New era in Russellville boys basketball begins tonight
By Jim Turner

Posted on December 1, 2017 6:58 PM

This is an historic night in Russellville boys basketball. Not only is a new season beginning, but the Panthers will be playing for a new coach on new hardwood.

For the first time in 19 seasons, RHS boys basketball will play under a head coach not named Todd or Pardue. Either Russellville’s most successful basketball in school history, Phil Todd, or Dennis Pardue, who always fielded competitive teams, has been the bench boss since the fall of 1990.

Tonight, the one calling the shots is Rex Booth, who has head coaching experience but has been the school’s guidance counselor the last two years. He continues as counselor as well as coach. His wife Shannon is the Lady Panthers’ new head coach, following the move of Calvin Head, who is now head coach at Bowling Green.

Rex Booth can hardly contain his excitement about his new role. He posted the following on Facebook:

“It is opening night for the Panther Basketball team and I can't say enough how excited I am to be leading a program with such rich tradition. In order to honor some of that tradition, I put together this video to play before starting lineups at our game on the video board, but wanted to share a little early to hopefully spark some excitement and generate a big crowd tonight for the game. JV will play at 6, followed by the varsity at 7:30.”

The video he was referring to shows highlights from some special Panther teams, including late 90s center Tony Key crushing backboards, Squeaky Hampton’s smooth play at guard on two state Final Four teams, Russellville shining at Rupp Arena, and more. Here’s the link to that video:

Booth adds: “We will also honor former Panther Jaylyn McMurry between games as he is presented his State Championship ring for winning the 400M Dash last season. It's going to be an exciting night, so come on out and see what this year's Panthers are all about!

The new coach also put together a highlight video about one of the two most experienced returning Panthers, junior Elijah Kemp, and also posted it on Facebook. The link follows:

Former Todd Central coaches Robbie Weathers and Steven McGhee are Booth’s assistants.

Tonight’s opponent is Allen County-Scottsville, which won with ease over South Warren Tuesday. The Patriots also have a new coach, Nick Chaykowsky (who goes by “Coach C”).

One of the key players is Sam Clarke, son of former Panther standout Jordan Clarke. The Patriots feature three Carter brothers, twins Sean and Marcus and younger sibling Bryce.

Assistant Coach Brandon Dewitt is a former assistant coach for the Logan County Lady Cougars.

A junior varsity game begins at 6 p.m. with the varsity contest to follow.




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