Fern Creek Tigers and Ballard Bruins meet in sweet 16 quarterfin - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Fern Creek Tigers and Ballard Bruins meet in sweet 16 quarterfinals

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- College basketball teams aren't the only ones competing for a trip to the final four.

On Friday night, two Louisville teams were hoping to win and advance.

Instead of the cards and cats, it's the Kentucky High School sweet 16 quarterfinals between the Ballard Bruins and the Fern Creek Tigers. It is the 4th time the teams have met this year. It is also the most important meeting because the winner is one game closer to a state title.

It has been a record breaking year for the Mighty Fern Creek Tigers.

James Robinson is a Fern Creek senior and said, "It's an unbelievable feeling."

The Tigers are 34-2 on the season.

And along the way, named 6th Region, LIT and District Champs.

"We all know that we are FC proud," Robinson said.

But there is one thing still missing from the Tiger trophy case.

"We want to get that first state championship here," said Dr. Nate Meyer, Fern Creek Traditional High School Principal.

On the other side of town, the powerhouse Ballard Bruins have won three state titles.

"1977, 1988 and 1999," said Ballard Senior Matthew Lewis.

But Ballard still has a hungry team and fans.

"The players and the fans, it's a new group that rolls there every year so it's their first time," said Ballard High School Principal Staci Eddleman.

The teams met three times during the season.

Dr. Eddleman said, "Hasn't worked well yet but we're hopeful for tonight."

Fern Creek won all three earlier games but both teams finished the season strong, and everyone knows there are no guaranteed wins.

"The game starts off zero to zero, we don't get to start the game with a lead, we know that our team will have to play well to win tonight," Dr. Meyer said.

"We did everything but make it to Rupp," said University of Kentucky basketball legend Winston Bennett.

Bennett also played for Male High School, and despite being ranked number one in the nation in 1983, Male didn't make it to Rupp.

"And got beat in the finals of the region, by low and behold, Ballard High School," Bennett explained. 

From high school to UK and NBA, Bennett made a lot of clutch baskets, but picking a winner, is one shot he would not take.

"Oh, man, you not going to put me on the spot like that. I would just love to see a great game," Bennett said.

Win or lose, both principals say the players are also role models and standouts in the classroom.

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