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Probably no states take their high school basketball more seriously than Indiana and Kentucky, and since they are separated only by a river there is a natural rivalry between the two.
Since 1939 all-stars from the two states have met annually (except World War II years 1943 and ’44) in a two-game summer series to determine which state deserves bragging rights.
But this Saturday a new series between the states featuring actual high school teams—not all-stars—will debut at Louisville’s Freedom Hall.
The Indiana-Kentucky Challenge Cup is a five-game event with each game featuring a team from Indiana against a comparable team from Kentucky.
The day will start with a girls game featuring Roncalli of Indiana versus Elizabethtown, Ky., at 11 a.m.
Four boys games will follow: Barr-Reeve vs. Elizabethtown, Ky., about 1 p.m.; Corydon vs. Covington Catholic,, 3 p.m.; Park Tudor vs. Hopkinsville, Ky., 5 p.m.; and Guerin Catholic vs. Louisville Ballard, 7 p.m.
Corydon is ranked No. 4 in Indiana’s Class 3A and of course won the PSC Holiday Classic at Tell City and South Spencer 10 days ago.
Barr-Reeve in Class A and Park Tudor in 2A are ranked No. 1 in Indiana in their classes, so they should also represent the Hoosier state well.
The 10 participating teams feature at least 14 NCAA Division I prospects. They include Corydon forward Bronson Kessinger, a junior who has already received offers from several Missouri Valley Conference schools.
The state whose teams win the most games will receive an actual Challenge Cup that will be displayed at that state’s basketball Hall of Fame for the coming year.
This is planned as an annual event and will be hosted at an Indiana site in January 2015.
Admission is $10 for the entire day and military veterans and their immediate families (up to four tickets per veteran) will be admitted at no charge.
Tickets will be available from participating schools or on game day at Freedom Hall.
Two of Tell City graduate Steve Lochmueller’s former University of Kentucky teammates, Mike Flynn and Jimmy Dan Conner, have been named honorary captains for this year’s event.
Flynn was Indiana’s 1971 Mr. Basketball from Jeffersonville and Conner was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball the same year from Anderson County.
It sounds like a neat event, but I would suggest organizers even up the number of boys and girls games in the future (three boys games and two girls games one year, followed by three girls games and two boys games the next year).
Obviously a southern Indiana site for next year’s event would be most convenient for the Kentucky teams’ fans. And why not put it in a true high school gymnasium that is big enough to hold it? My suggestion would be either Southridge’s Huntingburg Memorial Gymnasium or Washington’s Hatchet House.
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There have been a few guards who have led Perry County basketball teams in rebounding through the years. Two Tell City girls, Lauren Goffinet in the 2008-09 season and Kara Kessans in 1997-98, quickly come to mind.
Todd Kincaid even did it for Tell City’s boys in 1988-89.
But this year it is likely that two Perry County girls teams will have guards lead them in rebounding, and they will be the shortest ever to do so.
Goffinet and Kessans were each around 5-foot-11 their senior seasons (each was at least seven inches shorter as freshmen, which is why they had become guards).
But Mikah Hemmings, a 5-foot-5 senior guard, is a virtual lock to lead Cannelton in rebounding this season.
And junior guard Brittany Parker, who is listed at 5-3 but admits she is only 5-2, is on pace to lead Perry Central’s girls in rebounding.
Parker is averaging a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game through 13 games.
Center Sydney Goffinet is next at 6.0 rebounds per game and Hannah Edwards, who is sometimes introduced as a third guard but really plays forward, is averaging 5.9.
Parker is obviously a great athlete—she’s as quick as any girl I’ve seen going from one end of the court to the other with the ball and her leaping ability helped her play the front row for Perry Central’s 27-5 volleyball team last fall.
Still it would be an amazing feat for someone her height to lead a team in rebounding.