Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

March 1, 2013

AARON SNYDER: They have arrived

MOREHEAD — It wasn’t exactly a case of “The Greasers” versus “The Socials,” but Fleming County couldn't help but sort of feel like “The Outsiders” when thrown into the 16th Region mix in 2005.

“We felt like we were married to the 10th (Region), liked the 10th, enjoyed it there,” recalled Blake Price, Fleming County's athletic director. “It’s been a slow process, but we're starting to feel like we're a part of this region now."

After beating Rowan County, 60-45, on Friday night in the region boys basketball tournament, a conclusion was derived.

Fleming County has arrived.

“This let everybody know that Fleming County is here to play basketball,” said Panthers senior Desmond McAdams.

Following back-to-back opening-round losses over the last two region tournaments, Fleming County appeared

to be stuck on the brink of breaking through.

“It feels like we’ve been doing the same thing,” said McAdams. “Lost the first round, lose the first round ... we got our first-round win, then came the second and here we are now.”

Determined to put those recent downfalls in the rear-view mirror, the Panthers penetrated past the first door (Lewis County), and the second (Ashland).

Surviving the Tomcats in double overtime was the big one. The ’Cats had outlasted Fleming County in an overtime classic in 2012.

Big Bad Ashland, a program packed with tradition and having 31 region titles to its name, did not intimidate the prideful Panthers.

“We weren’t going to let them throw punches and knock us out,” said Fleming County coach Mark Starns. “We were going to be the one throwing haymakers.”

Mission accomplished, so ...

... Who awaited behind door No. 3?

Who else but Rowan County, an opponent the Panthers would have to down for a fifth time in a matter of three months?

“It was real tough,” said junior Troy Steward of knocking off a rival five straight times. “It’s a big deal.”

The circle has widened in 16th Region basketball. Fleming County is permanently locked in as a link.

“We’re excited to represent this region at Rupp Arena,” Price said.

Fleming County takes on either North Hardin or John Hardin on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the Sweet Sixteen.

Losing its Straw

Coaches have been preaching to Tyler Thacker to be the “straw that stirs the drink.”

Soaking up the brightest spotlight as usual, the Rowan County junior was mixing up something special, a cold glass of sweet tea amid sizzling summer air.

Having splashed onto the state with scene a breakout 25-point performance at Rupp Arena a year ago, Thacker appeared to have his team possibly headed for a return trip.

He had six points, four assists and three rebounds sprinkled along his stat-line before he drove into the paint for a layup attempt late in the second quarter. His team led 24-17 with a minute-plus left in the period.

As Thacker planted to get around a defender, his left knee bent awkwardly, sending him crumbling to the floor in pain.

“My knee buckled inside and it popped,” said Tyler, on crutches after the game.

“From the knee down, I was numb,” he added. “I knew something was wrong.”

Head coach Shawn Thacker, also Tyler’s father, trusted his assistant coaches and trainer to tend to his son.

“As a dad, you want to go out there and check on him, but you’ve got other responsibilities as a coach,” Shawn Thacker said.

Tyler, who had played all last season with a partially torn labrum in his shooting shoulder, was unfortunately sidelined for the remainder of Friday’s game after being helped off the floor.

Fleming County outscored Rowan County 43-21 from that point forward.

Tyler Thacker watched from the bench, his mind locked on one question.

“All I could say was, what if?” he said. “I was devastated for my team and for me. I was stirring the drink.”

Thacker returns next season to a team that graduates five seniors.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.


Text Only
Local Sports
  • Proposed plan a touchdown for Ashland, Central

    They’ll have to wait another year, but some major changes are on the horizon.

    April 15, 2014

  • Martin, Cannoy put pop on top of Boyd 12-2 win

    Boyd County’s softball bats are booming of late.

    April 14, 2014

  • Stock spiking for Raceland softball

    Raceland took a major step in trying to shift the balance of power in 63rd District softball.

    April 14, 2014

  • 0415eastSB0110.jpg Still chasing the Kittens

    East Carter entered Monday’s softball showdown with Ashland looking to show it’s a credible threat to the Kittens’ recent domination of the 16th Region.

    April 14, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local Sports in Brief: Bush, Porter Wendy's Heisman finalists

    Rose Hill Christian seniors David Bush and Myriah Porter have been named state finalists for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award.

    April 14, 2014

  • Paintsville tops Magoffin, 12-0

    Kash Daniel and Spencer Taylor combined to toss a one-hitter as Paintsville pounded Magoffin County, 12-0, on Monday night in the first of a two-game series between 57th District foes.

    April 14, 2014

  • AARON SNYDER: Kittens on prowl for SS

    The Monday Morning Shortstop didn't have to dodge any actual darts at Ashland Softball Complex, although there may be an enlarged picture of him riddled with holes somewhere close by.
    If the piercing looks thrown my way weren't enough to sway me, the Kittens did more than enough on the field the past two weeks to distance themselves from a No. 5 ranking in northeastern Kentucky.

    April 13, 2014

  • 0414bcclassic0539.jpg Raceland girls, Boyd boys win track Classic

    As Boyd County first-year track and field coach Chris Holbrook stood on the infield and watched a member of Raceland’s 4-by-400-meter relay team circle the track in the final girls’ event of Saturday’s Boyd County Classic, he commented aloud to no one in particular, “She’s not showing any signs of running out of gas.”
    The Lady Rams had just enough in the tank to fend off the Lady Lions’ late charge and lock down their third victory of the young season, edging host Boyd County by six points, 171-165.
    On the boys’ side, Boyd County cruised, beating second-place Rowan County 175-114. A Lions club that finished 10th in last spring’s Class 2A, Region 6 meet has won all three meets it’s participated in this season.

    April 13, 2014 4 Photos

  • Starns, Steward stellar in '13-14

    After compiling a 40-2 record against 16th Region opponents over the last two seasons, Fleming County left the rest of the area thoroughly convinced of its prowess on the basketball court.

    April 13, 2014

  • Thunder on a sunny day

    Greenup County did its best to pitch to Ashland slugger McKenzie Vanover in her first three trips to the plate Saturday afternoon.
    It didn’t work out so well.

    April 13, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone