Eight seconds at the Sweet 16

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By The Staff

Eight seconds.

In the bull riding arena, that brief amount of time is considered the most dangerous in sports.

But, in the basketball arena, it carries with it different meaning for me. It's the amount of time this self-professed benchwarmer played at the Sweet Sixteen in 1995 when the Lady Knights lost in the quarterfinals to Pulaski County.

We were favored to win the whole she-bang, ya know.

I can still remember driving to school a few days before the tournament and hearing my favorite disc jockeys on 99.7 WDJX talking about the Lady Knights and how we were going to win it all. They were convinced that we were going to be the next state champions.

And so was I. So were we all.

In fact, it's not until those final eight seconds in the quarterfinal game against Pulaski County that I realized it wasn't going to happen. But, no matter how depressing those eight seconds were, they encompass a brief moment in time that I will never forget.

In fact, the whole state tournament experience was unbelievable. From standing in front of a gym full of my peers while Brad Lanham sang his original song, "I Love the Lady Knights," to reciting the Hail Mary prayer in a dark hotel room alongside my teammates and some of my best friends, to entering the gymnasium at Farnham Dudgeon Civic Center in Frankfort for the very first time... it was an incredible experience. One I hope our current Lady Knights team gets to experience at Diddle Arena in Bowling Green very, very soon.

With the tournament fast approaching, I decided to take a trip down memory lane last week and looked at the editions of The Lebanon Enterprise that were published during that triumphant time in Lady Knight basketball history.

And, wow, did I have big hair!

Oh, and, thanks to Chris Hamilton, who was sports editor at the time, my pathetic stats were published for all of Marion County to see! According to Hamilton's statistics, I (a self-professed benchwarmer, remember) played 70 minutes in 18 games. I scored a whopping 17 points, made seven steals, four assists and grabbed 11 rebounds.

Hey, for a short gal, I'm pretty proud of those 11 rebounds!

Thankfully, my teammates, especially Kristy and Kelly Murphy, Sara Higdon, Tara Montgomery, Tina Spalding, Melissa Miles and Lena Campbell were much more talented on the hardwood than I. They were the real deal.

And, Coach Sis Roby wasn't too shabby either. They don't name a gymnasium after just anyone, ya know. And, although I was a little intimidated by Coach Roby at times (okay, I was terrified of her) I must say that she was one of the most inspiring coaches I have ever met. She knew how to motivate a team.

So, when Coach Roby called my name during the last eight seconds of our final game in the Sweet Sixteen tournament, I jumped out of my comfortable, warm seat lightning fast.

I was scared to death.

It was obvious we were going to lose. Otherwise, I would have still been keeping my seat warm. And there were only so many mistakes I could make in eight seconds, right? But, in all seriousness, I wanted to help the Lady Knights end our remarkable season with dignity.

To be honest, those eight seconds were a blur. I don't even remember if I touched the ball. But, I do know one thing. I didn't screw up. I didn't turn the ball over and I didn't make an air ball.

Just like a good bull rider, I stayed steady. I kept my composure. I made the most out of my eight seconds.

Here's to hoping the 2009-10 Lady Knights basketball squad make the most of the ride that is ahead of them. Make every second count ladies.