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Eight years ago, Brinkley Taylor, then sports editor of the Gazette, wrote about the end of the playoff run for Union County basketball teams. That particular year, 2004, was the last time the county was shut out from the state tournament.
Like Brinkley years ago, I hate to see the seasons of the county schools come to an end just shy of going to Jackson. My publisher, Wayne Mitchell, joked with me earlier this week about how I was bummed only because I’m missing my free trip to Jackson.
While that’s part of it, this primarily surrounds the teams I cover. It has become a habit over the years for me to make the annual trek to the “Big House” and watch at least one team play for state. I’m also very fortunate to say that I’ve had the chance to watch two teams crowned champs as well.
As last week went on, I started to cope with the possibility that no one would advance past north half this season. Then I followed that by complaining about how the MHSAA should go back to sending more than two teams, but that’s a different story for a different time.
Nonetheless, I prematurely turned my focus to the spring sports last week, which is where the question was raised, “When was the last time the county was shut out?”
I was told to start in the 1980s, and even pinned down a couple of years to look at. Beginning with my search in that decade, I found every year had at least one team going. I took it a step further and started looking in the 1970s.
The Gazette’s books only go back to 1977, so before I decided to go to the chancery clerk’s office to go through their books, I decided to take a quick glance through the 1990’s and 2000s.
Much to my surprise, I found 2004, the year I graduated high school, was the last time the county was shut out. While that’s not as cool as saying it happened in the 1970’s, an eight-year run is still great, nonetheless.
None of this is to say that Union County did not have a successful year. That’s far from the truth, and it was still an exciting season.
Congrats to the teams on their runs this year, and hopefully we can cheer on Union County and start a new streak next season.