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Don Owen: Beal or Schloemer? Either choice is a winner as 9th Region’s all-time best hoopster

Dicky Beal or Doug Schloemer? It’s like choosing between spectacular and remarkable. You might as well ask a snowbound Northern Kentuckian in January whether they’d prefer being in Hawaii or San Diego.

Either choice is a winner.

Two weeks ago, I penned a column spotlighting the top football recruits in Northern Kentucky history during the past 40 years. Most of the comments I received totally agreed with former Boone County High School legend Shaun Alexander as No. 1 on that list.

One interesting remark asked for my opinion of 9th Region basketball during that same period of time. “Shaun Alexander is obvious in football,” it read. “Who’s the most influential basketball player in the 9th Region the past 40 years?”

Doug Schloemer

My answer? Dicky Beal or Doug Schloemer. Doug Schloemer or Dicky Beal. Either choice is correct, at least in my opinion.

Coincidentally, both played at Holmes High School and helped the Bulldogs become a dominating program in the 1970s. They even played on the same team during the 1977-78 season, when the Bulldogs sprinted to their third consecutive 9th Region championship and nearly won the state title — denied by an incredible buzzer-beating shot by the late Charles Hurt that forced overtime, and a missed goaltending call during the extra session that allowed Shelby County to claim the state championship.

Schloemer, a 6-foot-4 forward who made a habit of hitting clutch shots and winning big games, received a consolation prize by being named Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 1978. This happened just a year after he buried a last-second jumper to beat Newport in the 9th Region championship game and earned an admiring 14-year-old fan from the losing side. (click and read this column to understand)

Having scored more than 2,000 career points at Holmes, Schloemer accepted a scholarship to the University of Cincinnati and earned four letters for the Bearcats. He also made national headlines on Dec. 21, 1981, when he drained a 15-foot jumper with one second remaining in the seventh overtime — yes, the seventh overtime — as Cincinnati outlasted Bradley, 75-73, in Peoria, Ill. It marked the longest game in NCAA Division I history.

Dicky Beal

Beal — two years younger than Schloemer — electrified 9th Region crowds for three seasons with his quickness and spectacular passes, leading a Holmes fast-break offense that overwhelmed most teams. He also became a must-see dunker, his two-handed reverse slams a stunning sight that made the 5-foot-10 Beal a fan favorite everywhere in the 9th Region. Holmes employed an aggressive full-court press that became legendary around the area, and Beal utilized his amazing speed and quickness to ignite the “Bulldog” press.

As a senior, Beal averaged 23.6 points and 8.3 assists as Holmes cruised to the 9th Region title. Playing alongside standouts such as Ricky Walton, Elliott Simpson, Mark Elmer and Todd Whatley, Beal led the Bulldogs to the state semifinals, where they were knocked off by eventual champion Owensboro.

Holmes finished that 1980 season with a 33-3 record and Beal — who would have been named Mr. Basketball had it not been for the scoring exploits of a guy at Phelps High School named Ervin Stepp — signed to play at the University of Kentucky.

Beal led UK to Southeastern Conference regular-season championships in 1982,’83 and ’84, not to mention the SEC Tournament title in ’84. Beal was selected the most valuable player of the Mideast Regional in 1984 after leading UK to the Final Four. His 14 assists against BYU in the 1984 NCAA Tournament set a UK postseason record.

Holmes won 9th Region championships in 1976, ’77, ’78, and ’80, four of the five years either Schloemer and/or Beal was on the team. Prior to that ’76 title, Holmes had not captured a regional title in 25 years.

Charles Hurt of Shelby County (left) was not called for goaltending on this play in overtime during the 1978 state championship game against Holmes in Freedom Hall.

Are there others in the conversation? Of course. Jack Jennings (yes, another Holmes graduate) enjoyed an amazing career and is one of the best. Same with Scott Draud from Highlands and, more recently, C.J. Fredrick of state champion Covington Catholic.

How about that starting lineup? Beal, Schloemer, Jennings, Draud and Fredrick? That would be a winning combination.

REFS MISSED CALLS BACK THEN, TOO: It’s not just basketball officials in the modern era who miss calls. Check out the photo on the left of Charles Hurt from Shelby County with an obvious goaltending violation during overtime in the 1978 state championship game against Holmes.

Hurt swatted the ball with his hand clearly through the rim, knocking away Schloemer’s on-target attempt that would have been a basket. But no call was made by either official, denying Holmes two crucial points in the overtime. Shelby County prevailed, 68-66, to capture the state championship.

Schloemer finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds in the state championship game to lead Holmes, while Beal added 11 points and four assists. John Wimzie scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Bulldogs.

Mike George led Shelby County with 21 points, while Norris Beckley added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Hurt chipped in 16 points and eight rebounds, not to mention the most famous block in the history of Sweet 16 basketball.

TRANSFER-MANIA: If you are a fan of Northern Kentucky University and were bummed out over the transfers of both Carson Williams and Mason Faulkner, consider what has gone on the past few weeks at Milwaukee.

The Panthers’ top three returning players —Brock Stull and Jeremiah Bell and Bryce Nze — all announced they are transferring. In late March, sophomore guards August Haas and Jeremy Johnson also indicated they would transfer from Milwaukee.

NKU BASEBALL FALLS TO EKU: Tyler Romanik went 3-for-5 with a homer and four runs batted in as Eastern Kentucky cruised to a 12-9 win at NKU on Tuesday.

Ryland Kerr was 4-for-6 and scored three times for Eastern Kentucky, which improved to 25-21. The Colonels built an 11-3 lead after four innings and held off a late NKU comeback to claim the non-conference victory.

Chad Roberts went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI for NKU, which dropped to 12-30 overall. Roberts leads NKU in homers (11) and RBI (40) this season. The Norse’s Mike Moffatt drove in three runs with a bases-loaded triple in the seventh inning.

Contact Don Owen at don@nkytrib.com and follow him on Twitter at @dontribunesport

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One Comment

  1. Lance says:

    Don Owen left out several players from his football list and also from his basketball list. Mark Pike who played 13 years with 4 SuperBowl apperarances in the NFL and Brandon Hatton who scored over 3,000 points in his high school career.

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