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Marion County magic continues on hardwood

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Lady Knights lead Kentucky All-Stars to basketball triumph

By Bobby Brockman

 

It may have started in 1993, but it’s still going strong in 2013 as basketball in Marion County continues a fabulous run on the hardwood.
Marion County’s Lady Knights won the state title in March in Bowling Green after losing to the eventual state champion in 2010, making the semi-finals in 2011 and taking runner-up honors in 2012.
Three of those players were on the Kentucky All Stars who “upset” heavily-favored Indiana 84-78 on Friday night in Freedom Hall. (They went for the sweep on Saturday in Indianapolis.)
The game started out with Lady Knights’ Makayla Epps and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers scoring seven of the points in a 9-0 start and the third Marion County player, Logan Powell, nailed a right base-line three-pointer as Kentucky build a lead which stretched to 17 points twice in the first half.
Indiana, who lost its Miss Basketball (North Carolina-bound Stephanie Maguvna) early in the contest, fought within four early in the second half. However, Epps and Madison Central star Ashton Feldhaus enabled Kentucky to hold off the Hoosiers.
Feldhaus led Kentucky with 20 points, including 6-8 on three-pointers with two of those coming after Indiana had crept back within 75-70 and Epps proved why she was the state’s best with 17 points, 10 assists, seven assists and four steals.
Goodin-Rogers also posted big numbers with 11 points, five boards and four thefts.
The win gives the girls from Lebanon 40 wins this basketball season (39-0 during their state-title run) and the crowd, which was sparse at best, was dominated by folks in their Maroon outfits.
Leading the Marion County entourage was the long-time leader of the Knights, Bev “Sis” Roby, who coached the Lady Knights to over 400 wins and numerous 20th District and Fifth Region titles.
Roby was in the house along with Franseda Gunn, one of the stars in the earlier days at Marion County which couldn’t quite get over the hump in Sweet 16 appearances.
Also, noticeable in the stands was Tim Davis, the coach who guided the boys to the 1993 state title, led by Anthony Epps, the father of Makayla Epps, who also was beaming from ear-to-ear like a proud pop should.
The apple didn’t fall far from the tree as Anthony Epps orchestrated Marion County to the state crown in 1993 and three years later ran the show for the University of Kentucky in their first title run in 18 years.
Makayla Epps authored a state-tourney title for the Lady Knights and then about 10 weeks later was the key component in a huge Kentucky All-Star triumph.
And, leaving Freedom Hall, I ran into this year’s Lady Knight boss, Trent Milby, who might have been one of the few people who expected Kentucky to pull of the home-court victory. His four-year run, which sported a 133-14 worksheet, might not soon be matched on the area scene.
The men weren’t quite as fortunate as they were hammered 114-60 by Indiana.
With Friday’s triumph, the Kentucky girls had won seven of the last 11 tilts, but the Kentucky boys had dropped 17 of its last 18 all-star tilts with the last victory coming in 2008 as the Davis-coached team from the Bluegrass fielded a squad with Mr. Basketball Darius Miller from Mason County (a key member of UK’s 2013 national-title team) and University Heights’ Scotty Hopson, who went on to star at Tennessee.
The magic will not be over at Marion County as Alexus Calhoun returns with a few fellow seniors plus some very talented freshmen that will keep the Lady Knights among the top few teams in this season’s Fifth Region race. And, the four graduated seniors will continue to spread the Marion County name as they play for Kentucky (Epps and Goodin-Rogers), Norfolk State (Powell) and Pikeville (Patrice Tonge).
It’s been a phenomenal two-decade run at Marion County for hoops and who says the glory ride has to ever end.