Boys basketball players from a Kentucky school wore blue ribbons on their sneakers during their first-round tournament game Wednesday night to honor a police officer who was shot and killed the night before.
Pikeville (Ky.) players donned the ribbons for their game against John Hardin (Elizabethtown, Ky.) in the 101st Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen at UK’s Rupp Arena. The ribbons were in honor of Pikesville officer Scotty Hamilton, a member of the department since 2006 who was killed in the line of duty Tuesday.
“It broke my heart,” assistant basketball coach Greg Newsome told WKYT. “It made me cry because Scotty was such a humble kid; He always was. He’s going to be so sorely missed. He’s really a good community person.”
There was also a moment of silence in Hamilton’s honor prior to tip-off.
The Panthers were heavy underdogs going into the matchup, but went on to upset John Hardin, 72-69 in three overtimes, one of the longest games in tournament history.
Wyatt Battaile beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime.
Pikeville head coach Elisha Justice told the Lexington Herald Leader the team played in honor of Hamilton, who played football at Justice’s alma mater of Shelby Valley.
“That was a terrible tragedy,” Justice told the Herald-Leader. “It happened last night and I think most of us got word of that this morning. It’s a hard thing to try and comfort anybody in a time like that but we wanted to do the best that we can and try to represent home as good as we can, and all these guys wore the blue ribbon on their shoes, just in honor of the police officer and to just show our respects.
“We’ve got a great community, too. Anybody that has social media has seen everybody come together back home and rally around that family. That was a really good thing.”
Per WKYT and other outlets, police arrested 55-year-old John Russell Thursday morning in connection with the shooting.
Pikeville moves on to the state’s elite eight Friday, where it will play Warren Central (Bowling Green, Ky.).