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It’s so easy to sit at home with an HD television and watch college basketball every night. That has really hurt the crowds at high school games and it was even more evident at last week’s Fifth Region Boys’ (Hart County) and Girls’ (Green County) Tournaments.
However, the atmosphere is still fantastic and making regional play still has a certain “air” about it.
It’s also a time for former players and coaches to congregate and reminisce about former teams, games and tourneys.
I ran into a couple of “old buddies” last week and it made me realize again that coaches make some of our better teachers and administrators.
Ricky Line (Hart County) and Gary French (Elizabethtown) were successful players and coaches at their respective schools. They now are currently superintendents at their alma maters.
Matter of fact, our local “supers” — Roger Cook (played at Campbellsville and coached at East Hardin and North Hardin) and Mike Deaton (played at Green County and coached at Caverna, Greenville, Corbin, Bowling Green, etc.) were former players and coaches.
The old line “that we must hire a teacher first, not a coach first” doesn’t always wash.
Some other things that became evident at last week’s tourneys were that Marion County’s girls’ will not disappear after they lose four stand-out starters to graduation and the region boys’ championship will always go through Hardin County.
The Lady Knights return Alexus Calhoun, who no doubt will be all-region next season as a senior, plus three other solid seniors-to-be and an outstanding group of upcoming freshmen who have logged valuable minutes during this undefeated season. One of those youngsters, Haeli Howard, was the leading scorer in Marion County’s tourney-opening rout of Washington County.
It’s been since 1997 (Marion County over Campbellsville) that a Hardin County team was not in the Fifth Region boys’ championship game. It happened four times in the 1990s, eight times in the 1980s and six times in the 1970s and four times in the 1960s.
Counting Saturday’s final pitting John Hardin and North Hardin, the 17th District has worn 11 of the last 16 region crowns. Only Caverna in 2004, Adair County in 2007 and 2009 and Bardstown in 2008 and 2011 stop the Hardin County onslaught.
Looking ahead, next season’s Fifth Region Tournaments will be at Nelson County for the girls (March 3-8) and at Marion County for the boys (March 5-11). The girls’ state tournament will be back to its normal position of first next season (March 12-15 in Bowling Green with the boys’ Sweet 16 on March 19-22 in Lexington.
• With conferences still shuffling teams, word is that Western Kentucky probably won’t be in the Sun Belt Conference after 2013-14. Scuttlebutt has the Hilltopper teams replacing Tulsa (which seems headed to the Big East) in Conference-USA or vaulting for the Mid-American Conference (MAC).