A mid-January boys' basketball game between Estill County and Bourbon County, neither of which has a winning record, wouldn't figure to have much appeal. But that's the charm of high school hoops: you never know when something weird, wild or wonderful is going to happen on the court.
Monday night in Irvine, Estill County outlasted Bourbon County 102-99 in six overtimes, the longest game in the state in 20 years.
The Engineers' 102 points (half of which came in the overtimes) set a school record. Cade Berryman led the way with 40 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, and he played all 56 minutes of the marathon. "He was phenomenal," Coach Jon Bentley said. "Not many kids can withstand that kind of fatigue and still have enough motor at the end." After making one of two foul shots in regulation, Berryman hit 19 of 29 from the line in the extra periods.
Bourbon County's Chris Gillispie hit six three-pointers and had 51 points (believed to be a school record, 29 coming in overtimes). Gillispie was one of six Colonels to foul out. Estill County had four foul out. "It was crazy," Bourbon County Coach Jay Bordas said. "We ran out of water, dry-erase marker, chewing gum, and I almost ran out of players."
MMI and St. Patrick set a state record with a nine-OT game in 1966. There have been two seven-OT thrillers. The last six-OT affair was between Corbin and Cumberland in 1990.
■ Jeffersontown's boys face a challenging weekend if snow doesn't disrupt things. The No. 4 Chargers play No. 2 Ballard on Friday, and No. 8 Tates Creek in the Joe B. Hall Kentucky Prep Classic at Montgomery County on Saturday. J-town, No. 1 in the pre-season, hasn't been at full strength for a few weeks. Zach Price, a 6-foot-10 University of Louisville signee, has been out with a deep thigh bruise. He might not return until early February. Tony Kimbro Jr., a 6-5 standout, has been sidelined with a strained knee ligament. Coach Jeff Morrow said Kimbro might see "limited action" this weekend. J-town has lost twice — to Eastern and Bullitt East — without Price and Kimbro. The silver lining? "Some of our other guys who were having to step up short term in some games have had to step up long term," Morrow said. "They've gotten key minutes against some really good teams. When it's all said and done, that's going to make us stronger." The schedule for the 20th anniversary Prep Classic: Elliott County vs. Madison Central, 2 p.m.; Ashland Blazer vs. Lafayette, 3:45; Mason County vs. John Hardin, 5:30; J-town vs. Tates Creek, 7:15, and Montgomery County vs. Rowan County, 9.
■ Eastern Coach Jason Couch compares 7th Region basketball to SEC football in its competitive firepower. "I feel (former Florida coach) Urban Meyer's pain," said Couch, who would like to feel Auburn Coach Gene Chizik's championship joy at season's end. No. 1 Eastern won the Louisville Invitational Tournament last weekend. The last team to win the LIT and the state title in the same year was Fairdale in 1994.
■ No. 11 Christian County's boys had a hot hand in a 95-66 rout of No. 12 Bowling Green Tuesday. The Colonels hit 10 of their first 11 three-point shots, and had 15 threes for the game. Anthony Hickey led the winners with 28 points and Donovan Kates had 20. Chane Behanan had 26 points for Bowling Green. Christian County is playing in the Toyota Classic at Scott County this weekend.
■ Sheldon Clark junior standout B.J. Moore, rated the top player in the 15th Region, quit the team three weeks ago. First-year coach Kevin Spurlock wasn't surprised. "B.J. tried to leave in November, but we talked and he stayed on," Spurlock said. "I got along good with him. There were no blowups between us. I just don't think his heart's in basketball. He loves his guitar, he's in a band and that's where his priorities are." Moore was averaging almost 20 points this season, and has more than 1,700 in his career. Spurlock said Moore might consider playing next season. A couple other players quit earlier in the season, so Sheldon Clark is down to four seniors, a freshman and a sophomore. The bench is filled out by six middle-school kids. "This is a program worth building if people can have patience," said Spurlock, who left Clay County to come to Sheldon Clark. One bright spot for the Cards is 6-5 freshman Justin Johnson, who's averaging 16 points and 15 rebounds.
■ When former LSU coach Dale Brown was in town for UK's game against the Tigers last week, he got in touch with Scott County Coach Billy Hicks. They got to know each other in the early 1990s when Brown recruited Tony Pietrowski, who played for Hicks at Corbin. "Of all the coaches I've met over the years, Dale is one of the most special," Hicks said. "Sometimes we talk about the state of basketball, but it's usually about everything else. He's very knowledgeable about what's going on in the world. He's one of the most caring people I've ever met."
