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You ever have one of those dreams that you want so bad to come true that you can feel it? What about a dream that you had to wait four years to come true? Well, the Lady Knights have been waiting four long years for their dream to come true.
Basketball fans in Marion County have been waiting for 20 years for their dreams to come true for another state basketball championship. In fact, today is the exact 20th anniversary of the Marion County Knights win at Rupp Arena over Dunbar to bring home the first state title in school history.
On March 20, 1993, the Knights won their title game, 85-77, and last Saturday night, the Lady Knights won their title game, 52-36.
These players and coaches have been waiting for this moment through four state tournaments. In 2010, the Lady Knights were bounced by eventual state champion Mercy in the first round. The following year, in 2011, the team was eliminated by Manual in the final four. Last year, Marion County was once again knocked out by Manual in the title game.
This year, Marion County would not be denied.
There was almost another matchup with Manual in the title game. However, the Lady Crimsons may have overlooked the Notre Dame Pandas in the semifinal game. The game was close throughout, but down the stretch, Notre Dame hit nearly all its free throws and sent Manual home with a 64-60 loss.
Kind of bittersweet for the Lady Knights, seeing Manual make an exit from the tournament. Would have been more bittersweet if they would have been the team to do it.
Jessica, Karli, and I along with my mother-in-law headed out Wednesday morning for Bowling Green. We packed up most of what we owned, and thought that the Lady Knights had better win this thing so we wouldn’t just be packing up all our stuff just to haul it to Bowling Green and back. With every moment that passed leading up to the first game of the tournament, the discussion went back and forth between confidence and worry. Finally, after four days and four games, all of our packing and work at the games paid off.
As I was sitting courtside during the fourth quarter of the title game, I could begin to feel the state championship leaning toward Marion County. Late in the game as each of the starters was taken out individually and were embraced by the coaches and other players, the feeling really sank in. Those moments will be frozen in time in the minds of all the Marion County fans in attendance that night, which seemed to be at least 80 percent of the arena.
At the 2013 Sweet 16, there were 6,259 fans in attendance to watch the final game of the tournament. At least 5,500 of those were from Marion County or it seemed that way.
The roar of that crowd at court level as the trophy was presented to the team was absolutely deafening. I personally have never experienced anything remotely close to that.
One unusual note that came from the state championship is the fact that Anthony Epps has now won a high school state title as a player, a national title as a collegiate player, and now has won a high school state title as a coach.
There is a need for a little research on this matter to see if this has ever happened. So far, nothing has come up in the research I have done on this matter, but more is needed. I’ll get back to you if I uncover anything.
However you slice it, in Marion County girls’ basketball history, the program’s 1,088th game was a state championship win.
It has been 7,302 days between state titles, but wasn’t it worth the wait?