Archive for February, 2007

Mid-district week

Three days down and three to go in district week, and there’s nothing much to get worked up about. (But please, keep reading anyway.)

The district semifinals are all about shock value. You scan lists of scores to see which regional contenders got sent packing earlier than expected. That said, nothing has happened in the 12th Region so far that qualifies as a surprise.

With one exception, all of the qualifiers are in place for next week’s 12th Region Tournaments. Here’s who’s in:

Girls

45th District: Boyle County, Lincoln County

46th District: East Jessamine, Mercer County

47th District: Casey County, Rockcastle County

48th District: Southwestern, Wayne County

Boys

45th District: Boyle County, Lincoln County

46th District: East Jessamine, West Jessamine

47th District: Pulaski County, Somerset

48th District: Southwestern

The only remaining semifinal is one of the most intriguing, Thursday’s game in the boys 48th between McCreary Central and Wayne County.

So far, the game that has raised the most eyebrows was in the boys 47th, where Pulaski County beat Rockcastle County Tuesday night on a 3-point goal by Caleb Rowe with 3 seconds remaining. The Maroons were expected to win by much more, because they were coming off a regular-season finale in which they kicked Boyle County around and were playing a Rockcastle team that had really struggled this season.

On the north end of the region, East Jessamine’s boys beat Mercer County and its girls beat Burgin in games in the 46th that could have gone either way. And in the girls 45th, Lincoln County beat Garrard County to become the only lower seed to win so far, but that was another game that looked like a toss-up.

Three girls champions will be crowned Thursday night when title games are played in the 45th, 46th and 47th. The girls 48th final is Friday night, along with boys finals in the 45th, 46th and 47th. And the week ends with the boys 48th final Saturday night.

Regional tournament pairings will be drawn Saturday for the girls tournament at Pulaski and Sunday for the boys tourney at Lincoln. And remember that the girls regional starts first this year, with first-round games Monday and Tuesday nights.

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Postseason points

The postseason is upon us, and I’m kicking it off with a few random notes and thoughts from amid my stack of brackets:

The 45th District was the last of the four districts within the 12th Region to play its boys and girls championship games on the same night, but that’s changing this year. The girls championship is Thursday and the boys title game is Friday after district administrators approved the schedule proposed by Garrard County athletic director Jim Freeman, whose school is hosting this year’s tournament.

In part because KSD’s girls did not enter the district tournament, Freeman proposed a schedule that splits the title games for the first time. Freeman said this might lead to a greater gate for the tourney, but he also said it will create a better celebration for one of the champions.

He points out that when the two title games were played as a doubleheader, the team that won the first game (usually a girls team) and its fans had to wait through a second game before they could hoist their trophy and cut their net. Now the party can start immediately, and they can have two nets to boot.

* * *

I have always wondered but never known the origin of the KHSAA’s district tournament format that allows the winner and the runner-up to advance to the regionals. There are things I like about it and things I don’t, but for the most part I have no problem with it. I’d just be interested to know how it was determined that the loser of this one game should get a second chance, when every other loser of every other game in the district, regional and state tournaments is out on its ear.

* * *

This is the first time in a long time that only one district tournament has been played at an area school. Garrard is hosting five of the eight area schools, but Burgin and Mercer are playing at East Jessamine and Casey County’s tournament is at Pulaski County.

We had it good here for a number of years — ever since Casey moved into the 45th District in the early 1990s — when two of the four 12th Region districts were comprised entirely of local teams. This is the second postseason since realignment spread them among three districts, and last year the three tournaments were held at Danville, Mercer and Casey.

* * *

Because I’m a purist, put me squarely in the camp that says the basketball championships should never be split into classes. The KHSAA is in that camp, too, because the Sweet Sixteen tournaments are its biggest sources of revenue. And the success of the All “A” Classic has postponed any serious discussion about classification for a long, long time.

But here’s a prediction: Basketball will be classified some day, not soon, but perhaps by the time the children of today’s players are competing for championships.

* * *

And remember, if your team gets kicked to the curb sooner than you’d like, it’s just 28 days until opening day for the baseball and softball seasons.

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An open date that remains open

The last couple of weeks of the high school basketball schedule often bear no resemblance to the rest of the season. With district games done and teams getting ready for tournament play, intersectional games begin to pop up everywhere.

