Archive for March, 2012

Somerset basketball coaches resign

The number of basketball coaching openings in the 12th Region has doubled with the resignation of Somerset boys coach Don Daniel and girls coach Jim Adkins, which was reported today by Chris Harris, Doug Eads and Michael Childers of the Commonwealth Journal.

Daniel coached the Somerset boys for four seasons, going 36-72. He came to the Briar Jumpers from Rowan County after Shawn Thacker left Somerset for Rowan, where he has gone 80-43 and won two 16th Region titles in the same span.

Adkins was 83-75 in six seasons with the Somerset girls, with four winning seasons.

The only other known openings within the region are at Burgin, where longtime boys coach Don Irvine is retiring, and at Wayne County, where Allen Burchett coached the girls on an interim basis for most of this season and will probably be offered the job on a permanent basis if he wants it.

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Southwestern’s Sweet Sixteen run ends in semis

Southwestern gave top-ranked Trinity a fight before falling 56-47 Saturday in a Boys Sweet Sixteen semifinal in Lexington.

The Warriors went toe to toe with the Shamrocks through the first two quarters and the early part of the third before Trinity took control. The game was tied at 26-all with 6:32 left in the third quarter before Trinity outscored Southwestern 20-4 in just 3 minutes to take a 46-30 lead. That run included four 3-point goals for the Shamrocks, who were 6 for 12 from outside the arc in the second half after going 2 for 12 in the first half. (Click here for the box score.)

Southwestern used an 11-0 run sparked by three layups by Robby Lewis to get back in the game and was within 36-33 when the fourth quarter began before Trinity pulled away to win a physical game.

“It was the battle I thought it would be. We knew it would be a war physically, and it was,” Southwestern coach Steve Wright said.

The Warriors shot just 34 percent from the field and were 4 for 18 from 3-point range. The Shamrocks shot 41 percent and outrebounded the Warriors 35-29.

Lewis led Southwestern with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, closing his high school career with a 3-point basket just before the buzzer. David Kapinga added 13 points but was done for the day after suffering a blow to the head early in the fourth quarter. Kapinga also had five assists, and Justin Edwards had nine rebounds.

Nathan Dieudonne had 16 points and seven rebounds and Charles Foster had 12 points and seven rebounds for Trinity, which will play the Oldham County-Scott County winner for the championship tonight.

Kapinga and Edwards represented Southwestern on the all-tournament team. Kapinga had 41 points and 11 assists and Edwards had 32 points and 31 rebounds in the Warriors’ three tournament games.

Southwestern ends the best season in school history at 29-9.

“I’ve been lucky to be around a lot of good teams, and these guys battle. They just battle,” Wright said. “If you’d seen us the first three weeks of December, it’s been quite a transformation.”

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Southwestern reaches Boys Sweet Sixteen semifinals

Southwestern became the first 12th Region boys team to reach the Boys Sweet Sixteen semifinals since 2009 when the Warriors defeated Rowan County 67-57 in a quarterfinal today in Lexington.

The Warriors outscored the Vikings 22-12 in the fourth quarter to win a game that matched Southwestern coach Steve Wright against former assistant Shawn Thacker, who worked under Wright at South Laurel before becoming the head coach at Somerset. They advanced to a 10 a.m. Saturday semifinal against No. 1 Trinity. (Click here for the box score and here for the play-by-play.)

Southwestern sealed its win by hitting 20 of 24 free throws in the second half after missing five of 13 in the first. David Kapinga, who scored a team-high 18 points, went 7 for 10 and Cody Epperson went 7 for 8 at the foul line.

The Warriors trailed 47-45 with 5:41 to play before scoring 13 unanswered points in just less than 4 minutes, including nine at the free-throw line.

Justin Edwards had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Epperson scored 13 points for Southwestern. Kapinga also had seven assists. D.J. Townsend led Rowan with 19 points.

Southwestern is the first 12th Region team to reach the state tournament semis since West Jessamine made its run to the final four in 2009 and the first Pulaski County school to do so since Pulaski County won the championship in 1986.

The Warriors will face No. 1 Trinity, which defeated George Rogers Clark 62-39 on Friday without starters James Quick and Darryl Hicks, who were suspended for a violation of team rules but are expected to play Saturday.

Also in the semifinals is Oldham County and its coach, former Lincoln County assistant Jason Holland. Holland has taken the Colonels to the tournament for the second straight year, and they will play Scott County today for the other spot in Saturday night’s title game.

