Five Days of All "A"

Tens of thousands of fans descended on Richmond and Eastern Kentucky University last week for the Kentucky All “A” Classic high school basketball tournament.

Thirty-two teams — 16 boys’ and 16 girls’ — battled it out at Alumni Coliseum over the five-day tournament. It seemed as though some teams had brought their entire hometowns to cheer them on – the visitor count exceeded the expected 30,000 people.

EKU President Michael T. Benson attended many of the games and became a crowd favorite, periodically tossing EKU T-shirts to fans and prospective students in the stands.

Regional All “A” tournaments began in early January. For weeks, Kentucky’s 120 smallest schools vied to earn one of the 32 spots in the tournament. In the end, Murray High School’s girls’ team and Lexington Christian’s boys’ team emerged as 2018 All “A” state champions.

Murray players toppled their coach to the floor in celebration following their win, which was their second championship in the last three seasons. For the Lexington Christian boys, their All “A” win was the first in the program’s history.

Sportsmanship was a recurring theme in the tournament, and schools that had both boy’s and girl’s teams supported each other in the cheering stands. At least one district put their rivalries aside — the Mayfield boys’ team cheered the Murray girls’ team on to victory, and the girls’ team returned the favor for Mayfield through the semi-finals.

These West Kentucky schools and others also honored nearby Marshall County High School with orange ribbons and prayers, following a violent incident there Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Photos by EKU photographer Amanda Cain and student photographer Carsen Bryant.

The Murray Tigers hoist their championship trophy.
Students get ready for the big game.
Students form a circle before their game.
Lexington Christian Academy Cheerleaders stand before a crowd.
A player helps up his teammate who had fallen.
An excited crowd cheers for their team.
The Shelby Valley Lady Cats face off against Nicholas County.
EKU President Michael Benson throws shirts to the crowd.
The crowd cheers.
Lexington Christian Academy takes the court on day 2 of the tourney.
Lexington Christian beat Walton-Verona in the finals.
Murray tackled their coach in celebration after their championship win.
Lexington Christian cut down the net after their championship win.

Published on January 30, 2018

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