Cheerleaders Claim 20th National Title; Dance Team Finishes Fifth

UK wins 15th national championship in 20 years

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Only for the Kentucky cheerleading team can one season without a national championship feel like a drought.

Last year, the cheerleaders were named runners-up to Memphis. On Sunday, UK returned to its familiar perch atop the world of college cheerleading.

“When you finally hear second place called and then they call first place, it’s a lot of emotion, a lot of joy,” Jomo Thompson said via cell phone. “We just feel vindicated, especially after coming in second place last year. We wanted to make sure we got back to the top and we did that.”

UK won an unprecedented 20th national title at the UCA/UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship in Orlando, Fla., finishing ahead of second-place UCF. UK has now won an incredible 15 championships since 1995, only being dethroned five times during that span.

“I’m just fortunate to have been a part of this program for so long and I love UK,” said Thompson, the former UK cheerleader who has won eight national titles in his 12 years as head coach. “I love UK cheerleading. I’m just glad I’m here to experience it with the kids. We strive every day to be the best. It’s just a great thing that we’ve won so many times. It just speaks to the history and the tradition of winning and be the best.”

The UCA’s official Twitter account described the winning routine as both starting and finishing strong. Thompson saw much of the same, saying UK’s finals routine was even better than a solid one in Saturday’s preliminary round.

“I think they just really seized the opportunity,” Thompson said. “They didn’t let down. They didn’t take anything for granted. They just did a really good job of going out there and executing and bringing home number 20.”

The championship is the culmination of a year of hard work. UK didn’t drastically alter the formula that has led to so much past success, but a seven-member senior class was intent on going out the right way. Thompson said those veterans played an instrumental role in setting the tone for UK’s training.

“We just told the kids, ‘You want to make sure that you’re giving a hundred percent every time, even in practice, because you get one shot, one opportunity,’ ” Thompson said. “So you want to experience as many as things that can go wrong, encounter all those things in practice so if something like that happens at nationals, you’re ready for it. I thought they did a great job this year getting themselves prepared.”

The UK dance team also competed this weekend, turning in an impressive performance in the Division IA Hip Hop finals. UK came in fifth, an improvement from last year’s sixth-place finish. Head coach Dawn Walters reported the team posted a score of 93.2, its best ever.

“The girls had a lot of confidence today when we went out to perform,” Walters said. “They really went out there and had energy and excitement and the whole arena really went crazy when they were up there. Our degree of difficulty was higher this year than last year and we had a lot of group tricks. I think their confidence was the biggest thing this year.”

Harrell Leads Cardinals to Big Road Win Over Connecticut

The 18th ranked Louisville Cardinals came in to Saturday night’s game in Storrs against the unranked Connecticut Huskies in need of a signature win.  They accomplished that feat in a very tough and sometimes hostile Gampel Pavilion beating the Huskies 76 – 64.

Montrezl Harrell played perhaps his best game of the season getting his 4th double-double of the season.  Harrell scored 18 points, grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, and blocked 3 shots.  Louisville coach Rick Pitino has been telling his young sophomore to play with more confidence.  Harrell took him to task hitting two 15 foot jumpers and a couple of hook shots in the post.

“I’m more comfortable.  It’s about getting reps up…different things to improve my game and improve my team”, Harrell said.

Two matchups were spoken about leading up to the game.  The matchup between UConn senior guard Shabazz Napier and Louisville senior guard Russ Smith.  That matchup lived up to its billing as Napier scored 30 points and Smith 23 points.  The other matchup was Deandre Daniels and Harrell.  Daniels got in early foul trouble and never got into the flow of the game.  He finished with only 3 points and 4 rebounds.

Perhaps the most significant improvement in Louisville’s game was their ability to rebound the ball.  Louisville outrebounded UConn 45 to 30.  They won the rebounding battle for the second consecutive game.  “Every time we outrebound our opponents, we win 95 percent of our games”, said Pitino.

It has only been two games since Louisville’s loss to long-time rival Memphis, but you can sense the “unbridled enthusiasm” Pitino has asked his team to show.  This enthusiasm was on full display against the Huskies as the Cardinals trailed only once.  The team’s communication was better on offense and defense.

Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie was ejected from the game with 13:02 left in the second half for arguing a no-call with a referee.  Wayne Blackshear made contact with Niels Giffey in front of the UConn bench and no foul was called.  Ollie went ballistic over the no-call and ran down the sideline to protest the call.  He was given his first technical for running down the sideline and the second for coming on to the court to protest the call.

