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Fern Creek’s Lenora Roberts keeps the book & keeps quiet

March 16, 2018 FieldsColumn

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Lenora Roberts has been keeping the scorebook for Fern Creek basketball for more than 30 years. (Photo by Mike Fields)

BY MIKE FIELDS

As Fern Creek scrapped and clawed its way to a 69-67 overtime victory against Boyd County in the first round of the Sweet 16 Thursday afternoon in Rupp Arena, Lenora Roberts fidgeted in her seat, took a few deep breaths, but never made a peep.

She learned long ago to keep her emotions under wraps no matter what’s happening on the court. She’s been keeping the scorebook for Fern Creek basketball for 34 years, and no cheering is allowed in her job.

“I love it, but I have to keep quiet,” Lenora said with a laugh.

She has her daughter Kim to thank for that.

Kim was the eighth-grade basketball coach at Evangel Christian in Louisville when her younger sister Melissa was on the team. Lenora went to the opening game to root for her daughters, and, well, she must’ve made a little too much noise.

“After the very first game, Kim told me, ‘Mom, I think I need you on the scorebook.’ The reason was I couldn’t yell from the (scorer’s) table,” Lenora said.

A couple years later, when Melissa was playing basketball at Fern Creek, Lenora (for family peace) took on scorekeeping duties again.

In the late 1980s she started keeping the scorebook for the Fern Creek boys’ team, too which was easy in the days of girls-boys doubleheaders. She did that for more than 20 years before cutting back to just help the boys the last 10 years or so.

(Her son-in-law, Scott Tabor, sits on the bench and keeps stats for the Tigers.)

Lifelong Fern Creek fan Marshall Roberts rode the bus to last year’s Sweet 16. He passed away two months later.

To say Lenora, who graduated from Atherton, is devoted to Fern Creek would be an understatement. Marshall Roberts, her late husband of almost 58 years, won her over to the Tigers.

“He loved Fern Creek so much, he did not want to leave the school after he graduated in 1956,” Lenora said. “Later on he got more involved and spent more time with it than when he went there.”

The couple went to all kinds of Fern Creek sporting events. “Football, baseball, basketball, even some soccer,” Lenora said.

When James Schooler III took over as Tigers’ basketball coach in 2013, he made Lenora a promise.

“He told me, ‘I’m going to take you to Rupp Arena,'” she said.

Lenora only hoped that her husband would be able to go along for the ride if it ever happened.

It did.

Schooler guided Fern Creek to the school’s first-ever Sweet 16 last year, and Marshall was part of the Tigers’ entourage.

He passed away two months later, but Lenora was forever grateful that he got to see his alma mater play in the state tournament.

When Fern Creek repeated as 6th Region champ last week, it was an unexpected bonus for Lenora. She told Schooler, “You promised me one trip to Rupp, and now you’ve given me two.”

And she’s been the Tigers’ quietest fan in Rupp again this week.

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