After wrapping up another All 'A' Classic tournament championship Sunday at McBrayer Arena, the Blazers were relatively low key during their on-court, post-game celebration.
Maybe success has spoiled them just a little bit.
Led by junior point guard Joshua Mack, University Heights claimed a record seventh title with a solid, hard-fought 61-52 win over Somerset. Mack, the tournament's most valuable player scored a team-high 16 points, had seven assists as the Blazers improved to 37-5 all-time in the All 'A' Classic.
"I don't think it will sink in right away," University Heights coach Marty Cline said. "These guys know that we will celebrate but that still have some more steps to take."
University Heights has come to expect success at the All 'A' Classic. The Blazers won titles in 1990, 91, 96, 98, 99 and 2002 and have more wins (37) and appearances (11) than any other school in the history of the tournament.
That recent dominance, more than anything else, could have been the main reason for UHA's somewhat subdued reaction to another championship.
"I think it's special," Mack said. "Every year we come down here and play hard."
The Briar Jumpers certainly didn't make things easy on the Blazers. Somerset trailed 36-21 just after halftime, but cut the lead to five twice in the third quarter. UHA all but wrapped up another title with an 8-1 run.
"They were the favorites," Somerset coach Shawn Thacher said. "Sometimes the team with the most horses wins. When we were down by 15 points we could have folded, but we played like champions."
Somerset cut the UHA advantage to 42-37 on a basket by Nathan Bray, but Carson Rager had a pair of baskets, including a three pointer, as the lead jumped back to double digits (50-38).
Bray hit a trio of three pointers late in the fourth quarter, but Somerset never got closer than eight points over the final three minutes.
"I know we could do it, we just to go out and get it done," UHA's Nathan Owen said.
Patrick Metcalfe had five points and 11 rebounds and Owen added 14 points for the Blazers.
Somerset advanced to the finals in 2001 and 2002, losing to Glasgow and University Heights. The Briar Jumpers have made 10 trips to the All 'A' Classic, the second most of any school, but have yet to win a long-awaited title.
"I think we were a little dead-legged in the first half," Thacher said. "When your legs are gone, your shots down fall."
The Briar Jumpers shot just 35 percent and were only four-of-22 from three-point range. Somerset was six-of-18 from the free-throw line.
Bray scored a game-high 17 points and had six rebounds. Ray Norman added 15 points and seven rebounds.
"Our kids just played so hard," Cline said. "It was a battle of toughness. I told them at halftime that we needed to set the tone and that we needed to be more physical."
Metcalfe and Owen were named to the All-Tournament team, along with Bar-bourville's Chris Good, Newport Central Catholic's Mark Krebs, Hazard's Cleve Washington, Owensboro Catholic's Andrew Howard, Lexington Christian Acad-emy's Chris Wade and Bishop Brossart's Evan McDole. Somerset's Nathan Holton and Ryan Jamison were also selected to the All-Tournament team.
The play that would eventually lift his team its first-ever All 'A' Classic title didn't exactly breakdown the way Christian Academy of Louisville coach Don Rice would have liked.
"Actually, it was supposed to go for a layup, but (Maggie McKemmie) got the ball a little higher," Rice said. "It was a nice shot and a good open shot. It just went down."
McKemmie's jumper in the lane, which came off a heads-up pass from Meredith Marsh, was the difference as the Lady Centurions knoc-ked off two-time defending champions Clinton County 34-32 Sunday at McBrayer Arena.
Marsh, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, drove to her right then found McKemmie all alone in the lane with 2.2 seconds left. The junior forward calmly sank the game-winning basket from just inside the free-throw line.
"We'd run that play earlier in the game and we knew they were going to slump off of Maggie," Marsh said.
The Lady Centurions used a suffocating defense, which they had worked on during afternoon practice sessions in the parking lot of their hotel the last few days, to slow down Clinton County seniors Amber and Paige Guffey. The twin standouts combined to score just 21 points and were unable to get off a potential game-winning shot in the final seconds.
The Lady Bulldogs had the ball at midcourt, but Amber's pass to Paige sailed out of bounds.
"We were trying to use Paige as a decoy and Amber was going to come out the other way," Clinton County coach Ronnie Guffey said. "But we didn't set a good pick. We just didn't do a good job."
