Campbell visits its old rival tonight on Henson Court as the Karns Beavers host the Cougars

TOP PHOTO: A rivalry was born on a winter’s night 35 years ago when a brawl broke out at the Campbell High Gym. The house was packed as Campbell nipped Karns on a last second tip in by number 52, Paul Provins.

JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – The winter of 1988 was a time before there was an abundance of police presence at a Campbell High sporting event. “It was standing room only, and we really probably had too many people in the gym that night,” said Paul Provins, a senior standout on the 1987-88 Cougars basketball team.

Campbell was on its way to what eventually was its first regular season district title. Its first meeting of that year with district foe Karns ended up going down to the wire and was won at the horn on a tip in by Provins. The Cougars won 74-73.

However, before the fourth quarter would finish, amidst cries of “home cooking,” a fight broke out. With just under three minutes remaining in the game (the 47:00 mark on the video), tempers flared on the Karns sideline, and a technical foul was called on the Karns bench. It escalated from there.

“I remember it really well. It was the craziest thing I have ever been a part of for sure! One minute we were about to shoot a free throw, and the next thing I know, coaches are fighting, and then fans were everywhere,” said Lee Henson. Henson was a sophomore for Karns in those days. These days, he’s Karns Head Coach Lee Henson, for whom the Beavers court is named.

“I tried to keep myself (at 6-6 and about 225 pounds) between their coach, Bob Mason, and my coach, Len Pierce. Their assistant coach, a hot head, ended up hitting me in the back of my head, though I didn’t notice that until later,” said Provins.

“Luckily, the court was cleared and the game finished. I just know in my career as a player and a coach, we have had a lot of battles and really enjoy the rivalry with Campbell County,” said Henson.

“The stands opened up, and it could’a gotten real bad. After about a 10-minute cooling off time, we started the game back. There was even still some blood on the floor as we finished playing. I’d say this was the beginning of what has been quite a heated rivalry,” said Provins. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 12/08/2023-6AM)