Turnovers … by Alan B. Gibson

Posted March 28, 2024 at 10:34 am

A new boys’ champion and one of the best tournaments in awhile
The Lyon County Lyons (yes, that’s how they spell it) are the new KHSAA Sweet 16 boys’ basketball champions after a thrilling Saturday (as it should be) championship game.
The Lyons, with U.K. signee and Kentucky all-time leading scorer Travis Perry, held off a Harlan County comeback effort to pick up the 2024 coveted title.
All in all, this year’s tournament was one of the best in several years, not only in my opinion, but with evidence that a bunch of Kentucky high school boys’ basketball fans thought so as well, with the KHSAA announcing that this year’s attendance was just shy of the 100,000 mark.
With 99,915 making their way to Rupp Arena last week for the eight session tournament, the numbers in attendance was closer to what many of us long-time Sweet 16 fans saw several years ago, or at least during the pre-COVID-19 era.
Saturday night’s championship game brought 13,568 fans to Rupp.
Perry and his Lyons appeared to be the main attraction for fans like myself who weren’t necessarily there to watch a hometown team, as is shown with the attendance figures for every session that included a Lyon County game.
Session five, with Magoffin County taking on Great Crossing, followed by Lyon County against Adair County, was the week’s top session of the eight with an announced paid attendance of 14,787 fans.
Attendance for the week still hasn’t reached the level that the tournament enjoyed during its heyday in the late 1980s and early 1990s when attendance reached levels of over 140,000 fans, and was announced as 154,002 in 1987.
So, with Sacred Heart hanging the girls’ championship banner two weeks ago, and Lyon County putting the boys’ banner on its bus Sunday morning, roundball on the high school level is in the books for several months.
On to other things, and for Kentucky fans, those things won’t include watching the NCAA championship.

Guts and grit to be recognized
Fans of Kentucky basketball have no doubt heard UK radio personality Tom Leach promote his All-Resilient High School team where he recognizes high school athletes from all sports who have overcome personal setbacks and worked their way back onto the playing field.
Clinton County Bulldog Nick Poore sat out most of the 2022-23 basketball season after suffering a serious back injury, staying on the sidelines to offer moral support for his team throughout the year.
Poore came back strong for this past 2023-24 season, helping to lead his team to a 19-11 season record, an All “A” Classic 4th Region championship and a run to the quarter-final round in the All “A” Classic State tournament.
He was one of three Bulldogs named to the 16h District All District team at the close of the CCHS season just a few weeks ago.
Poore’s determination to overcome last year’s back injury and get back in the game will be recognized next month by being named one of the members of the Tome Leach All-Resilient team.  He will join a handful of athletes from across the state to be honored for his comeback efforts this season.
Poore will be honored during the Kentucky Athletic Administrator’s Awards Banquet in Louisville on April 25.
I had the privilege of attending the banquet where these athletes are honored in 2019, and it’s a tremendous event to recognize these young athletes who have overcome a wide array of obstacles to get back in the game.
Poore is the son of Chris and Gina Poore.
Congrats to Nick and his family on receiving this huge honor.

Decades too late
My good friend and CCHS graduate Tom Allen sent me a text last week with a link to a video titled “Wildcat Waterboys” that had been produced with the UK managers promoting a swimming pool company.
The managers obviously were enjoying getting paid through the Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) arrangements that has thrown the NCAA athletic world into a spin.
Of course Allen’s point was how he had missed out during his years at the University of Kentucky when he was on the manager’s staff as an Equipment Manager for the Wildcats football program.
“Forty years too late” was Tom’s lighthearted comment with the You Tube video link.
I’m guessing that a NIL deal that might have been available when he was an equipment manager at UK, considering his celebrity status and his salesman abilities, would have been massive.

In the meantime –
March Madness is over – stop on by