Eight Games of Christmas a success despite the weather
by Scott Brown, Sports Editor Email Scott
Dec 27, 2004 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mother Nature ruined what was shaping up as a successful 12 Games of Christmas Tournament at Wildcat Gym last week.

The first two rounds of the tournament were played, but bad weather forced the cancellation of the tourney’s final day last Wednesday. It turned out to be a wise decision as road conditions were horrible for the following three days.

McLean County and Heath would have met for the championship, while Trigg County and Hancock County would have met for third place.

TCHS Athletic Director Taylor Sparks said there are two options on the table for creating closure for the tournament.

"There is a chance Heath and McLean might meet here during the season to play for the championship," Sparks said. "We might can do it on a night when we have a single girls game and have them come back and play."

Sparks said another option would be to award the schools as co-champions and invite them back to next year’s tournament.

"We’re going to meet with our coaching staff and see what the best option is," Sparks said. He added it would be almost impossible to have the other six schools come back and play their consolation rounds if a title game is played.

The tournament proved to be competitive all the way through, with four of the eight games decided by nine points or less and two others decided by 12 or less.

Thanks to sponsorships, including the title sponsor by People’s Security Finance, the tournament generated a profit when the first person bought a ticket for the first game.

"We were very pleased that we were able to turn a profit and not have to fill the gym every game," Sparks said. "It’s important to the girls basketball program to get those sponsors for the tournament."

A slight boost in attendance also helped gate proceeds, although the gate sorely missed the four games that would have been played on Wednesday.

For the first time in the tournament’s four-year history, the dates were moved to the week of Christmas when school was out of session statewide. That meant for easier travel times for the schools participating, compared to past years when teams would have to travel during exams week to play.

Teams for next year’s tournament have not been announced, although Sparks said he was pleased with the fan support of the schools in this year’s event.

He added consideration is being given to creating an upper bracket of four larger schools to go with the customary bracket of smaller schools that the tournament has become known for hosting.

"We might look at that. You would have a larger school from the upper bracket play a smaller school from the lower bracket for the championship and that would be the only time you would have a big versus small matchup," Sparks said.

Right now, the only thing lacking from making Trigg County’s 12 Games of Christmas one of the premier holiday girls tournaments in this part of the state is fans.

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For the first time in recent memory, there was no unbeaten boys’ team in the Second Region at Christmas.

In fact, Trigg County entered the week as the only team in the region with as few as one loss.

Caldwell County, University Heights, Union County, and Providence all had two losses.

Region favorites Henderson County and UHA entered the week as the only region teams with unbeaten records against other Second Region teams.

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The Kentucky High School Athletic Association has suspended seven players for their roles in the Dec. 14 fight that stopped the game between Providence and Webster County in Dixon.

The suspensions were issued by KHSAA Commissioner Brigid DeVries.

The game between the schools was stopped with 2:55 left in the fourth period, with Webster County leading 75-45.

A hard foul precipitated an outbreak of multiple incidents on the floor involving players from both schools, the KHSAA said.

A total of four players from Providence will sit out a total of 19 games while three players from Webster County will miss a total of 12 games.

"This particular incident was preventable had the penalized students responded to attempts by adults to control the situation. When the students failed to respond, the situation escalated to a regrettable situation that cannot be tolerated," DeVries said. "Penalizing our membership is never a pleasant thing, and we hope lessons have been learned and incidents like this in the future will not occur. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that a safe environment for athletic competition exists."

In addition to the suspensions, both programs will be on probation for the remainder of the 2004-05 year and face other administrative sanctions.

While the press release from the KHSAA did not release the names of the players suspended, a public listing of players ejected or suspended from games in all sports this year did.

Providence players who were suspended six games, according to the web site, were Travis Frazier and Steven Hutcherson. Isaiah Moore, Providence’s leading scorer, was suspended four games, and Donnie Hutcherson was suspended for three games.

Jamarkus Jackson was ejected from the game prior to the incident for unsportsmanlike conduct and will sit out Providence’s next game.

Providence postponed two games following the incident and was scheduled to play Evansville Bosse Tuesday.

While the six-game suspension would see the players miss one district game, all should be eligible to play in the All-A Classic Tournament next month.

Webster County players suspended for four games, according to the web site, were Jesse Bumpus, Shea Anglin, and Charlie Clark.

The trio sat out Webster County’s 67-61 loss to Todd County Central on Dec. 21, according to the Henderson Gleaner, and will likely not play during Webster County’s three-day stay at the Butler County Invitational this week.

Of the four games, Webster will play just one Second Region team, Lyon County, at the Butler County tourney.

Trigg County won’t see Providence until Feb. 1 and doesn’t play Webster County until Feb. 7 at Wildcat Gym.

Meanwhile, Providence and Webster County are scheduled to play again Jan. 7 at Providence.

When they play, it will be in front of empty bleachers.

The game will not be open to the public, Providence Superintendent Edwina Sheffield told the Henderson Gleaner.

In addition, none of the players involved in last week's brawl will participate in the game, she said, even though the suspension would have been lifted for the three Webster County players and two from Providence.

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Lyon County ended Caldwell County’s 68-game winning streak against Fifth District opponents Dec. 21 with a 48-39 win in Princeton.

Caldwell’s last loss against a district opponent came against Livingston Central in 1998.

And it took a former Caldwell County player and coach to notch the win.

Malissa Bush Thomas, who played at Trigg County for three years before transferring to Caldwell for her final two years, is in her first season as the Lady Lyons’ head coach. She had formerly served as an assistant coach at Caldwell County for three years.

Of course, the one win doesn’t put a dent in Caldwell’s run of 14 straight district titles, but it does give Lyon County the inside track for the top seed in the district tournament that will be played at Trigg County this year.

"This was just the first of several games we will play this year," Thomas told the Paducah Sun.

Lyon County also ended a 33-game losing streak to Caldwell County that dated back 11 years.
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