By LARRY VAUGHT
Becoming the first Lincoln County players to get to play in the Kentucky-Indiana All-Star Series won’t ease the pain Emma King and Kaitlyn Wilks still have over not winning a 12th Region Tournament.
They helped Lincoln win 98 games the last four years and now will get to represent Kentucky in games June 7 and 8 against Indiana. But getting beat in the regional semifinals this year when they were the region’s top-ranked team ended their hopes of playing in the state tourney.
“I just think this is different,” Wilks said after making the team Sunday. “I am excited but one of my goals was to play in the state tournament. That will still haunt me for a while. I wanted so bad to play in the state.
“All-star games are just something extra. Playing in the state is something we always wanted to do and talked about doing since sixth grade. So while I’m excited to make this team, it doesn’t make up for not making state because it was tough knowing we were one of the best teams in the state but didn’t get there to show what we could do.”
King, a Kentucky signee, says she is a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. She was also likely the runner-up in the Miss Basketball voting.
“Nothing sour on my part. It’s something that still kind of stings (not making the state),” King said. “I would have loved to play in the state tournament but there’s nothing I can do about that now. I am just glad to have this opportunity and have another chance to play and be part of something special.”
King says there won’t be any extra pressure on her in the all-star games because she’s a Kentucky signee. Plus, she played with that attention the last two seasons.
“I am kind of used to it,” King said. “I always have expectations and like it when I can live up to them. I like to push myself harder. I want to represent UK well. I want to represent Kentucky and Lincoln County. I want to be the best for whatever team I am playing for, and Kaitlyn is the same way. I just plan to play hard and if my shots are not going in, so be it.”
King and the all-stars will report to Louisville for practice June 4. She says that will not interfere with her summer plans at UK.
“I texted coach (Matthew) Mitchell and he said it would be fine. I have a tentative date of June 12 to report (to UK). I will still have a couple of days to come home (after the Kentucky-Indiana games) and get packed up to head to UK.”