Tates Creek boys' basketball coach Wayne Breeden was kidding when he said he felt partly responsible for the Pope's recent surprising decision to resign.
Breeden figured the pontiff was exhausted by the coach constantly imploring him to help the Commodores end the longest losing streak in their history.
Bulletin to the Vatican:
Tates Creek beat Western Hills 91-66 on Tuesday night, halting a 14-game skid that began in late December.
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It was a rousing victory for the Commodores, now 5-21.
They scored 90 points for the first time in seven years, covering 208 games.
Senior guard Landon Love scored 30 points, doubling his previous career high. Senior Vincent Mattox had 22 points, and sophomore Jordan Fucci added 17.
It was the first time in 52 days Tates Creek tasted victory, and it agreed with them.
"We had more of a smile on our faces," Breeden said. "Winning cures a lot of ills, and it was good for these kids to experience winning right before the post-season."
The Commodores close the regular season at home against Ryle on Friday. They host Lexington Christian Academy in the 43rd District Tournament on Monday.
"It feels really good to win again, especially coming at the end of the season," Love said. "If we get another one against Ryle, it'll give us some momentum going into the tournament."
Mattox admitted it had been "a long road" since Tates Creek's last win (also against Western Hills) on Dec. 22.
"We've played a really hard schedule, but we kept battling," he said. "We lost some close games, but we never lost confidence and it paid off in a great win tonight."
Tates Creek began the season with a roster thin on experience, so Breeden knew his team would have to build toward the post-season.
Steady improvement was made more difficult by a tough schedule and bad luck.
Love suffered a broken jaw in mid-December and missed six weeks. Braxton McFarland, a senior with the most varsity experience, has been sidelined since early January with a medical condition. Fucci also missed a couple games in which he might have been the difference between winning and losing.
Losing, like winning, can snowball for a team, especially if it's playing in probably the strongest district and region in the state.
Breeden has been through seasons like this twice before in his 30 years of coaching. When he was Kyle Macy's assistant at Morehead State, the Eagles went 3-23 in their first season (1997-98), and 4-23 in their last (2005-06).
"It doesn't make it any easier to go through again," Breeden said. "But I understand it. If you coach long enough, somewhere, somehow, this is going to happen.
"What we attempt to do is approach every day and practice, prepare and try to improve. One of the biggest things we try to do is stay positive. We have to keep the kids energized and believing they can find a way to be successful."
Love said the Commodores (5-21) have stayed upbeat in the down times.
"We've stayed positive the whole way through. We kept working hard in practice, playing hard in games, and we pushed through all the losses.
"Now that we've won again, we hope to carry that over to the district."