Louisville made only two of the four technical free throws, but UConn was never able to get back in the game.  Louisville answered every UConn run to win its second consecutive game.

Louisville improved to 16 – 3 overall and 5 – 1 in the AAC.  UConn fell to 14 – 4 overall and 2 – 3 in the AAC.

Louisville returns to action Wednesday at 7:00 as they travel to South Florida to face the Bulls in an AAC matchup.

Andrew Harrison Leads Cats Over Vols

By: Tyrus York – Before Saturday, Andrew Harrison had never had a 20 point game. But when the Vols came to town, he poured in 26 against a strong, defensively sound Tennessee Volunteer team to lead the #12/13 Wildcats to a 74-66 victory.

Andrew Harrison lead a balanced attack against Tennessee
Andrew Harrison lead a balanced attack against Tennessee

Tennessee came into Rupp Arena knowing that they had to keep Kentucky off the glass for a chance to win.  They accomplished that goal, winning the rebounding battle 39-24, and by dominating the offensive glass 20-7.

But it was the guard play of the Harrison twins, especially Andrew who notched his career high that catapulted the Wildcats to victory.  Aaron was very impressive as well, adding 14 points of his own.

Julius Randle entered beast mode in the first half after Kentucky got off to another slow start.  The Vols took an early 6-0 lead before Randle answered with Kentucky’s first 5 points of the game.  Randle would go on to finish the half with 16 points, and the game with 18 total.

To give you an idea of just how dominant Tennessee was in the paint, Randle collected only 2 rebounds for the entire game. The Vols also outscored Kentucky in the paint 38-26.

Johnson would finish the game tied with Aaron Harrison for a team high 4 rebounds.  He also contributed 4 points, but his effectiveness won’t show up in the box score.  The telling stat for Johnson were his 16 minutes of action, nearly equaling Willie Cauley-Stein’s 19.

Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes turned in a great performance in this game, going for a double-double in the first half, eventually finishing with 20 points and 15 rebounds.  Stokes along with Maymon were too much for the Cats in the paint for a majority of the game, but Kentucky found a way to win despite losing in every way down low.

After trailing most of the first half, a James Young 3 put Kentucky up by 2 just before halftime.  Kentucky briefly lost that lead in the second half before stretching out to an 11 point lead to never look back.  Struggling to get anything going in the paint, Kentucky was able to knock down crucial jumpers, including 7-16 from the 3 point line to get things rolling and get the “W”.

It would be a crime to not mention maybe the most surprising stat of the game, and that was Kentucky’s 23-24 from the foul line.  The 95.8% clip is the best percentage the Cats have produced all season from the charity stripe.  Be sure to listen to Coach Cal’s comments after the game to learn the secret of the dramatic turnaround.

For the first time since 1953 these two teams will only be meeting 1 time in the regular season, meaning there will be no rematch in Knoxville.

Kentucky will be back in action on Tuesday night at 9pm as they take on a surprising Texas A&M team in Rupp Arena.

Perry County Deputy Jailer Arrested For Official Misconduct

(Hazard, KY) – On Friday, January 17, 2014, Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement/Special Investigations Branch, assisted by troopers with KSP Post 13 in Hazard, arrested Deputy Jailer Bruce Campbell, 27, of Hazard, on a charge related to the introduction of contraband material into the Kentucky River Regional Jail, in Hazard.
Deputy Jailer Bruce Campbell - Photo Courtesy of LEX18
Deputy Jailer Bruce Campbell – Photo Courtesy of LEX18
 
The investigation stemmed from a complaint from jail officials that an employee was suspected of being involved in bringing contraband into the detention center.  The initial investigation resulted in the execution of an arrest warrant at Campbell’s residence in Perry County.
 
Bruce Campbell was charged with one count of Official Misconduct 1st Degree, and was lodged in the Leslie County Detention Center.  Further charges and arrests are likely, pending further investigation by KSP detectives.

ATTORNEY GENERAL CONWAY ANNOUNCES ARREST OF JOHNSON COUNTY MAN ON CHILD PORN CHARGE

FRANKFORT, Ky. (January 17, 2014) – Attorney General Jack Conway and his Cybercrimes Unit today announced the arrest of a Johnson County man on multiple counts of possessing child pornography. Kevin King, 22, was arrestedWednesday afternoon by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department following an indictment obtained by General Conway’s Cybercrimes investigators.

Man arrested for Child Pornography
Man arrested for Child Pornography

The indictment is the result of an investigation that began in December 2012. Investigators with the Cybercrimes Unit, along with deputies from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, executed a search warrant at King’s home. A forensic exam on computers taken from the home discovered more than 3,000 images depicting the sexual exploitation of children.

