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UK, Western score big wins

Sports in Kentucky


 

 

As ugly, but important, as Kentucky wins over Kansas State and West Virginia were, Western Kentucky’s stunner against No. 3 Louisville was handsome in patience, smarts, efficiency and toughness. Signature win for coach Ken McDonald and brag-rights feather-in-the-cap for the Hilltoppers.

More, WKU’s win is a reminder for those struck with fathead disease, and reduces the perceived distance between No. 3s and 2s in America and the ‘beam-us-up-Scotty,’ types in Sagarin ‘others’ compilations.

Doubly sweet for Western, native sons A.J. Slaughter (Shelbyville) and Steffphon Pettigrew (Elizabethtown) provided big hurt numbers, 42 points, 21 rebounds. Both were brilliant.

Epilogue. Doubles the chortle factor for assistant coaches around the state who wonder, “Say, how’d UK and UofL ignore those guys?”

Liggins Did What?

That sound Kentucky fans hear today is DeAndre Liggins’ sneakers running the stairs at Memorial Coliseum. You may hear it echo awhile.

The rookie did the unfathomable last week. Refused his coach’s signal to go into the Kansas State game. For Big Blue fans Liggins’ little mutiny was like stomping on Adolph’s grave or calling Ashley Judd a harlot. Outrageous.

Coach Billy Clyde Gillispie, applying one of his favorite axioms, “Life is 10 per cent what happens to you and 90 percent how you handle it,” handled it. On enight later Liggins played 27 minutes.

But today, the sound of sneakers hitting concrete steps belong to Liggins. Just another kid growing up.

UK Needs R&R

Kentucky’s football team should stay home this bowl season. These Wildcats need R&R. Rest and … more rest.

Rich Brooks’ team ran up four wins then suffered a concussion against South Carolina, a butt whuppin at Florida, a morale killer with Georgia, followed by two sleep-walks against Vanderbilt and Tennessee.

Season ending injuries piled up, the offense went comatose and a bad mood set in personified by a Micah Johnson late hit on Chris Nickson 13 minutes after Vandy’s quarterback threw a pass. The season declined into a personal foul.

If Kentucky accepts a bowl bid then Mitch Barnhart should get a tattoo. A dollar sign in the middle of his forehead.

If Kentucky accepts a bowl bid Barnhart had better consult with Rick Pitino on how to spin ticket sales to fans who aren’t even Christmas shopping.

A team with a 6-6 record, that lost four of its last five, has no offense, should stay home and rest for spring practice.

Football Final 4s

Made in KHSAA ticket sales heaven, high school football’s Final Four matches this weekend.

My favorite …

2A. Lower bracket should be prime: Newport Central Catholic (12-1) at Corbin (13-0). Winner plays Ft. Campbell or Monroe County (Tompkinsville), both 12-1.

We hope the NewCath-Corbin match is worthy of the illustrious football histories of both schools. Corbin fans will see what the state’s all-time winningest coach, Bob Schneider has in store. Ideally, Corbin’s undefeated Redhounds will move long-time fans to compare this game to classics passed with Danville, duPont Manual and opponents in Recreation Bowls at Mt. Sterling.

Others.

6A. Trinity versus St. Xavier is what it is. A sellout. Simon Kenton or Male, 9-4 each, faces the winner.

5A. Finalists are all 12-1. Christian County-John Hardin could be an intersectional classic. Whitley County (Williamsburg) gets a shot at forever power Highlands.

4A. Super Bowl: Boyle County-Bell County, both 13-0. Calloway County or Bullitt East awaits the winner.

3A. Familiars. Belfry (13-0) is back to face Breathitt County (11-2). Louisville Central or Union County gets the winner.

1A. Perennial Beechwood (13-0) plays Crittenden County Marion) 10-3.

High School Hoops

2008-09 season that could well earn fabulous status.

GEORGETOWN. On paper, coach Bill Hicks has two tasks to advance Scott County to March’s last game — team chemistry and playing time happiness. Standing room only crowds will watch closely.

MADISONVILLE. Already anointed Mr. Basketball 2009, Madisonville-North star Jon Hood is having none of it in December. Accolades are cotton candy.

UK signee is, by all accounts, not dazzled, but is determined to savor minutes and hours in his last high school hoorah and ignore evaluations of a zillion UK internet assistant coaches.

SANDY HOOK. The brothers Faulkner, along with Jonathan Ferguson, helped put publicity pop into Elliott County and Sandy Hook last season and had fans buying state maps. The trio powered the Lions to 26-4 and all are back.

Special? You bet. Senior year for F Troop will go like a comet. But the last roundup could be at Rupp, then Sandy Hook.

BOWLING GREEN. Curtis Turley. Warren East’s first win will be No. 600 for one of Kentucky’s finest. If the KHSAA had a Mr. Geography award, Turley would win, having coached at 11 high schools over three decades.

Readers (Right) Write

About a column on the Joe Dan Gold-Jerry Harkness handshake in 1963, a Eureka Moment, Ron in Corbin wrote: “… it all came back to me, (Joe Dan Gold’s) high school career, going to Miss. State playing on championship teams that beat UK, not being able to represent the SEC because of racial politics of the day in Mississippi. Coach (Babe) McCarthy’s courage defying the powers-that-be who would turn an athletic event into a hateful display of prejudice.

“The (Mississippi State- Loyola) game had an influence on me because I knew something my small town brain was just beginning to grasp — fairness. Thanks for bringing back a kind of turning point in a young man’s life that carried him in good stead during the rest of the turbulent 60’s. Ron Meadors, Corbin High School, 1964.”

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