Christian Academy was up with 28-25 with 6:13 left, but Amber Guffey connected on a jumper then Brittany Abbott hit a three pointer to give the Lady Bulldogs a two-point advantage. The Lady Centurions tied the game on a Ali Shubert basket then took a 32-30 lead when Marsh connected on a pair of free throws with 1:15 left.
"I would give the ball to Meredith against any team in the state," Rice said.
Clinton County pulled even once again when Abbott connected on a driving layup with just 16 seconds remaining. Marsh then delivered the biggest play of the game.
"I wasn't exactly sure what she was going to do," McKemmie said of the game-winning play. "I was kind of surprised.
Amber finished with 11 points, nine of which came in the first half, and Paige had 10, but Clinton didn't get enough production from anyone else to pick up a third straight title.
"We knew they were going to focus on Amber. The other girls had to hit a few shots," Guffey said. "They didn't do a good job of that."
Marsh finished with 11 points and three assists and McKemmie added nine points and five assists. Shubert scored a game-high 13 points for CAL.
The Centurions held Clinton County to 38 percent shooting, including four-of-16 from three-point range, and forced a key turnover on the final play of the game.
"We did a real good job on defense and that's how we win games," Rice said. "If we keep the score low, we know we have a chance to win games."
Paige and Amber Guffey were both named to the All 'A' Classic All-Tournament team for the fourth straight year. McKemmie was also named to the all-tournament team along with Caverna's Tacarra Hayes, Webster County's Caitlin Owen, Covington Holy Cross' Brittany Bass, West Carter's Brandi Rayburn, Whitesburg's Camilie Cook and Murray's Lisa Thurman.
Other all-tournament selections included Lexington Christian Academy's Emily London, Clinton County's Dorothy Papineau and CAL's McKemie.
The All 'A' title may be the first and last for the Lady Centurions. CAL, which
Special Needs Activities & Programs
Sign ups for athletes and volunteers will be held from 6-7pm
at the Parks & Recreation Department on Monday March 7th.
Deadline is March 9th for spring programs.
a. Challenger League (a Division of Little League)- a league for children with physical, developmental, and related disabilities. Cost is $20
b. Special Olympics Track & Field- Dates to be announced. Regional competition in April, State competition in June.
c. Special Needs Bowling- Session 1- 3:30-4:30, Session 2- 4:45-5:45 held at Galaxy Bowling Wednesdays beginning April 6-May 18
Call Erin @ 623-8753 for information.
The Madison County Special Olympics Cheerleading team will compete in Lexington for the statewide competition on Saturday March 5th. Thanks goes out to EKU who let us perform at the halftime show of the Women's game on Thursday February 17. Thanks also to the Sponsors; Lexmark, The Arc of Madison County, and private donors who donated money to help pay for uniforms and supplies. The Coaches for this team are Ashley Shirk, Leslie Nelson, Alanna Thompson, Elizabeth Farenbach, all from EKU and Ali Dionne a Middle schooler who has been a valuable asset to this team.
Easter Eggstravaganza & Bunny Express
*The 2005 Easter Eggstravaganza will be held at the Irvine
McDowell Park on Saturday March 26 from 11am-1pm. Thanks to Dr.
Jon McChesney's Special Events Class who is helping with the implementation
of activities for their service-learning project.
*The Bunny Express will be held from 2pm-6pm on March 26th. Deliveries will be made to a limited Richmond delivery area. Visit this link to view a list of activities and times for these programs. http://parks.richmond.ky.us/Events/Easter%202005/Easter.htm
Adventure Falls *Coming Spring 2005
Our new state of the art miniature golf and batting cage facility will be completed this spring. This 18-hole course features a 9-hole ADA accessible course, challenging holes, and water obstacles. The main attraction at this facility is the 40-foot waterfall system with an overlooking deck. Our 8 cage batting facility features state of the art Iron Mike ® pitching hands. Baseball, fast pitch softball, and slow pitch softball players can utilize these batting cages. Visit our website @ www.adventurefalls.com
If you have any questions about any of the above programs or if you would like to be taken off of this email list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can phone (859)623-8753. Thank you.
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