The Richmond Register


March 10, 2013

UK and high school hoops reign Saturday in Rupp

Ham on Hoops

LEXINGTON — Excitement and thrills were abundant in Rupp Arena on Saturday.

First, there was the game between the Kentucky Wildcats and the nationally ranked and SEC-leading Florida Gators.

The Cats won a hard fought victory by playing very tough defense, forcing the Gators into numerous turnovers. The fans really got behind their Cats and it was a much-needed win, 61-57.

The evening brought the semifinals of the boys’ KHSAA Sweet 16.

A mixed quartet from Perry County Central High School began the evening with a lovely rendition of our national anthem.

The Rupp Arena Crowd was announced to be 20,192. I wonder how many other places in this country would gather that many fans for a high school basketball game?

The first game, at 7:30 p.m., was between our Madison Central Indians and the Tigers of Hopkinsville High.

That too was a hard fought game, and our kids won 60-56.

The Indians were behind early. The score at the first quarter was 16-13 in favor of Hoptown, and 31-23 at the half, still in the Tiger’s favor.

Our kids began to really battle hard and toward the end of the third quarter, they began to turn things around. The score at the end of the third was 46-40 with the Tigers in the lead.

The Indians, behind the fantastic play of Dominique Hawkins completely turned things around in the final quarter and came out with a 60-56 win. Hawkins was selected player of the game.

The Madison Central cheering section, cheerleaders and band made their presence known very early and continued non-stop for the entire game. Hopkinsville fans, though not as many in number, also were very loud and supportive of their team.

The game put our Indians in Sunday’s final, which they won with another thrilling come-from-behind effort.

At half-time of our game, the Sweet 16 champions from 25 years ago, the Ballard Bruins who defeated Clay County for the 1988 championship, were introduced and given plaques.

It was my privilege to share space at the press table with Richmond’s own Greg  Stottlemeyer, well known TV news reporter and the radio voice of the EKU Colonels. Greg is always gracious and fun to converse with.

It also was my privilege to chat with Gene Siler, long time state lawmaker from Williamsburg. Gene has been a friend for many years and was at every game of the Sweet 16.

The second game of the evening did not get started until after 9. That one featured the Indians of Montgomery County and the Ballard Bruins.

This was another well-played game between teams that were well coached. Ballard won, 59-55. In a heartbreak for them, they lost to Madison Central in a game they led most of the way.

Although Ballard is a much larger school than Montgomery County, the latter had a  larger cheering section and even a larger band. They were much louder and supported their team non-stop.

I must admit, I never remember a high school basketball game not being over until 11:20 p.m. When I thought about that, and realized I must set my clocks ahead by one hour, I knew it would be a short night.

One thing I noticed that is quite different from my high school days is uniforms.

When I was young, uniforms were just that, “uniform.” That meant every player was dressed exactly the same, with no T-shirts under jerseys, and shoes and socks that matched, etc. That is certainly no longer the case, and I must admit I prefer the way it used to be.

One team had every player in different color and style of shoes, and the socks were all different as well. That never would have been permitted in my day. Am I the only one who cares about that?

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