Monroe County outlasted Allen County-Scottsville 85-78 in five overtimes in the boys' 15th District basketball semifinals Wednesday night. That tied what's believed to be a state post-season record. (In 1994, Lincoln County beat Boyle County 75-72 in a five-OT girls' district game.)
"It's gotta be one for the ages," a hoarse Monroe County coach Steve Kirkpatrick said early Thursday morning. "I know I've never seen anything like it."
Unfortunately, Kirkpatrick may not be able to see it again, not even on video replay. The digital disk being used to film the game ran out of room and didn't record the last two overtimes.
That's OK. None of the players, coaches or fans who witnessed it will ever forget the marathon.
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Monroe County dodged a few bullets in the extra periods. "It seemed like (Allen County-Scottsville) always had the last shot or a chance to get off a last shot in the overtimes," Kirkpatrick said.
The host Falcons survived, however, and pulled away in the fifth OT. Senior guard Keaton Rich played wire-to-wire and led the winners with 25 points. He cramped up in the fourth OT and Kirkpatrick used a timeout so Rich could stay on the floor. Tanner Kendall added 22 points. Allen County-Scottsville's Chris Ogles and Josh Jones combined for 46 points.
"We start five seniors, and Allen County's got seven seniors, and so we knew what we were in for because nobody wanted it to be their last game," Kirkpatrick said.
Monroe County plays Glasgow in Friday's finals. Will the Falcons have enough energy left? "We'll reach down and find something," Kirkpatrick said. "We'll eat lots of bananas and drink lots of Gatorade today."
■ Going into Thursday night's play, three defending boys' region champs have been eliminated from district competition. Newport (9th Region) was bumped off by Highlands, West Jessamine (12th) fell to Mercer County and East Carter (16th) lost to West Carter. On the girls' side, the only casualty was Ohio County (3rd), knocked off by McLean County.
■ The biggest upset in the playoffs so far? Louisville Collegiate's 45-43 shocker over St. Xavier in the boys' 25th District semifinals. Harris Levine led the way with 18 points, including a game-winning, buzzer-beating jump shot. St. X went into the district rated No. 20 in the state by Dave Cantrall. Collegiate was No. 179.
■ Pike Central senior Hobo McCoy, the top boys' scorer (31 ppg) in the state, had 41 points, including a three-point play with 2.5 seconds left, to beat Belfry 63-60 in the 60th District finals. "The best individual performance I've ever been a part of," Coach Kelly Carwile said. "I've coached Ty Rogers, Robert Pendleton, Russ Middleton and Jamie Norsworthy — all guys who've won region player of the year — and I've never seen a kid refuse to lose like Hobo. I hope he can get consideration for Mr. Basketball."
■ Basketball, unlike baseball and football, doesn't have a mercy rule. Maybe it needs one. In girls' district play this week, Butler bashed Evangel Christian 86-5, and Marion County wiped out Campbellsville 95-19.
■ There's no doubt who Bullitt East boys' coach Troy Barr wants at the foul line in crucial situations: Hayden Sweat. The Chargers' senior guard has been the state's best free-throw shooter over the last two years. He's hit 83 of 93 (89 percent) this season after making 162 of 184 (88 percent) last season. "Hayden's a gym rat who takes a tremendous amount of pride in his free-throw shooting," Coach Troy Barr said. Sweat's also a 39-percent three-point shooter for his career and has made a school-record 178 threes. He excels academically: 4.08 GPA, 27 on the ACT and a Governor's Scholar last year.
■ Defending boys' state champ Shelby Valley is still alive. The Wildcats beat East Ridge 33-32 in overtime in district play to lock up a spot in the 15th Region tournament. Shelby Valley took a 10-game post-season winning streak into Thursday's district finals against Pikeville. This is a whole different team of Tigers. The top eight players, led by Mr. Basketball Elisha Justice, graduated off last year's title team. Coach Jason Booher also left to take a job at Holmes. New coach Greg Newsome, whose son Tyler started for Shelby Valley last season and is now at Pikeville College, is working with a relatively young team that includes eighth-grader Dalton Richardson and 6-foot-10 freshman Cody Belter.