■ Perry County Central boys' coach Allan Hatcher is doing something he's never done before: putting the ball in the hands of a seventh-grade point guard. "When you have a program as established as this one, in a school this big, you usually don't even think about playing kids this young," Hatcher said. But Braxton Beverly is seeing lots of time for the Commodores, running the point and averaging eight points and four assists. Hatcher said Beverly is "almost a replica" of Aaron Beth, a standout point guard for him at Marshall County. "Braxton's a tremendous ball-handler with a lot of maturity and confidence, and he's fearless." Beverly benefits from having big guys inside — 6-8, 300-pound senior Dylan Cornett, 6-6, 235-pound sophomore Dalton Cornett (Dylan's brother), and 6-4, 250-pound senior Axl Sizemore. Perry Central is considered one of the favorites in the 14th Region.
■ Pineville's boys play host to Middlesboro on Friday night in their brand new gym — The Lions' Den. "The players, the students, everyone in the community is ecstatic about it," Pine-ville Coach J.D. Strange said. "It's a first-class operation." The new 1,300-seat facility is across the street from Orville Engle gym, where the Mountain Lions played since 1939. Strange is no stranger to christening a new hoops home. He was coach at Bell County when it opened in 1985.
■ Scott County senior Kristen Stainback, who has signed with Austin Peay, got her 2,000th career point in a win over Lafayette on Wednesday. Teammate Alex McKenzie got her 1,000th rebound in the same game after scoring her 1,000th point last week.
■ Washington County 6-3 sophomore Kenya Turner had 34 points and 21 rebounds in a win over Green County in the 5th Region All "A" semifinals. Turner is averaging 18 points and 15 rebounds.
■ Aaron Rayburn this week joined his sister Brandi as a 1,000-point scorer for West Carter. Kalen and Kayla Jones are the only other brother-sister in West Carter's 1,000-point club. Kayla played on the Lady Comets' 2000 state title team.
■ Timmy Knipp's 29 points and 14 rebounds weren't enough to keep Elliott County from losing to West Carter in the All "A" 16th Region semifinals Monday night. Elliott County was without 6-6 senior Jacob Ison, who hurt his shoulder in a four-wheeler accident earlier Monday.
■ John Hardin started the football and boys' basketball seasons with 13 consecutive victories before losing. The basketball Bulldogs were the last unbeaten boys' team in the state before falling to Elizabethtown 74-66 Tuesday.
■ Marion County's girls, who have dropped from No. 1 to No. 8 in the state rankings, can recoup some respect when they face No. 1 Manual in the Raatz Classic at Mercy Saturday night.
■ Highlands' Dale Mueller, the first football coach in state history to win nine state titles, is in the running for the inaugural Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year Award. Mueller is one of 16 high school coaches nominated, along with six from the NFL, three from the college level, and three from youth leagues. The winner will be announced Super Bowl week.
■ Henry Clay all-city defensive back Ryan Duzyk has been nominated as an Old Spice player of the year. He is eligible to be selected as a national player of the year and be included in USA Today. Nominees are chosen based on leadership, performance and desire.
■ Southwestern's Zack Fowler has committed to play in the Ivy League at Dartmouth. The 6-2, 240-pound defensive end had a school-record 26 sacks and 10 fumble recoveries in his career.
■ From the Time Flies Dept.: Twenty years ago this week Bob Sphire was introduced as the man in charge of starting Lexington Catholic's football program. Sphire, who had been at Knott County Central, said at the time: "There'll be some pitfalls and problems, and people's enthusiasm will have to be tempered with patience. But I think down the road Lexington Catholic can have an excellent football program." The Knights became a state power under Sphire, capped by a Class 3A title in 2005. A month later, he left Lexington Catholic for North Gwinnett, Ga.
■ Quarterback Branden Cresap, who passed for more than 7,000 yards and 84 TDs in his career at Shelby County and Collins, has committed to Lindsey Wilson.
Mike Fields covers high school sports for the Herald-Leader. Reach him at (859) 231-3337 or (800) 950-6397, ext. 3337, or firstname.lastname@example.org.