High School Basketball

Sweet Sixteen notes: Knott Central's Davis stands up to knee problems

Left: Boone County fans Brooke Pendleton, left, and Marie Winterman cheered for their team against Knott Central. 
Right: Brooke Mack, left, and Georgia Hall showed their support for brother and grandson Evan Hall, who had 12 points and eight rebounds for Knott Central.
Go to Kentucky.com for photo galleries of fans in Rupp Arena
Left: Boone County fans Brooke Pendleton, left, and Marie Winterman cheered for their team against Knott Central. Right: Brooke Mack, left, and Georgia Hall showed their support for brother and grandson Evan Hall, who had 12 points and eight rebounds for Knott Central. Go to Kentucky.com for photo galleries of fans in Rupp Arena Jonathan Palmer

When a Lexington doctor told Knott County Central's Zack Davis last season that he would never play basketball again because of knee problems, Davis heard the prognosis, but he didn't heed it.

Davis sought a second opinion. He went to Chicago and met with the team doctor of the NBA's Bulls, who told him he could keep playing if he could put up with the pain.

The rest of the story is that Davis, after enduring four knee surgeries before and during his junior year, played a great game in the Sweet Sixteen on Thursday.

The thick-chested 6-foot-2 senior had 19 points, six rebounds and four assists in leading the Patriots to victory over Boone County in Rupp Arena.

Davis's trade-off for having the meniscus removed from both knees is that they're heavily wrapped for practices and games, and he spends 30 minutes in a 30-degree whirlpool after playing.

"It shocks it," he said, shivering at the thought.

Davis was also told he will probably have chronic arthritis in both knees when he gets older. But he said it's all worth it for getting to play in the state tournament again after seeing what it was like as a sophomore.

"This is what I worked for, why I came back after all the knee surgeries," he said. "This is the best atmosphere ever."

Davis said that when he's on the court, he doesn't notice the pain. "Once you get all that adrenaline pumping, you don't think about it."

When Knott Central is finished with the Sweet Sixteen this week, it will be the end of basketball for Davis.

But he's got a lot more going for him than hoops. He scored a 33 on the ACT, and he will probably attend either Columbia or UK and major in chemical engineering.

Sean Woods in Rupp

While Kentucky was playing Western Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament Thursday night in Louisville, one of UK's "Unforgettables" was in Rupp Arena — trying not to think about the NCAA game.

"I wish I was playing right now, though," said Sean Woods, whose Mississippi Valley State team was edged 59-58 by Western in a First Four game Tuesday.

Had Woods' team won, he would have been coaching against the Cats Thursday.

"It's good just being in the building, period. Bringing back old memories and getting that itch a little bit," Woods said while watching Scott County rally to beat Marshall County.

"I didn't want to watch the game at nobody's house, so I had to come down here and at least get some TLC from somebody else."

Woods didn't have family members with him in the building, but his wife's family and his mother's relatives are from here. "So this is home for me," he said.

Does Kentucky have the best state tournament?

"I'm an Indiana guy," said Woods, an Indianapolis native. "So next to Indiana, it's the second-best state tournament in the country."

Sweet home Rupp

The boys' Sweet Sixteen has been played in Rupp Arena 18 years in a row, and 29 of the last 34 years.

And it's not going anywhere else any time soon.

KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett said the current contract keeps the state tournament in Rupp Arena through 2014, and the KHSAA has the option to extend the contract another four years. "I don't think there's any doubt we'll be here through 2018," Tackett said.

If the Yum Center in Louisville is interested in hosting the Sweet Sixteen in the future, Tackett said, the KHSAA will look at such a proposal in 2016.

Vikings' prospect

Rowan County senior guard D.J. Townsend has boosted his stock as a college prospect this season. Coach Shawn Thacker said the 5-foot-11 senior point guard, who's averaging 18 points, has increased his assists and improved his three-point shooting.

Thacker said WKU has offered Townsend a preferred walk-on role, "and it could evolve into something more." Austin Peay and Indiana State are also interested in him. Georgetown College has offered a scholarship.

Fashion statement

Bobby Flynn, who's been a volunteer worker at the Sweet Sixteen for decades, broke out his eye-popping, patchwork sports coat for its annual display on Thursday.

Flynn said he bought the multicolored coat about 50 years ago from Frank Dawahare at the Dawahare's store in Pikeville.

Flynn said he didn't want the coat, especially with its $80 price tag. "I told Frank I wouldn't give him $25 for it." Dawahare wound up selling it to Flynn for $25.

Flynn said he wears the coat only one day a year, during the Sweet Sixteen.

Calling it quits

Ron Dawn, who had more than 400 career victories coaching boys' and girls' basketball, is retiring after four years as girls' coach at Newport Central Catholic.

Dawn coached both NewCath programs to All "A" Classic titles and guided NewCath's boys to the 2000 Sweet Sixteen.

Dawn said he found it harder and harder to deal with losses. "It was frustrating," he said. "I just couldn't deal with it anymore."

Tates Creek girls' coach Justin Cheatham has also resigned, with an overall record of 78-124 in seven seasons.

Cheatham said that he will remain at Tates Creek as academic dean and that he is getting out of coaching "to have more time at home with my wife and two daughters."

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