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Southwestern advances at Boys Sweet Sixteen

The key word in winning ugly is winning, as the Southwestern boys would be happy to attest to after they won the first Boys Sweet Sixteen game in school history today, beating Hopkinsville 52-41 in a first-round game to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals.

The 12th Region champion Warriors won a sloppy mess of a game in which the two teams combined for 44 turnovers and 57 missed shots. (Click here for the box score and here for the play-by-play.)

They wiped out a nine-point deficit in the second quarter, had a double-digit lead just past the midpoint of the third quarter, then kept a disorganized Hopkinsville team from mounting a serious threat down the stretch.

Southwestern shot 37 percent from the field with 19 turnovers, but Hopkinsville shot just 28.3 percent and had 25 turnovers.

Justin Epperson came off the bench to lead the Warriors with 18 points, going 6 for 7 from the field and 6 for 6 at the free-throw line. Justin Edwards had 10 points and 12 rebounds and David Kapinga also had 10 points for Southwestern.

Southwestern advances to a noon Friday quarterfinal against Rowan County, which defeated North Laurel 64-46. Rowan returns three key players from the team that reached the state finals last year under former Somerset coach Shawn Thacker, who was once an assistant coach at South Laurel under Steve Wright, who is in his first year as Southwestern’s coach.

Got all that? There’s more. The North Laurel team that Rowan defeated is coached by Brad Sizemore, who played at South Laurel under both Wright, who was the head coach, and Thacker, who was Sizemore’s freshman and AAU coach.

And of course, Sizemore made his debut as a head coach last year at Garrard County, where he led the young Golden Lions to a 10-18 record before getting the chance to return to his hometown of London, where he led North Laurel — a former 12th Region team now in the 13th — to its first regional title in his first season. One key addition to Sizemore’s North Laurel staff was Roscoe Denney, who was the last coach to take Danville to the state tournament 22 years ago and a longtime South Laurel assistant under Wright.


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Lincoln girls fall in Sweet Sixteen semifinal

The Lincoln County girls’ most memorable season came to an end on the final day of the season Saturday as the Lady Patriots lost to Marion County 61-40 in the semifinals of the Girls Sweet Sixteen in Bowling Green.

As was the case when Casey County reached the semifinals three years ago, Lincoln lost to a better team. The Iroquois team that knocked out Casey in 2009 went on to win the championship, and Marion is one of the two teams everyone expected to see in the state finals since the season began, along with duPont Manual, the team the Lady Knights will play in tonight’s title game.

And just as was the case with Casey, the future is bright for the Lincoln team and program. Lincoln is the only team in the Sweet Sixteen without a single senior, and talented players continue to come up through the middle school ranks. Next year’s Lincoln team will almost certainly receive a pretty decent preseason ranking and will enter the season as the undisputed 12th Region favorite.

There’s no guarantee, of course, that the Lady Patriots will ever make it back to the state tournament, but there’s also no telling what a postseason run such as this can do for a program. And there’s no doubt that coach Cassandra McWhorter will push her players to be even better next season than they were this year.

As for today, there’s Marion and Manual and there’s everybody else, and Marion proved that once again by decimating Lincoln in the second and third quarters. The Lady Knights outscored the Lady Patriots 37-12 over those two periods to take a 50-25 lead, and their reserves stretched the it to 58-26 in the fourth quarter. Lincoln went just 4 for 20 from the field with 13 turnovers during that 16-minute span.

Emily Fox led Lincoln with 19 points, and Kourtney Belcher added 10. Rachel Spangler had a team-high eight rebounds for the Lady Patriots, although she missed the last 19 minutes or so with an injury, and Sydney Harris had eight boards. Marion got 16 points from Bre Elder, 12 from Makayla Epps and 11 from Kyvin Goodin-Rogers. (Click here for the box score and here for the play-by-play from today’s game.)

Lincoln had 21 turnovers and shot just 29.4 percent from the field, and the Lady Patriots were outrebounded 44-36 and gave up 17 offensive rebounds.

Fox and Harris were named to the all-tournament team.

* * *

Lincoln becomes only the seventh Advocate-area team to reach the final four of the state tournament, joining the 2009 Casey girls and Danville boys teams from 1926, ’33, ’34, ’35 and ’45.

Confirming this would require more research than I’m capable of, but McWhorter might well be the first person from our area to reach the Sweet Sixteen as both a player and a coach.

* * *

The Lady Patriots’ accomplishments this week and throughout the season will be celebrated  during a homecoming event at 2 p.m. Sunday at the school.

