HENDERSON, KY. (WFIE) - The Kentucky girls basketball state Sweet 16 tournament began Wednesday morning, at Rupp Arena, and Thursday, two local teams will be taking part.
Apollo and Henderson County are both making the trip. Aaron Hancock caught up with the Colonels, before they left town, today.
Unfinished business - that’s the theme for the Henderson County girls basketball team this postseason, as they head back to the Kentucky state Sweet 16 for the third year in a row.
Of course, last year, they never got to even take the court, because the pandemic cancelled the tournament.
This season, though, they’re going back again, and they plan on staying awhile.
“It’s really exciting, you know? We’ve been there several times, and it’s something you expect at Henderson County High School is to get there every year,” said Henderson County girls basketball head coach, Jeff Haile. “Fortunately for us, we’ve had some success in the past few years to get to the state tournament, but it doesn’t take away the excitement and pleasure of us getting to go to the state tournament, playing in Rupp Arena.”
“I’m so excited. The atmosphere’s crazy, you know? The huge arena all around you, it’s just so exciting know who’s played on that court,” said Henderson County junior guard, Mallorie Veal.
The Lady Colonels clinched their spot in the Sweet 16 by winning the 2nd region championship over a week ago.
Since then, they’ve had a week to prepare and celebrate, at school and in the community.
“We’ve been fed like three different times from our parents, and our coaches, and shout-outs during school,” said Henderson County junior guard, Kaytlan Kemp. “A bunch of people told us congratulations, and they said it over the intercom in front of the whole school.”
To make it to state during, this season especially, is a feat in itself, as every team has had to jump through so many hoops just to even play.
“We’ve all just been doing the right thing, wearing our masks when needed, not being around too many people outside of basketball,” said Kemp. “We’ve just been following what Coach Haile’s been telling us, and we’ve been safe.”
Henderson County and Apollo actually play each other, and the game tips off Thursday afternoon at 4:00 CDT, in Lexington.