A Mayan calendar I saw at a mall kiosk showed that even if the world ends this weekend, holiday basketball tournaments will be unaffected by the Apocalypse.
■ Jason Booher can speak with authority about basketball. He coached Shelby Valley to the boys' Sweet Sixteen championship in 2010, and back-to-back All "A" Classic titles in 2009 and 2010. He's now in his third season at Holmes, and the Bulldogs have the best record (10-0) in the state.
Booher can also speak with authority about turning tragedy into enlightenment.
Booher will combine his two passions when Holmes plays host to the Stop DWI Holiday Classic this weekend.
"This is my 17th year in coaching, and this is something I've always wanted to do to raise awareness about the consequences of drinking and driving," he said.
This spring will be the 25th anniversary of the Carrollton bus crash. On May 14, 1988, a drunk driver's pickup truck, traveling the wrong way on Interstate 71, collided with the church-group bus. Twenty-seven people, mostly teen-agers, died in the crash. Booher, then 13, was among the passengers who survived.
Over the last several years Booher has traveled Kentucky giving what he calls his "testimony" on the crash, and how it changed his perspective on life. He's also been to New York, where there's been a Stop DWI tournament for years. Now he gets to use his own tournament at Holmes to deliver his message. On Saturday afternoon, players and coaches of the participating teams (Covington Scott, Holmes, Harrison County and Russell), along with the general public, will hear Booher speak in the school auditorium.
Police, firefighters and EMTs will be recognized during the tournament for the work they do to prevent DWIs and help DWI victims.
■ When Jason Booher was at Shelby Valley, he had a great point guard in Elisha Justice, who led the Wildcats to the state title and was Mr. Basketball. At Holmes, Booher has a star point guard in the making in 6-foot sophomore James "Beetle" Bolden. Last week, Bolden had breakout performances against St. Henry (26 points, nine assists, seven rebounds), New Rochelle, N.Y. (22 points, nine steals, five assists, four rebounds) and Breathitt County (18 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals). Booher said Bolden's game compares favorably to that of Ballard junior star Quentin Snider, who has committed to Louisville. Holmes' chances of winning the 9th Region are bolstered by veteran guards B.J. Coston and Quan Palmer, and the inside presence of 6-5 Quinton Chames and 6-3 Chris Englemon.
■ Paul Laurence Dunbar senior Mike Smith got his 2,000th career point in the Bulldogs' win over Madison Southern on Tuesday. He also has 365 career steals, ninth-most in state history. Smith played as a freshman and sophomore at Sayre before transferring to Dunbar before his junior year.
■ Three weeks into his senior season, Omar Prewitt is the top scorer in Montgomery County boys' basketball history. Going into holiday tournament play this week, Prewitt had 1,906 points, breaking Billy Ray Fawns' record of 1,865. Fawns led Montgomery County to the 1995 Sweet Sixteen.
■ Covington Catholic's Nick Ruthsatz broke a 50-year-old school record by making 19 free throws (in 24 attempts) in a loss to St. Xavier last week. Ruthsatz eclipsed the old mark of 18 free throws by Mike Fessler in a game in 1962. Ruthsatz is averaging 25 points and hitting 46 percent from three-point range.
■ Henry Clay's come-from-behind victory over defending state champ Trinity last Saturday should ramp up interest in their rematch. Henry Clay, which rallied from a 16-point deficit to beat Trinity 53-51 in the Farm Bureau Classic in Pike-ville, plays the Shamrocks again on Feb. 2 in the inaugural Jock Sutherland Classic at Lafayette. A reception for Sutherland, who coached Lafayette to the 1979 state title, will be held in the school cafeteria that evening. Those interested in attending the reception should contact Carla Trisko at firstname.lastname@example.org. The classic's triple-header will match Gallatin County vs. Harrison County (Sutherland coached both schools to the Sweet Sixteen), 4 p.m.; Henry Clay vs. Trinity, 6; and Lafayette vs. Butler, 8.
