By Dick Ham
The second day of the boys’ Sweet 16 State state basketball tournament saw action begin with Warren County Central and Montgomery County.
When I arrived at Rupp, my first thought was, Madison County fans are going to fill this place again. I saw so many wearing shirts and jackets with MC on them, and they were red, white, and blue and many of them said Indians.
Then I came to my senses and realized that those were Montgomery County fans. Their school colors are the same as Madison Central’s and they are also Indians.
Their team is coached by a friend of mine, Happy Osborne, who was the longtime coach at Georgetown College. I was in school at Georgetown with his dad, Happy Sr. It was good to see him and to rejoice with him as his team won.
Coaches Joe B. Hall and Denny Crum were there in their usual seats sharing a large box of popcorn. I was privileged to visit with the two of them.
As coach Hall and I reflected on the shot Ken-Jah Bosley made from beyond half court for Central on Wednesday, we decided that reminded us of ourselves when we played.
John Adams, a former UK Wildcat who played for Coach Rupp, was also there in his usual seat. Former Wildcats Jarrod Prickett and Cameron Mills were also there.
Cameron and I were able to spend a few minutes reminiscing about his days as a Wildcat. Cameron is a very nice young man, very articulate and friendly.
There are three couples from Valdosta, Ga., who come to the Sweet Sixteen every year. They have no connection with our tournament, they simply love basketball.
The three men all played for Valdosta State and have fond memories of playing against my school, Georgetown College. I’ve come look forward to seeing them and conversing about many the interests we have in common.
Kenny Davis, who was an All-American at Georgetown College and captain of the U.S. Olympic Basketball team in 1972 was there.
Many of you will remember this is the team that was cheated out of a gold medal at the Munich Olympics and refused to accept the silver medals.
Kenny and his wife Dr. Rita Davis live in Paint Lick. It is always a pleasure to spend time with Kenny.
Two of my good friends and former classmates from college, Bill Collins and Duke Owens, both of whom starred in football at Georgetown, were there, and it was fun to chat with them as well.
The day’s second game was between Fleming County and John Hardin.
Fleming County has a much smaller enrollment but had what seemed to me to be a cheering section that was double the size of John Hardin’s. They certainly were louder in cheering for their team.
Although Fleming County lost, I was impressed with their speed and hard work.
The evening session had the largest crown yet, even larger than Wednesday’s when Madison Central played. I suppose that should not surprise anyone since Ballard, the school with the largest enrollment in the tourney was playing.
They were playing Johnson Central, a school about half as large, but their cheering section was nearly as large — and loud.
Although outmanned, Johnson Central never gave up and fought to the end.
They played a very swift moving zone defense that was pretty effective. Many have picked Ballard to win it all, and I must admit they are very good.
My prediction is that they will meet our Madison Central Indians in the final game on Sunday.
Thursday’s last game was between two of the smallest schools in the tournament, Knott County Central and Clay County. Knott County Central won a very hard-fought game.
Richie Farmer, former Clay County Tiger, Kentucky Wildcat and Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture, was there to root for his high school. I enjoyed chatting with Richie.
I continue to be impressed with cheerleaders. Cheerleading has come such a long way, and every school has had outstanding squads.
Thursday was a great day at Rupp, and I was looking forward to Friday with I left the arena.