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Robin Harmon & Irene Moore would’ve loved to play in Rupp Arena

March 13, 2019 FieldsColumn

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Irene Moore (left) and Robin Harmon, shown at Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame press conference. They were first-team all-state players in 1978 and both went on to play at Morehead State.

BY MIKE FIELDS

Robin Harmon-Newsome was a high-scoring basketball star who led Sheldon Clark to four consecutive appearances in the KHSAA Girls’ Sweet Sixteen from 1975-78.

Irene Moore Strong was a 5-foot-3, 108-pound dynamo who sparked Breathitt County to the state tournament as a junior and senior. After she led the Bobcats to a runner-up finish in 1978, she was named Miss Basketball.

Harmon and Moore, who will be inducted into the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame this summer, remember those good ol’ days with appreciation and nostalgia.

Playing in the Sweet Sixteen in EKU’s Alumni Coliseum was a big thrill.

But what if, instead, they had gotten to play in Rupp Arena, where the girls’ state tournament will be held for the first time this week?

“Oh, wow! That would’ve been a dream come true,” Harmon said. “I’m sure I always dreamed of it, but I never got to do it.”

Moore grew up a huge UK basketball fan and could only imagine what it would have been like to shoot hoops in Rupp Arena.

“That would’ve been great because I always idolized the Kentucky Wildcats,” she said. “When me and my (younger) brother played, we’d always get in an argument about who got to be Dan Issel.”

Moore averaged 20 points, 6 assists and 5 steals as a senior in leading Breathitt County to 31 victories, including two regular-season wins over Laurel County. But Lady Cardinals’ star Sharon Garland missed both those games with an injury.

Garland was back in the lineup in the Sweet Sixteen finals and had 21 points and 11 rebounds as Laurel County beat Breathitt County 63-48.

Moore later coached the Bobcats for three seasons (1900-92).

Harmon helped Sheldon Clark to the state tournament four years in a row, but the Lady Cards lost in the first round each time. They took a 26-0 record into the 1977 Sweet Sixteen but fell to Tates Creek in their opener.

The 5-foot-5 Harmon averaged 33 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds her senior year. She finished her career with 3,098 points.

After playing college ball at Morehead State, where Moore was her teammate, Harmon returned to Sheldon Clark and coached the Lady Cards for 25 years, winning more than 500 games and 3 region titles. She also had a Miss Basketball – Ida Bowen in 1991.

Now, four decades after they were high school stars, Moore and Harmon are going into the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be Aug. 3 in Elizabethtown.

“It’s such a great honor just to have your name along the likes of Donna Murphy and Robin, my Morehead teammates, and people like Jack Givens and Cliff Hagan,” Moore said. “I really appreciate it.”

Harmon said her induction into this Hall of Fame “finishes off her career with the highest and most prestigious honor you can get. And it’s nice to go in with Irene.

“I was blessed to have some really good teammates, and I was blessed as a coach.”

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This year’s Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame inductees

— Scott Draud, Highlands

— Coach William Falls, Hopkinsville Attucks

— Coach Nell Fookes, Boone County

— Charles Hurt, Shelby County

— Rick Jones, Scott County

— Robin Harmon-Newsome, Sheldon Clark

— Steve Miller, Henry Clay

— Irene Moore, Breathitt County

— Sammy Moore, Louisville Central

— Doug Schloemer, Holmes

— Charles Thomas, Harlan

— Coach Curtis Turley, Henderson County

 

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