March Madness – a good week for the Big Blue
It couldn’t have gone much better for players, coaches and fans of the Big Blue faithful last week with Round 1 of March Madness (although it was still officially February) in Kentucky High School basketball.
As most every fan knows by now, Clinton County laid claim to not one, but four 16th District championship trophies when awards ceremonies were held last week at Clinton County High School, following the conclusions of the championship games.
In addition to the Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs taking possession of those hard-earned pieces of championship hardware – our two freshman squads were also obviously happy to wrap their hands around championship trophies in that class as well.
Of course varsity coaches Darrell Thompson with the Lady Dawgs and Todd Messer with the Bulldogs, were all smiles as they accepted the game basketball from C.C.H.S. Principal Sheldon Harlan during the awards ceremonies following each championship game.
Sweep is spelled with a capital “S”!
Plenty of Congrats to go around
Of course congratulations are in order for the players and coaches from our four winning teams last week on those accomplishments, but there a several other kudos that need to be mentioned as well.
As was noted in another article this week beginning on page 1, Coach Todd Messer was honored by being named 4th Region Coach of the Year, while Keifer Dalton was named 4th Region Player of the Year (as well as also a member of the All 4th Region 1st Team) while Colby Langford was named as a member of the All 4th Region 2nd Team.
Nice accolades for that trio of Bulldogs.
In addition, Dalton also reached yet another milestone in his career during Friday night’s championship game against the Lakers, when, with 1:56 showing on the first quarter game clock, he dropped in the basket that represented his 1,610th point, moving him into third place in the All-Time Scoring List for the Bulldogs.
That feat placed Keifer, a junior with yet another year of play still to come, just ahead of Daniel Latham (Class of 2000). He still trails all-time scoring leader Kenneth Conner’s 1,887 points (Class of 1962) and Bernard Howard’s 1,671 points (Class of 1948).
Long distance fan – “once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog”
The stands Thursday and Friday nights were filled with former Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs, players who once wore the blue and white, and now continue to find their way to The Castle whenever possible to support the youngsters who have taken “our” places on the floor.
One player in particular, as far as I can tell, gets the “longest traveled” award for being on hand Friday night. Former Bulldog basketball player (and golfer) Alex Tallent was on hand to watch the Dawgs come from behind to earn that one-point victory over the Lakers, sitting next to a former teammate of his who was also enjoying the Clinton County game, Justin Vitatoe.
“If you’re only going to come to one game a year, this was sure the one to come to,” Alex told me as the post-game celebration was going on in the middle of the court Friday night. “From my back deck, to Cumberland Corner Mart (now Junction Station – at the intersection of Ky. 90 and U.S. 127), it’s 1,973 miles – give or take a couple of miles.”
Alex, who is a Group Account Executive at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada, had actually returned home for a visit with his family, including his recently born niece, and namesake, Sawyer Alexa Tallent, daughter of Andrew and Paige Tallent.
‘6th Man’ Award
In both cases – girls’ and boys’, the 6th Man award for the 16th District Tournament has to go to the Clinton County fans, and in particular to the group of student fans in the end zone seats.
Complete with some very unique costumes, and maneuvers during each game, at times, they were as much fun to watch as the game itself.
Best game ever?
The question came to me following the conclusion of Friday night’s 71-70 win over the Lakers in the District Championship, if it had been one of the best games I had ever witnessed from behind the microphone as Public Address Announcer at Clinton County High School.
With 35 seasons now behind me, and likely over 1,000 games (both girls and boys, regular season and tournaments) announced from the sidelines, I think I could fairly say that Friday night’s was certainly in the top five.
As for that list, well I’m still thinking it over – that’s a lot of wins and losses to try and remember.
It’s March Madness in Kentucky – don’t call me until April!