Officially, Scott County boys’ basketball coach Billy Hicks picked up his 900th win when the Cardinals defeated Bryan Station last Friday. That doesn’t include 10 wins from Hicks’ debut season at Evarts, which consolidated into Harlan County in 2008.
The KHSAA currently recognizes those 10 games as forfeits. “They’ll always be counted with me,” Hicks said.
It’s an issue that Hicks, the state’s winningest coach, hopes to clear up as he nears the 1,000-win mark. Ten wins might not matter in the grand scheme of personal accolades, but the contributions of that team are as meaningful as any other Hicks has coached, he said.
“The teams I’ve coached, those aren’t my wins no more than they are anyone else’s wins,” Hicks said. “ ... I would never give up on that team and what those kids accomplished that year, because they accomplished a lot. Those 10 wins, shew, it was a hard 10 wins.”
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A lot of those uncounted wins came against Virginia opponents, “because we sure couldn’t beat 10 Kentucky teams that year,” Hicks said with a laugh. “They said I was trying to get the Tobacco Championship or whatever in Virginia. ... (Those kids) gave everything they had.”
Hicks, 63 and in his 35th season coaching, credited good fortune with health and a “mountain strong” work ethic forged from growing up in Harlan County for putting him in a position to succeed. He’d love “to coach a bunch more years” but added, “If you wanna hear God laugh, tell him your plans.”
He tells former coaching colleagues that they got out of the profession way too soon. Besides the wisdom accrued from years of experience, he said, it’s easier to concentrate on your team because some of the distractions of youth are no longer around. And if you’re from the mountains, quitting isn’t an option. “You gotta endure to make it,” Hicks said.
Leta Andrews, a retired Texas girls’ coach, owns the high school record with 1,416 wins. Robert Hughes, also of Texas, has the boys’ record with 1,333 wins. If Hicks averaged 26 wins a year — his career average entering this season — he would have to coach about 19 more seasons to contend for the all-time record.
That might not be out of the question. Hicks’ mother is 96 and still singing gospel hymns in Harlan, he said.
“If mom’s still singing at 96, maybe I can still coach at 96.”
Hargrave a perfect fit for Braxton Beverly
Scott County’s Toyota Classic was supposed to kick off with a full state of games Wednesday before winter weather got in the way. Mother Nature didn’t stop Hargrave Military Academy from getting from Virginia to Georgetown and whipping up on St. Ignatius (S.C.) to improve to 28-1 on the season.
Braxton Beverly, a senior who transferred to the Hargrave from Perry County Central, had 16 points and five assists in the win. It was quite a transition going from the mountains to military school, Beverly said, but he harbors no regrets about making a switch that was all about preparing him for college. Being away from home was tough at first, but the Miami of Ohio commit said he was blessed to have family and friends who understood and supported his decision.
Beverly said Miami’s staff and players made him feel like one of their own. He’s unsure what he’ll study when he gets to Oxford but mentioned physical therapy as a potential field. His biggest goal, though, is to play professional basketball after four years in college, whether it in the NBA or overseas.
“Wherever it may be, I feel like I can make it,” Beverly said. “That’s what I’m really pushing myself for.”
Traveling and the number of games have been quite different from Beverly’s days playing in the 14th Region. Hargrave was in Florida two days before playing in Georgetown. Where Perry Central might play 25 to 30 games in a full season, Hargrave plays upwards of 45 before the postseason tournament gets underway.
The talent level of the opposition but also in practice is worlds beyond what Beverly saw in Kentucky. Hargrave boasts seven other college commitments, including Ohio State-bound Derek Funderburk. Hargrave Coach A.W. Hamilton, who starred at Scott County before playing at Hargrave, Wake Forest and Marshall, called Beverly “an unbelievable teammate” with whom that talent loves to play.
“When I tell you he works hard, that’s an understatement,” Hamilton said. “It doesn’t matter if I say, ‘Braxton, we’re going to practice for 10 straight hours and all we’re gonna do is defense.’ He’d just look at me and say, ‘OK coach, I’ll do whatever.’ ... He’s really a once-in-a-lifetime player for a coach.
Beverly averaged 24.6 points and shot nearly 50 percent in his final season with the Commodores. He would have been a contender for Mr. Basketball and probably would have broken a few records along the way.
“It would have been nice to have if I won it or broke those records, of course,” Beverly said. “ It’s nice to see your name go down in the record book, but after awhile, they just say, ‘Ah he did that, but what happened after he got that record? Where’d he go after that?’ I wanna be the one that they still continue to talk about. ‘He had a great career after high school, after college.’ That’s what I wanna be.”
▪ Former West Jessamine standout Brooks Ely also plays for Hargrave. Hamilton thinks he’s a Division I athlete. “He does all the dirty work,” Hamilton said. “The thing I love about Brooks is he’s kind of an underdog. ... He’s fun to coach because he’s got such a high ceiling. When it’s all said and done, everybody will look back and be like, ‘Wow, that kid’s from Kentucky? Where’d he play in high school?’ It’ll be that kind of story.”
