by Alan B. Gibson
Tourney time in Kentucky – part 3
I sent an email to Russell County Laker Coach Willie Feldhaus last Friday morning wishing him luck in his upcoming semi-final game against Russellville and I went on to tell him that I thought this was his year to take the 4th Region title and advance to the Sweet 16.
I wasn’t being nice – I was being honest.
Of course by the time I sent Willie that email, Clinton County had already lost their heartbreaker 4th Region quarter final game to Barren County (71-66) and were out of the running, and Russell County had already advanced with a dominating performance over Greenwood’s Gators (79-63).
That night the Lakers went on to pick up another semi-final victory over the Panthers of Russellville (72-49) and for the first time since 1956 the Lakers were advancing to the championship game of a regional tournament.
I had enjoyed listening on Friday night to Jeff Hoover and my Russell Springs counterpart Derek Aaron, Editor of the Times Journal, who also doubles as a color commentator for Hoover’s radio station, as they called the game.
So on Sunday afternoon, I settled in with my headphones on to check in on the Lakers as they worked to become the first 16th District boys’ team to represent the 4th Region in the Sweet 16 since Metcalfe County and Coach Tim McMurtrey pulled it off nearly 30 years ago in 1985 – I’ve still got my “Big Mac Attack” shirt that Tim sent me that year hanging in the “collector” section of my closet.
Was I becoming a Laker fan? Absolutely not. I was remaining a 16th District fan, and that’s the way it should be in small town Kentucky where the little schools have to eventually put everything together on a good night to compete against the big boys in Bowling Green.
I wouldn’t change a thing about the fact that Kentucky doesn’t use a class system in their basketball play, just saying that rooting for the underdog is a human instinct, but rooting for your common district members when you’ve hung up your own uniform should be second nature.
As it turns out – Russell County put forth a valiant effort – at least that was the impression I had after listening to Jeff and Derek call Sunday’s game. But, it was just short of taking the title away from the 14th District – Warren Central outlasted the Lakers by eight – 56-48, and the Raiders will advance on to this week’s Greatest Show in Hoops – the boys’ Sweet 16 State Tournament.
I talked to some fans who couldn’t believe I was voicing support for Willie and his Lakers. Turn the tables and wouldn’t you expect to see a host of 16th District opponents wearing blue and white when the Dawgs make their trip to the 4th Region finals? I would. And like a true Big Blue fan, I expect that to happen – next year.
Don’t be a hater – forever. There comes a time to lay down your arms and support your basketball brethren. Okay, maybe that was a little too mushy, but you know what I mean.
So, what’s next for our 4th Region representative Warren Central? Can they win it – sure they can. After all , they’re the 4th Region representative and they should have the support of all 4th region fans – they’ll have mine. Go Raiders.
Any while I’m at it – Go Madison Central Indians and former Clinton County Bulldog Coach Allen Feldhaus, Jr. (AJ).
It’s tourney time in Kentucky – don’t call me until April!