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The Shelby Valley Wildcats, from a small Class A high school in nearby southern Pike County with an enrollment of only about 575, brought tremendous pride to mountain residents on Saturday night when they defeated Louisville Ballard, 73-61, to win the KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16 Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena in Lexington by a score of 73-61.

In this photo, Shelby Valley head coach Jason Booher hugs star Wildcat player Elisha Justice, who scored 17 points in the final and was named Tourney MVP.

Coach Booher, 34, the Associated Press Coach of the Year, has strong ties to Letcher County. He is the son-in-law of former Letcher County Central head football coach Hillard Howard and Howard’s wife, Marsha Frazier Howard, whose late father, Clyde Frazier, founded Frazier’s Farmer Supply in Whitesburg.

Booher dedicated the win to the late Chad Witt, who was Booher’s best friend when he was among 27 people killed when a school bus carrying a youth group returning from a visit to King’s Island amusement park near Cincinnati was hit by a drunk driver driving on the wrong side of Interstate 71 at Carrollton, Ky., on May 14, 1988. Booher, then an eighth-grade student at Radcliff e Middle School, was one of 40 crash survivors and was sitting next to Witt at the time of the crash. (AP Photo/ James Crisp)

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