They are a team of high-character players led by high-character coaches, and their success this season allowed plenty of people outside Lincoln County to see that. Lincoln Countians who came to Bowling Green in droves to support them and those who cheered them from afar already knew that, of course, and many of them will be cheering them one more time Sunday.

Congratulations to the Lady Patriots on an outstanding season.

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Lasure, Danville earn preseason baseball accolades

Danville catcher Andrew Lasure received honorable mention on the Louisville Slugger Preseason High School All-America baseball team selected by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

Lasure, a senior who has signed to play for East Tennessee State, is the fourth Danville player to receive All-America recognition and the third in six years, joining Duran Elmore (2010), Rich Witten (2007) and Paul Morse (1992), the current Danville coach.

Morse’s Admirals are ranked No. 14 in the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association’s preseason poll.

Danville is one of four 12th Region teams to receive votes for the poll, along with West Jessamine, which is ranked 18th, Somerset and Pulaski County.

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Lincoln reaches Girls Sweet Sixteen semifinals

Lincoln County became the fourth consecutive 12th Region team and the second Advocate-area team in four years to reach the Girls Sweet Sixteen semifinals with a 72-59 victory over Magoffin County in a quarterfinal Friday night in Bowling Green.

The Lady Patriots will play Marion County, which was ranked No. 1 or 2 in the state all season long, at 12:30 p.m. today, and the winner will play the winner of an earlier game between Paul Dunbar and duPont Manual for the championship at 9 p.m. (Click here for the box score and here for the play-by-play from Friday’s game.)

Emily Fox led Lincoln with 23 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Sydney Harris had 12 points and nine rebounds, Ciara Saylor had 11 points and Rachel Spangler had four assists for the Lady Patriots, who shot better than 50 percent from the field for the second straight night. Eighth-grader Jasmine Howard had 21 points and Jamie Castle had 18 for Magoffin.

Lincoln led by just three points with 4:38 remaining before reeling off nine unanswered points, including seven by Fox, in just 56 seconds to take a 58-46 lead that Magoffin could not overcome.

Marion advanced with a 67-30 trouncing of Hopkinsville in its quarterfinal earlier Friday night. The Lady Knights are all that and more, with three major-college prospects, 15 consecutive wins and losses to only Manual, which has jockeyed with Marion for the top spot in state rankings all season, one team from Cincinnati and two from California. And the Lady Patriots know that as well as anyone, having taken a 63-35 thumping from Marion on Dec. 28 in the quarterfinals of Mercer County’s Christmas tournament.

Lincoln joins the 2009 Casey County team and the 2010 and ’11 Rockcastle County teams in representing the 12th Region in the semifinals. Prior to 2009, no Advocate-area girls team had ever reached the quarterfinals semifinals, and no local girls or boys team had won even a single game at a state tournament since 1996.

Today’s game will be broadcast locally on WPBK-FM (102.9) by Tim Estes and Kevin Bandura and can be heard online through the station’s website,, with coverage beginning at noon. Video coverage of all games by is available online here.

Links to rosters, statistics, live statistics during games and postgame box scores can be found on this KHSAA page.

* * *

Lincoln and its fans did their part to show their support for the many people affected by last week’s tornado in Magoffin County by collecting donations for the victims in the stands at E.A. Diddle Arena before the game. With the help of fans from Marion County, they raised $2,000, which was presented to Magoffin principal Tony Skaggs at halftime.

We are not always at our best, but it’s nice to know that we usually are when our neighbor is in need — and that it makes no difference that it’s a neighbor we’ve never even met. This impromptu fundraiser, which was conceived by the Lincoln players, was a tremendous gesture by the Lady Patriots and their fans, one of countless kindnesses that have been extended to storm-affected Kentuckians in need over the past week and one more example of the things high school sports can do for those who play — and follow — them.



Former Burgin coach Sallee honored posthumously

Ralph Sallee, a Mercer County native who coached girls basketball at Burgin, will be honored posthumously by the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches today when he is inducted into its Court of Honor at the Girls Sweet Sixteen in Bowling Green.

The KABC Court of Honor was created to recognize Kentucky high school basketball coaches who have made significant contributions to the game. Sallee is one of four girls coaches being recognized today.

Sallee coached girls teams at Burgin, Lexington Christian and East Jessamine before he died of cancer at age 54 in January 2009. He coached his final game at East Jessamine just two weeks before his death. He also preached at Scotts Fork Christian Church in Garrard County from 1981 until shortly before his death.

