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Best team doesn't always take home tournament trophy

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By John Herndon

Perhaps the oldest truth in sports is that the best team does not always win.

Such was the case late Saturday afternoon when the Christian Academy of Lawrenceburg boys' basketball team watched a shot by Heartland Christian fell through the net with just seconds remaining in the Kentucky Christian School Athletic Association state championship game.

That the local team had beaten Heartland by 32 and 12 points during the regular didn't soothe the Rams' hurt.

The fact that Christian Academy led by as many as 15 late in the third quarter probably made the sting more painful. The Rams were the better team. They knew it and nearly everyone else at Hoops, a basketball palace in Louisville, knew it.

But the scoreboard showed that Heartland had won its second consecutive KCSAA title, beating Christian Academy in the final seconds for the second consecutive year.

Coach John Moore helped Greg Hammons, who displayed an enormous heart all game long, off the floor. Moore tried to console some of his players, most of whom displayed stunned looks. Some had the red eyes that only tears of sadness can produce.

There really was nothing to be said about a day when two of Christian Academy's best players, Carlos Bowman and Josiah Karsner, were under the weather and another, Josh Karsner, suffered a cut on his right (shooting) hand that splattered blood over his jersey in the first half. The sharp-shooting guard played the entire second half with a large bandage over his thumb.

It mattered not that some don't see the Christian school league as big time competition. From this corner, Christian Academy could give a lot of public schools a run for their money.

What the experience did show is that whether it is Christian Academy, Anderson County High School, the University of Kentucky or University of Louisville, winning a one-and-done tournament is one of the most difficult tasks in all of sports.

It why it is aptly called March Madness.

Rams should be proud of sportsmanship

I don't get the opportunity to attend many Christian Academy games - five or six this year - but the Rams are to be commended for exemplary behavior Saturday.

As the lead started evaporating, several close calls went against the Rams. They weren't necessarily bad calls but of the sort that they are magnified in a close game. The Christian Academy players are humans and ultra-competitors, but never once did they fly off after a close call went against them.

That should be a tremendous source of pride.

Lady Bearcats could face good test

While Anderson County's Lady Bearcats are strong favorites to advance to the Eighth Region Tournament, they can't overlook a Spencer County team that is playing with confidence. Anderson should win but if the Lady Bearcats are totally focused on Spencer Wednesday night, a Friday night game might not happen.

Anderson is better, but Spencer has been winning of late and strange things can happen once the tourneys begin

Sportsmanship, Round 2

Near the close of Anderson County's game at Frankfort High last Tuesday, an unusual scene unfolded as a member of the Frankfort coaching staff approached Bearcat coach Glen Drury during a timeout.

The Panthers wanted to get senior Zach Lawson into the game and wanted to know if Anderson would allow him to score on Senior Night.

With the outcome firmly in hand, Drury obliged with no hesitation. "He had been hurt all year so they just asked if it would be OK. I didn't have a problem with it."

Drury, who usually wants his players to guard the opposition from the time they get off the bus, instructed his team to allow Lawson to catch the ball under the basket and lay it in.

It wasn't the first time this year that Drury had shown good sportsmanship to an outmanned opponent. He called the dogs off early in a regular season win over Eminence.

Drury received letters from both Frankfort and Eminence fans after the goodwill gestures, according to his wife, Jennifer.

A triumphant return?

Being only about two hours from the Indiana University campus, local basketball fans had their fill of the Kelvin Sampson saga in Bloomington last week. The cynic in me says that IU got what was coming for hiring a guy who already had a checkered past.

The practical person in me simply asks if Sampson was really so stupid as to continue breaking rules after being under NCAA sanctions already?

Or was it a massive case of hubris?

I suspect the latter.

And the Sampson saga begs the question of where else but major college sports can a man bring disgrace to his employer, lie to said employer, then get 750 grand to go away for good. What is wrong with that picture?

In any event, part of me also fantasizes Bobby Knight flying into Louisville International Airport, donning a cap and sunglasses, then putting a corn cob pipe in his mouth as he drives over the Clark bridge into Jeffersonville.

"I have returned."

OK, it won't happen but it would be great theater.

Bearcats are playing well

If Saturday's thumping of a good Franklin County team is any indication, Anderson County's boys basketball team seems to be playing well at the right time. That is no guarantee that it will continue through the 30th District and Eighth Region tournaments but Saturday's district championship game at Spencer County could be a classic.

A word to the wise is get your tickets early and get to the game early as well.