BEDFORD, Va. (WFXR) — For the past three days, some of high school basketball’s top level talent have been competing on the hardwood at Liberty-Bedford HS for the inaugural Bedford Border Battle.
And the trophy at stake is an enduring legacy of a coach who passed away from cancer.
Two years ago, former boys’ basketball assistant coach Tony McKinney lost his battle with stage 4 melanoma.
“There was no losing the battle in my opinion,” Tony’s son, Corbett, said. “And in a lot of other people’s opinion you know he won.”
This weekend, Chapmansville High School (WV) defeat E.C. Glass, 56-54, to win the championship trophy named in Tony McKinney’s honor.
“It’s great because he was my dad but to everyone else he was a friend a coach a mentor and the impact that he’s had on them I really had no clue,” Corbett McKinney said.
Current Liberty-Bedford boys basketball coach Randy Dunton was one of Tony McKinney’s best friends.
“He would be certainly like a brother to me we just spent a lot of time strategizing and talking about how to improve things and processes for young people,” Dunton said.
Even after McKinney’s death, his presence is still felt on the court.
“If things weren’t going well today, he would be rolling his head and his arms would be crossed,” Dunton said. “He’d be growling a little bit about how the Minutemen need to be a little bit tougher.”
And there’s one quote that still echoes through his son’s head.
“Hit the square,” Corbett McKinney said. “And his players will attest to this. Hit the square was a very big staple in his coaching philosophy.”