■ Shane Hall's dad said his son was nursing a sprained ankle and might not play against Portsmouth, Ohio, in the Boyd County Roundball Classic last Saturday. Shane did play, and had one of the best games of his career. The 6-8 junior had 29 points, including five dunks, and 10 rebounds in the Golden Eagles' 65-50 win. Tennessee Coach Cuonzo Martin, who offered Hall a scholarship a couple weeks ago, was in attendance.
■ Elijah Pittman, who helped Holmes to the 2009 Sweet Sixteen title, will be back in Rupp Arena on Saturday playing for Marshall against Kentucky. Pittman is in his first year at Marshall. He played his freshman season at Chipola Junior College in Florida and averaged 13 points and five rebounds. He moved on to Lamar State-Port Arthur in Texas where he averaged 18 points and seven rebounds last season. The 6-9 junior is averaging 15 points and five rebounds for Marshall. He had 20 points in a loss to Cincinnati. Marshall freshman Tamron Manning, who led Scott County to a Sweet Sixteen runner-up finish last March, played 30 minutes against UC after logging a total of 23 minutes in the first six games.
■ Trinity receiver James Quick was named the winner of the 20th annual Paul Hornung Award as the top high school football player in the state by the Louisville Quarterback Club. Quick, who set a state record with 280 career catches, was named Gatorade's player of the year in Kentucky a few weeks ago. Quick is among the favorites for Mr. Football. The Associated Press is expected to name the winner of that award next week.
■ Ben Bruni, who guided Warren East to an unbeaten regular season, has resigned as the Raiders' football coach. Bruni had an eight-year record of 55-39, including the only two region titles in the program's history. Bruni said he will pursue a doctoral degree.
■ Eight records were set in the City Swim Meet that included all eight high schools in Fayette County. Dunbar won the boys' and the girls' team competitions. at Transylvania last weekend. The record setters: Travis Johnson of Dunbar in the 50 freestyle (:22.59) and 100 free (:50.31); Zach Kendall in the 200 free (1:48.65); Christian Clark of Tates Creek in the 200 individual medley (1:59.92); Sandra Wilk of Dunbar in the 100 backstroke (:58.94); Hannah Freibert and Lauren Stigers of Henry Clay, who tied in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.56); and Tates Creek's Ethan Kramer, Josh Archer, Evan Adams and Christian Clark in the 200 medley relay (1:43.20) and 400 free relay (3:23.54).
■ Georgetown College pitchers Tyler Arthur (Lexington Catholic) and Chad Richie (Paul Laurence Dunbar) have been named NAIA pre-season All-Americans.
■ Courtney Crable of state runner-up Mercy has been named Gatorade's volleyball player of the year in Kentucky. The 6-1 junior had 635 kills this season.
■ Franklin County pitcher/outfielder David Current will play college baseball at Ball State. Flyers pitcher/outfielder Nick Cumpston will play at Lincoln Trail Junior College in Illinois.
■ Madison Central first baseman/pitcher Ben Fisher signed with Eastern Kentucky University, and Indians catcher Jimmy Wright signed with Morehead.
■ Longtime Ashland newspaperman Mark Maynard has written a book about the Ashland Tomcats' 1967 state championship football team. It's titled Triumph and Tragedy. On the day of the state football finals, Ashland basketball player Joe Franklin was killed in a car accident that injured four others. Coach Jake Hallum's football team wasn't told the news until after the title game. Eight players from that Tomcats team earned Division I scholarships. The book can be purchased by mail at 2515 Holt St., Ashland, KY 41101. The cost is $25, including shipping and handling.
■ Jean Wright, a state championship track and cross country coach at Franklin County, died recently. She was 85. Ms. Wright was national high school track and field coach of the year in 1984, and was inducted into the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame in 1984. She coached at Franklin County from 1960 to the late 1980s.