King is charged with four counts of possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor, a Class D felony. Each count is punishable by one to five years in prison.

A charge is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

General Conway’s Cybercrimes Unit

Since its creation in June of 2008, General Conway’s Cybercrimes Unit has launched 375 child pornography investigations and seized more than 422,600 child pornographic images and videos from the Internet. The unit’s investigative efforts have also resulted in a 100 percent conviction rate.

For additional information on General Conway’s efforts to protect Kentuckians from Internet predators, visit the Office of the Attorney General’s “Cybersafety in Kentucky” page at http://ag.ky.gov/cybersafety/. To report cyber abuse, visit theCyberTipline or call 1-800-843-5678.

 

You can follow Attorney General Conway on Twitter @kyoag, visit the Attorney General’s Facebook page or view videos on our YouTube channel.

Blackshear Helps Louisville Roll Past Houston 91 – 52

Louisville coach Rick Pitino wanted three things from his team for the rest of the season. He wanted his team to show “unbridled enthusiasm”. Not only enthusiasm from the players, but from the coaches as well. He wanted the Cardinals to stop thinking they are like last year’s championship team. Finally, he wanted Wayne Blackshear to step up his game.

Photo by Jason Sheehan
Photo by Jason Sheehan

Pitino saw all three of these goals achieved tonight as the Cardinals rolled past the Cougars 91 – 52.

“Our enthusiasm was off the charts and we were ready to play the moment the ball went up”, Pitino said after the game. The most significant showing was that of junior Wayne Blackshear. Coming off the bench for the first time this season Blackshear led Louisville with a career high 23 points on 8 of 10 shooting. He tied his career high with making 5 of his 6 three point attempts. He not only scored the ball, but also led Louisville with 7 rebounds.

Photo by Jason Sheehan
Photo by Jason Sheehan

Pitino wanted to bring Blackshear off of the bench because of his propensity to get into early foul trouble through Louisville’s first 16 games. Pitino saw him being more valuable later than early in the game. Pitino said of Blackshear’s early foul trouble, “what happens is you lose your aggressiveness”.

Tonight Wayne was aggressive in every facet of the game which will be key to Louisville’s success the rest of the season.

Louisville used unbelievable three point shooting in the first half to put the game out of reach early. The Cardinals scorched the nets in the first half making 11 of 15 three pointers for 73.3 percent. They were 21 of 30 overall for 70 percent in the first half.

The Cardinals solid passing led to their great shooting getting open looks the entire night. They assisted on 23 of their 34 field goals. Pitino was pleased with 23 assists and only 9 turnovers.

Terry Rozier started in place of injured guard Chris Jones. He struggled shooting the ball, but led the Cardinals with 8 assists while committing just one turnover. Pitino said after the game that Jones will not be back for Louisville’s next game Saturday against Connecticut.

Houston fell to 10 – 7 on the year with tonight’s loss. They have played tough against two of the conference leaders beating Connecticut and losing to conference leader Cincinnati by just one point.

They were outplayed and outmatched from the start against the Cardinals. TaShawn Thomas led the Cougars with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Louisville has a short time to get ready for their next game. They travel to Storrs to face Connecticut Saturday evening at 9:00. They will be facing one of the nation’s best backcourts in Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. It has always been a tough and exciting matchup when the Cardinals and the Huskies meet up. Saturday’s game should be no different.

Arlie Howard Obit

Arlie Howard - Photo submitted by Breathitt Funeral Home
Arlie Howard – Photo submitted by Breathitt Funeral Home

Arlie Howard, 74, Jackson passed away Monday. He was a member of the Pentecostal Lighthouse Church.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Blanton and Lou Vernie (Manns) Howard, two brothers, French Howard and Raymond Howard, two sisters, Freda Howard and Media Howard.  He is survived by his wife, Charlotte Howard of Jackson; three sons, Arlie Blanton “AB” (Gail) Howard of Jackson, Cecil Lloyd (Darlene) Howard of Jackson, French (Bonnie) Howard of Jackson; three daughters, Mary Lou Collins of Jackson, Karen Sue (Paul) Collins of Jackson, Betty (Bob) Abner of Jackson; two special great granddaughters, Erica Paige Hounshell of Jackson, Karanda Lourose Hounshell of Jackson; two sisters, Joyce Spicer of Jackson, Josie Morris of Jackson; special friend, Wayne Baker of Jackson; 29 grandchildren, host of great grandchildren; host of nieces, nephews, many friends and neighbors. Funeral services Friday, Jan. 17, 11AM at the Breathitt Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Rick Sallee and Rev. John Abner officiating.  Burial in the Howard Family Cemetery at War Creek.  Serving as pallbearers – grandsons and serving as honorary pallbearers – Rick Fugate, Wayne Baker, Ronnie Combs, James Trent, Darren Baker, George Watts and a host of other friends.  Breathitt Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

