State semifinalist Panthers of 2000 to be honored at RHS Homecoming
By Jim Turner

Posted on February 13, 2020 8:47 PM


Twenty years ago this winter, Russellville High School fielded one of the greatest teams in school history. Coach Phil Todd’s 2000 Panthers will be honored at halftime of the boys basketball game Friday night, as the Lady Panthers and Panthers host district rival Todd Central.

That 2000 team not only won the Panthers’ second regional championship in three years, but they also advance to the Final Four—the state semifinals at Rupp Arena. They had a big lead in the second half and were so close to the state finals RHS fans could taste it.

The Panthers had won their first seven postseason games by an average of 30 points an outing, but Elizabethtown roared back, edged Russellville 88-87, and went on to win the state championship that night.

According to Russellville sports historian Greg Owens, that team set school records for wins with 28 and consecutive wins with 18.

The team included Hall of Famers Maurice ‘Squeaky’ Hampton, Michael Morris and Nathan Thompson. Coach Todd is in the Hall both as a coach and as a player.

Other key players included center Tony Key, guard Roland Dickerson and forwards Ricky Duncan and Tyree Todd.

Cheerleaders were Melissa Golden Taylor, Jill Dunbar Tevis, Haley Browning Jayne, Shanon Kees Leavell, Amy Thweatt Miller, Erica Denney Bedel, Donna Davis, Lauren Harrell Ossello, Crystal Stinson Macht, Julena Troxler Gooch, Tiffany Croslin, Jenna Morgan Griffith, Kendra Coe Cole, Amanda Pratt Eggleston and Lori Grosnik Collicott.

More will be going on. Football Coach Mikie Benton sums it up: This Friday, a lot will be going on at Russellville High School. Panthers take on Todd County in a district matchup. Homecoming, Jump Rope team performing, as well as the 2000 Basketball team being honored!

“While all these are taking place, the Annual Russellville Football Chili Supper will be happening in the cafeteria! Same as always—chili, sandwiches, and desserts will be provided. The food is free, but, of course, donations are encouraged and gladly accepted! Whatever you are willing to give will definitely be appreciated. Cash, check, if you want to go the PayPal, CashApp, Venmo Route... that’s accepted too.”

The chili supper will begin at 5:30 before the girls game begins at 6 p.m., and it will last through the boys game as well.

Valerie Cross says, “Make sure you don’t leave the game this Friday night without picking up one of the Alumni shirts! They are priced at $10 so that we can sell out! We have a lot going on Friday so make sure you’re there to get in the mix! We have a feeling these are going to go fast so make sure you’re there early enough to grab yours!”

Cheerleader Sponsor Beverly Blackwell York says, “We are hosting a Homecoming Dance for the high school following the game. We would love some alumni, cheerleaders and ball players to come.”

All the activities in the gym—well, maybe not the dance—will be broadcast live on WRUS (104.9 FM, 610 AM, on the web and the WRUS app).

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