“If I have been able to see further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” – Sir Isaac Newton
It is high school basketball postseason time in the Bluegrass. There may not be a state that does their basketball better than we do in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Sixty-four districts of teams from all sizes and classes competing for two spots in each of the 16 regionals, whose winners move on to the heralded and tradition-rich Sweet 16.
Each year around this time, hope springs anew for all the teams. Some revel in the satisfaction of simply advancing into their Regional tournament. Other traditional powerhouses are hoping to add 2014 to the laundry list of other Regional championship years on the banners that hang in the rafters of their high school gymnasium. An upset-minded small school looks to knock off the favorite. A big time program looks to run the table and etch its name into the Sweet 16 legend.
Tonight, one of those small schools was faced for the second straight year with the task of knocking off the tradition power. Except, do not try to tell the Augusta Panthers that they are the underdog. Do not try to tell them that they are incapable of doing what others would deem impossible. They are afterall the defending 39th District Champions and carry the 10th Region Player of the Year on their roster.
The Augusta Panther basketball team stands on the shoulders of giants. Those giants are the entire community that pledge its unconditional love, support, and fandom for the orange and black. They are able to see further than the banks of the Ohio River that comprise the city limits of the scenic river town. They recognize that their support will lift them up to know that they are not just another small school basketball team, but they are the city’s team, and no matter the result, they have done them proud.
Tonight, those giants lifted them up. They towered them above and beyond the adversity, the negativity, the tradition, the moment. They raised them up into the sky to see that they were capable and ready to create their own moment.
It took a performance like a giant. It took a team of selfless players. It took a team that would give everything of themselves to do right by the orange and black.
They got that giant performance. The 10th Region Player of the Year, Brent Bach, delivered 48 of his team’s 61 points, including all of them in overtime to win 61-60 over Mason County. They received selfless team play. Every member quick to deflect credit to teammates and the community because they know that is who lifts them up. Each player and coach more selfless than the next. They received a performance that screamed appreciation for the orange and black. It was heartfelt, genuine, passionate, selfless, classy, and loyal.
Tonight, victory was the reward. A chance to prolong the season and earn a berth in next week’s 10th Region basketball tournament. But, these players and these fans already have the bigger reward. They have each other. They have the history of all those players who have graced the court in the Panthers Den before them (my mom and dad among the many), and all of those fans who support them from near and far, including current students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
They have the stood on the shoulders of one another. To help each other stand tall and see that they do not need to concentrate on slaying the giants. Because of each other, they are giants.
Bring your best today!