You Should Never Give Up On Your Dreams

What if all the things we have ever dreamed of were sneak previews of what is possible for us? I often wonder how many visions never materialize, simply because we eliminate them before they have the slightest chance of growing into reality. Yet, so many of the things we have accomplished may once have seemed impossible.

Sunshine - Photo by Ron Hamblin
Sunshine – Photo by Ron Hamblin

 

How many children, in moments of frustration while learning to ride a bike, conclude that they just cannot do it. Parents urge them to be patient and keep trying, so indeed, they eventually see they can do it. As children, we probably all had moments when we thought we could not swim, could not hit the ball, or could not learn to read. Encouragement from others helped us to overcome those limiting beliefs, which we can see now, were false. I believe we are all capable of doing many, many things, and would do them, if we did not first talk ourselves out of them.

 

Just for fun, try this experiment. Think of something you have always wanted to do. Sit down with a friend or two or three. Ask them to talk you into trying it, brainstorming all of the ways you could make it happen. You could each take a turn, playing with concept of ‘doing your dream.’ Your dream might be as basic as learning to draw or sing, or as complex as going back to school to earn a degree. It might involve traveling, starting a business, or raising consciousness about an issue that is important to you. You never know what might happen. Perhaps you will find that the thing you thought was impossible, is actually as easy as riding a bike, once you get the hang of it. And remember, none of us gave up on learning to master that bike, just because we fell off a few times.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist.  For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit www.gwen.ca

Cats Survive Nashville But Still Show Ugly Growing Pains

By – Ira D. Combs

Tri State Sports Media Service Inc.

www.combsbrothersonkysports.com

 

One SEC road game down and another on the horizon ( Arkansas 9:00 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN ) then (7) more after that before the all important seeds for the SEC tourney is set and the much more important NCAA seeds follow . Right now as I continue to watch this UK team fight thru some extremely ugly growing pains I still hold hope it will finish the season with a strong deep run in March Madness riding on the coat tails of at least an NCAA # 2 seed .

 

With the newly revised SEC basketball season now broken down into (9) home games and (9) road games for each of it’s 14 members with the conference office deciding the teams that play a home and home series and the teams that play alternate home and away games with the teams that don’t play a home and home series . Withall  that being understood and UK still having road games to fight thru at ( Arkansas – LSU – Florida – Missouri – Ole Miss ) I’ll be tremendously satisfied with a 6 – 3 record on the road and would actually settle for a 5 – 4 road split with the way this team is performing to date but if any of the road games at Auburn , South Carolina , or Mississippi State turn sour with an upset loss you can kiss anything below a ( NCAA 4 SEED BYE – BYE ) .

 

UK now  stands 2 – 0 overall in SEC  play after it’s ugly 71 – 62 win last Saturday against a Vandy team that was seriously struggling with only (7) scholarship players going into their game with UK . Yes , I know UK had only (7) scholarship players most of last season but (2) of them are presently on NBA rosters and (2) others are playing(Poythress and Cauley – Stein)  again this year for UK so don’t even think about making a parallel comparison to last year’s UK team with only (7) scholarship player’s and this year’s Vandy team with the same number of scholarships .

 

Many people inside college basketball circles think any win on the road in any respective BCS conference is a good win and there is some validity in that statement most years but it don’t hold water with me when debating the competition in the SEC this year with the roster full of talent UK has to compete with . However , speaking after the game saturday with CBS commentator Greg Anthony you would have thought John Calipari was as satisfied with his Wildcats as any coach in the nation was with their team .

 

It’s becoming more difficult each season trying to understand today’s college basketball coach and how to dissect his comments as to whether he is speaking the truth or when he is using the media to stroke a player or when he is trying wake up a player up with his media appearances .

 

But the simple truth is hard to recognize anywhere in our society today , especially in college athletics which leads me to my next segment for this weeks syndicated  column .

