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Utah State offer was too good for Boyle County’s Emmie Harris to pass up

Emmie Harris knew Utah State was right for her during her visit.

By LARRY VAUGHT

There was never a set plan for Emma Harris to make her college choice.

When basketball season started, the Boyle County senior wasn’t sure if she would play basketball, soccer or both sports in college. As the season progressed and her play continued to shine, she got more and more attention from college basketball coaches.

She became Boyle County’s all-time leading scorer the day after returning from an official visit to Utah State last week and then Friday gave her verbal commitment to Utah State.

Kentucky at Georgia Photo Gallery

Photos by Vicky Graff

Willis knew he had to do something, so he went to the boards

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Kentucky needed a lift against Georgia and got it from senior Derek Willis. He not only went 3-for-3 from the field and had 7 points, but he pulled off a career-high 12 rebounds.

Here’s what he said about his rebounding after the 82-77 win Saturday night:

Calipari liked ‘hustle plays’ Cats made in win

Bam Adebayo (Vicky Graff Photo)

Here is what Kentucky coach John Calipari had to say about UK pulling out an 82-77 win over Georgia Saturday.

“I loved it. I loved it. We made free throws. We attacked. We didn’t look for easy plays,” Calipari said. “Every play was something at the rim, which was something we were begging the whole game, but the game got rough and these kids, they start fading away and shooting jumpers and going at a speed they know they can’t beat a man so they have to do something different.

Fox takes over late, UK holds off Georgia 82-77

DeAaron Fox (Vicky Graff Photo)

By GUY RAMSEY, UK Athletics

Malik Monk and Isaiah Briscoe have taken their turns delivering down the stretch for Kentucky.
Saturday was De’Aaron Fox’s turn to show he can take over and get the job done when it matters most.
“I just want people to know I can step up in the big moments,” Fox said. “Like I’ve said before, it’s been different guys stepping up in those moments. Today it was me.”
With Monk struggling to find his range, Briscoe on the bench with five fouls and J.J. Frazier starring for a Georgia team desperate for a quality win, Fox stepped up and made the final five minutes his own. Surviving a back-and-forth battle thanks to Fox’s clutch play, No. 13/11 UK (22-5, 12-2 SEC) took down home-standing Georgia (15-12, 6-8 SEC), 82-77.
“And we go on the road and win a road game in our league,” John Calipari said. “I’m ecstatic. I’d rather learn from a close win than a loss. So I’m going to go watch the tape and we’ll try to fix some stuff.”
Things looked fairly bleak for the Wildcats with a little less than five minutes to go. Pape Diatta had just hit a 3-pointer – just his sixth of the season – to give Georgia a 64-61 lead and Briscoe committed his fifth foul after grabbing an offensive rebound.
Not even Fox was shooting well at that point, so what was his solution? Attack, attack, attack.
First Fox stemmed the tide by drawing a foul and calmly draining two free throws. A minute later, his driving layup gave UK a 67-66 lead to answer another score by Frazier, who scored 36 points to nearly overcome the loss of star Georgia big man Yante Maten to an early-game knee injury.
“I had two points like (35) minutes into the game,” Fox said. “I think we ran something, I got a bucket, and then I realized the plays they were calling they wanted to keep the ball in my hands, so I was like, even though I haven’t been playing well in this game I have to do something. I just made plays in the big moments. I think that’s what people are going to look at with this game.”
Fox saved his best for the final 90 seconds.
After Frazier had given Georgia a 73-71 lead, Fox had another driving layup to tie with 1:12 left, which Frazier again answered. Next up, Fox created three straight foul-shooting opportunities and hit all six free throws. 
“Fox did a great job penetrating,” said Derek Willis, who delivered in his own way with seven points and 12 rebounds. “I mean, he did a lot of things that factored in the game. I think with the ball screens we set for him it was just like an open lane for him. I was open too. He had every option and he played well. He played great.”
So, to recap, Fox scored 14 of his 16 points in the final five minutes. To make that even more impressive, Fox rebounded from back-to-back missed free throws with the Cats down two with 7:15 left to do it.
“I like the fact that De’Aaron missed two free throws and then came back and made eight in a row,” Calipari said.
Calipari talked postgame about missed free throws leading to more missed free throws, so it speaks to Fox’s mental toughness that he was able to recover.
“After that, I stepped up with confidence even when the crowd was getting loud,” Fox said. “That kind of plays into the part where he says I’m so nonchalant and things like that. I’m not listening to the crowd. All that is, is me and the goal and I don’t hear any of that.”

Geena Freriks Strikes Gold in the 200 Free

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – After winning bronze last season, Kentucky’s Geena Freriks was determined to make the podium in the 200-yard freestyle at this year’s Southeastern Conference Championships. And boy, did she succeed.

Freriks didn’t just make the podium – she made it in record-setting fashion, becoming the first Wildcat woman to win the 200 free at the meet since Kelly Heath in 1995. Freriks’ time of 1:44.51 bested her own school record of 1:44.98, a mark she set earlier this season.

Jessica Hardin’s return could be “great breath of fresh air” for Kentucky women

Jessica Hardin, right (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Going into this season, Jessica Hardin had a chance to be one of the feel-good stories in women’s college basketball.

Kentucky was short on numbers. Hardin, a former all-state player at Wayne County, was always a Kentucky fan but did not get a UK scholarship offer and went to Bellarmine. She had a successful freshman season, but left Bellarmine, transferred to UK and became just a normal student. Her basketball activity the previous two years was limited to playing for Delta Delta Delta in the sorority league.

Kentucky vs Tennessee Photo Gallery

Photos by Vicky Graff

Early 3-pointers spark Cats to 83-58 win over Vols

By LARRY VAUGHT

The reboot that Kentucky coach John Calipari has been trying to install certainly looked like it might be taking Tuesday night.

Kentucky made 10 3-point shots in the first half — its high for any half this year — and never gave Tennessee a chance to recover while rolling to a 83-58 victory to avenge a 2-point loss last month in Knoxville.

Maybe it was the new “man bun” that De’Aaron Fox that led to the Re-Do as @TotallyTwitched suggested to me on Twitter after the game.

Tonight could be historic game for Emmie Harris; area full of 1,000-point scorers

Emmie Harris, center, with Utah State coaches during her visit Monday.

By LARRY VAUGHT

Tonight could be a historic game for Boyle County senior Emma Harris, the state’s sixth leading scorer at 25.5 points per game.

She has 2,342 career points going into tonight’s game at Madison Southern. If she scores 11 points, she’ll break the school record of 2,351 points set by Ashley Sanders in 1995. She has already beat the boys all-time scoring mark, so that would make Harris the all-time leading scorer at Boyle.

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