Kentucky high school sports never fail to produce exciting memories. In 2015, records fell, streaks were busted and stars were born. Let’s recount briefly some of the most memorable on-field happenings the past year gave us:
▪ Paul Laurence Dunbar boys’ soccer coach Todd Bretz eclipsed the record for wins in Kentucky. He’s been with the program since its inception in the early 1990s and has won four state titles there. Bretz is at 439 career wins and shows no sign of slowing down.
▪ Kash Daniel went from relative obscurity to one of the most-talked-about football recruits in recent memory. The Paintsville star signed with the University of Kentucky, where he will enroll during the spring semester. Overall, Kentucky produced an overwhelming number of talented players as part of its football class of 2016. Many will play Division I football.
▪ Mayfield football lost at home for the first time since 2008. The Cardinals shook off an early season overtime defeat to rival McCracken County and went on to win its fourth straight state title, becoming the first small school to win 12 championships. Pikeville, another small school, picked up its first football championship since 1989.
▪ Covington Holy Cross unseated presumptive favorite Elizabethtown en route to a girls’ Sweet Sixteen title, the Indians’ first. Holy Cross ended the season on a 22-game win streak and was the fourth squad to sweep the Sweet Sixteen and All “A” championships.
▪ For the first time since the recognition began in 1982, Male finished in the top 25 of the final USA Today Super 25 football poll. The Bulldogs, who allowed only 6.2 points per game on their way to a 15-0 season, were pegged as the No. 8 team in the nation.
▪ St. Xavier’s golf team posted a record-setting 19-under par 557 in the state championship in October, besting a mark set by Trinity in 2003.
▪ While it didn’t result in any championships, team sports in Lexington had a fun fall: Henry Clay (boys’ soccer), Lexington Catholic (football and girls’ soccer) and Lafayette (football) all reached title games in the latter portion of 2015. That hadn’t happened since 2005, when Dunbar (boys’ soccer) and LexCath (football and girls’ soccer) reached title games in the turf sports.
▪ Bryan Station’s girls became the first Class 3A track team to repeat as state champs since Ballard won three in a row from 2000 to 2002. On the boys’ side, Henry Clay won its first team title in program history.
▪ West Jessamine hammered in a state tournament record 48 runs en route to its first ever baseball championship.
▪ Owensboro reached the boys’ Sweet Sixteen finals for the first time since 1980 and made the most of it, defeating Bowling Green for the program’s fourth title.
Here’s to a 2016 full of more spectacular memories for schools across the commonwealth.
Clinton County radio personality dies
Belated condolences to the family, friends and fans of longtime Clinton County fixture Sid Scott, who died Dec. 18. He was 78.
Scott, who frequently was referred to as “The Voice of the Bulldogs,” was on the air during some of the biggest sporting moments in Clinton County history over a career that spanned seven decades. He called the girls’ basketball team’s run to the Sweet Sixteen championship game in 2005 as well as several other state and All “A” Classic games. He also was on the air for the boys’ basketball team’s only Sweet Sixteen appearance, in 1960.
A moment of silence was observed in Scott’s honor before Clinton County’s boys’ game against Grant County, a 67-55 win by the Bulldogs. Scott’s final broadcasts were Dec. 15, when Clinton County hosted Cumberland County as part of a boys-girls doubleheader.
Three unbeatens remain
Entering Thursday, two girls’ basketball teams were still undefeated: Franklin County (8-0) and Lyon County (9-0).
Franklin County’s toughest test is likely to come Feb. 12, when it hosts Elizabethtown. The Panthers (12-1) dropped their first game Wednesday, a 41-37 loss to Naples Community School as part of the Sunshine Shootout in Florida.
On the boys’ side, only Mercer County (13-0) remains perfect. Christian County (11-2) was undefeated entering Wednesday but lost games to two out-of-state teams that day.
Girls’ leaders entering 2016
You probably know by now that girls’ basketball scoring leader Whitney Creech is averaging an eye-popping 50.3 points a game for Jenkins. The WKU signee also leads the state in rebounding, with 17.2 a game.
You might not know that the second-leading scorer is right here in the 11th Region.
Brianna Burbridge was averaging 31.8 points through eight games for Frankfort. The 5-foot-11 forward scored 51 (win at Danville on Dec. 8) and 47 (loss against Western Hills on Dec. 11) in back-to-back games and also had a 39-point night against Lynn Camp on Dec. 19. She’s third in rebounding (14.8); MacKenzie Coleman of Metcalfe County is second.
Erin Boley, who’s signed with Notre Dame, is the No. 3 scorer in the state at 26.8 points. Hope Lafferty of Sheldon Clark, the state’s leader in three-point makes with 52, is fourth at 26.5. Coleman rounds out the top five at 25.5 points.
▪ Hopkins County Central senior Makayla Campbell set school records with 38 points and nine made threes against Franklin-Simpson in the Storm’s 60-22 win Dec. 22. Campbell was 9-for-12 from beyond the arc and 13-for-19 overall.
Creech, who has signed to play basketball for Western Kentucky, isn’t the first girl from the school to reach Division I status. Mitzi Combs and Debra Oden, who played on Jenkins’ only two Sweet Sixteen teams, in 1975 and 1976, went on to play for the University of Kentucky.
Boys’ leaders entering 2016
Torrell Carter of Letcher County Central is the KHSAA’s official scoring leader, currently with 31.5 points a game, but Caverna (which features last year’s leading scorer and NKU signee Mason Faulkner) had not filed stat reports for its past five games.
Taylor County star and Xavier signee Quentin Goodin (28.9) edges Green County’s Dominique Compton (28.7) for second place. Sayre’s Jake Duby, who scored 46 against Carroll County last week, is fourth at 27.9. Franklin-Simpson junior Tavin Lovan’s 27.8 points a game are good for fifth.
▪ Peyton Gover was named MVP of the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic after Southwestern’s 82-76 win over Lafayette in the finals. He averaged 23 points and six assists through four games. Teammate Steven Fitzgerald scored 27 points, had nine rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals in the finals for the Warriors (9-2).
Samford, aka Lexington South
The Samford Bulldogs, coached by former UK star Scott Padgett, are out to a 9-4 start and recently picked up a win at Nebraska, the program’s first over a Big Ten school. Samford’s three leading scorers — Darius Jones-Gibson (16 ppg), Christen Cunningham (14.2 ppg) and Matt Rose (10.5 ppg) — all played for Lexington high schools at some point. Jones-Gibson starred at Tates Creek, Rose at Lexington Christian and Cunningham at Henry Clay before transferring to Cordia.
The Rock is cookin’ chicken
The Bryan Station football Twitter account, echoing the sentiments of many folks around Lexington, was thrilled about the return of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen to the city. In a celebratory tweet, the account tagged WWE superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, emphasizing that Popeyes was BACK in Lexington (referencing Johnson’s recent announcement that he will participate in WrestleMania 32 in April). The entertainment icon responded to Bryan Station’s tweet with enthusiasm.
“Hell yes. I’ll take extra crispy, rice and biscuits”
▪ The Metro Softball Association is looking for fast-pitch umpires to help officiate in the 10th and 11th Regions for the upcoming season, which gets underway March 9. No previous experience is necessary. Interested parties should contact J.T. Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
▪ Tates Creek’s Spencer Coop has committed to play baseball at Hanover College.