Sitting in the upper level bleachers of a high school gym by yourself, watching a basketball game between two teams who neither are your alma mater probably would not interest many folks. I, on the other hand, have a sports problem and could not think of anywhere else I would rather be. (Not to mention that the last call on fifty cent pizza and hot dogs were also right up my alley.)
There is 10 seconds left on the clock with the score tied, 80-80, between the visiting Dixie Heights Colonels and the Boone County Rebels. Dixie is at the free throw line with two shots from the strife. (At this point I am no longer concerned about figuring out why bleacher floors are sticky all the time.) The colonels can’t convert either shot; the Rebels collect the rebound and are on their way down the floor. With the crowd on their feet, it’s Cooper Downs with the drive, he puts up the runner….and it’s good! Boone County takes an 82-80 lead with only 2.9 seconds remaining in the game. With the Colonels last look at the bucket, Downs gets a hand on the inbound pass which prevents Dixie from getting a good shot, and the Rebels win!
These final minutes, while the crowd is on their feet cheering, were the sensational highlight of Boone County’s senior night, and will be the game that Cooper Downs, Zane McQueary and the six other seniors on Coach McQueary’s squad will always remember.
The Colonels came out strong with a 20-13 lead at the end of the first quarter, and lead by four at the end of the half. The Rebels turned up the heat though in the second half by scoring an outstanding 51 points. It was easy to see they felt they could not lose their final game on their home court.
The Rebels and Colonels combined for 19 3-pointers in the game, which is no surprise by looking at the score. Zane McQueary of the Rebels, accounted for seven of those 3-balls with five of them coming in the second half. Boone County, ranked fourth on the Enquirer Northern Kentucky coaches’ poll, gave Dixie, ranked first, their only loss in regional play this season.
“We need to focus on defense and rebounding, we have no problem scoring the ball,” said Colonels coach Ken Chevalier in an interview with me earlier this week. He seemed to hit the nail right on the head, pertaining to Friday’s game against the Rebels. Don’t let this upset make you think any differently of Dixie’s team though. They are still the favored 9th region returning champs this year, and I don’t believe you could find anybody who would say differently. Especially with Brandon Hatton averaging 19 points on the year and the team, as a whole, is shooting 47% from the field.
There is no doubt that if these two teams happen to meet in the 9th region tournament, it will be another great game. There is also no doubt that you can count on me being there in my entire pathetic, sports dependent, and basketball infatuated glory.
Every Coach that I have talked to this season said that the 9th region was wide open. This could make for great games in the tournament from The Bank of Kentucky Center at NKU. NKYSports.com will be covering games from the BOKC, so be sure to stay tuned for the schedule of games and reports.
Boone County Rebels
Zane McQueary had the game high 25 pts.
Downs’ finished with 10 pts, but most importantly the final 5 pts. of the game with a 3-ball for the tie and of course the game winning basket.
Dixie Heights Colonels
Brandon Hatton led the Colonels with 24 pts. followed by Parker Stansberry who finished with 17.
2/22 Boone County vs. Ryle/Heritage at Conner
2/22 Dixie Heights vs. Ludlow/Villa Madonna at Lloyd Memorial