Darren Doyle, story:
As the 2021-22 high school basketball season approaches with anticipation from players, parents, and fans, after two years of virus regulations, Edmonson County High School has organized a special night for old-school Edmonson County fans.
On December 7, 2021, both the Lady Cats and Wildcats are scheduled to take on Logan County at home; however, this game won't be on the home court of ECHS of 2021. Instead, it's scheduled to take place in what many fans know as "the old gym," "the old middle school," or "the old high school," which is actually the Edmonson County 5/6 Center.
History was in the making for Edmonson County in that old gym as ECHS basketball began a golden era of record-setting and winning that would pave the way for 1976 KHSAA State Champion Wildcats; a history that current school administrators want to see continue for generations to come.
All former ECHS players, coaches, and administrators are invited to the game to be recognized at halftime of the boys game, and will receive free admission,* and a special recognition will be made for former coaches Pete Clemmons and Gerald Meredith, two locals that coached teams in the same gym.
“Last year, Mr. Johnston, Mr. Alexander, and I had discussed how much fun it would be to do this and had no clue that Mr. Johnston would be at the 5/6 Center this year to help make it happen," said ECHS Principal Jonathan Williams, who is also a former member of ECHS basketball. "We wanted to recreate one of the best atmospheres in the region during the glory days of ECHS basketball, spanning from consolidation through the 1981 season. We hope our community will come out and help us fill the old gym up one more time. We hope it's a successful night and becomes an annual event. "Personally, I'd have loved to have played a varsity game in that gym.”
The Wildcats won back-to-back-to-back district championships on the same court in 1973, 74, and 75. Those teams packed the bleachers in the gym from top-to-bottom in those days--an excitement that even prompted an Edmonson-Butler matchup in Diddle Arena, because neither school could contain the crowds that flocked to cheer on their teams.
EC 5/6 Center Principal Chad Johnston said the school was thrilled to have a chance to host the event.
“We are excited about the opportunity to bring the community together and host throwback night at the 5/6 Center. This gym is a place that is sacred in Edmonson County and it is an honor to host an ECHS basketball game in this building for the first time since the early 90s."
The last known ECHS varsity basketball game played in the gym was December of 1993 when the 93-94 Wildcats played in the Caveland Classic under Coach Ricky Houchin.
Superintendent of Schools Brian Alexander said he is as excited about the game as anyone could be.
"My earliest memories of ECHS basketball was in what is now the 5/6 Center gym," he said. "Sometimes the best way to generate excitement for the future is by honoring our past. We hope Edmonson County fans of all ages will come and watch our Wildcats and Lady Cats and cheer our teams to victory.”
The girls game is scheduled to start at 6PM with the boys game following. They will both be live streamed on the Edmonson Voice. Youth league basketball players will also be recognized during the event.
*Only former players, coaches, and administrators will have free admission. Family members and guests of those will still be required to pay regular admission.