Rivalry with Kentucky grows for Indiana All-Stars

Especially on the boys side, where three future Indiana Hoosiers will get their only crack at the players from the Bluegrass state this week after their series with UK was not renewed.

INDIANAPOLIS - How much rivalry exists between basketball All-Stars of the two Midwest states that border the Ohio River could be up for debate.

But the heat between Indiana and Kentucky's flagship schools is warmer than even-and arguing against that is tough to debate.

A thrilling win over the Wildcats by the Hoosiers rekindled the rivalries fire and it was only fueled more by Kentucky's national title. Then came a scheduling conflict.

Disagreement over venue has ended the vaunted basketball series between the school in 2012 and has only intensified the rivals.

Suddenly sitting in a precarious position are the three members of the Indiana Boys' All-Star team who will be on Tom Crean's roster next year. Unlike the others currently in Bloomington, Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell, Jeremy Hollowell and Ron Patterson will get their chance to face the Commonwealth in 2012.

Don't think they haven't realized that either.

"It does take on added meaning," said Ferrell, who joins the Hoosiers next year after a decorated career at Park Tudor. "Even though we're not really playing them, I'm still gonna try and send a message.

"I definitely do want to play them at IU to keep that rivalry going, but it is what it is and we're gonna take care of business."

Doing so has been commonplace for the boys' team who has swept the two-game series in six of the last seven seasons. That includes a pair of wins in 2011 with current Hoosiers' forward Cody Zeller leading the way.

Its that streak-along with the chance to enjoy high school basketball one more time-that gives motivation to future Purdue guard Ronnie Johnson. He's one of the 12 other players who face Kentucky with more state than future school pride on the line.

"You get a chance to play with these guys once again before we all go to college," said Johnson when asked about what he enjoyed the most about being with the All-Stars.

For the girls team its similar after they try improve off the split they got with Kentucky in 2011. Ms. Basketball Jessica Rupright from Norwell will lead the team onto the court at 5:30 P.M. on Friday at Freedom Hall in Louisville and then at 5 P.M. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday.

The boys will follow each time and the girls hope they preceed them with a victory in the swan song of their prep careers.

"That's why we're here-we're here to beat Kentucky," said Mt. Vernon guard Jessica Brown. "We're really excited and putting in the work now."

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