LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) - The Pikeville Lady Panthers took to the floor of Rupp Arena Thursday, as the Girls’ Sweet 16 State Basketball Tournament is played at the historic arena for the first time this season.
The Lady Panthers weren’t alone on Thursday when they battled Barren County in the first round. The Panthers wore a special band around their shoes with fallen Pikeville Police Officer Scotty Hamilton's name on it.
“We haven't forgotten about him and won't ever forget about him,” said Pikeville girls’ basketball coach, Kristy Orem.
Wednesday, just a day before Pikeville’s game, marked the one year anniversary of when Hamilton was fatally shot in the line of duty.
“I remember that moment last year,” said Orem, whose husband is also a law enforcement officer. “We were all down here and it was such a celebration of our boys and it was a big time and everyone was excited about our boys winning their first game.”
That is when the news came.
“To get that news, it just shakes everybody. It shook our entire community,” said Orem.
The team wears the bands, just like the rest of the community, to remember Officer Hamilton.
“Just to represent him on our shoes just reminds us that he is still with us and that he is watching over us," said junior Kristen Cole-Williamson.
The Pikeville girls’ basketball team shares a bond with the community's law enforcement agencies because they have assistant coaches, who are also officers, and Orem’s husband around. Orem, who says her job is to raise women just as much as coaching them, tries to use that bond to cut the tension between law enforcement and society.
“The most important thing that I always say to them is you have to know the cops aren’t the bad guys. They are there to support you,” said Orem.