POWELL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - The trophy case at Powell County High School is lined with awards and mementos of past victories, so playing for their third straight district title is nothing new for the Lady Pirates.
"It's been a fun season," said Assistant Coach David Faulkner.
While success is fairly common on the court, playing without their Head Coach, Ken Jones, was an odd feeling on Thursday night.
"Not seeing the man out there with his towel and shirt and tie. There wasn't as much arguing with the referees and yelling at the referees. We missed him big time," described Assistant Coach Justin Shepherd.
For a team with only seven losses on the season, the biggest loss came off the court on Wednesday when Coach Jone's son, KC, died unexpectedly. Friends say KC left behind a wife and 4-month-old son, along with his mother and father, and four sisters.
"One of the hardest things, you know," said Shepherd, "I've known KC and Coach Jones a long time. I grew up, I played ball with KC in little league."
"Last night, it was a very emotional night for everybody," added senior Stephanie Knox.
"It was hard to focus during warm-ups," said junior Krista Estep.
When the game started, all of that faded and the girls knew what had to be done.
"As soon as we hit the court, we knew we were playing for somebody," stated Knox.
"It was pretty evident that they laid it out on the floor for Coach Jones," answered Faulkner.
They may have been a team without their leader, but when the clock hit zero they were the ones holding up the trophy. Only they did it with Coach Jones and his family on their minds.
"We've done it for you!" sophomore Destiny Peck described, "We're making him proud even though he couldn't be there."
"We brought the tournament trophy home for him. We won that for him!" boasted senior Keeley Rogers.
When Rogers said they brought the trophy home, she meant the brought the trophy "home!"
"He was surprised. He had no idea that we were coming and he got a little emotional whenever we walked in and put the net around his neck," recalled Rogers.
"We're not used to seeing Coach Jones in that way, he's always the toughest man, you know," chimed Knox.
"When we got there, he said, 'I told you to bring the trophy home, but I didn't expect you to bring it HOME to me!'" remembered Dana Estep, Krista's mother, who was one of many that crowed into the Jones' home.
It was a big win for Powell County, but the biggest impact won't show up in the stats, said Shepherd, "It's more than just winning and losing a game, you know we're a family."