As good a movie “Hoosiers” was, it’s made all the better by the fact that it’s based on a true story. But one just as inspiration could be happening before our eyes in Kentucky.
Only two states have a true state championship, matching up all the regional winners. Elliott County High School, with just 42 boys in the senior class, has put together a team that has steamrolled all comers so far. They’re just one win away from a trip to Rupp Arena to show the state what a small school can do.
They’re number 1 in one paper’s state rankings, number 2 in another’s and number 4 in the AP poll. They’re leading the state in scoring with 86.3 ppg and victory margin with 31.4 points. But those aren’t the numbers that tell you why this story matters:
[T]his lily-white, dry county is no font of prosperity. The median household income in 2007 for Sandy Hook was $18,323, far less than half the national average of $50,233. About 40 percent of Elliott County’s children live in poverty, which is 17 percent more than the state average. Local school revenue per pupil in the county is about one-third of the state average.
Just to give you a sense of where these kids are coming from, look up Sandy Hook, Ky., on Google Maps. You’ve got to zoom out six times before you see a city you recognize.
But this senior class has been playing together since they were in second grade, and there’s one legit D1 prospect among them (6-7 sophomore Timmy Knipp). And they’re inspiring more than just their county. One fan drives 254 miles for every game.
“I started watching them last year and fell in love with them,” [Pat] McGuire said, red slushie in his hand at the Penny Mart after watching Elliott County crush Fleming County 105-60 on Feb. 12. “They’re more fun than any team I’ve ever watched.”
“I have visions of ‘54 when I see these guys.”
What was in 1954? The Milan Miracle, the inspiration for “Hoosiers.”