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You have to love the new fashion statement that was making its rounds as the Anderson County girls' basketball team was celebrating the program's first Eighth Region championship in 32 years Saturday night.
One ear plus a piece of a basketball net equals the coolest thing seen around Lawrenceburg in quite some time.
Long-time Lady Bearcat scorekeeper Larry Briscoe and coach-turned-radio-commentator extraordinaire Wayne King were the culprits. Both have been around long enough, set in their ways enough to know they would never, ever think of getting their ears pierced.
But really, when you get a piece of a net about once every eight Olympic years, can there be anything better for a hoops junkie?
“I have one for tonight and leave the other for Bowling Green,” Briscoe quipped as the impromptu celebration at the high school had begun when the Lady Bearcats got back from Simon Kenton.
“One for the region, one for the state.”
Optimistic? Or is Briscoe just a little over the top?
“We were just having a little fun and it seemed like the thing to do at the time,” King said Sunday.
Optimism, even when it's a little crazy, and fun are why it would be wrong to count this Lady Bearcat team out of the hunt when it takes the floor at the Sweet 16 on Wednesday night. Both major computer polls list the Lady Bearcats as a solid, but not overwhelming underdog against Clay County.
Clay has owned the 13th Region since the realignment of 2006 as this will be the fourth time in the last five years that the Lady Tigers have advanced to the Sweet 16. They are big, strong and experienced. Some of Clay's players were on the team when they pushed the Lady Bearcats around in the Boyle County Christmas Tournament in 2006.
“We didn't show up in that one,” Anderson coach Tony Kays remembers.
Watching the current Lady Bearcats, you get the feeling that Kays does not have to worry about that in 2010. His team is young and full of optimism. They know that winning, whether you look good in doing so or not, is preferable to anything else on the basketball, or any sport, for that matter. It is almost like the Lady Bearcats are making their own individual net-on-the-ear statement with a state championship in their minds.
And they are too confident to know they are not supposed to beat Clay, much less powerful Marion County, which would be a semifinal opponent.
So don't tell this current crop of Lady Bearcats that their stay is supposed to be short. Chances are they would not believe you.
Last Friday, they found themselves on the wrong end of a five-point game. Saturday, Simon Kenton had cut the lead to one, but that is when the Lady Bearcats went on a 10-0 spurt to put things away.
“This group is unbelievably focused to be so young,” King said. “I was not surprised at all by their competitiveness and resiliency. They have shown these highly desirable team traits throughout the season.”
King, by the way, took his piece of the net to church with him on Sunday.
Whether or not the Briscoe-King fashion statement catches on like the John Wall Dance remains to be seen. But even if it doesn't, Larry Briscoe has the right idea, far-fetched as it might seem.
“One for the region and one for the state.”
Some random thoughts on the Sweet 16
*Anderson received quite a scare late in the Simon Kenton game when freshman Eriel McCee, stepped on another player's foot and turned her ankles. She was taken to Frankfort Regional Medical Center.
McKee was at practice Monday but was moving very slowly. It is assumed that she will be ready to go on Wednesday.
*Anderson County Middle School principal Steve Karsner was in attendance for the Eighth Region championship game. I asked him how it felt to have a Sweet 16 team walking his halls. Karsner could only laugh.
But the fact remains that for a good portion of Friday's contest, Anderson's lineup consisted of four middle schoolers and a senior.
*Timing has a lot to do with getting to the Sweet 16. Anderson coach Tony Kays has had some outstanding teams over the years, but had neer been able to survive the district and regional wars.
*Anderson has a chance to upset Clay County on Wednesday. That is unless one of their players grows a moustache and starts hitting threes from downtown.
Yes, Clay County is the home of former Kentucky Wildcat and current agriculture commissioner Richie Farmer.
*Clay County head coach James Burchell and Anderson County boys' basketball coach Glen Drury were college teammates at Berea College.
*Finally my picks. I believe the Lady Bearcats might just upset Clay County on Wednesday night. A lot will ride on how healty McKee is. But the Lady Cats have a fighting chance to advance for the first time ever in the Sweet 16.