NEW MADISON, Ohio
Colton Linkous and Damion Cook have both heard stories from their fathers about the state tournament.
Cook’s father, Scoob Cook, led the Tri-Village boys basketball team to the state championship game in 1991; Linkous’ father, Randy Linkous, also helped Highland High School in Sparta, Ohio, reach the state finals.
And both Tri-Village High School juniors were among the New Madison, Ohio, crowd that made the trip to Columbus two years ago to watch Kayla Linkous, Colton Linkous’ older sister, lead the Tri-Village girls to their first state appearance.
Tonight, it’s their turn.
The Tri-Village boys basketball team makes the trip to the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of Ohio State University to play in the OHSAA Division IV state semifinals.
Scoob Cook is also the uncle of Patriot senior Tyler Cook.
Scoob Cook helped Tri-Village advance to the state championship in 1991 before falling in the title game.
“I just remember they always talk about losing to St. Henry, and I remember going to St. Henry my freshman year and getting that win. And that was really special for us, because that was only like the second time that we’ve played them,” Damion Cook said. “To be back at state is really special for us, because not a lot of father-sons get to do that.”
Linkous will, too, though it’s with another program.
He said three cousins also reached the state finals with Highland.
He said his cousins Mike Linkous, J.P. Linkous and Rob Linkous all advanced to state, with J.P. Linkous winning the state title.
” … I’ve got to keep the tradition going,” Colton Linkous said. “Us making it there is a big deal in my family. I’m just glad we made it. … Just keeping the tradition going and hopefully winning the title would be nice.”
Kayla Linkous was only the third Ohio high school girls basketball player to finish her career with more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. She led the Patriot girls to the state semifinals in 2012, and Colton Linkous said, she had some words of wisdom.
“It’s been crazy, actually, talking to everybody that’s made it,” he said. “I talked to my sister a little bit this weekend and what it was like, and she said, ‘As long as you keep your cool and just go out there and play your game, you’ll be fine.’ And she said it’s exciting and take it all in and just play our game, we’ll be fine.”
Tyler Cook was a sophomore that year and said he made the trip. That motivated them, but so did last year’s loss in the regional semifinal.
“Watching the girls there, really we wanted everybody to play there, and then last year getting so close motivated us even more to make a run this year,” he said. “I think both years have been really good motivation for all of us.”
Damion Cook said his father was there to celebrate with him last Friday after the Patriots punched their ticket to Columbus by winning the regional title 62-44 over Marion Local.
“It was a pretty special moment,” Damion Cook said. “I know he’s proud of me and just being with this team is pretty special for all of us, because the hard work we’ve put in and all the time we’ve spent together really paid off for us.”