To be "The Man," You've got to beat "The Man"

By: Mackenzie Bates
By: Mackenzie Bates

When People think of Basketball Dynasties in the Mountains, just a handful of teams come to mind.

When People think of Basketball Dynasties in the Mountains, just a handful of teams come to mind.

The Clay County Boys run through the WYMT Mountain Basketball Classic, The Clay County girl’s streak of 13th Region Games and trips to the State Tournament.

But let’s not forget about Shelby Valley.  The Wildcats have gone to the Sweet 16 as the 15th Region Representative seven of the past ten years, including three straight seasons.

But their magical run came to an end Tuesday Night in the 59th District as East Ridge defeated The Cats 62-46.  This marks the first time since the 1998-99 season that Shelby Valley will not play in the 15th Region Tournament.

The 59th District was played AT Valley and anyone who has been there knows it’s a tough place to play.  Just seeing those banners of 15th Region Champions, Two All “A” State Titles as well as the 2010 State Championship, Shelby Valley set the standard on which all 15th Region teams should be judged.

But East Ridge came ready to play on Tuesday Night.  I called first year coach, Preston Lemaster just to get an idea of how they knocked off the Valley Dwellers.

Here’s the gist of how they pulled off the upset.  From the opening tip, the Warriors controlled the tempo.  They never let Shelby Valley get in their comfort zone. 

They opened the game in exciting fashion with Junior Forward Ray Kasongo throwing down a dunk while getting fouled in the process but Kasongo sat on the bench with foul trouble.

So they turned to the sharpshooter himself, Johnny Miller.  He hit six, 3-point field goals and finished with 29-points.

Just two weeks ago in the regular season, Valley bested East Ridge on the same floor 51-41.  It was a tremendous job by the former Kentucky Wildcat to defeat the 3 time defending champions of the 15th Region to figure out what they did wrong just two weeks ago and get his team ready for the postseason.

So for the first time since the 2007-08 season, there will be a NEW 15th Region Champion.  But we cannot forget the foundation that Shelby Valley set these past few seasons as another one of the basketball dynasties in the mountains.

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