BOWLING GREEN — Eastern Kentucky has a rich tradition of creating basketball legends.
Inez can claim one of its own in Carla Booth, who led Sheldon Clark to the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls Sweet Sixteen elite eight before the Cardinals fell to Calloway County in the quarterfinals Friday night.
That loss doesn't dampen the legend of Booth, though, her coach said.
When asked what the senior guard, who has signed with Eastern Kentucky University, has meant to the community during her time playing there, Darrin Rice paused and swallowed hard.
"Everything," he said. "They love her. I love her. Her teammates love her and we're going to miss her."
The 5-foot-8 guard finished her career with 2,751 points. This season, she averaged 23.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, five assists and 4.5 steals.
Fans in the community made her a black and white poster saying "We are all witnesses." They witnessed her helping Sheldon Clark win its first state tournament game in nine tries the day before.
Booth has meant much to her teammates, too.
"Carla's taught me so much," sophomore Katelyn Newsome said.
Eager for rematch
Manual came into the Sweet Sixteen with a 5-0 record against teams in the field.
So it's only natural that teams who have lost to the Crimsons are eager for another shot at them.
Marion County, which topped Butler in Friday's quarterfinals, is one of those teams. The Knights fell to Manual 56-45 on Jan. 22.
"I'd love to knock them off," sophomore guard Makayla Epps said. "I'd love to send them home, but win or lose I'll be happy that we got this far. But I'd love to win tomorrow."
The Knights are a different team than they were in January, Coach Trent Milby said, adding that the team seems to be "clicking at the right time."
But he's staying light about Saturday's semifinal matchup.
"We're just going to go have fun and play," he said. "We're going to attack them and they're going to attack us and whoever plays better tomorrow is going to go play tomorrow night."
Attendance record set
On Friday, the 7,292 in Diddle Arena for the first session set a record for most fans ever to see a girls' basketball game in Kentucky.
The previous record was 7,123 set here in 2001 for a doubleheader featuring Manual vs. Allen Co.-Scottsville and Muhlenberg North vs. Hart County.
Top awards handed out
The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches gave out their annual awards to players and coaches of the year during halftime of the first quarterfinal game on Friday.
For the 11th Region, the coach of the Year was Karra Jackson of Bryan Station and the top player was Kristen Stainback of Scott County.
Other region awards:
Coaches: Scott Sivills (Calloway Co.); Mary Beth Parker (Union Co.); Raymond Critchelow (Breckinridge Co.) and Pat Hume (Daviess Co.); Todd Tolbert (Greenwood); Bryan Todd (John Hardin); Chris Stallings (Bullitt East); Stacy Pendleton (Manual); Bob Osborne (Owen Co.); Brian Coburn (St. Henry); Ed Cravens (Campbell Co.); Scott True (Clark Co.); Tim Rice (Southwestern); David Teague (Bell Co.); Mark Collett (Leslie Co.); Ken Jones (Powell Co.); Rodney Rowe (Shelby Valley); Kristy Orem (Fleming Co.)
Players: Averee Fields (Calloway Co.); Rachel Hodge (Union Co.); Julie Jarboe (Breckinridge Co.); Chasity Gooch (Franklin-Simpson); Daizah Kimberland (Bardstown); Brianna Averette (Central); Mechael Guess (Manual); Sydni Wainscott (Simon Kenton); Abby Janszen (St. Henry); Lauren Tibbs (Scott); Sara Hammond (Rockcastle Co.); Whitney Belle, Jackson (Clay Co.); Hillary Moore (Leslie Co.); Carla Booth (Sheldon Clark); Kristin Perry (West Carter).