Four games in the Toyota Classic were scheduled to be played Thursday. No. 5 Scott County and No. 22 Wayne County are among the boys’ teams playing, while No. 14 Ryle and No. 22 Scott County are girls teams’ who are involved.
Weather will determine how the rest of the event plays out. Visit Toyotaclassic.com for updates to the schedule.
Ten ranked girls’ teams meet at Mercy
The Raatz Fence/O’Shea’s Classic at Mercy in Louisville was still scheduled for the weekend as of Thursday. The event brings together many top girls’ teams inside and outside of Kentucky for a two-day showcase.
Friday’s schedule (all times p.m.): Incarnate Word (Mo.) vs. No. 19 Bullitt East, 5; No. 4 Mercer County vs. No. 2 Male, 6:30; St. Joseph (W.Va.) vs. No. 13 South Warren, 8; Toledo Rogers (Ohio) vs. No. 12 Mercy, 9:30
Saturday’s schedule (times p.m. unless noted): Bullitt East vs. No. 18 Louisville Christian, 11 a.m.; South Warren vs. No. 15 Sacred Heart, 12:30; No. 5 Butler vs. Incarnate Word, 2:15; No. 1 Elizabethtown vs. Brentwood (Tenn.), 3:45; Male vs. Toledo Rogers, 5:30; Mercy vs. St. Joseph, 7; No. 6 Manual vs. No. 24 Highlands, 8:30
Follow Mercy Coach Keith Baisch on Twitter (@K_Baisch1) for any scheduling changes due to weather.
▪ Graves County’s Chris Vogt tied a state record with 17 blocks against Webster County in a 45-40 win Saturday. It was the Eagles’ 700th victory in program history.
Vogt tied Isaac McClure of Paducah Tilghman, who achieved the record against, coincidentally, Graves County in 2008. The junior also recorded 12 points and 11 rebounds for a triple-double against Webster.
▪ Ray Zuberer joined the 1,000-point club at Owensboro Catholic in the Aces’ 61-60 loss to McLean County in the 3rd Region All “A” Classic on Saturday. Zuberer, the 2A Player of the Year and Class of the Commonwealth selection in football, threw 102 TD passes in two years as the Aces’ starting quarterback. He has signed with Western Kentucky to play ... baseball. “I’ve not been around any better three-sport athlete in a school,” Aces basketball coach Tim Riley said.
Riley’s also approaching a milestone. Owensboro Catholic’s next win would give him 400 for his career. The Aces next play Monday at home versus Frederick Fraize.
▪ Emma Young set an East Jessamine record with 40 points in its 78-54 win over Collins on Tuesday. The Jaguars (12-6) are on a program-best nine-game win streak entering Friday’s game at Casey County.
▪ North Laurel junior Peyton Broughton became the school’s all-time leading scorer in the Jaguars’ 69-67 loss to Clay County. He scored 22 to bring his career total to 1,827.
▪ Isaiah “Pun” Tisdale became the 20th player in Henry Clay history to score 1,000 points in his career. He crossed the mark with a 28-point effort in the Blue Devils’ win over Tates Creek on Tuesday.
▪ Franklin County’s Princess Stewart and Rebecca Cook reached 1,000 points for their careers in the Flyers’ 79-41 drubbing of Woodford County last Friday.
▪ Northern Kentucky signee Carson Williams eclipsed 2,500 points with his 25-point, 14-rebound night in Owen County’s 61-39 win over Walton-Verona in the 8th Region All “A” finals Saturday.
▪ Mercer County boys’ coach Josh Cook picked up his 100th career win with the Titans’ 76-66 victory at Wayne County last Friday. Mercer is 20-0 entering Friday’s game at West Jessamine.
▪ Jordan Perry, tied with Green County’s Dominique Compton and Shelby Valley’s Hunter Swindall for the boys’ state scoring lead at 28.9 points entering the week, crossed the 3,000-point mark in Morgan County’s 48-27 win over East Carter last Friday. He had 25 points, six rebounds and six steals.
Speaking of Compton, he had 39 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in Green County’s 86-66 win over Caverna in their 5th Region All “A” Classic opener Monday. Compton, among the state leaders at 85.1 percent from the charity stripe, was 21-for-22 from the line. Chad Emmons added 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Dragons.
▪ Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Darius Williams reached 1,500 career points in the Bulldogs’ 78-43 win over Franklin County in the DMD Classic at Frankfort on Saturday.
▪ University Heights freshman Kyky Tandy scored a career-high 40 points in the Blazers’ 82-66 win over Caldwell County in the 2nd Region All “A” Classic on Tuesday.
Graves County on probation
The Graves County boys’ basketball program was placed on probation by the KHSAA this week after an investigation found that students from other schools were participating in open gym activities conducted by Graves County without permission from their respective schools.
Assistant coach Lyndon Dunning, who was found to have had impermissible contact with family members of a Hickman County student, was suspended for three games effective Monday. The school was fined $1,500. Any contracts between Graves County and Hickman County — the two are not scheduled to play this season — will be made null and void with no forfeitures applied to either school. Graves County is still eligible to participate in the postseason.
The full KHSAA news release is available at Bit.ly/1V6M4id.