Sweet(16) victory came 25 years ago
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

    Twenty-five years ago this very day-St. Patrick’s Day 1984-the sweetest of victories belonged to Logan County.It came in the finals of the Sweet Sixteen.
     The Logan County Cougars beat Bourbon County 83-70 in the finals of the state boys basketball tournament to become Kentucky state champions. The ultimate prize came in only the second year of existence for Logan County High School.
     The Cougars had won four games in four days, including two on Saturday. The championship game was the easiest. They won over Meade County by three on Wednesday (57-54), Lexington Henry Clay in overtime on Friday (70-68), and Madisonville-North Hopkins by two (68-66) Saturday morning.
     Much of Saturday’s tournament action seemed anticlimactic following the win over defending state champion Henry Clay in the quarterfinals. The Cougars and the hometown guys from Lexington had been considered the top two teams in the state all season. Henry Jones-the only underclassman in the starting lineup-hit the winning layup at the buzzer in that classic. It was “Move over Henry Clay; make room for Henry Jones.”
     Fred Tisdale, who was named Most Valuable Player of the state tournament and was runner-up for Mr. Basketball, scored 29 points and pulled down 19 rebounds in the finals. Jones added 18 points in the championship game.
     The other three starters were seniors Karl Wayne Dawson, Stacy Mason and Tim Viers. Dawson had one of his best games of the season in the finals. Mason joined Tisdale on the all-state tournament team.
     The four senior starters had started at least three years each, including at the school from which they had come in consolidation. Senior Tim Thomason had also been a starter at Chandlers before starting half of his senior season.
     The late Gary Barker was the substitute whom Coach Gerald Sinclair used most in the championship game. In fact, Barker-a small guard-was the one who came on the floor when the 6’6” Tisdale got into foul trouble late in the contest. Tisdale picked up all four of his fouls in the second half.
     Other members of the state championship team were John Tisdale, Warren Thomason, Todd Parker, Phillip Mallory, Keith Hines and Brent Hinton.
     Sinclair was named state coach of the year. Other members of his staff were Barry Reed, David Billingsley and David Beckner. Bob Birdwhistell was athletic director, Howard Gorrell principal and Harvey Marksberry superintendent.
     Stephanie Benjamin was the cheerleader sponsor. Joining captain Janice Taylor on the sidelines were Kim Clark, Lana Appling, Kim Chyle, Chrissi Head, Diane Mimms, and the mascot, Garth Brooks.
     The Cougars were the winningest team in the nation in 1984 with a 37-3 record. The losses came in the finals of the King of the Bluegrass along with the Ashland Invitational Tournament and the Louisville Invitational Tournament.
     Danny Pendleton, Jimmy Cornelius and David Aldrich were managers. Glenn Sams was the official scorer.
     Each year the silver anniversary state championship team is honored at the state tournament. The Cougars will return to the Rupp Arena floor this Friday night during the quarterfinals to be recognized by this year’s attendees.
     In addition to the 20,000-plus people in the stands, the 1984 state championship game was televised before what was then the largest network for a high school game in world history. The broadcast crew consisted of Tom Hammond, Ralph Hacker and Jack ‘Goose’ Givens.
     Hammond is still in the business. He broadcast several Olympic events last year and was the lead announcer at the SEC Tournament this weekend. Hacker was the play-by-play man for the University of Kentucky basketball network between Cawood Ledford and Tom Leach. Givens had scored 41 points six years earlier in leading UK to the national championship at St. Louis.
     Halftime highlights found Dave Baker talking with former state tournament stars Wah Wah Jones, Johnny Cox, Cliff Hagan and Paul Andrews.
     You can see the game in its entirety on this Logan Independent Journal website. It’s on the home page.
     Some additional notes:
     *The Cougars finished 28-0 in the regular season. They completed that unblemished mark against Hughes-Kirk with Timmy Thomason scoring 17, Mason pulling down 16 rebounds and Parker coming back from injury to score 7.
     *The most difficult game Logan played until state was against Russellville in the district opener at Todd Central. The Panthers of Coach Jeff Edwards were the second most talented team in the region. Key players were Clay Parrish, Jonathan Cage, Rodney Gordon, Keith Donnelly, Anthony Bibb, Jordan Clarke and Bart Stamper. Parrish, Cage, Gordon and Bibb had helped the Panthers win a state football championship a few months earlier.