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Lincoln marches on at Girls Sweet Sixteen

By now you know that Lincoln County has advanced at the Girls Sweet Sixteen, beating Clay County 56-50 in overtime in its first-round game Thursday night in Bowling Green. Now it’s on to the quarterfinals for the Lady Patriots, who will play Magoffin County at 9 p.m. tonight.

Sydney Harris and Emily Fox scored 15 points each for Lincoln. Harris had 13 points and all three of her blocked shots in the second half and overtime, while Fox had six assists and five steals and Kourtney Belcher had 11 points and five rebounds. Cheyenne Madden led Clay with 19 points. (Click here for the box score and here for the play-by-play from Thursday’s game.)

Magoffin advanced with a 63-59 victory over Ashland Blazer in its first-round game. The Lady Hornets have won 16 straight games since their last loss Jan. 27. They are making their second appearance in the state tournament — they were also there in 2006 — and their win over Ashland was their first victory.

The Lady Hornets took the floor in Bowling Green six days after a tornado tore through their hometown of Salyersville. They paid tribute to tornado victims throughout eastern Kentucky in a brief pregame ceremony in which they and their opponents formed a circle at midcourt and held up placards bearing the Kentucky state flag during the national anthem — as did most of the fans in the stands.

Tonight’s game will be broadcast locally on WPBK-FM (102.9) by Tim Estes and Kevin Bandura and can be heard online through the station’s website,, with coverage beginning at 8:30 p.m. Video coverage of all games by is available online here.

Links to rosters, statistics, live statistics during games and postgame box scores can be found on this KHSAA page.

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Lincoln off to Girls Sweet Sixteen

The Lincoln County girls are one day away from their first-round game against Clay County at the Girls Sweet Sixteen in Bowling Green. Lincoln is the first Advocate-area basketball team to appear in either the girls or boys state tournament since 2009 and only the second local team in the last nine years to play in the girls tourney.

The Lady Patriots haven’t been to E.A. Diddle Arena and the state tournament since 2001, when their coach was their point guard and their assistant coach was sinking shots from outside. And they’re facing a Clay team that has won four straight 13th Region titles.

The Lady Patriots left for Bowling Green today following a send-off at the school. Their game against the Lady Tigers is the last of the eight first-round games, set for 9 p.m. Thursday. The two teams met in Manchester on Jan. 14, with Clay winning 68-66.

Pre-tournament power ratings portray Clay as the favorite in this game as well, but by a small margin. The two teams are grouped with Magoffin County and Ashland Blazer in a sub-bracket in which all four teams probably think they got a decent draw, and rightfully so.

* * *

History lesson:

  • Lincoln’s one and only appearance at the state tournament was in 2001, when coach John Kolasa’s Lady Patriots lost to Henderson County 56-48 in the first round.
  • Clay defeated Owensboro Catholic in the first round before being blown out by 12th Region champion and eventual state champion Rockcastle County in the quarterfinals. Three players who started in those games are in the Lady Tigers’ lineup this year, and one of their new starters and two other girls played significant minutes in last year’s tournament.
  • Clay has won six of the last seven 13th Region titles and 18 in all, and the Lady Tigers won the state championship in 1989.
  • Lincoln is only the eighth Advocate-area team to reach the girls state tournament in its modern era (since 1975), all since 1990. The others: Boyle County (1990, ’97), Casey County (2000, ’09), Garrard County (1994), Lincoln (2001) and Mercer (2003).

* * *

More on the matchup:

  • The game will be broadcast locally on WPBK-FM (102.9) and can be heard online through the station’s website,, with coverage beginning at 8:30 p.m. Broadcasts of all tournament games by the KHSAA network are available online here. (Boyle County assistant coach Julie Muntz joins the broadcast team this year.) Video coverage of all games by is available online here.
  • Links to rosters, statistics, live statistics during games and postgame box scores can be found on this KHSAA page.
  • For directions to Diddle Arena, click here. (This page gives directions to the football stadium, which is right next door.) For information on parking, including a campus map, click here. (Note that University Boulevard at the top of the map, which passes immediately west of Diddle Arena, is U.S. 68/Ky. 80.)
  • Tickets are available at the arena and are $11 and $16. Lincoln sold out of its allotment of $8 tickets. If the Lady Patriots advance, $8 tickets for their cheering section for subsequent games will be available after any games they win.

And of course, look for stories, photos and video from the Lincoln-Clay game soon after the game on, with even more coverage Friday both in the Advocate and online.

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