’re curious, here are the state records held by area teams and individuals in addition to Mercer’s new rushing record:

  • Consecutive championships: Boyle County, 5, 1999-2003.
  • Field goals, season: Boyle County (team) and Taylor Begley (individual), 17, 2000.
  • Extra points, season: Boyle County (team) and Taylor Begley (individual), 97, 2000.
  • Fewest points allowed, season: Danville, 0, 1927 (tied with two others).
  • Touchdowns, career: Kelvin Turner, Danville, 116, 2004.
  • Fumble recoveries, game: Stephen Grubbs, Danville, 3, vs. Corbin, 2000, and Marcellous Jones, Lincoln County, 3, vs. Madison Southern, 1999 (tied with 16 others).

In addition, Danville coach Sam Harp moved from 10th place to eighth on the list of career wins leaders. His career record is 277-80, and he remains fifth among active coaches. A typical Danville season in 2007 should move him past two other inactive coaches: Walter Brugh (280 wins) and Mojo Hollowell (285), and a 15-0 season would leave him tied with Joe Jaggers (292).

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If you thought it was cold at the state finals last week — and yes, it was — consider the conditions Thursday night (Dec. 7), when the temperature plummeted toward 10 degrees, and Friday (Dec. 8), when it struggled to reach the freezing mark.

The finals will be held on the second weekend of December beginning next season, when the entire season schedule is pushed back one week. That’s seven days closer to winter, and that means an even bigger chance of foul weather.

The title games could played be as late as Dec. 8 next year and Dec. 13 in 2008, and that’s pushing their luck. If the schedule pattern remains the same for a few more years, expect some championships to be decided with snow on the ground in the not-to-distant future.

By the way, the schedule for next year’s six state championship games isn’t set, but it’s likely that they’ll be played over two days, with three games each day.

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