    *The Cougars beat Coach Tommy Compton’s Warren East team 42-31 in the regional finals with an estimated 4,000 Logan fans present at Diddle Arena. Logan led 22-12 at the half in an East slowdown. Tisdale, Mason, Dawson and Viers, each of whom was named all-region. scored in double figures in a 68-52 win over Bowling Green in the semifinals. Tisdale hit his first 11 shots on the way to 27 points.
    *Logan went 26-6 in its first year as a team in 1982-83. Tisdale missed the first half of that season with an injury after having played for Eddie Ford on a traveling team touring Europe that summer.
    *Because expectations were so high for the team, Birdwhistell said the only people with more pressure than Sinclair faced that year were President Reagan and UK Coach Joe B. Hall, who was in the crowd at the championship game. The Cougars were favored in 39 of the 40 games they played, with Henry Clay being the lone exception.
    Lexington Herald-Leader sports columnist Mike Fields in his season preview picked the top three teams for each region. In the 4th,  he wrote: “1) Logan County, 2) Nobody’s Close, 3) Nobody’s Close. If Logan County does not win the region, the KHSAA should order it replayed for the sale of sanity.” That’s pressure.
    *Tisdale’s 19 rebounds were the fourth highest total ever in the championship game. The three ahead of him were all from Louisville, including NBA great Wes Unseld. Tisdale was all-district and all-region four times (twice each at Auburn) and all-state three years. He was most valuable player in the Thoroughbred Classic and also played in the Derby Classic.
    *Fred Tisdale scored 2,223 points in high school while his Auburn and Logan teams were winning 107 games and losing 22. He led the team in field goal percentage (62.9) and rebounding (11.0). Viers, who was 89-12 as a starter, averaged 5.3 assists as a senior. Barker was the leading free throw shooter (74 percent). Dawson took the defense and academic awards. Tisdale’s uniform number 44 was retired soon after the season ended.
    *The Cougars won their last 20 games, beginning when Jones became the starter after a loss to Louisville Valley in the LIT.
    *While being interviewed by Hacker and Givens after the game, Tisdale announced that he had given Coach Clem Haskins his commitment to play for Western Kentucky University. He started for the Toppers in the NIT finals at Madison Square Garden. Mason played for Trevecca Nazarene University, helping the Trojans reach the national NAIA tournament for the first time in school history. Viers played for Belleville (Ill.) Community College.
    *Some familiar figures worked the tournament. John Tong-long the voice of Freedom Hall-was the public address announcer. Also involved were Charles ‘Melvin’ Reuter, Richard ‘Rosie’ Roselle and L.J. ‘Butch’ Charmoli. Tom Mills was the commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Pete Hays and Marvin Moore officiated the game. Congressman Carroll Hubbard tried to stay close to the Logan Bench. Superintendent of Public Instruction Alice McDonald presented the state championship trophy.
    *No such rules as three-point shots and held balls existed. A jump ball was hoisted after each tie-up and at the start of each quarter.
    *Bourbon County was a surprise finalist. The Colonels had won three tight games-two of them in overtime-to get to play on Saturday night. Guard Jeff Royce had led the way at 22.3 points per outing, but the Cougars virtually shut him down.
    *Two familiar last names were part of the Henry Clay team. One was Chip Rupp, grandson of der Baron. The other was David Hammond, broadcaster Tom’s son. Blue Devil star Steve Miller was named Mr. Basketball, but Tisdale played ahead of him for most of their careers on The Hill.
    *The 1984 team was honored in a ring ceremony at Logan County High School in the regular season finale this year. All the coaches were present and all of the players except the two Tisdales, Jones, and Gary Barker, who lost his life in a traffic accident not long after his high school years.
    *Sinclair had come to Logan after being the Chandlers coach at the time of consolidation. He had also coached at Adairville and Auburn. Reed had coached Auburn to the regional finals in 1982, and he later did the same at LCHS in 1987. Billingsley had been the Lewisburg coach and the Cougars’ first baseball coach, guiding them to the state quarterfinals in 1989. Beckner was Logan’s first golf coach and was also coached track and football.
    The other two coaches at the time of consolidation were Bill Davis, who coached Mason at Adairville, and Jack Pack, who coached Dawson and Jones at Olmstead. Pack later became head coach at St. Catherine College.

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