SUMMIT, Ky. – It was exhausting. A game where every basket was hard to come by. There was pushing and shoving. It was physical, fistfight basketball.
Mike Tyson might as well have been the referee.
Two Boyd County teams that made defense and rebounding their calling cards, were matched against each other in a heavyweight bout between 16th Region champions 17 years apart.
Boyd County’s 1973 team, the school’s first regional champion, came in with the idea that had the muscle and they had flamboyant Davey Wooten as their point guard. Wooten of the floppy hair and floppy socks, was a cold-stone killer of a basketball player.
Boyd County’s 1990 team took on the persona of its coach, fiery Roger Zornes, who coached a no-nonsense style of basketball that was predicated on being the toughest team on the floor. The 1990 Lions’ fullcourt pressure could rattle even the best of teams.
“This wasn’t a G-rated basketball game,” said 73 coach Brice Thornbury. “Everything you got, you earned. I was cringing on the bench when (Rob) Chaney and (Jason) Goad were colliding out there.”
Wooten and Wes Crawford made for a delightful matchup, at least for the fans. They went against each other like two starving dogs. It ended in a stalemate, both of them battered and bruised from going at each other.
Players were diving everywhere for loose balls and digging in their heals for rebounds. It was so tough that it may have been modeled after Bill Bradley’s CLEM games.
The teams battled to a 19-19 tie in the first quarter and the 90 Lions managed to wrestle out to a 36-33 halftime lead. Both of them were glad to get to the locker rooms for a breather.
“It was physical out there, just like we like it,” Zornes said. “I told the guys at halftime they were coming after us. We needed to be ready to take a shot from them.”
Phil Pratt and Rob Chaney were vicious rebounders and they were clearing everything. They combined for 20 of the 73 Lions 35 rebounds. And if anybody thought the first half was physical, they should have been there for the third quarter.
Elbows, shoves, tipped balls and not many points. But the 73 Lions had managed to go ahead 49-48 with eight minutes to play.
The game featured 10 lead changes and 10 ties. The 90 Lions led by as much as eight points and the 73 Lions led by no more than three points.
“I looked down at Roger and asked him if he wanted to call it a tie,” Thornbury said. “He didn’t. I was starting to worry that a few of these guys were going to leave in an ambulance.”
The game turned somewhat when Chaney turned an ankle and had to sit out for three minutes of the fourth quarter. But Doc Bayes had him taped up and ready for the stretch run.
“I let them have Doc Bayes to fix Chaney’s ankle,” Zornes said. “That showed my softer side.”
Dicky Tiller was broadcasting the game and Boyd County fans who weren’t in the Summit gymnasium were listening to him. He moved as quick as anybody had ever seen him move when Chaney and Mark Stevens were going after the same loose ball near his table.
They both took a dive and Tiller survived a spill that put him on his back. But he never quit calling the play in a Hall of Fame broadcasting move.
“I had to let people know what was happening even though I ended up looking at the ceiling,” he said.
Everybody collected themselves and the game went on along with Tiller’s call of the game. “Well Kenny,” he said to his partner, Kenny Osborne. “That’s the first time I’ve been anybody has knocked me off my feet.”
The fourth quarter was tense with the biggest lead coming at 67-61 with 120 seconds remaining. It looked like doomsday for the 73 Lions. Casey Shumway came alive, scoring four points to make it 67-65 and after Snook Bryan came up with a steal at midcourt and breakaway layup it was all tied at 67 with only 15 seconds remaining.
The 90 Lions turned it over on a five-second call and the 73 Lions had a chance to win it. Wooten’s behind-the-back pass to Pratt set him up for a 15-footer but Pratt’s son, John Stacy, came from behind and slapped the ball away and off his dad’s foot out of bounds.
This time Zornes called a timeout and set up a play for Lewis Burke who gathered in a bullet pass from Stevens near midcourt and headed to the basket. With time running out, he pulled up from about 12 feet away and defenders went right past him. He let it fly … swish! … and the 90 Lions had survived at the buzzer 69-67.
“That’s how a game between two championship teams should end,” Zornes said.
Players congratulated each other and limped off the floor in what was the most physical simulation game you’d ever want to watch.
“That game was so physical I’m sore from coaching,” Thornbury said.
Pratt collected 19 points and 12 rebounds while Shumway scored 15, Chaney 14 and Wooten collected 11 points and seven assits.
Lewis Burke, his white jersey strained with streaks of blood after taking an elbow to the nose, led four in double figures with 16 points. Stevens scored 13, Goad had 11 points and eight rebounds and Crawford added 10 points for the winners.
Boyd County’s 1990 team finished 26-7 and won the regional championship before losing in the opening round of the Sweet 16.
Boyd County’s 1973 team finished 26-7 and won the regional championship before losing in the opening round of the Sweet 16.
1990 BOYD COUNTY (69) – Keeton 4-8 1-2 9, Stevens 3-10 7-7 13, Goad 3-10 2-2 11, L.Burke 7-9 2-6 16, Crawford 5-7 0-0 10, Marshall 0-3 5-6 5, Phillips 1-2 0-0 2, Stacy 0-1 3-4 4, B.Burke 0-4 0-0 0. FG: 23-54. FT: 20-27. 3FG: 3-21 (Keeton 0-1, Stevens 0-6, Goad 3-9, Marshall 0-1, Stacy 0-1, B.Burke 0-3). Rebounds: 31 (Keeton 1, Stevens 4, Goad 8, L.Burke 6, Crawford 4, Marshall 7, B.Burke 1). Assists: 13 (Stevens 2, Goal 2, L.Burke 1, Crawford 6, Stacy 2). PF: 18. Turnovers: 11.
1973 BOYD COUNTY (67) – Pratt 9-12 0-2 19, Bryan 3-12 1-1 7, Chaney 6-13 0-0 14, Wooten 5-7 1-6 11, Hayes 0-2 1-2 1, Shumway 5-8 4-4 15, Clark 0-1 0-0 0, Pennington 0-2 0-0 0. FG: 28-57. FT: 7-15. 3FG: 4-19 (Pratt 1-3, Bryan 0-6, Chaney 2-8, Shumway 1-2). Rebounds: 35 (Pratt 12, Bryan 5, Chaney 8, Wooten 2, Hayes 4, Shumway 3, Pennington 1). Assists: 15 (Bryan 2, Chaney 1, Wooten 7, Stacy 5). PF: 23. Turnovers: 15.
1990 BOYD COUNTY 19 17 12 21 – 69
1973 BOYD COUNTY 19 14 16 18 – 67