Teams as diverse as Bryan Station, Western Hills, Lynn Camp, Madison Southern might pop up as late-season opponents simply because two coaches needed to fill their schedules and because one or both of them thought the game would do their team some good.

But no game would have been stranger than the one proposed to Burgin coach Don Irvine a few weeks ago. Irvine’s Burgin boys were a game or two under the scheduling limit, and so was the coach who called him out of the blue — Dale Mabrey of Pleasure Ridge Park.

You might remember PRP as the team that handily defeated Boyle County in last year’s Boys Sweet Sixteen, or as the team that is a perennial contender in the always tough 6th Region. Irvine did, and since his team is just 7-16, and since PRP has beaten the likes of Elizabethtown and South Laurel this season, he politely told Mabrey thanks but no thanks.

Mabrey surely meant well, but Irvine would be the first to say this would have been a game no one would have wanted to see.

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A referee remembered

The family of 12th Region officials lost one of its senior members when Marvin Vaught died Saturday in Somerset after a battle with cancer.

Vaught, 52, had called games in the 12th Region for 30 years. As for the rest of his life, he had a wife of 29 years, two children and a grandchild, worked at the General Electric plant in Somerset, was a former member of the Kentucky National Guard and was an usher at his church, according to his obituary.

One of the officials working Tuesday’s Mercer County-Garrard County boys game, where a moment of silence was observed before tipoff, said about 20 officials attended the visitation Monday night, and others would have been there had they not been working games. Our condolences to his family.

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Tails never fails

The Boyle County boys will be the No. 1 seed and Lincoln County will be the No. 2 seed for next week’s 45th District Tournament, thanks to the toss of a coin.

The tie-breaking toss came Saturday morning and became necessary after Lincoln County defeated Rockcastle County a few hours earlier. That was the final game factored into a tiebreaker involving common regional opponents at common sites that left Boyle and Lincoln tied after they finished with matching 5-1 district records and split their two games with each other.

A coin toss was also needed to determine one other top seed in a district involving an area team. The Casey County won a flip with Rockcastle County a few days ago to get the No. 1 seed in the 47th District.

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Familiar football faces changing places

There are some noteworthy comings and goings involving a few coaches that some teams in our area are all too familiar with.

We begin with the return of Mike Yeagle, the former Beechwood coach who led that program to eight state championships in 14 years before resigning during the 2005 season. Yeagle has taken the job at Lloyd Memorial, and he talks about it in this interview on The Cincinnati Enquirer’s high school sports blog.

Two interesting notes on Yeagle’s hiring: He is replacing Roy Lucas Jr. at Lloyd, but Lucas is staying on as an assistant coach. (He was an offensive coordinator under Yeagle at Beechwood.) Also, Lloyd and Beechwood face off in the second game of the season this fall.

Elsewhere, Joey Downs has resigned as Bardstown, where he had a successful 17-year run following the tenure of the legendary Garnis Martin. Downs is still expected to coach in the Kentucky-Tennessee All-Star Classic this summer. Also, Steve Serotte recently resigned after 11 seasons at Central.

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Boyle vs. Danville, coming (very) soon

Previously published schedules will tell you otherwise, but Boyle County and Danville will play their second regular-season game Saturday night at Danville.

The game was originally scheduled for Feb. 17 but was moved up a week and now is on the same night and in the same place as a Boyle-Danville girls game. The boys game is at 6 p.m.; the girls game at about 7:30.

Boyle won the first boys meeting of the season 68-39 on Jan. 12; Boyle’s girls beat Danville 61-59 in overtime the same night.

The Boyle boys will tie Lincoln County for the No. 1 seed in the 45th District if the Rebels beat Garrard County tonight and Danville on Saturday. The first tiebreaker is the teams’ records vs. common opponents at common sites prior to Feb. 18 (Rockcastle County and Mercer County in this case). If Boyle beats Mercer and Lincoln beats Rockcastle next week, a coin flip will determine the top seed.

* * *

The Boyle boys have also announced two makeup dates for games postponed by winter weather, or in some cases simply the threat of it. The Rebels will play at South Laurel on Thursday, Feb. 15 and will host Casey County on Saturday, Feb. 17.

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Tough draws (So what else is new?)

