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After the inaugural Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-off Classic, KHSBHF executive director Ken Trivette thinks the organization has gotten its message out.
From the six exhibition games at T.K. Stone Middle School in Elizabethtown to the T-shirts and meals players and coaches received to greeting fans and coaches in the stands, Trivette wants Kentucky residents to know the Hall of Fame is about one thing: people.
“We are first and foremost about people. Players, coaches, individuals who love the game and who want to be a part of this Hall of Fame and what we’re trying to do. That’s what we’re about,” Trivette said Saturday afternoon. “And other things happen for you when you do those things. The essence of the game is people.”
Trivette, along with KHSBHF director/coordinator Curtis Turley, hope people throughout the area – and the state – will take notice of this weekend’s exhibition showcase.
From who he’s talked to so far, Turley thinks they are – and like it.
“The feedback I’m getting from all the coaches and players is real positive. They’re excited about being a part of this first thing and obviously we’re hoping to make it an annual event and maybe even move this classic into the regular season next year,” Turley said. “Credit E’town Mayor (Tim Walker), Gary French, Doug Barnes, Steve Smallwood and the two (Elizabethtown) coaches, (and) Thad Elmore at T.K. (Stone) and his staff. They’ve been like clockwork. It enabled myself and Kenny to visit with coaches and people in the crowd. I think it’s been an enjoyable weekend for everybody. It certainly has been for me.”
Owensboro Catholic coach Ray Zuberer and senior guard Becca Greenwell had a good night Friday.
After missing all of last season with a torn right ACL, Greenwell made her unofficial return to the court as the Lady Aces defeated Webster County in the opening game.
A Miss Basketball candidate and Duke University commitment, the 6-foot-2 Greenwell scored 35 points, but Zuberer acknowledged it took her a half before she finally got going.
“Actually, she was nervous tonight. She said before the game she was nervous; course it’s been a year since she’s played a high school game,” Zuberer said. “I think it showed early in the game when she was missing a lot of easy layups. Finally in the third quarter I told her, ‘you’ve missed enough layups, you’re too good of a player.’ And then she kind of took over the game and after that I don’t know if she missed another shot after that. She was a little rusty and a little bit nervous, I think.”
Two years ago, Greenwell led the state in scoring at 32.6 points per game. She also led the Lady Aces in rebounds (12.0), steals (3.9), assists (3.5) and blocks (1.4) per game. She admitted her nerves crept up Friday night.
“I was actually really nervous, especially since it was my first almost-real high school game coming back and I am not really used to playing in high school and you could kind of tell during the first half, I was missing a lot of my shots and wasn’t playing my normal game,” Greenwell said. “But once I got used to it and got going, I thought my game started to come back and I started playing a little bit better.”
North Hardin girls’ coach Chris Corder liked his experience. The Lady Trojans defeated Montgomery County early Saturday. Corder thought the event was organized well and players were treated the same.
Plus, North Hardin got a chance to go against a slower and methodically paced team, one which has won a region championship in seven of the past eight seasons.
“We got to play somebody that’s not on our schedule. They’ve won the 10th Region quite a few times. They’re a good quality opponent which is different than we’re used to seeing,” Corder said. “We played a little slower. They have good post players. It’s a style we don’t normally play. We need to get better against a halfcourt defense and playing better defense.”
Trivette said around 200 fans attended each of the first two sessions. The North Hardin boys defeated Montgomery County on Friday night, and the Hancock County Lady Hornets beat Central Hardin on Saturday afternoon. The Elizabethtown Panthers faced Bullitt Central, while the Elizabethtown Lady Panthers took on defending state champion Louisville DuPont Manual on Saturday night.
Turley is certain the organization is going to break even financially, which was the group’s goal in the first year. That’s fine with him. It’s just like starting a business. Word of mouth is key.
“Goodwill ends up in the long run paying much better dividends than anything you can do,” Trivette said. “Goodwill equals dividends. And that dividends many times it’s financial and many times it comes back to you in many different ways.”
John Groth can be reached at (270) 505-1754 or email@example.com.