MORTONS GAP — Hopkins County Central fans packed the Storm Gym on Thursday to get a first glimpse at the teams they would be seeing this winter at the Storm Chaos event.
Fans got introduced to the rosters of the boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, swimming and diving, archery, dance and cheerleading teams, got to watch scrimmages of the basketball teams and performances from the dance and cheerleading teams, and took place in a raffle to win a pair of 10-game passes for Central athletic events.
“We had a lot of excitement here, had a big crowd, which is great,” said Central Athletic Director Kent Akin, who was hosting his first Storm Chaos event since officially taking over the athletic department last summer.
“The support of the people that I work with, the coaches, the players, the custodial staff, all the people that help put it together, basically all I had to do was organize it, and when I asked people to help, they did, and it’s just a tremendous success.”
The event was also a fundraiser for the Hope 2 All Food Bank, as admission could be paid with a can of food. According to Akin, 10 boxes were filled with canned goods for the food bank, and close to $200 was raised on top of it.
“I think it says a great deal about our community,” Akin said. “Our community’s always been very giving, and it was very neat for us to have an event where we could get the community involved and show their kindness.”
Akin said the turnout also shows just how excited fans are for the upcoming season.
“I’m really excited seeing this many people show up,” Akin said. “We prepared a concession stand and, since I have two weeks between this game and the next one, I wasn’t sure how much to prepare, and we basically sold out.
“You could tell how hard the kids played with that crowd and that excitement, and I think it just says volumes about what we expect to have this year.”
Central is coming off a pretty successful fall season, where the football team posted its most wins since 2009, and the boys’ soccer team set a new school record for wins and made its first ever appearance at the Region Tournament.
Akin said he hopes to see that success transfer into the winter season, and that there are plenty of reasons to be excited about these upcoming Storm and Lady Storm teams.
The boys’ basketball team is returning its entire starting lineup from last year and was ranked seventh in the Second Region in the Cats Pause, while the girls’ basketball team is coming off back-to-back trips to the Region Semifinals and was ranked sixth in the Cats Pause.
The swimming and diving team doubled in size over the offseason, bringing in 14 new swimmers and three new divers to the program, while the archery team trumps them all, coming off a National Championship and a top five finish at the World Tournament.
“Very optimistic, we’re very excited,” Akin said. “I feel as a culture, as a school, we’re very excited.
“The boys’ basketball team, they go out there and they play hard, girls’ basketball, Coach Webb’s got the program really established over the last two years with two Semifinal trips, so really excited about what they’ll do. Our archery team, Coach Starks does a great job and always has them competitive and ranked up there, and our swim team, Coach Corbin’s done a great job of recruiting athletes, and it’s really neat for me in this job seeing the support we get from the community.”
The boys’ basketball team is scheduled to start its season on Nov. 28 with a game at McLean County at 7:30 p.m., while the girls’ basketball team is slated to start on Nov. 29 against Dawson Springs at 6 p.m. The swim team is scheduled to have its first swim meet of the season on Nov. 17 at Muhlenberg County at 5 p.m., while the diving team is slated to have its first competition on Nov. 22, in a home meet against Madisonville-North Hopkins and Murray at 4:30 p.m.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to give you a great product, and hopefully you’ll be able to come and enjoy us all winter long,” Akin said.