Once again, there was no good news for the 12th Region in the Sweet Sixteen draws held earlier today. The 12th Region was paired with the 7th Region for the girls tournament and with the 5th Region for the boys tourney.

The boys 5th Region is headlined by Central Hardin, which is 20-1 and has lost only to Shelby County. Elizabethtown (11-9) gets a lot of attention thanks to star forward Stephon Pettigrew and has played a tough schedule, but it has lost twice to Central Hardin. Other potential champions include John Hardin (12-7) and perhaps Bardstown (13-5), the defending All “A” Classic champion.

In girls hoops, the top tier of the 7th Region is a murderers’ row of some of the best teams in Kentucky. Start with Sacred Heart (18-4), which toppled nationally ranked Lexington Catholic in overtime last night; move on to Assumption (15-5), which beat Sacred Heart last month; and add duPont Manual (16-5), which might be the region’s third top-10 team, and Louisville Christian (14-5).

The girls first-round game is at 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 14 in Bowling Green; the boys play at noon Wednesday, March 21 in Lexington in the opening game of their tourney. Once again, it will be very difficult for both regional representatives to avoid a one-and-done.

Here’s the complete draw of first-round pairings for both tournaments, in bracket order from top to bottom:

Girls Sweet Sixteen Draw

Wednesday, March 14: 6 vs. 14, 13 vs. 5, 3 vs. 4, 12 vs. 7.

Thursday, March 15: 16 vs. 15, 8 vs. 9, 11 vs. 2, 1 vs. 10.

Boys Sweet Sixteen Draw

Wednesday, March 21: 5 vs. 12, 11 vs. 8, 13 vs. 6, 9 vs. 1.

Thursday, March 22: 3 vs. 7, 10 vs. 2, 16 vs. 15, 14 vs. 4.

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'Twas farewell that they were singing…

Casey County baseball games won’t be quite as much fun this season without Jimmy Brown around.

The longtime coach recently resigned, not because he wanted to get away from the game but because he has a new job. Brown is a Baptist minister who took over as the full-time pastor at Liberty’s First Baptist Church last fall.

He had pastored other churches in the past, usually on an interim basis while those churches were looking for permanent pastors, but he said his new job will require too much of his time to allow him to continue coaching.

“I’ll miss it,” he said. “I’ll miss being out there with the kids. That’s what’s fun.”

Brown made game days at Casey fun, whether the games themselves were interesting or not. His take on those games and on whatever else came up in the conversation always made the trip to Liberty worthwhile.

Brown served as Casey’s head coach for 17 years. He was also an assistant basketball coach for many years before resigning after accepting his current pastorship. He also plans to retire from his day job as a history teacher after this school year. He still attends most home basketball games and said he’ll try to watch as many baseball games as he can this spring, but he simply doesn’t have enough time to coach.

Head boys basketball coach Perry Walters was Brown’s longtime assistant on the baseball diamond, but he vacated the first-base coach’s box after last season because of the demands of his basketball job. So with the start of practice only two weeks away, there is no coach on staff and there are no obvious candidates.

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‘Twas farewell that they were singing…

Casey County baseball games won’t be quite as much fun this season without Jimmy Brown around.

The longtime coach recently resigned, not because he wanted to get away from the game but because he has a new job. Brown is a Baptist minister who took over as the full-time pastor at Liberty’s First Baptist Church last fall.

He had pastored other churches in the past, usually on an interim basis while those churches were looking for permanent pastors, but he said his new job will require too much of his time to allow him to continue coaching.

“I’ll miss it,” he said. “I’ll miss being out there with the kids. That’s what’s fun.”

Brown made game days at Casey fun, whether the games themselves were interesting or not. His take on those games and on whatever else came up in the conversation always made the trip to Liberty worthwhile.

Brown served as Casey’s head coach for 17 years. He was also an assistant basketball coach for many years before resigning after accepting his current pastorship. He also plans to retire from his day job as a history teacher after this school year. He still attends most home basketball games and said he’ll try to watch as many baseball games as he can this spring, but he simply doesn’t have enough time to coach.

Head boys basketball coach Perry Walters was Brown’s longtime assistant on the baseball diamond, but he vacated the first-base coach’s box after last season because of the demands of his basketball job. So with the start of practice only two weeks away, there is no coach on staff and there are no obvious candidates.

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