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Former Estill County star Brian Kiser revels in Engineers’ Sweet 16®

March 14, 2018 FieldsColumn


BY MIKE FIELDS (March 14, 2018)

As Estill County took the court for the school’s Sweet 16® debut today, one spectator in Section 217 in the upper deck of Rupp Arena was feeling especially proud of the Engineers.

Brian Kiser

Brian Kiser, an all-state player for Estill County in 1992, said he was ready to cheer on the Engineers and live vicariously through their special state tournament moment.

This was Estill County’s first trip to the state tournament since the school opened in 1940.

“Wow,” Kiser said. “We had on our practice jerseys ‘Road to Rupp’ back in ’92. That road’s been closed for 77 years for this school. But it’s open now.

“This is good for the community, just to see people rally around the team. There was a huge parade going through Irvine yesterday as the team was coming to Lexington to spend the night.

“For the community to have this experience . . . it’s been a long time coming.”

Before Estill County took on Corbin, Kiser was in the Rupp Arena concourse talking with former friends and teammates.

“All the guys I’ve been hugging on here, this was the ultimate dream when we played. For some schools, (the dream) is a state championship. For Estill County, it was just getting to the state tournament, to do something no other team had ever done.”

Estill County was considered a strong contender to win the 10th Region in Kiser’s senior year. The Engineers beat Bracken County 90-73 in the region opener, but Kiser suffered an ankle injury. He didn’t play in the semifinals and Estill County lost to Nicholas County 71-58.

Twenty-six years later, the Engineers steamed into Rupp Arena as 14th Region champs, and the “ultimate dream” was realized.