Speaking of Sports: Panthers draw AC-S at region
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

  The Russellville Panthers will open 4th Region play Saturday afternoon against strong competition.
     Coach Dennis Pardue’s team-runner-up in the 13th District for the fourth consecutive season-will take on 15th District champion Allen County-Scottsville at Diddle Arena in the second of four games on the day. It will begin about 1:30 p.m.
     AC-S has been considered one of the top three or four teams in the region most of the season, along with Warren Central, Bowling Green and Franklin-Simpson. The Patriots have a 21-10 record. AC-S is 15-6 against 4th Region teams.
     Russellville has been among the top six teams in the rankings most of the year. The Panthers have a 19-9 record, 8-6 in the region. The two teams did not meet during the regular season.
     Allen County is coached by Scott Shelton, the son of the late Gary Shelton, who was an outstanding player at Lewisburg High School and coach at Olmstead High School. The current Coach Shelton is the grandson of Hattie Ruth Shelton of Lewisburg.
     Also in the bracket with the Panthers are Bowling Green (23-6) and 16th District champion Cumberland County (13-10). They play at noon and will meet the RHS vs. AC-S winner in the first March 9 semifinal game. Bowling Green is coached by D.G. Sherrill, the husband of former Russellville newspaperwoman Tracy Dice.
     Franklin-Simpson (22-8) will play 15th District runner-up Barren County (5-24) in the last game of the day. The winner of that game will play the (regional favorite) Warren Central (25-4) vs. Russell County (22-6) winner in the second semifinal. Barren County, which had the most losses in the region this year, upset 18-game winner Glasgow in the district tournament.
     The championship game is scheduled for Tuesday, March 10 at 7 p.m.
     If the Franklin-Simpson girls, who were state runner-up last year, return to state, they will have earned it. The 13th district champions (27-3) begin regional play in Tuesday’s second game against AC-S (21-9). Thursday, the winner will go against Bowling Green (25-2), which should easily win over Metcalfe County.
     Awaiting the survivor of those titanic battles probably will be Barren County (20-7) in Friday’s finals. First, the Lady Trojans must beat 13 th District runner-up Todd Central (14-10) in Monday’s second game.
     Justin Bollenbecker, who led the Panthers in scoring during both district tournament games, will not be available for regional action. He suffered multiple injuries in a single vehicle accident on the Emerson Bypass Saturday, according to RHS Assistant Coach Rusty Clark.
     Seven RHS and five Logan County players were honored as All-District performers following last week’s championship games. The coaches selected All-Season teams based on their six district games, and all-tournament selections were based on one voter from each school.
     The number of selections was based on how a team finished. Both Logan teams and the Russellville girls each got two regular season honorees because they didn’t finish in the top two in the seedings. Those same three teams each were granted one all-tournament selection because they were first-round losers.
     The Russellville boys had four all-season selections because they tied for first on the season. They got two all-tournament honorees for having finished as runner-up.
     Making both teams were Russellville’s Nakia Daniel and D.J. Quarles along with Logan County’s Michelle England. All-season only were Logan’s Sarah Speck, Chris Covington and Twin Lancaster along with Russellville’s  Amber Sydnor, Trevor Clark, Damian Elam and Daniel Pardue. All-tournament honors went to Logan’s Brett Sowell and Bollenbecker of RHS.
     A nice gesture came when Franklin-Simpson junior guard Mickey Lewis was named all-season, although he missed the last half of the year following knee surgery. He was that good and that respected.
     “When they called his name, I thought ‘what’s he doing out there?’” said his happy mother, Jane Lewis, who previously worked with the health department in Logan County and is now head of the Simpson County branch. Her husband Mickey previously served as a counselor for adults here.
     The two coaches in the boys finals are accustomed to being there. David Clark of Franklin-Simpson has guided the Wildcats to the championship game all seven years he has been head coach, winning five of them, including four in a row.
     Russellville’s Dennis Pardue has coached in the district finals 10 of his 11 seasons as a head coach. He won three district championships as the Todd Central coach from the 1998-99 season through 2003-2004, missing the finals in 2000.
     Then in five years as the Panther coach, he’s had his team in the finals every year, all against Franklin. The Panthers won 66-61 at Franklin that first season and then have lost the last four to the Wildcats.
     Oddly enough, this was the first time in the history of the Franklin gym that the Wildcats have won a district championship there. Most of the time they were in the 14th District with the Warren County teams, and the district tournament was played in Bowling Green, usually at WKU. They had lost at home in the 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2005 tournaments in the gym former Auburn High School coach Ronnie Clark had built as the F-S principal.
     Ronnie can still be seen before every F-S game and at halftime meticulously sweeping the gym floor.

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