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Betsy Layne Celebrates Glory Road Wins at Dome

BETSY LAYNE, Ky. (WMDJ) – The Betsy Layne Bobcats chalked up a pair of wins over their oldest rival as alumni, community and fans gathered inside the D.W. Howard Memorial Fieldhouse to reminisce the good ole days Saturday afternoon.


Both teams secured the 3rd-seed in the upcoming 58th District Tournament as the Bobcats defeated Prestonsburg 51-45 and the Lady Cats defeated the Lady Blackcats 48-34.


The Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame recognized the Fieldhouse as, “an Eastern Kentucky landmark to this day (and) a staple in Betsy Layne and around Floyd County.” Legendary boys’ head coach William “Junior” Newsome Jr., recalled watching the facility being built in the late 1960s from his classroom window on what was then Betsy Layne High School and recalled, “Travelers along U.S. 23 would stop by daily to see the progress and ask to go inside.”


The hexagonal-shaped building and its dome seated 2,000 spectators and replaced the school’s wooden gymnasium that was destroyed by fire two years prior. The first varsity basketball game played in the structure was on February 17th, 1970, a 106-72 win for the Bobcats over the Dorton Wildcats.


On Saturday, you could hear the names of Bobcat legends like 4-time All-State player Dan Hall, NCAA All-American Grady Wallace and so many others being floated in the air. 15th Region championship teams from 1976 and 1980 were honored along with the 2011 State All “A” Championship squad, with many of their members such as Nathan Martin, Casey Adkins and Dylan Hamilton looking as if they wanted to suit up and finish out the second half of the Bobcats contest.


The boys also wore replica jerseys of the 1980 team, which included red trim with white letters against the familiar Bobcat blue. Judging by reactions, red was a welcomed sight to fans.

The Lady Cat champions of the past were also remembered for their achievements. Former coach Cassandra Akers, who won a school-record 165 games at Betsy Layne, rejoined her former region championship teams from 2003 and 2005 to be honored during the event. Akers led the Lady Cats to the quarterfinals of the Sweet 16 in 2003 after defeating Campbell County 56-47. It marked the first and only time that a Floyd County school had won a game at the girls' state tournament.


While entertainers like Dwight Yoakum, Ronnie Milsap, Conway Twitty, Keith Whitley, Dolly Parton and many others have visited “the Dome”, it’s the basketball games that are most remembered.


In the opening game today, the Betsy Layne girls outlasted Prestonsburg for the win as both teams combined to shoot (25-111) from the field.


Laci Hall had the most success on the afternoon, tossing in 14 points for the Lady Cats. Jaden Pente scored 13 points while senior Haleigh Damron put together a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.


In the second contest, the boys were unable to replicate the high scoring game they played a week ago at Prestonsburg, yet Betsy Layne still prevailed.


Betsy Layne struggled from the field shooting 35% for the game, yet battled their way through every Prestonsburg run. Carter Parsons enjoyed a solid third quarter scoring 10 points during the period and finished with 15 points. Andrew Kidd enjoyed a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.


Prestonsburg’s leading scorer on the season Braxton Keathley didn’t score until the fourth quarter and finished with seven points on (2-8) shooting from the field in what was clearly a frustrating day. Mason Stidham was the only Blackcat to score in double figures with 11 points.


Betsy Layne (14-13) will face Floyd Central in the opening round of the boys’ 58th District Tournament while Prestonsburg (15-12) will face 1-seed Lawrence County.


The matchups will be the same on the girls’ side with quarterfinal girls action happening Monday, February 26th. The boys’ quarterfinals are set for Tuesday, February 27th. Girls championship on Wednesday and the boys finals on Thursday.