A trip to the Kentucky Sweet 16's are nothing new for Jeff Hailes' Henderson County Girls basketball team. The longtime bench boss has sent many a team down to compete in the state championship tournament. However, last year was much different, as COVID-19 pulled the rug out from under this squad.
"We got up there to the state tournament, and we were ready to play," said Henderson County Girls Basketball head coach Jeff Hailes. "It was halftime of the game before us actually. We were getting ready to go down to the locker room. I'd actually already sent the girls down to the locker room. I got the word that we weren't going to play , and it was kind of upsetting for everybody and disheartening. It was almost cruel, in a way. It was just kind of tough for everybody to accept . Those other teams got to finish their games. We just had to watch some of them, the games that were ahead of us. It was kind of weird that we couldn't play the next game. But that's what came down from the Governor . Everybody was sent home because the tournament was shut down. So, it was pretty bad for everyone involved."
"I was kind of thinking that this isn't true," said Henderson County senior guard Sadie Wurth. "Like, there's no way this can be true. But, it was."
"It wasn't what we expected at all," Henderson County senior guard Lauren Hubbard. "It was most definitely tough and it's something you'll never forget. Me, personally, I was very disappointed. We talked about who our first round opponent was going to be and we thought we had a good chance of beating them. And we thought we had a good chance of beating the next team, if we made it that far. I was just overall, shocked and really disappointed."
So this Lady Colonels squad will get a second crack at the Rupp Arena floor Thursday night when they take on Apollo. A team that is the exact opposite of them, in the sense that they haven't been to the state tournament in a quarter of a century.