Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?
March 22, 1986 will long live in the annals of Pulaski County hoops folklore, and will be a day around here, that will most certainly never be forgotten.
After all, that day is arguably, the most successful date in the history of the Pulaski County Boy’s basketball program.
That was a Saturday morning when a Dave Fraley-led Pulaski County basketball team, held off a talented Owensboro squad, in overtime in the semi finals of the Boy’s Sweet 16 Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena, holding off the Red Devils in a thriller, 70-68.
PC followed that win up just a few hours later, by bringing the hardware home to Pulaski County, with a 47-45 victory over Louisville PRP in the championship game of the tourney on Saturday night.
It’s really hard to believe that almost 20 years have past since that remarkable PC team went 32-3 that season, and brought home a state championship to Pulaski County High School, yet, some 20 years later, that’s what most of the folks in attendance at last night’s PC-West Jessamine game were talking about.
The 1986 PC team was honored last night at halftime of the game with West Jessamine, and most of the players from that state title team were there, reminiscing about the good old days, and celebrating Pulaski County High School’s only state championship in boy’s hoops.
A few of the guys couldn’t make it to last night’s celebration, but guys like Shannon Fraley, Billy Bob Hardy, Tony Dotson, Dan Price, Rod Edwards, Sonny Long, Derek Daulton, Roger Dykes, and the man himself, Dave Fraley, were there in attendance, and were honored by the fans for that magnificent four-day run at Rupp Arena, way back in 1986.
In case you weren’t around back then, PC, with a 28-3 record going into the Sweet 16, won its four state tourney games that year by a grand total of 10 points.
First, there was the 83-78 barn-burner over Clay County in the opening round of the tournament.
Then, in the quarterfinals, it was PC escaping Clark County 61-60, before that 70-68 overtime thriller in the semi’s over Owensboro.
Then, in the championship game, it was yet another nail biter, as PC outlasted Pleasure Ridge Park out of Louisville, 47-45, in a game that will long be remembered for, “The Shot.”
That’s right. “The Shot.”
If Denver’s John Elway had “The Drive” at Cleveland, and San Francisco’s Dwight Clark had “The Catch” against Dallas, then Pulaski County’s Shannon Fraley had “The Shot” at the Boy’s Sweet 16 in 1986.
With the score knotted at 45-45 in the championship game against PRP, it was Fraley that drove down the lane, and put up a runner for a score with :10 left, that turned out to be the game winner for the Maroons.
Hello state championship.
“That play was designed to go to Reggie (Hanson),” noted Shannon Fraley last night. “I remember all the way up to the timeout before that, we tried to get the ball into the post, and PRP knocked the ball out of bounds, and we called a time out.”
“We came out and spread the floor, and we were trying to get the ball to Reggie, but PRP knew that, as well as about 20,000 people inside Rupp Arena,” he continued. “I came off a screen, and Jeff Pierce was trapped, and he threw the ball to me, and I was open and went down the lane, and got to the point of no return, and had to shoot the ball, and luckily, it went down.”
Now for head coach Dave Fraley, winning a state championship to attain the pinnacle of a coaching career is one thing, but doing it with your son making the game-winning shot, to get you that state title, is another.
The old ball coach stated before last night’s festivities, that his son’s game-winner, and that state title certainly means a whole lot more to him today, some 20 years later.
“At the time, it really wasn’t that significant as it is now, because I had the ability to look at Shannon all year that season as my point guard, and I had taken the good, the bad, and the ugly with him,” noted coach Fraley.
“When he made the shot, to me, it was actually like Pulaski had scored and were two up,” added Fraley. “Now, since the years have past, and I’ve had a chance to look at that, and people have talked about that shot, I now realize just how special it was. I don’t know how many coaches and sons have won that thing under that condition. It’s a sweet memory, there’s no doubt about that, and it’s something that we’ll always have.”
Yes, that run by PC in the 1986 Boy’s Sweet 16 Basketball Tournament is a memory that will no doubt, long live in the hearts of, not only those players and coaches, but for the Maroon hoop fans as well.
And, it was certainly a good thing, to be able to go down memory lane with that special cast of characters one more time last night.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?