Putting the wrap on another high school sports year, and putting the notebook on hiatus till August ...
■ Lexington is hosting the Kentucky-Indiana all-star basketball games for the first time in 18 years. The girls' and boys' games are at Transylvania's Beck Center Friday night. The Bluegrass Sports Commission, which is organizing the games in Lexington the next three years for the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation, is hoping for a capacity crowd of 1,200.
However many fans show up, they can cheer in air-conditioned comfort. That wasn't the case the last couple times the all-star games were in Lexington. In 1995 and '96 they were played in un-air-conditioned Memorial Coliseum, which was like a sauna. In '95, Kentucky won in front of 7,000 steam-baked fans. VonDale Morton of Lexington Catholic was taken to the hospital late in the first half to be treated for dehydration and exhaustion. In '96, Indiana's boys prevailed in front of 8,000 sweat-soaked fans. Indiana's girls swept Kentucky both those years.
Lexington hosted the all-star games in Rupp Arena in 1983, '84 and '85 and drew an average of 8,500 fans. The Hoosiers, led by James Blackmon's 26 points, won the '83 game in Rupp. His son, James Blackmon Jr., will play for Indiana just up the street at Transy Friday night.
■ Public schools won 25 of 41 state team championships sponsored by the KHSAA in the 2013-14 school year. (That includes cheer competition's five titles.) St. Xavier won four championships (baseball, cross country, swimming and tennis). Sacred Heart won three (golf, swimming and tennis).
Scott County celebrated football and softball titles, and a state runner-up in boys' basketball. McCracken County, a first-year school formed with the consolidation of Heath, Lone Oak and Reidland), won region titles in baseball and boys' basketball, and was state runner-up in softball. Lexington produced two championship teams — Paul Laurence Dunbar in boys' soccer, and Bryan Station in girls' track.
Bullitt East, Graves County and Johnson Central were the only schools that won at least 10 games in football, and at least 20 in boys' and girls' basketball, baseball and softball. Johnson Central enjoyed remarkable success across the board. The Golden Eagles won seven region titles, and their football team had an undefeated regular season. Johnson Central's baseball, soccer and boys' basketball teams made it to the elite eight in their respective state tournaments.
■ St. Xavier's Andrew McCormick was MVP of the state baseball tournament. The senior left-fielder batted .500 (6-for-12) with five runs and two RBI in four games to lead the Tigers to their first title in 33 years. And to think he almost didn't play baseball this season. McCormick was a standout linebacker in football and signed with Dayton. He also played basketball for St. X. When hoops season was over, he considered not playing baseball. Coach Andy Porta said McCormick thought about taking a spring break trip with friends. His father, Dr. Tom McCormick, nixed that idea. "His dad told him to get a job and work, or play baseball. Luckily for us, he played baseball," Porta said. "He had by far his best season. He just relaxed and had fun."
■ In the 1949 state baseball semifinals, Jim McIntyre threw a no-hitter as St. X beat Newport Catholic 2-0. The Tigers went on to beat Madisonville for the state title. Sixty-five years later, McIntyre was in the stands to watch his grandson, J.D. Mundt, start on the mound in St. X's 13-4 semifinal victory over North Bullitt.
■ The crowds were small at Whitaker Bank Ballpark last week. The St. Xavier-Simon Kenton title game drew only 2,211 fans. Total attendance for five days was 17,615, the lowest since the tournament adopted a 16-team format four years ago. Previous attendance figures: 22,140 in 2013; 22,875 in 2012; 23,726 in 2011, and 25,779 in 2010.
■ South Laurel's run to the state semifinals was an emotional time for Coach Wynn Harris. He kept thinking how pleased the late G.J. Smith would have been. "He was South Laurel," Harris said. "He loved South Laurel." Smith was a basketball and baseball star at Laurel County who went on to play at Kentucky. He returned home and was baseball coach and athletic director at South Laurel. He died two years ago. "G.J. was a mentor to me and so many other coaches," said Harris. His widow Judy and son Trey were among the fans at Whitaker Bank Ballpark last week. On South Laurel's trips to Lexington during the tournament, Harris had the team bus pass by the London cemetery where Smith is buried. "The first day we went by I felt a peace and calm about everything," Harris said. "It was like G.J. was wishing us luck."
■ Luke Rouse, who led Tates Creek's repeat 11th Region champs with a .411 batting average, signed to play baseball at the University of Evansville.
■ Scott County's softball title was the first for an 11th Region team. Four regions — the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 7th — have combined to win 15 of 19 state titles. The 2nd, 9th, 11th and 12th regions have one apiece.
■ Anderson County freshman softball player Bailey Curry tied the state record with 19 home runs this year. Amber Riddle hit 19 for Rowan County in 2008. Anderson County made the state tournament for the first time and finished 29-10.
■ The East-West all-star softball festivities are this weekend at Ballard. There will be four games on Saturday starting at 9 a.m., and two on Sunday starting at 11. The Kentucky Prep Softball Hall of Fame banquet is Saturday night. This year's inductees are Kelly Vooris Turner of Hopkinsville, Veronica Livers Ingram of Meade County, Les Dixon of the Corbin Times-Tribune, April Brock Lankford of Bell County, Renikka Toliver Owen of Hopkinsville and Amber Riddle of Rowan County.
■ Troy Steward, who helped Fleming County win back-to-back 16th Region basketball titles, signed with Georgetown College.
■ Nine officials who worked the KHSAA state track meets a few weeks ago have been selected to work the World Junior Track Championships in Eugene, Ore., in July. Doug Allen (Lexington), Gordon Bocock (Somerset), Kathy Johnston (Lexington), Tim King (Falmouth), Jim McKee (Port Royal), Kenny Morton (Louisville), Frank Newton (Guston), Patty Rouse (Elizabethtown) and Bob Stacey (Ashland) will make the trip. Dave Clark (Dry Ridge) is an alternate.
■ Justin Doellman, a first-team all-state basketball player at Ryle in 2003 who played college hoops at Xavier, won MVP honors for the 18-team Orange de la Liga Endesa, a top-tier league in Spain. Doellman averaged 18 points for Valencia.