Tuesday, March 13, 2001
Highlands, Boone reach Ninth Region final
The two schools that have won seven of the last eight Ninth Region girls basketball titles meet again tonight for a berth in the Kentucky Sweet 16.
Highlands (winner from 1994-96 and last year) meets Boone County (winners in 1997-98) at 7 p.m. at Conner.
Boone County, ranked sixth in the state, earned its berth Monday with a 55-43 win over 1999 champion Holmes. Highlands is in thanks to Monday's 40-36 win over Holy Cross.
Boone County coach Nell Fookes didn't know about the history, but she definitely knew why it's happened.
It's a tribute to the players and the programs and the tradition, Fookes said. When you've got tradition on your side, it's an additional weapon, an added intangible.
Highlands coach Luci Cecil playfully checked herself for a pulse after Monday's come-from-behind win. She called it the latest step in a tortuous journey to the finals, mostly because second leading scorer Stephanie Ripberger has been gone since January with a torn knee ligament. It makes Cecil wonder: has any defending regional champion had a tougher season?
If there is, I'd like to hear about it, Cecil said.
Boone County 55, Holmes 43
Highlands 40, Holy Cross 36
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