How much of a Kentucky high school basketball expert do you fancy yourself?
Ever heard of the A.J. Jolly Rogers?
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Howell Hustlin' Owls?
Parmleysville Flying Feet?
Summer Shade Zebras?
They were all Kentucky high school basketball teams before they got swallowed up by consolidation decades ago. Parmleysville, for example, my favorite because of its "Flying Feet" nickname, closed in 1941 along with Mill Springs and Windy to form Wayne County.
That information was gleaned from Jeff Bridgeman's Kentucky High School Basketball Encyclopedia, a 630-page book stuffed with hoops history. It lists year-by-year records for about 1,000 high school boys' teams since 1916, and every girls' team since the mid-1970s, when the KHSAA started sanctioning the sport again. Every school's coaches are included, as are the results of every district, region and state tournament game, the Courier-Journal's all-state teams from every year, and photos of almost every state championship team.
Bridgeman spent years on research, calling thousands of sources and eyeballing thousands of pages of newspaper microfilm.
Bridgeman is from Carmi, Ill. "Just say I'm 20 minutes from Union County (Ky.)," he said with a laugh. So how did he get interested in Kentucky high school basketball? His dad was from Monticello, and he still has family there. He's always been intrigued by Kentucky's one-class high school basketball system. He initially looked into the hoops past of Wayne County and Knott County (in particular Carr Creek), but that interest evolved into his full-blown obsession of detailing the entire state's history.
A few noteworthy facts Bridgeman found:
■ Louisville Central's Yellowjackets had fewer than 10 losses every season from 1923 to 1982.
■ Carr Creek, which had a tiny enrollment, had only one losing season, and that was because of forfeits, in its 51-year history.
■ Riverside Christian, in Lost Creek in Breathitt County, has had only two winning seasons in almost 90 years of basketball.
■ Ballard has the highest winning percentage (79 percent) of any school that's played at least 1,000 games.
The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches helped pay for Bridgeman's work on the encyclopedia, and the KABC bought 320 copies to distribute to schools in each of the 16 regions.
Bridgeman plans to attend the girls' state tournament in Bowling Green next week, and the boys' state tournament in Lexington in two weeks to sell his book. It's also available on Amazon.com for $29.48.
Bridgeman plans to correct and update the edition every couple of years, and expand it to include all-time records for the schools and coaches of all the teams, including the:
Flat Creek Lumberjacks.
Ruddles Mill Demons.
■ Keith O'Brien's book, Outside Shot, that details Scott County's 2009-10 boys' basketball season on and off the court, is now on sale in paperback and is available on Amazon.com.
■ When Henry Clay plays Lafayette in the boys' 11th Region Tournament Friday night in Frankfort, Braxton Upthegrove, the Blue Devils' team manager, won't be able to attend. The 16-year-old sophomore is in the hospital in desperate need of a kidney transplant. Braxton's mother, Michelle Upthegrove, will be at the Frankfort Convention Center to address the crowd about the need for organ donors. Henry Clay's cheerleaders will be wearing green ribbons and distributing green organ donor bracelets to fans. A couple of months ago Braxton was treated to a trip to Philadelphia where he got to meet two of his basketball heroes — LeBron James and Nerlens Noel. Braxton got a kidney transplant when he was 6, but his kidney function is now in failure.
■ When Jackson Davis grabbed 31 rebounds for Lafayette in a double-overtime loss to Lexington Catholic last week, it wasn't even a family record. John Davis, Jackson's grandfather, had 40 rebounds in a game for Alabama State in the late 1960s, according to Jackson's dad, former UK player Johnathon Davis. John Davis, who lives in Miami, had never seen his grandson play in person before watching him get 32 points and 31 rebounds against Lexington Catholic. "Needless to say, it was like looking in the mirror for him," Johnathon Davis said in a text message. "He's still beaming ear to ear."
■ Ty Bennett's three-pointer at the buzzer gave Adair County a 61-60 victory over Marion County in the district semifinals. Bennett had 19 points and was one of only three Adair County players who scored. Chance Melton led the Indians with 25 points and became the first freshman in school history to reach 1,000 points. Matt Fudge had 17 points.
■ Tyler Harville, a shooting star at Lexington Christian (Class of 2013), will be a preferred walk-on at the University of Hawaii. Harville played this season at Vermont Academy and averaged 18 points and made 125 threes.
■ Nicholas County's girls beat Harrison County in double-overtime to win the 38th District at Pendleton County. Jim Swinford of Cynthiana radio station WCYN noted that Nicholas County used the same scissors to cut down the nets last week that it used to cut down the nets after it won the state title in Frankfort in 1993. "It begs the question, 'Where have those scissors been for the last 21 years?" he said.
■ Johnson Central senior and Mr. Basketball finalist Shane Hall had the fifth double-double of his career when the Golden Eagles beat Lawrence County in the 57th District finals. Hall had 20 points, 14 rebounds and 11 blocked shots.
■ The 9th Region boys' semifinals will feature a showdown between No. 3 Newport Central Catholic (29-3) and No. 10 Covington Catholic (27-2) Sunday at noon at the Bank of Kentucky Center. NewCath beat St. Henry 71-45 in the first round of the region for its 22nd consecutive victory. CovCath routed Ryle 74-40.
■ Perry Central's loss to Knott County Central in the first round of the 14th Region Tournament was the end of Justin Johnson's high school career. Johnson, a Mr. Basketball finalist and Western Kentucky University signee, totaled close to 1,800 points and 1,500 rebounds while playing for Sheldon Clark and Perry Central.
■ Williamsburg, which made it to the Class A football finals, reached the district basketball finals for the first time in 16 years. The Yellow Jackets beat South Laurel in the semifinals after losing to the Cardinals by 40 points 11 days earlier. Williamsburg lost to Corbin 62-58 in double-overtime in the district finals. The Jackets have gotten a late-season lift from the return of Skyler Griffith, who broke his foot in the football playoffs and didn't join the basketball team until mid-February. Griffith had 23 points against Corbin. Kevin Goins' 24 points led the Redhounds, who won the district for the sixth year in a row.
■ Green County has had a turnaround under first-year coach Keith Young. The Dragons won the 5th Region All "A" title in January, and the district title last week for the first time in 22 years. Sophomore Dominique Compton had 40 points against Hart County in the semifinals. Going into region play, Green County is 18-11, its most victories in 17 years.
■ Three years ago, Taylor Martin and Colton Cleary were pitchers on Lexington Catholic's state tournament team. On Wednesday they were opponents. Martin threw one inning of relief for Kentucky in an 11-4 win over Cincinnati. Cleary worked three innings in relief for the Bearcats.