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LEXINGTON — LaRue County senior Ivy Brown believes every little girl who picks up a basketball in Kentucky dreams of one day becoming Miss Basketball.
Brown fulfilled that dream Tuesday night at the Lexington Center, joining a select group who have won Miss Basketball. Former Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall announced the winner and the LaRue County contingent broke out in screams.
“It’s definitely a big honor,” Brown said after the awards ceremony hosted by the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation. “Every little girl dreams of being Miss Basketball. There was some stiff competition. I’m very excited. It’s really a dream come true.”
The 6-foot-1 Western Kentucky signee made LaRue County history becoming the first student-athlete to win such an award.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said Brown’s father, David. “You want your kids to do well and she had a great, great career. This is awesome.”
Brown admitted to tearing up when Hall announced she won. She had to wait nearly 2 hours before they announced Mr. and Miss Basketball. There was a reception and dinner and then several awards were given out before taking a brief intermission.
“I was a little anxious,” Brown said. “I kept waiting, hoping to hear my name called. I had no clue if I’d win. There were six other great basketball players. It’s a huge honor.”
The other finalists were Makenzie Cann and Eriel McKee of Anderson County, Nicole Kiernan of Newport Central Catholic, Javonna Layfield of Louisville Ballard, DaiJia Ruffin of Louisville Sacred Heart and Kayla Rankin of Perry County Central.
Ballard senior Quinton Snider, who signed with Louisville, was named Mr. Basketball after averaging 22.3 points per game. The other finalists were Snider’s teammate Kelan Martin, Lexington Lafayette’s Jackson Davis, Scott County’s Trent Gilbert, Johnson Central’s Shane Hall, Dixie Heights’ Brandon Hatton and Perry County Central’s Justin Johnson.
“My legs were shaking and my heart was pounding,” Snider said. “This is a big honor for me, my family and Ballard.”
Brown averaged 24.4 points and 12.6 rebounds per game this season. She also led the team in assists and steals. Brown became the second consecutive 5th Region player to win the award after Marion County’s Makayla Epps accomplished the feat last year.
“I’m so happy for her,” LaRue County coach Travis Wootton said. “She put in all the work. She played for her teammates and she made her team better. People from across the state recognized that. She’s been a joy to coach.”
This season, the Lady Hawks went 24-7, won the Girls’ 18th District Tournament for the second consecutive year and reached the Girls’ 5th Region Tournament championship for the second season in a row. Some of Brown’s teammates were on hand to share in her special night.
“This means a lot,” LaRue County junior Alexis Brewer said. “She’s been a great teammate. She’s worked her tail off. We’re so happy for her.”
Brown finished her career with school records in points (2,906), rebounds (1,168), steals (622) and assists (439).
“We’re so proud of her,” said Brown’s mother, Michelle. “She’s worked so hard over the years and she’s getting what she’s earned.”
LaRue County athletic director David Dawson said what makes Brown’s accomplishment so much more special is the type of person she is off the court.
“When you think of Ivy, she’s a first-class individual,” Dawson said. “She does things the right way. She’s extremely gracious. She’s a pleasure to be around on and off the court. This is a big moment for LaRue County and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”
The significance of the award wasn’t lost on Brown.
“Hopefully, I’ve represented LaRue County well,” Brown said. “I guess I made my mark at LaRue County. I’m very honored. It’s a good way to go out.”
Chuck Jones can be reached at 270-505-1759 or email@example.com.
MISS BASKETBALL WINNERS
YEAR—WINNER, HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE
1976—Donna Murphy, Newport, Morehead State
1977—Geri Grigsby, McDowell, Kentucky
1978—Irene Moore, Breathitt County, None
1979—Beth Wilkerson, Paris, Old Dominion
1980—Lisa Collins, Laurel County, Kentucky
1981—Lillie Mason, Olmstead High, Western Kentucky
1982—Connie Goins, Franklin Co./Western Hills, Duke
1983—Clemette Haskins, Warren Central, Western Kentucky
1984—Carol Parker, Marshall County, Paducah Community College
1985—Bridgette Combs, Whitesburg, Western Kentucky
1986—Kris Miller, Owensboro Catholic, Kentucky
1987—Mary Taylor, Marshall County, Western Kentucky
1988—Kim Pehlke, Louisville Doss, Western Kentucky
1989—Lisa Harrison, Louisville Southern, Tennessee
1990—Kim Mays, Knox Central, Eastern Kentucky
1991—Ida Bowen, Sheldon Clark, Western Kentucky
1992—Becky McKinley, Bullitt East, Kentucky
1993—Brandi Ashby, Webster County, Hawaii/Western Kentucky
1994—Laurie Townsend, Apollo, Western Kentucky
1995—Ukari Figgs, Scott County, Purdue
1996—Jaime Walz, Fort Thomas Highlands, Western Kentucky
1997—Rachel Byars, Union County, Western Kentucky/Boston College
1998—Beth Vice, Montgomery County, Alabama
1999—Jody Sizemore, Leslie County, Morehead State
2000—Jenni Benningfield, Louisville Assumption, Vanderbilt
2001—Katie Schweggman, Alexandria Bishop Brossart, Miami (Ohio)
2002—Erica Hallman, Covington Holmes, Kansas
2003—Megen Gearhart, West Carter, Morehead State
2004—Crystal Kelly, Louisville Sacred Heart, Western Kentucky
2005—Carly Ormerod, Louisville Sacred Heart, Kentucky
2006—Arnika Brown, Christian County, Kentucky/St. Catharine/Western Kentucky
2007—Rebecca Gray, Scott County, North Carolina/Kentucky/Union College
2008—Tia Gibbs, Louisville Butler, Vanderbilt/Louisville
2009—A’dia Mathies, Louisville Iroquois, Kentucky
2010—Sarah Beth Barnette, Lexington Christian, Kentucky/Virginia
2011—Sara Hammond, Rockcastle County, Louisville,
2012—Sydney Moss, Boone County, Florida/Thomas More
2013—Makayla Epps, Marion County, Kentucky
2014—Ivy Brown, LaRue County, Western Kentucky