In 2017, the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches became the Administrators of the Kentucky/Indiana All-Star Game. The game was held at the Civic Center in Frankfort, giving the now-demolished building one last hoorah.
In the last 10 years, interest in the game has waned on our state’s side, we’ve seen attendance down below 500 in recent games.
The KABC plans to change that.
If you attended last night’s game at Bellarmine University, you’ll understand. If you didn’t — let me paint a picture for you.
Knights Hall holds 2,181 patrons and approximately 30 members of the media. The arena was full of fans — just 100 tickets shy of a complete sell out crowd.
The game directors pulled out all of the stops. The programs, with interactive QR codes and historical blips/videos/photos weaved in and out of current information, sold out long before the boys game tipped off. T-shirts flew off their respective tables and fans from all over filled the gym.
The game committee chose an elite Cheerleading squad from Pikeville High School to bring some spirit to the gym. PHS cheer donned tank tops to match the Kentucky teams and performed floor cheers to get the crowd involved.
KABC also decided to bring back a tradition that had been lost in recent times by inviting All-Star Game alumni back and honoring them at center court.
Former Girls All Stars such as Miss Basketballs Geri Grigsby, Jamie Walz Richey (All-Star game coaching staff), and Lindsay Duvall joined Candace Bingham and several others to have their name called and gave the crowd a wave.
Boys All-Star alumni were well represented — Kentucky Wildcats Derek Anderson and Anthony Epps joined prime time prep stars such as Mr. Basketballs Ralph Richardson and J.R. VanHoose. Louisville basketball great James Boo Brewer, an All-Star Assistant Coach, also stepped out of the locker room to join his fraternity of players.
Adding a nice nod to our history, video interviews of All-Stars of old played during Media Timeouts. Fans turned to the video board to listen to stories from long ago.
To cap the evening off — both Kentucky teams came out hot. Our girls team brought it during both halves and grabbed their win. The boys, up against 5+ Big 10 commits from Indiana were predicted to lose by a large margin. With team chemistry and grit, they commanded a lead early. Several Kentucky boys answered the call and came out victorious.
The magic in the room did not go unnoticed. Kentucky fans enjoyed the atmosphere, the lore, and most importantly, the win.
For a game that has all but had its Death Certificate signed by the sports realm’s most heavy hitters — it sure seems like it’s not ready for the end.
The Kentucky/Indiana All-Star Game is back, folks. Hop on the bandwagon, I’ll scoot over and make some room.
Kayla Moore VanHoose