Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

March 21, 2011

Ashland doctor has sweet memories of ‘86 title

LEXINGTON — In 1986, he helped deliver a state championship to the Pulaski County basketball team.

Twenty-five years later, he delivers babies on a daily basis in Ashland.

Dr. Tony Dotson, a gynecologist at King’s Daughters Medical Center, remains an adamant follower of high school basketball in Kentucky, and on Friday night, he was once again a part of “The Greatest Show in Hoops.”

Dotson and his ‘86 teammates, on the 25th anniversary of their triumphant night, were recognized at halftime of Friday night’s Sweet Sixteen quarterfinal matchup between Rowan County and Wayne County at Rupp Arena.

“Being in this environment, to be around the excitement of high school basketball and everything I remember as being a kid in Somerset, it’s great,” said Dotson before he returned to his seat to enjoy Rowan County's 64-47 victory.

Dotson follows 16th Region basketball closely, and had especially taken notice of Rowan County this season. Tracy Hunter, a registered nurse in Dotson's office, is a sister to Corey Hunter, the senior starting center for the Vikings.

“Because of that connection, I watched Rowan play Ashland (in the 16th Region championship in Morehead) and saw them play Russell this season,” Dotson said.

Because the doctor was on call over the weekend, Dotson was not able to witness Rowan County's remarkable run to a runner-up finish in a thrilling state championship game — the Vikings lost to Christian County, 65-63, in double overtime.

Dotson was also involved in a climactic finish, several actually, as a sophomore reserve on the 1986 Pulaski County Maroons.

Pulaski County holds the State Tournament record for lowest margin of victory by a champion — a 10-point clip in four total games.

The Maroons, led by do-it-all senior center Reggie Hanson, who played at Kentucky, knocked off Clay County, Clark County and Owensboro to set up a dramatic final game against Pleasure Ridge Park.

Shannon Fraley, son of well-known and highly successful coach Dave Fraley, hit a last-second shot to give Pulaski County a 47-45 win and a state title.

“We had the ball ... he brings the ball down the court, drives to the middle, and shoots a finger roll just right over the rim as the clock expires,” Dotson said, reliving the moment.

That final score, 47-45, is inscribed on one side of the championship ring Dotson and his former teammates showed off to one another.

“Everybody pulled out their old rings,” Dotson said. “It was a great opportunity to come back and reunite with guys I hadn't really seen since high school.”

Pulaski County had a 20th anniversary to celebrate the team at the high school in Somerset, where Dotson spent nearly all of his childhood — he was born in London.

However, more players arrived for Friday night’s reunion — 12 trotted out to halfcourt in button-ups and slacks and waved to the crowd of about 12,000.

Hanson, an assistant coach at South Florida, was unable to make an appearance.

Dotson did not start until his junior and senior seasons. The doctor, who stands at about 6-foot-2, said he largely played mop-up minutes, after games were long decided, but he vividly remembers that magical night in March.

“It was certainly one of my most memorable events in high school and probably top 10 of my life,” Dotson said as the third quarter got under way on Friday night. “It’s something so special that you work for your whole life as a young boy — to develop your basketball skills, to be a part of a special team like that, and to be just so lucky to come up here (to Rupp) and win it all.

“It’s a rare thing,” he continued. “There's a special group of kids and adults that can say that they've done this.”

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


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