High school notebook: Wrapping up the Sweet Sixteens

Girls have sponsor through 2015; boys close to signing one

March 22, 2013 

The nets have been snipped, the confetti swept away (they had celebratory confetti in Diddle Arena but not in Rupp Arena), and the championship trophies have been paraded around Madison and Marion counties, so let's wrap up this basketball season ...

■ The boys' Sweet Sixteen didn't have a title sponsor this year for the first time since 2003. But KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett expects to have one on board for 2014. "We're very, very, very close," he said. Title sponsorship for the boys' tournament is $80,000 a year, with most of that money going toward the teams' travel expenses. Once Tackett secures a title sponsor for the boys, that will keep the event in Rupp Arena through 2018. Houchens Industries is contracted to be title sponsor for the girls' tournament ($50,000 a year) in Bowling Green through 2015.

■ Did Makayla Epps tip the voting for Miss Basketball in her favor by leading Marion County to the state title? The Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation will announce the Mr. and Miss Basketball winners at a banquet at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel in Louisville next Friday. If Epps gets the nod over Becca Greenwell of Owensboro Catholic, she would be the fifth player in 10 years to win Miss Basketball after leading her team to the state championship, following Rockcastle County's Sara Hammond (2011), Iroquois's A'dia Mathies (2009), Butler's Tia Gibbs (2008) and Sacred Heart's Crystal Kelly (2004).

■ Tryouts for the Kentucky All-Stars basketball teams are this weekend at Georgetown College. The boys try out Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The girls try out Sunday from 10 to 4. The teams will be announced on March 30. Kentucky will play Indiana in Freedom Hall in Louisville on June 14, and in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on June 15. Allen Feldhaus Jr. of state champ Madison Central will coach the Kentucky boys. Chris Souder of Mercer County will coach the girls.

■ Lea Wise-Prewitt has been covering the girls' state tournament for close to 20 years, and she agrees that unbeaten Marion County is among the best teams ever in Kentucky. "Especially with the way they won, the way they dominated and gave teams such a hard time physically," she said. "Teams just couldn't match their strength." Wise-Prewitt has seen the girls' game come a long way since she played at Lafayette in the late 1970s. When she joined Lafayette's varsity as a sophomore, she didn't have much experience. "I had 24 games under my belt," she said. "I played 12 games when I was in the eighth grade, and 12 in the ninth grade. That was it. There was no off-season. I went to Castlewood Park in the summer hoping to play in pickup games. It's amazing the opportunities girls have now."

■ USA Today's Super 25 rates Marion County fifth in the nation, but Knights senior star Kyvin Goodin-Rogers has a higher opinion of her team: "We set a goal of going undefeated and we achieved it," she said. "We're No. 1 in the nation, I don't care what anybody says."

■ Twenty years after Anthony Epps had 14 points, seven assists and four rebounds in Marion County's victory over Paul Laurence Dunbar in the Sweet Sixteen finals, his daughter Makayla had similar numbers — 15 points, five assists and six rebounds — in Marion County's victory over Notre Dame in the Sweet Sixteen finals. Tim Davis, who coached Anthony in high school, watched Makayla play in last week's state tournament. He was struck by how similar the daughter's game compares to how her dad played. "Makayla is just a female twin version of Anthony," Davis said. "They have the same high basketball IQ, they know where they're supposed to be on the court and what they're supposed to do, and they're both leaders on the floor. It was kind of special to see him doing it 20 years before, then seeing her do it last week, and getting the MVP just like he did."

■ Makayla Epps scored 199 points in 12 state tournament games in four years. That's third most in girls' Sweet Sixteen history behind Laurel County's Sharon Garland (231) and Iroquois' A'dia Mathies (215).

■ Ali Ross, an all-city basketball player at Lafayette in 2010, was a starting guard on DePauw University's NCAA Division III national championship team. Ross averaged eight points a game for DePauw, which capped an undefeated (34-0) season by beating Wisconsin-Whitewater in the title game. In Ross's three years at DePauw, she has scored 752 points and the Tigers have an overall record of 86-6.

■ Montgomery County's girls can't catch a break when it comes to their quarterfinal opponents in the Sweet Sixteen. After a second-round loss to Marion County in Bowling Green last week, Coach Janie Robinson noted that the Indians also lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champs Manual (2012), Iroquois (2008) and Lexington Christian (2007).

■ This year's boys' Sweet Sixteen featured a lot more scoring than last year. The 15 games generated 1,868 points, the most since 2003, and a dramatic increase from last year's 1,516 points, the fewest in half a century.

■ Madison Central won the boys title despite shooting a worse percentage than its opponents. The Indians shot 39 percent (87 of 222) from the field, including 28 percent (17 of 60) from three-point range, compared to their opponents' 41.5 percent (81 of 195), including 34 percent (19 of 56) on threes. Madison Central was better at the-free throw line. It made 73 percent (80 of 110) of its foul shots compared to its foes' 66 percent (56 of 85).

■ Marion County's girls shot 46 percent (97 of 210) from the field, including 33 percent (19 of 57) from three-point range. The Knights' opponents shot 30 percent (60 of 202) from the field, 21 percent (10 of 48) on threes. Marion County hit 59 percent (46 of 78) from the line to their opponents' 64 percent (30 of 47).

■ Glasgow's Ryne and Trey Tinsley, son of Scotties Coach John Tinsley, signed to play college basketball at Brescia. Trey shot 48 percent from three-point range this year and had 1,058 career points. Ryne had more than 600 points and 350 assists.

■ The 22nd annual Russell Athletic Ohio-Kentucky all-star game will be April 13 at Thomas More College. Rosters will be announced in the new couple of weeks.

■ There's no spot in the state record books for most points scored in one half of a basketball game, but if there was David Alan Gross probably owns it. As a sophomore at Jackson City in February 1993, Gross had 71 points, including 13 three-pointers, in the first half of a 133-46 win over MMI. Gross elected not to play the second half and gave up a chance to break the state scoring record of 114 points set by Wayne Oakley of Hanson in 1954.

■ McCreary Central freshman Kaylee Cotton averaged 18.5 points and 9.7 rebounds this season, and had 19 double-doubles. She's also a standout pitcher in softball.

■ Mike Flynn resigned as boys' basketball coach at Highlands where he had a four-year record of 50-61. His previous coaching stops included Ashland Blazer, Bourbon County and Holmes. He has 467 career victories. He guided Holmes to a state runner-up finish to Fairdale in 1990.

■ Mike Holcomb, who led Breathitt County to three state football titles in 30 years, is leaving the Bobcats to become coach at Letcher Central. "Times change, opportunities change. I thought I'd give it a shot someplace else," he said. At Breathitt County, Holcomb had a record of 272-84, including state titles in 1995, 1996 and 2002, and a state runner-up finish in 2008. He led the Bobcats to nine undefeated regular seasons. "We had a lot of good times," he said.

■ Boone County has hired Jeff Griffith as its new football coach. Griffith has been defensive coordinator at Bowling Green since 2002 and helped the Purples' to unbeaten 5A state titles the last two years.

■ Paintsville has named Chester McCoy to take over its football program. McCoy coached at Magoffin County the last seven years and had a record of 30-47. He succeeds Bill Mike Runyon, who resigned after one season to concentrate on coaching basketball.

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Email: Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog:

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