In April 2 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
With Laker high school basketball over and the college basketball season winding down, some locals may still need their basketball fix as warmer weather approaches. For that fix, look no further than Central Kentucky's semi-pro basketball team, the Lebanon Lancers, who open their 2009 season at home against the Cincinnati Stallions on Sat., April 11.
Lancers Director of Marketing Chris Hamilton said that last year the Lancers set attendance records.
The Lancers are the reigning Bluegrass Conference and regular season champions and compete in the Kentucky Basketball Development League, according to Hamilton. The league's objective is to create a minor league system that develops and trains talent for the many international professional basketball leagues.
The KBDL schedule is regionally based and allows teams to play at home and closer to home more often. The KBDL has attracted the interest of dozens of pro, semi-pro and international pro basketball players, coaches and managers since it began.
The drive to Lebanon from Russell County is just over 50 miles and takes just an hour or so to drive, making the trip a short, affordable one for central Kentucky basketball fans.
"It is a fun environment at the games," Hamilton said. "The players sign autographs, we have a wacky announcer and we play music, along with many other promotions."
He said fans enjoy seeing players that the know in a more intimate setting. He also said the Lancers main draw is former University of Kentucky star Anthony Epps, who is a Marion County native and a member of the 1996 NCAA Champion Kentucky Wildcats.
"It is superior talent," he said. "All the way from the slam dunks to the deep three-point shots."
Once into Lebanon from Centre Square, drive one block south on KY 55/Spalding Ave. to the light at U.S. 68/Main St. Then turn left onto U.S. 68/Main St. and drive 1.1 miles and turn left onto Knight Way and the Roby Dome is straight ahead.
All Lancers home games are played at Marion County's Roby Dome.
Season tickets are currently on sale and are only $20, a "bargain," Hamilton said. Individual tickets are $8 per game.
The Lancers have five home games and five away games and will host the 2009 playoffs as well. Season tickets are good for any KBDL game anywhere except the championship game.
Lancer tickets can be purchased online at www.VisitLebanonKy.com or at the Lebanon Tourist and Convention Commission office at 239 N. Spalding Ave. in Lebanon.
Lancers home games for this season are April 11 against the Cincinnati Stallions, April 25 against the Harrodsburg Tankers, May 9 against the Kentucky Thunder, May 23 against River City Gamblers, June 6 against the Southern Ohio Generals.
Hamilton said attendees have ranged from people from Lexington, Richmond, Danville, Hodgenville, Campbellsville, Greensburg, Liberty and Columbia. He said he hopes to lure people from Russell County to the Roby Dome this year.
"It is central Kentucky's team and we would love to see some fans from Russell County come out," he said.
All home games start at 6 p.m. central time at the Roby Dome in historic downtown Lebanon.
On June 20, the league will hold playoff games at the Roby Dome.
Last season the Lancers were led by former University of Kentucky star Anthony Epps, former Mr. Ky. Basketball and West Virginia University's Elton Scott, St. Catharine College's Vince White and University of Tennessee Chattanooga's Petie Spaulding.
Former Western Kentucky University star Mark Bell coaches the Lancers along with Transylvania University standout Michelle King and Kentucky Wesleyan's John Bell.