 

Will NCAA Coaching Hires Impact Football Cats Future

 

Many longtime UK football followers will tell you that most Wildcat football teams best chance over the years at pulling out a winning record and getting a minor bowl bid is in years the Cats can crack the win column with the three Commonwealth Stadium buyout games annually on the schedule then manage to beat  Louisville ,  Mississippi St. ,  and Vanderbilt  then hopefully squeeze a surprise mild upset for a 7th win which usually lands the Cats in either Nashville or Memphis for the Christmas & New Year’s Holiday’s . Rarely does this happen but it’s been Big Blue Nation’s  mindset over the years .

 

However in recent years since Rich Brooks left town it’s been all but non existent to beat the Cards , Bulldogs , or Commodores and for that matter the WKU Hilltoppers .

 

Maybe a new day is on the horizon and I don’t necessarily mean just Mark Stoops new recruiting success although that’s where it all starts but maybe or should I say hopefully some of the Cats opponents are about to backslide a little as the southern Baptist used to say due to coaching changes .

 

Speaking of backsliding let’s start with Louisville’s new coach Bobby Petrino who has resurfaced back into the loving arms of Tom Jurich , a guy that Petrino blatantly lied to his face just a few years ago but all is good in the world of college sports as long as you can crack the W’s column more than the L’s . That coach and A.D. speak of developing the student – athlete as a well rounded person ( academically – morally – ethically – socially ) all goes out the window evidently during the hiring process when selecting the leader to instill these traits into the student – athletes they will be responsible for .

 

Now that Penn State has finally pulled the trigger and brought James Franklin on board maybe the Vanderbilt Commodores will slid back into that bottom slot on the football totem poll of the SEC .

 

Only time will tell if UK football can get back to the Rich Brooks success level but you can be sure of one thing and that is everybody over in the UK athletics department especially those who reside over on Cooper Drive are tickled pink that they no longer have to compete againstCharlie Strong and James Franklin .

 

Only Game With Vols This Saturday

 

Due to the newly revised SEC schedule and it’s quirky nature with 14 teams now in the league this Saturday’s game with the Tennessee “Vols” at Rupp Arena ( Noonon CBS ) may very well be the only game between the two long time rivals unless they were to meet in the SEC tournament in the Georgia Dome . Which means no game in Knoxville at Thompson Boling Arena , a site that has been very kind to the Vols when the hated Wildcats come rolling into town annually in the past .

 

Don’t know about Coach Cal but this is a schedule former Hall of Fame Wildcat coach Joe B. Hall would have loved to have laid at his feet during his era of the 70’s and 80’s when Hall annually fought for his coaching life and usually ended up on the down side to the Vols in the old Stokely Athletic Center .

 

You can go online to www.combsbrothersonkysports.comfor more coverage of UK basketball and football as well as KHSAA basketball and football .

Back on Track, UK Hoops Claim Win Against Missouri

By: Tyrus York – After 2 straight losses the #9/10 UK Hoops team rebounded nicely in a “must win” for their psyche as they defeated the Missouri Tigers 80-69 Sunday in Memorial Coliseum.

Without their senior leader Kastine Evans, who sat out with an undisclosed leg injury, Bria Goss stepped in and led the Cats with 20 points and 8 rebounds.  Another stat I’m sure Kentucky fans can appreciate, she was a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line.

Despite the 11 point win, it wasn’t smooth sailing for the Cats in this game.  They would fall behind by 8 points halfway through the first half before settling in on offense to go on an 11-0 run to claim the lead.

Missouri was led in the first half by Bri Kulas who scored 20 of her 27 points in the opening stanza.  She also had a game high 14 rebounds to compliment her dominant performance.

Kentucky did a much better job defending Kulas and Missouri in the second half, holding Kulas scoreless in the first 14 minutes and stretching their lead to double digits.

Missouri would hang tough and keep the margin within 10 points, eventually losing by 11.

Jannee Thompson turned in 16 points to follow Goss in the scoring column for the Cats.  She along with fellow point guard Jenn O’Neill teamed up for some 2 guard action against the Tigers.  O’Neill hit some key shots down the stretch in route to her 11 points for the game.

Samarie Walker led the charge on the glass for Kentucky with 13 rebounds.  The Cats would out-rebound the Tigers 42-38 in what turned out to be another rough battle in the paint.  Kentucky also outscored Missouri in the paint 32-26.

Denisha Stallworth, still battling back from a knee injury, was able to contribute 11 points and 5 rebounds in 25 minutes of play.  Stallworth notes that her conditioning has some work to do after returning from the injury, but says her knee is feeling good.

Kentucky (14-3, 2-2) will get the week off before heading to Auburn next Sunday.  They will return home to face Alabama on Thursday January 23rd at 7 pm.

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