■ For the first time in nine years, South Laurel's boys didn't make it to the region tournament. Steve Wright's Cardinals lost to Whitley County in the 50th District semifinals. Justin Goins had 21 points to lead the Colonels. South Laurel reached the Sweet Sixteen in 2003, '05, '06, '07 and '08, and won the state title in '05.
■ Matt Day had a great junior season for Buckhorn. The 6-6 star averaged 24 points and 13 rebounds, and shot 40 percent from three-point range. For his career he has 1,574 points and 974 rebounds, and next season should become the school's all-time leader in both categories. Coach John Noble said EKU, Furman, Wright State and Murray are among the colleges interested in Day.
■ Grayson County sophomore Trey Tinsley broke the school record of 77 threes in a season in a district win over Butler County. Trey and his twin brother Ryne, who also starts for the Cougars, are the sons of former Hancock County and Barren County coach John Tinsley. They combined for 29 points in the district victory.
■ In a mild upset in the boys' 20th District semifinals, Marion County clipped Campbellsville 64-62 behind Josh Brockman's 24 points. Marion County first-year coach Anthony Epps was the point guard on Marion County's 1993 state title team coached by Tim Davis, who is now at Campbellsville.
■ Bracken County junior Sara Sticklen had 40 points and 18 rebounds in a district win over host Mason County. Sticklen came into the district averaging 18 points and 13 rebounds. Katelyn Smith had 33 points and 11 rebounds for Mason County.
■ St. Xavier, winner of 22 consecutive boys' state swimming and diving titles, is favored to extend the nation's longest streak at this weekend's state championships at the University of Louisville. Sacred Heart is defending girls' champ. The diving portion of the meet began Thursday. The swimming competition starts at 10 a.m. Friday. Girls' finals start at 10 a.m. Saturday, boys' at 4 p.m.
■ Bob Foster, a longtime high school and college basketball referee, died last week. He was 82. Mr. Foster, a native of Liberty, called the Sweet Sixteen finals six times and was the first assigning secretary for 12th Region officials. He'll be named to the 12th Region Hall of Fame next month. Mr. Foster also officiated hoops in the OVC, SEC and other conferences.
■ Good news in Mason County in these tough economic times. About six years ago the school system bought the old Jockey underwear factory in Maysville and went about converting it into an indoor track and field facility. Mason County Coach Mark Kachler and his athletes painted lanes on the concrete floor and built a runway and sand pit. Two years later, the Kentucky Track and Cross Country Coaches Association, under the direction of Frank Miklavcic, partnered with Mason County to install a real track surface for $45,000. The debt (plus interest) was to be paid off in five years with meet proceeds. On Saturday, before the final meet of the season, Kachler will present the KTCCCA with the final payment, a year ahead of schedule. Kachler said the facility hosts more than 150 schools and 2,500 athletes during the six-week indoor season.
■ State wrestling champions grow on the Ervin family tree in Union County, which won its sixth state team championship Saturday. Ervin brothers and cousins have accounted for 14 individual titles since 1977. Tim Ervin (1977 state champ) has three sons who've won titles — Max (2005), Mitch (2007, '08) and Brock (2010, 11). Braves Coach Robert Ervin (1981, '82) has two sons with titles — Isaac (2009) and Caleb (2009, '10, '11). Brad Ervin (1992) has sons who are up-and-coming elementary school wrestlers. Gary Ervin (third in state in 1973) has a son with a title — Luke (2009). Gary is the most famous of the Ervin clan since he and his daughter Mallory are on the CBS reality show The Amazing Race. Mallory sang the national anthem before Saturday's championship matches in Frankfort.
■ Johnson Central junior J.J. Jude was state wrestling champ at 171 pounds with a 52-0 record. Jude has a national reputation in wrestling, but he's better known in Kentucky as a football star. He rushed for 3,023 yards last season, including a state-record 584 against Woodford County. Jude said he'll split his time this summer between wrestling and football. He's still wide open about his college future in football. Jim Matney, who coaches Jude in football and wrestling, said, "the two sports go hand in hand because mental toughness is so important in both."
■ Greenup County's Corey Lyle signed to play football at Campbellsville. He ran for a school-record 2,468 yards last fall, and also set school records for single-game rushing and scoring, and career rushing and scoring.
■ Lexington Catholic senior Daniel DeLuca will play college golf at EKU. DeLuca played in the Champions Tour First Tee pro-am at Pebble Beach last September.