Sports success abound in Pendleton County
While so much of the sports coverage hasrightfully been following the story of Dontaie Allen, there were other Pendleton County sports stories that championed their success.
1. Allen becomes Wildcat Basketball all-time leading scorer, passing Talbert Turner, Jr.
2. Sitting across the desk from University of Kentucky Head Basketball Coach John Calipari who had just offered a scholarship to play basketball for the Wildcats, Dontaie Allen surprised even his parents by immediately saying yes. That sparked a love affair with Allen from Big Blue Nation who has sought a Kentucky homegrown talent to play for the state’s favorite basketball team.
3. For over 50 years, the format of the 38th District Basketball Tournament has been a blind draw. While nearly every other district in Kentucky has gone to a seeding system, only the 38th and 39th districts have stubbornly chose to remain as a blind draw. The results have led to first round matchups of the two best teams battling it out with one team not making it to the regional tournament. A few years back, a proposal for seeding was offered but was rejected by Harrison County, Nicholas County and Deming. In 2017, Nicholas County began to have second thoughts and, during the district tournament meeting in February of 2018, they were ready to vote for seeding. Joining Harrison County and Pendleton County, who had first offered the revenue sharing plan that would include seeding, the vote was 3-1. Robertson County would be the lone holdout. The 2018-19 38th District Tournament would consist of the #1 seed playing the #4 seed and #2 and #3 seeds facing off in the first round. Teams will play each other in one regular season game that will involve seeding and then move to two regular season games in subsequent years.
4. Tied at fourth, Nate Jones has played several seasons of professional baseball but the last time he played close to Pendleton County was a minor league trip to Lexington and playing the Legends. That changed over July 4th, Pendleton County invaded Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds, when Jones’ Chicago White Sox came to town for a three-game series. While he was on the disabled list and not able to pitch, the stands were filled with Jones’ White Sox jersey, and he spent most of pre-game and post-game visiting with fans and friends. “Coming to the ballpark and being able to see so many friends and family is an awesome thing. I’m very grateful to all of the people who have followed my career and even traveled across the country to see me pitch,” said Jones at the time. He would return from the disabled list later in the season and have his option picked up by the White Sox for the 2019 season.
4. Tied for fourth was Brianna Crouch becoming the first Ladycat volleyball player to be chosen for the 10th Region Hall of Fame. “It is such an honor. All of the bruises, early mornings sweat, and tears paid off,” said Crouch when told of the selection. She played 245 games for the Ladycats at all levels, lettering all four years of high school. Upon her graduation, she held team records in assists, aces, and serving percentage of 95 percent. She was an integral part of the Ladycats
first district championship. She finished her career with 175 kills, 408 digs, 241 aces, and 1,032 assists.
The top ten sports stories of 2018 rounded out with two stories tied at 6. Conner Harper passing his brother, Aven, as the Wildcat Soccer all-time leading scorer. 6. Kayley Bruener, who is an eighth grader pitching a perfect game versus Grant County. She retired all 15 batters she faced in the Ladycats 11-0, five-inning victory. 8. Conner Harper dominated the soccer scene during the fall being named Kentucky Youth Soccer Player of the Year, first team All-State and being the first Wildcat Soccer player to commit and sign to play Division I soccer. He will play for Wright State University in Dayton next year. 9. While his son was racking up stories upon his success, dad, Aaron, was making history himself. He was selected to be the first player to join the NKY Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame. Having played from 1992-94, he was hailed as a captain on the field by then coach Tony Bentley. He should know hall-of-fame caliber play as Bentley is also a member of the hall of fame. “I could have played him as center halfback but I needed him on defense. He still set up teammates with passes.
Forty yards out and, boom, pass is right where his neammate needed it to be,” said Bentley. As usual, Harper humbly accepted “I am honored to be selected. To be able to play, coach at PC, and see my two sons go through the program is something that will forever be in my heart. Soccer has been great for my family.” 10. Ladycat Softball is young, but they made their stamp on the 10th Region softball scene by claiming the #1 seed of the 38th District Tournament and advancing to the 10th Region tournament for the first time in over a decade.
Other stories receiving votes were: Cody Sullivan hit 10 three-pointers versus Calvary Christian to set the Wildcat Basketball team record, Scott Collins (girls basketball coach) and Mason Monroe (boys basketball player) became members of the 10th Region Hall of Fame, Clint Moore earned All-American honors while shooting archery for University of Cumberlands, Nathan Peoples won his second National Pole Barrel Championship, Ladycat Archery finished second at the regional tournament and advanced to the KHSAA State Archery meet where they finished 15th, Kentucky Sports Radio traveled through the state and made a stop to broadcast their show in front of a huge crowd at Northern Kentucky Golf Club, Sharp volleyball finished a perfect season going 15-0, Wildcat Soccer won their fourth consecutive 38th District Championship, Casey Jones scored five goals in an evening on her way to receiving All-Region honors, Kyler Marshall returned to the soccer field after a horrific car accident and was named the Scott Christian Memorial Award recipient for the comeback,and Emilie Bertram continued the Ladycat Golf’s long streak of KHSAA State Tournament appearances.